Trying to reach local customers is the marketing category in which it is most important to create a personal look and feel in your messaging materials. Personalization reminds consumers that they like "buying local," even though they may be buying from a global brand. How can you make the most of your next local campaign?
1. Know your customers. By now, all marketers—whether corporate or local—realize the importance of having customer data. What might be unwieldy for Fortune 100 companies at the national level can be useful at the local level. Ensure that you are collecting, analyzing, and using data on customer purchasing habits, likes, and dislikes so that you can target those customers, get them in the door, and convert them to make a purchase.
2. Create a brand experience. For a brand to be effective, no matter how large or small, the experience a customer has through incoming messages—coupled with the experience of entering a local retail store or interacting with a branded product or service—must be completely harmonious. Store décor, in-store promotions, signage, merchandise, and personal interactions must all contribute to the brand experience.
3. Make it your own. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to local marketing. Something that works in New York doesn’t necessarily work in Dubuque, Iowa. A strategy that worked for your competitor won’t necessarily work for you. The same is true for different demographics. Don’t hesitate to localize a campaign in a way that will make it resonate with your customer.
4. Understand the value of good communication. Remember that effective communication is a dialogue. You cannot overcommunicate with customers, yet you assuredly can overcommunicate to them. Communicate what’s important to your customer by first listening to how it’s important to them. Incorporate their feedback and give people what they want.
5. Be consistent. Understanding the importance of delivering consistent messages is easy. Doing so is more challenging. Consistent messaging to consumers begins with effective resources. It is fine to tailor your message to a specific target. Still, consistency across multiple audiences—in multiple markets and in multiple initiatives—is vital to building and shaping a brand identity that will keep customers coming back for more.
President and CEO
Kansas City, Mo.
Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.
To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.