Insights – How to Inspire Loyalty and Overcome Local Marketing Challenges

Dec
17
2015

How national brands engage a local audience

When it comes to local audience engagement, national brands have a distinct edge over traditional SMBs as those brands are recognized and do not need as much promotion. National brands will surface in Web, mobile Web or in-app searches as users are aware of the typical advantages afforded by national or global businesses.

Corporate websites for national brands serve as a means to inform all customers. However, on a local level, a more focused interaction with existing and prospective customers is needed — whether a company-owned franchise location is involved or not. With localized marketing, the focus becomes reliant on relevant advertising and quick user access to pertinent information such as business location, opening hours and available products or services.

So, what’s the best way to ensure that prominent brands achieve these goals while also retaining and expanding on a loyal customer base?

Unfortunately, there is no single answer as companies must tailor their marketing campaigns to their audience. However, there is an incentive involved. According to a Balihoo microstudy, less than 20 percent of marketing budgets for national brands are invested in local marketing, even though the return on investment is typically much higher than on national campaigns.

Companies need to approach local marketing in a logical manner. From concept and planning to program launch, it’s important to consider the target markets and objectives for each location.

Planning

Companies cannot just jump into local marketing campaigns without performing a detailed analysis of their goals, challenges, technical requirements and the resources needed to implement the program. In other words, a complete cost, benefit and risk analysis takes place. Topics for consideration include but are not limited to:

  • Scope
    Print, media and digital marketing (social media, apps, Web). What level of engagement is required?
  • Complexity
    Will automation be used, or is each location entirely responsible for local marketing?
  • Brand
    If franchisees are responsible for locations, how is brand consistency maintained? How do you manage and protect your brand’s identity and reputation?
  • Resources
    Local outlets may not have the time, marketing expertise or inclination to manage it all. Perhaps outsourcing is an option?
  • Engagement Level
    Will you encourage customers to interact, leave reviews and do more with your brand?

Explore a fluid digital presence

It’s a fact that not all customers will be tech-savvy and traditional marketing methods in print and general media still have their place. Most marketers will agree that a single approach to local marketing is doomed to failure. In the digital world, covering all the bases includes having a website, a mobile presence (whether on the mobile Web or via mobile apps) and social media or community platforms.

Having a website and marketing material that displays correctly (regardless of the device used) is an important consideration for all businesses, regardless of size. Those that ignore responsive design (RD) are sure to lose potential business to competitors that adopt it willingly as a good user experience aids customer loyalty. Today’s users have little patience for poor design or layout.

Broadening your local digital footprint

With local marketing, it is best that each location has its own website, or at least a designated section of the corporate website. A generic contact page will not suffice if the location is to rank in local search engine results.

Given that most everyone has a smartphone or tablet, mobility is an area that cannot be ignored. Being listed on a prominent business search app is an important consideration, especially if it’s also regularly used to purchase goods and services. The YP℠ app is a good example of this and allows local outlets to promote themselves individually, while leveraging the overall power of the brand in question. With millions of engaged users (after all, they did install the app), national brands have the opportunity to provide tangible benefits to customers through YP’s app listings.

Build Trust

To stimulate engagement even further, the use of coupons, social media, special offers and videos will help brands maximize their online presence effectively.

Any ads that are used, regardless of platform, should be relevant and non-intrusive, yet clearly visible. Brands that ignore this will only drive users to install ad blockers on their devices.

Generally, in order for a brand to make a success of local marketing, corporate and retail channels must have regular and open communication, be willing to collaborate and utilize technology wherever possible for maximum client engagement. Local growth may not be instant, but it will evolve over time as the word (on various platforms) spreads. The primary aim is to build trust with customers and enhance brand credibility. Increased sales will follow.

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