Local branding is a marketing strategy that can help your small business become successful in its marketing endeavors. It gives you an opportunity to connect with your targeted audience and drive sales in your online or brick-and-mortar location. Local searches account for almost 50 percent of Google searches.
This means that if your business is optimized for local search, you will have a good chance of getting more sales.
But what does it take to run a successful local branding marketing campaign?
There are various branding techniques and strategies that will allow you to stay relevant in the local market you serve. But before you could start, it is important that you fully understand the behavior of your target audience.
In this comprehensive guide, we will share with you some of the effective marketing strategies for branding to engage your target market and get more customers.
How local branding can help your business
Targeting a local audience can be a tedious and difficult process. For one, you’ll need to know what your potential customers are searching for and how they search for a business in your local area.
You may also be up against similar establishments that are already long-time players in the industry. Whatever your situation may be, an effective local branding marketing strategy can make you focus on what really matters to your business and that is getting more actual customers.
Here are some ways local branding can help a small business:
1. Defines the personality of your business.
Consumers want to get quality products and services. If you are just out there to get their money, chances are, you will lose repeat customers. But if you can show them that you are in the restaurant business to share your passion for food or you offer pet services because of your love for animals, that will convey a positive image for your business. And as we know, customers feel more comfortable spending their money on brands they can trust.
2. Helps generate more revenue.
An effective local branding and SEO strategy can have a tremendous impact on your offline and digital marketing efforts. If the community already knows your business, you’ll begin to gain new customers. If these people coming to your business are happy, you’ll boost your referrals and word about your business will spread to their families and friends. They will remember your brand, the products or services you offer, or the exceptional customer support you provide. In the long run, it helps in building a strong network of customers from referrals. And with more customers, you’ll have the opportunity to boost your revenue.
3. Helps customers recognize your brand.
Would you like your audience to be able to tell the name of your brand just by seeing your logo?
Would you like to boost your local presence? These are the goals of most companies, especially those that are targeted at the local community. Fortunately, this is possible with local branding marketing campaigns.
While your logo should not be the only focus of your local branding efforts, it’s a good idea to dedicate more time to planning and brainstorming the most effective logo for your brand. Your logo should be memorable and relevant to your brand so that when people see it, they will instantly recognize your business.
4. Motivates your employees.
Imagine working for a local brand with no clear goals or vision. Will that motivate you to give your best? You may not even be motivated to work since there is no clear career path for you.
On the other hand, if your brand has a strong presence in the community and a clear vision to grow in the next few years, your employees will also be motivated to work and grow with your establishment. And we already know that motivated employees bring in a lot of potential for your entity.
5. Helps establish your brand as an authority in the field.
If done right, your branding tactics will not only boost your local search rankings but transform your business from a start-up to a trusted brand in your community. It’s difficult to build that trust if people can hardly see you.
Now that we know the importance of local branding, the next step is to focus your attention on doing these effective tips to engage your targeted audience.
Conduct Local Market Research
Just like with any other marketing strategy, before you embark on your branding efforts, it is important to first conduct market research. The purpose of this to get more information about your target audience and know what they want and are willing to spend their money on. And since you are targeting the people in the community, you also need to consider their location.
Don’t start with your market research unless you already identified these:
- How large is the geographical area you want to serve?
- How far will your potential customers be willing to travel to buy your product or service?
- How large is the community or local market you are targeting?
- How many similar businesses or brands are there and what makes them stand out?
Those are some of the questions you need to consider when conducting market research in the community.
Market research is essential so you can create a profile of your potential consumers. At the end of your research, you should be able to figure out who your potential consumers are, what they want and need, where they are searching for businesses like yours, and what they are willing to pay.
Depending on your business, you could have dozens of competitors with loyal patrons. However, with your market research, you can create a strategy to target consumers who are underserved by other businesses.
Create a compelling brand message
Now that you have a clear understanding of your potential consumers, you can create a consistent brand message that will appeal to or resonate with your audience.
Your brand message should include vital information such as:
Brand values – This shows what you stand for and why you are in the business. Think of big companies such as Adidas. The message of their core value is about winning and achieving peak performance that matches the values of their audience and consumers.
If your brand is into providing services, your brand values may include attention to detail, accuracy, consistency, excellence, expertise, craftsmanship, and precision. On the other hand, if you are in the hospitality industry, you may consider having core values that revolve around dependability, accessibility, and a high level of customer service.
Your selling point that’s different from the rest of the competition – This should show your audience what makes you better than your competition and why they should consider or choose you over them.
Tone – Your message can be humorous, quirky, or serious, depending on your target audience.
Benefits – If you want your target audience to choose you, what’s in it for them? Are you offering a lower price or better service?
Call to action – This is vital for conversion. What actions should your target audience do after reading your message? Should they contact you, visit your brick and mortar location, or make reservations? Those are just a few examples of your possible call-to-action message.
Whenever you create a local campaign or content on your website or social media, it is important to consider the above salient points. Consistency is key!
