Seeking new ways to connect with fickle customers, many large companies are expanding their online marketing strategies to include customized messaging that speaks to local audiences.
Investing in local, geo-optimized campaigns can yield significant benefits, but it takes a lot more investment of both time and resources to achieve optimal results. When considering integrating a local component to your targeting programs, ensure your strategy can support both the demand for increased content and uniqueness of offers to differentiate the campaigns.
Let's say you're a major grocery chain that's trying to connect more with consumers at the local level. You'd probably start out by creating a series of profiles specific to each store or region and then designate an on-site worker to monitor and maintain the profiles on a daily basis. Strategies such as this require a series of do's and don'ts so information is presented accurately, and so the local presence remains within branding guidelines.
Along with these profiles, though, this grocery chain should be creating unique user experiences on its Web site by displaying geo-specific content, local social network feeds, integrated map listings, and also information from review sites. Besides developing geo-specific messaging, remember to include as many user stories as possible to add validity from the online community. Every local experience should be a well-thought-out extension of the existing corporate marketing infrastructure and fueled by targeted interactive marketing campaigns.
Geographically focused strategies such as this are based on circumstantial situations, such as seasonality and geographic specialties. It does your business a disservice to provide the same controlled message across the board. If you're selling lawn chairs in Los Angeles in the winter months, it makes no sense for customers in Chicago to be seeing that promotion, or even content associated to it.
Enterprise-level companies are all dealing with how to manage local marketing programs, so it's best to understand all of the opportunities that exist. To ensure alignment of local:
- Highlight and make use of local reviews, news, press releases, case studies, or testimonials throughout all of your channels to add a layer of "user story" to your marketing message.
- Develop regional, seasonal, and product-related keywords that can be used on your Web site, in blog posts, articles, promotions, ad copy, and social content. These can be gathered from historical campaigns, industry trends, and conversations around each topic.
- Ensure your corporate Web site has a landing page that speaks specifically to the local audience through on-page copy and regional-specific information, such as store hours, products and services, and multimedia content.
- Daily deals and online couponing are still hot, and they increase exposure of your business to audiences that might not typically be searching for your products or services. Even if you're not interested in working with some of the top couponing sites, services exist that can integrate digital couponing into your Web site and Facebook experience.
- Craft emails targeted toward local audiences, keeping them in the loop on the latest content you create that is relevant to them, as well as informing them of any products or promotions that are of value to their region or to converting.
- Sync paid media campaigns, such as PPC and display, to your campaign and drive them to your targeted landing page. If data cannot be gathered from previous local campaigns, then layering geo-specific copy and keywords onto national trends will work.
Fundamentally, people consume and engage with content that is shared by the people closest to them. Companies need to look at local marketing as building a positive brand experience, and by doing so, will see short-term and long-term rewards. The frequency of downloads or views on a video may seem like a short-term victory that didn't get more than a like, but the result from constant exposure may lead to a conversion down the road--and a more loyal, engaged customer.