Red flag on a map to symbolise local marketing

Why local marketing is so important & how to do it right

Jan 18, 2022 | Marketing best practices, Tips for small businesses

Here at Saltoria, we are big champions of the importance of local marketing for your business. This is especially important if you’re starting out, but it’s also super relevant for big businesses too. Have you ever thought about how focusing on local marketing could help transform your brand? 

Local marketing can be a powerful way to get recognition in your local community and then build on for growth into other markets. What’s more, local marketing can also help you reach brand-new audiences and communities whilst boosting your search rankings and online traffic. Ultimately, it’s a great and ‘safe’ way to learn about what works with your marketing campaigns and then scale up for larger/national audiences.

Text on plain red background. text reads: local marketing, an invaluable way to establish your business on home turf, before you take over the world!

Why is local marketing so important?

Put simply, local marketing is great for building your brand integrity and reputation. By building up your local audience you begin to create local cheerleaders for your brand which will bring referrals and repeat customs. The presence of a small community will help you create buzz and further enhance the integrity of your brand in your space. This is all great for SEO too. In fact, if you rank high on Google amongst your local competitors then you’ll soon be first in mind with local customers. 

Local marketing is especially important if you have a brick and mortar business location or a service that is specific to your area. People need to know you exist and they need to know you’re the best business for what you do. If your business exists to serve your local community then it’s essential that you focus on this! But, we can’t stress enough how important it is for all businesses too. 

7 tips to get local marketing right

1. Build your network locally and then scale up

Local marketing is a great way to ‘test the waters’ and learn as you go. Rather than starting on a big national/global scale, get it right in your local community, learn fast, make tweaks and then scale up. Build loyal and solid relationships locally and carefully build momentum and credibility. This is also a fantastic way to start growing your brand and your reputation (your brand awareness strategy) alongside promoting your products or services. 

Text on plain pink background. text reads: start local. Learn fast. scale up.

But wait! How can you do this well?

  1. Build links with local like minded businesses. They will recommend you to their customers and you can leverage off their brand presence. Maybe collaborate with them on an offer or an event? 
  2. Make referrals and recommendations the norm! Encourage your staff to refer customers to nearby/like-minded businesses (not competitors!) and begin creating a referral network for yourself and other fab local businesses. Being in it together will be more powerful than not and this in turn will help promote and enhance the wider local business community. 
  3. Events and networking sessions are a great way to meet new people and spread the word. This can be online or in-person. Both can be equally useful and effective. For more online networking tips, check out our recent blog: 6 ways to improve your online networking skills.
  4. Start a simple but smart retention campaign for your best customers e.g. loyalty discounts or refer a friend schemes. Email marketing is a fantastic and affordable way to do this in an engaging and easy way.
  5. Embrace your local community in your store/office. Celebrate local life on your social media channels, have local literature in store and use local suppliers whenever possible. Supporting local businesses is now expected for many businesses. It will not only make you feel good but it’ll encourage support from other businesses too. Looking out for each other is both lovely and wholesome and beneficial for everyone involved!

2. Prioritise personal relationships 

When you are scaling up (and beyond!) it’s important to know your customers, partners and stakeholders and know them well. Get to know your neighbours, your suppliers, like-minded businesses and your most frequent customers. Don’t just say hello and a fleeting ‘you alright?’…really get to know them. Learn what makes them tick, what they’re passionate about and what winds them up. You can learn so much from these individuals and by becoming as personable as you can you’ll build up a reputation for being genuine, thoughtful and most importantly, memorable. 

Quotation from Amaya Angelou:  “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Make people feel good about themselves, make their day and know their name and the name of their dog. These details matter and people will want to work with you, purchase from you and shout about you to their network if you’ve made a memorable impression on them. Don’t ever take for granted how important these relationships are. 

