4 Ways to Reach a Local Audience

Struggling to compete at the local level? If it’s any consolation, you’re not alone. Lots of national brand marketers are finding it tough to establish and maintain a measurable presence in each of the local markets they serve. Few would dispute the importance of local visibility. But, as with anything worth achieving, achieving this requires serious, dedicated effort. Especially since the odds are stacked against you.

According to Rand Fishkin, CEO of Moz, in aSearch Engine Watcharticle written by Brad Miller, “It’s going to be harder and harder, perhaps in the future nearlyimpossible, for a national brand to compete with someone who has a local presence.”

The primary difficulty, as cited in the article, stems from Google’s contextual search results, which “put a major emphasis on local listings.” Sadly, experience shows that local listings – usually taking the form of a dealer or affiliate locator page on a national brand’s corporate website – do nothing in and of themselves to build local brand relevance. The locator page may link a visitor to a local website. But if that website’s content fails to create a credible local connection with the brand, sales conversions are likely to languish.

So what’s the answer? Many national brands seek to reach local audiences through paid search. That’ll work … up to a point.ip info Fishkin, though, offers a better solution in the Search Engine Watch article: national brands should concentrate on creating “some phenomenal piece of content that happens to be hyper-targeted.” He then describes ways this can be done.

Let me build tangentially on some of his thoughts. If you want to connect with a local audience you need content that speaks the local language. Use these four tips as a kind of “Rosetta Stone.”
  1. Take more control of your dealer, partner, or franchise websites to better control your brand message network wide. With the right web platform (You’ve heard of ours, right?), you can do this quickly, efficiently, and affordably. The goal is to push content you’ve created or authorized to every partner website at once. This way, you know your message will be conveyed consistently and accurately. At the same time, you want a platform that allows you and, to some degree, your partners to …
  2. “Localize” the content of every partner website. This is simply a form of content marketing in which you take your primary brand message and adapt it subtly to the needs of each local market. Your partners must have a hand in this. After all, who should know better than they the culture, concerns, needs, and buying habits of their respective market areas? You’ll still want to manage the message. But you’ll work with your partners and whatever demographic data you have at hand to ensure that local consumers are targeted with a message they’ll find relatable.search engine optimize That calls for using, where appropriate, local expressions and turns of phrase, referencing local events, local geography, and local landmarks, and differentiating the products or services you highlight in one market from those you highlight in other markets, based on what’s understood of local preferences. The key thought there is “understanding.” And much of that will come from analyzing the pre-existing relationships your local partners have established with their customer bases.
  3. Engage local consumers by localizing social media messaging. To begin with, people have their own, unique uses for each of the various social media. And each social media network at leasttends to encourage a particular kind of usage over another. For example, Instagram is ideally suited to the sharing of photos. Twitter, with its strict word count, lends itself well to the sharing of links. Beyond that, each social media network has its own personality and “attitude” – largely the result of the audience it attracts. Savvy marketers use this knowledge to target different social media with different messages to address each of their respective audiences. Each respective audience can be broken out further by locale. This makes it relatively easy to measure the success of each message across each audience, each locale, and each social media network. The results, then, can be used to craft ever more targeted, ever more local, and ever more effective content.
  4. Use digital technology – mobile, in particular – to enhance interaction with your local audiences. By this, I mean doing more than simply buying banner ads or redesigning the look and navigation of your websites to conform to mobile standards. Mobile technology makes it possible to connect with specifically targeted audiences in unique ways. To do that, though, you need to understand how each local audience might differ from others in the way it uses this technology. People in one locale may have purchasing motivations distinctly different from those of people in another locale. They may also consume information somewhat differently on their mobile devices. Knowing what these differences are will help you create powerful calls to action for every audience in each of your local markets.

In the end, if you want your national brand visible, relevant, and successful in every market you serve, you need to be “talkin’ the local talk” as often and in as many ways as you can.