Moreover, for your consumers to easily remember your brand, it’s also important to have a compelling brand tagline that focuses on what your consumers are looking for. And when you think of a tagline, make it simple, easy to remember, and should not be confused with what other similar businesses are already driving on. If possible, you can also add relevant keywords to your tagline.
Don’t forget local SEO
A high ranking in local search results can mean the difference between getting more online conversion and your website sitting in obscurity. You need your business to be optimized for local SEO if you want to stay relevant. Google My Business is king when it comes to Local Digital Marketing.
Google My Business is a free SEO tool that allows businesses to promote their profile and website on the Google search engine and Maps. With your account, you can easily connect with consumers by letting them know of your location, phone number, operating hours, services, and other vital information about your business. Through the platform, you can also post regular updates and events and get customer reviews among others.
Google My Business is a very powerful tool for businesses. If properly used, it will help your website rank higher in local SERPs and map searches and possibly give you a spot in the coveted local 3pack.
Google makes it easy for you to add your establishment on Google My Business in just several steps. And it is free! Many businesses and perhaps most of your competitors are already using GMB to rank higher in local search engine results.
While GMB is such a useful tool for businesses, it is limited in terms of what it will show you about your competitors. So how can you beat them if you don’t know where they stand and where you stand in the local search results? This is where GMB Crush can be beneficial for you.
GMB Crush conducts an audit of your competitors’ Google My Business listings. We will provide you with vital information and insights regarding how they utilize their website and GMB profile to rank higher. From the data that GMB Crush can provide you, you can strategize a winning plan to exceed what the other brands are already doing. That way, Google will reward you with a higher ranking.
Start building partnerships
Building partnerships with other establishments or organizations in your area is also one of the most important marketing campaigns you could do. It can boost your presence not just locally but also online.
As you start building partnerships, you should see a significant improvement in your network within the community. This could further boost your referrals and even accentuate your brand among the people in the local community. Apart from that, building partnerships allow you to get more quality backlinks to your website. The more collaborations you have with other local brands, the more you will be perceived as a trustworthy brand.
There are many ways on how you can build partnerships. You can sponsor projects or events, take part in community drives, or even organize events periodically. The essence of these partnerships is to be seen as a trustworthy brand with good values that aim to help the community.
Community partnerships are a good way to promote your brand identity in the local community and in the geographical area you are serving.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews
Small or big businesses can greatly benefit from reviews. Reviews reflect the satisfaction level of your customers and they can have a big impact on your GMB rankings, image and identity. Reviews also matter in the decision-making of people, in fact, studies show that almost 70 percent of those who search for businesses or brands online are influenced by what they read from online reviews.
For first-time customers who have no idea about how to conduct a business, they will most likely know what others have to say. So the more quality positive reviews you have from various websites, the better image you’ll be creating for your brand.
Moreover, quality and quantity positive reviews can also affect your online search engine optimization efforts. Yes, Google considers review ratings from multiple sites online in determining your ranking in the local search engine results.
There are many ways on how you can encourage your consumers to leave reviews for your business but the time-tested way is to simply ask. If you delight them with a positive experience, they are most likely willing to leave good feedback.
You also need to make it easier for your consumers to leave a review. It is already an extra mile for them to write feedback so don’t make this task too hard for them. A good strategy will be to add a shortcut link to the review page itself so that in one click, they can already start typing in. You should display the link prominently on your content or page where your audience can easily see it. You may even share the link to your social media accounts for more visibility.
Audit and monitor your negative/fake Google reviews to ensure they don’t affect the success of your business. Remember, a bad review is not always going to be harmful for you as company–sometimes these can help spot issues that could give rise in customer service or relationship building efforts with potential clients!
Take advantage of the local media
If there’s a chance to gain appearances in the local media, take that opportunity as it will improve your visibility and raise brand awareness, identity and credibility. However, you need to choose the media platform correctly and avoid those outlets known for their biased opinions.
You may attend, participate or sponsor community events to boost your chances of getting featured in various media outlets and that is great for the image of your brand.
Be consistent in your efforts
All your efforts to be recognized locally will come to nothing unless you are consistent in your efforts. Be consistent in delivering quality products and services tailored to your customer’s needs. Be consistent in living up to your brand’s values. Be consistent in meeting your customers’ expectations. Be consistent in your efforts to be recognized as a trusted and authoritative local brand.
GMB Crush Takeaways
Local branding is vital for the success of your brand. We understand that the different strategies we mentioned in this guide can be quite overwhelming for especially for small business owners. So the technique here is to start with a strategy that you can easily do now without spending hefty fees. For us, that would be getting your Google My Business listing sorted. It’s free to have your business added to the platform, but the benefits are tremendous.
Once you have added your business to GMB, it’s also a good idea to optimize your listing to match or even go beyond what the competing brands are already doing for which Google is rewarding them.
In that aspect, GMB Crush can help you. We will make it easier for you to understand your competitors’ strategies in GMB such as the keywords they use in their description or the number of posts they have for the last 90 days, on-page SEO strength, and more.
They are vital information that can help you succeed if properly used in planning your local branding strategies.
SEO Lover, my motto is Action Over Words.