3. Optimise for local SEO to boost your rankings

Local marketing is also a really great way to boost your business rankings on Google. This will not only help more local people know who you are and what you do, but it’ll mean your net may more likely reach an even wider audience too. There is an undoubtable rise in the support of local businesses since the pandemic. Data from the YouGov Covid-19 Tracker proves this point, with 62% of respondents saying that they will support local businesses or buy local produce post-pandemic. We encourage you to make the most of this!

text on graphic: 62% people willing to support local businesses and buy local post-pandemic

How can you boost your local SEO? Our 3 top tips…

Make sure your Google My Business account is up to date and regularly updated. This is a super easy and straightforward way to give your company more exposure. 

We recommend you work on a strategy to optimise for local keywords. This could be a really quick win for your brand. Book a call with us if you’d like some support and advice in this area! 

Experiment with Geo-targeting adverts. Google Ads location targeting allows your ads to appear in the geographic locations that you choose e.g. a radius around a location, or location groups, which can include places of interest, your business locations, or tiered demographics.

4. Benefit from the power of word of mouth marketing 

We recently wrote an article titled ‘Why word of mouth marketing is still so significant’ so we suggest you read this if you’d like to find out more. Ultimately, word of mouth marketing is still significant, important and valuable. This is done best locally! 

By building great personal relationships and a wonderful community you’ll begin to create advocates for your brand. These people are invaluable! Long-lasting relationships will mean more referrals and will help with positive reviews and online/offline credibility. All of this will help with brand awareness and help improve your SEO. Win-win! 

5. Embrace local media and traditional marketing

It can be easy to dismiss more traditional types of marketing, especially when you’re trying your best to be modern and relevant to your audience. But, there is value in some of the more traditional local marketing tactics. So why not…

  1. Get in touch with your local media outlets. They are way more powerful than you realise! Local PR can have many many benefits and be fantastic for brand awareness and lead generation.
  2. Create a small postcard or business card (our favourite size is a7!) and distribute it in places where your typical customer might be e.g. shared working spaces, community centres and local cafes/venues. Add an enticing and exclusive call-to-action (e.g. a discount code or a free consultation) to get them keen!
  3. Collaborate with or sponsor local teams and events. This is a great way to give back but also gain consistent and constant exposure. Think carefully and choose who you partner with or sponsor wisely – but done right, this can be really effective. For example if you’re a local physiotherapist maybe partnering/sponsoring local sports teams could be a great idea? 
  4. Advertise in local publications (online & offline). Depending on your target audience this could be an excellent way of engaging your target market. Are there popular publications in your local area? Are there local forums or community groups where you can share a special discount?

6. Enjoy a ready-made focus group

Embrace the feedback from your local community and learn/adapt fast. This is a great way to improve your business quickly and effectively. You’ve got a ready-made focus group that you can constantly learn from. Listen carefully and use this feedback to your advantage.

Find creative ways to engage your audience, like votes/polls for new products or services or ask loyal customers how they’d like to be rewarded. Many national and global companies aren’t fortunate enough to be so close to their community. Welcome your local customers and let them keep you original and down-to-earth. We need more of that in 2022 as customers want authenticity and personality even more now. 

7. Use storytelling to inspire and engage

As marketers, we have seen the word ‘storytelling’ thrown around industry articles and videos for the past few years like it’s a brand-new concept and a cool new buzzword. The truth is, as business owners we all know that storytelling is the key to success. It’s likely that your product or service isn’t unique but your story and your approach is. Bring your story to the forefront of your brand and your marketing. Your customers want to be taken on a journey and they will want to see you succeed.

Do your best to make your story relevant, original and relatable to your local community. Is your story inspired by your local area? Perhaps you’ve solved a problem that began in your local town? Is there a reason you set your business up where you are? Have you got local expertise that helps you deliver better? Think carefully and celebrate your local relevance!

Do you need help defining your local marketing strategy? We are experienced with creating local marketing and networking strategies for individuals and their businesses. Why not sign up for our free 20 mins consultation to discuss more? We’d love to chat! 


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