Local Internet Marketing vs National Competitors
As a local business owner, you’ve spent years serving the people of your community and cultivating a hard-earned reputation. When a major national competitor rolls into town, though, it can seem like all of that was for nothing. Soon, their ultra-low prices, massive inventory and national reputation will render you obsolete. Right?
Your business is valuable, and if you only learn to communicate that value, you can hold your own in the local community against the odds. The trick is to develop a sound, multi-faceted local Internet marketing strategy that emphasizes what makes you special, and reminds local customers online and off why you became a community cornerstone in the first place.
Focus Your Social Media Strategy Locally
If your business doesn’t have a social media strategy already, it’s time to get one. While networks like Twitter and Facebook are great for connecting with friends, colleagues and customers across the globe, they’re just as useful for connecting with the customers in your hometown.
While national competitors may have more friends and followers online, you have the freedom to focus only on the ones most relevant to you—local ones. A major company’s social media strategy has more ground to cover, but you can use tools like Facebook graph search and Twitter advanced search to find and engage with local customers.
Sometimes, you just can’t compete with a national competitor’s prices. They simply have more resources. What you can do, however, is differentiate yourself in other ways—and those can matter more to your local audience than their bottom line.
Determine what makes you special, what gives you personality, and what people can’t get from just any competitor, and incorporate these things into your local Internet marketing.
Use your “About Us” page, for example, to articulate your connection to the community, show your personality and put a human face to your business. Focus other strategies, like your ads and social media posts, on the things that make you unique. A business’s value isn’t restricted only to its prices.
Improve Your Visibility
You need to stay visible to your local audience, and one of the best ways to do this is by taking advantage of the mobile market.
Studies show that when consumers look for businesses on smartphones, they do so when they’re close to conversion—this means they’re more likely to act on whatever information they find.
You can take advantage of that with mobile ads for smartphones. Mobile ads can be targeted based not only on keywords, but on location, so you can advertise to people who are searching for specific terms in specific places.
Mobile visibility doesn’t stop with mobile ads, though. By incorporating responsive design in your website, you ensure that it’s easy to read and navigate for users on mobile devices.
While these aren’t the only local Internet marketing strategies that help you effectively compete with major national brands, they’re the perfect place to start, and they can help you ensure that your business remains a community fixture for years to come.
Solomon Thimothy is the Co-founder of Clickx, a Chicago-based white label digital marketing platform. He has been in the agency space for over a decade and has helped 100s of entrepreneurs build 7 and 8 figure agencies. He helps agency owners on a 1:1 basis to scale sales and fulfillment. Follow him on twitter @sthimothy