Figuring out how to engage your customers can feel a bit like searching for a magical marketing unicorn. But local marketing doesn’t have to be complicated and you definitely don’t need a unicorn to help you market to your local community! The good news is that today’s consumers love to shop local whenever possible. Regardless of your business size, you can capitalize on local support with these simple yet effective marketing strategies.
Print advertising is not dead! Research shows that consumers are more likely to sort through direct mail than email, and they are more likely to remember brands after interacting with a print advertisement.
A direct mail campaign is a cost-effective strategy with excellent ROI. Use print to canvas local neighborhoods with flyers, discounts, or special coupons. You can run your own direct mail campaign or join a service like Val-Pak to ensure your business is featured in print packets throughout your neighborhood. And as a bonus, most direct mail companies will also feature your coupon on their website. You’ll get the benefit of both print and digital campaigns at a great price!
Although the ROI is significantly lower than direct mail, email campaigns can still be an effective form of marketing. There are many benefits to marketing to customers through email: you can send them anytime you want; you’ll be able to see who is opening and interacting with your promotion, and you can test or adjust the ad as many times as you want to ensure it will work.
To ensure email campaigns are effective, pay special attention to your newsletter’s wording and make it easy for customers to access the discount. Make it easy for customers to use the discount or service. And remember - you may be marketing locally, but that doesn’t mean the customer has to physically enter the store. If your online store is bustling, offer digital discounts too!
Digital media connects us in ways like never before. Use social media to tell your story in creative ways, to interact with existing customers, and to advertise to potential customers. Social media ads can be targeted to a specific radius or set of zip codes, and you can even narrow it down to other demographics like age and gender.
When using social media, focus on showing over telling. If you’ve just redesigned your store, give a fun video preview online! Show off weekly sales with photos and videos of your sale racks, and post special discounts or flash sales online for followers.
Specials for Locals
Reward your closest customers with a “locals only” special. Choose a day or week when locals can come to your store to receive an additional discount, free item, or gift with purchase. Keep the promotion simple yet meaningful- remember, you want people to feel appreciated and celebrated, not as if they’re jumping through hoops to get a silly prize.
Cross Promotions and Pop-Ups
Partner with another local business to maximize your exposure. Find a business that has complementary products or services and join forces to boost your income and customer base. You can cross-promote by simply including one another’s products in your stores, or partner up to offer pop-up experiences throughout your city.
You can also host pop-up sales right outside your storefront! Simply invest in a few display units, promo tables, and clothing racks, and place them on the sidewalk or around the entry to your store. Showcasing your specials will entice customers who are walking by to stop and shop!
Join a Cause
People love to know that what they’re doing is making a difference. Make it easy for them to support their favorite cause by finding ways to give back to your community. If you’re a pet store, host an adoption event, or offer discounts for anyone who donates to the local shelter. Are you a clothing retailer? Donate a portion of proceeds to a local charity or worthy fundraiser.
There are countless causes and what you choose will be unique to your products and services, your location, and your customer base. Whatever cause you choose to support, make sure it’s local, well-loved, and worth the investment.
Remember that marketing is just the first part of the equation. Give customers a stellar shopping experience with a clean store, excellent customer service, and engaging layout.
At Handy, we help retailers create an immersive shopping experience through our custom fixtures and store planning and design services. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.