A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: Marketing strategies to grow and scale a local business

Here's a list of tools for you to use in support of local marketing. Photo / Getty Images
Here's a list of tools for you to use in support of local marketing. Photo / Getty Images

A few days ago I received some helpful ideas on how to market a business locally.

I received these ideas from Rebecca Caroe the Founder and CEO of Creative Agency Secrets.

I liked what Rebecca had to say about how to market a business locally and she has kindly allowed me to share her ideas with you.

Let me now hand you over to Rebecca for 12 marketing strategies you can use to grow and scale a local business..

Twelve top tactics for local marketing:

Knowing how to get known locally is an age old skill but today requires a digital "twist" that can support your traditional activities.

Here's my list of tools for you to use in support of local marketing:

1. Set up a Google My Business account and get it address-verified (they post you a code).

This allows search results to display detailed information about your business, to link your other Google-owned assets like YouTube, Analytics and AdWords and provide a verified uniform display of all your locations.

2. Key words - ensure city/ town / suburb / state or county are all included in meta data on your site, in your page copy and relevant blog posts.

Particularly important if you have case studies and you can say "Tauranga Plumber" or "Avondale Dressmaker". As it further reinforces the areas you work in and brands you're associated with.

3. Directory listings - Get yourself listed on a varity of free and paid sites.

If you can afford a small spend try www.brightlocal.com to manage all your listings. This is worthwhile because there are over 30 listings sites for New Zealand alone - bet you can't name more than 5 unprompted!

4. Use Facebook local targeting for advertising and brand building.

The unbelievably detailed targeting available through Facebook is a gift for all of us.

We can focus our message so tightly that spend is controlled and delivered to only the right people.

As a marketer, this is a gift which you must use. Either learn how to do it yourself or hire the talent to set it up and teach you how to use it.

Many of our clients like us to tutor them in these techniques before taking over the management ongoing.

5. Set up Google Alerts for key phrases in the news that could allow you to comment add new prospective contacts and build a mailing list.

6. Join the local Business Associations and contact all the relevant local business members so they know about you.

In Auckland, these are free to join for ratepayers - but even if the cost is low, it's an investment worth having.

You meet people who are inclined to use networking and that's a benefit in itself.

Also most associations have mailing lists which you can access when you're a member.

7. Go to Networking events such as BNI, Chamber of Commerce, Meetup.com, Eventbrite are all good places to find groups to test out.

8. Get happy customers to write Testimonials on Google My Business.

Also reproduce them on your website.

I like to recommend a short two-sentence version plus a longer version which you can use as a case study article or newsletter piece.

9. Use Media relations to get articles in local newspaper, local radio, local newsletters, Neighbourly and don't forget to check out Yahoo Groups for local lists.

10. Ask for Referrals - by sending two business cards with your invoice.

My favourite is to leverage first meeting discussions that don't seem to immediately lead to new work - make something from the time you've invested by asking for introductions.

11. Make specific requests for Social sharing via your accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

When there's something important to say, call in a few favours and get that update on-shared by your friends and contacts. It's easier than you may think.

12. Surprise and delight the customer - e.g. pay it forward - can you think of a way to involve a charity, or give a surprise gift to a deserving individual and use that for publicity?

Here's how we involved charity, StarJam, in getting testimonials from clients.

The key is to get value from both online and offline marketing spend and the cross-overs are increasingly beneficial when focused on local marketing.

Thanks Rebecca for some helpful reminders on what you can do to market your business locally. (I trust you found her comments were useful.)

"Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart." - Joe Chernov

Action Exercise:

Take a look at the 12 tips that Rebecca shares in this article. Put at least two of them into action this week. And if you would like some more info on how to do this feel free to contact Rebecca here.

- NZ Herald

Graham McGregor is a consultant specialising in memorable marketing. You can download his 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage' Ebook at no charge from www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com.

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A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services.

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