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HOW TO: Succeed In Local Marketing Part 1

Principles For Local Marketing Success

For local small businesses, marketing should be a lifestyle and should never stop. It should create a personality you personally can stand behind and perhaps more important, the buying public believes in and likes. While marketing itself is a complex issue with dozens of options, it’s all doomed to failure if you aren’t committed and clear on your marketing goals.

To help you inject success into your local marketing and instill confidence and admiration in your customers, follow and add these principles one at a time.

17 Local Marketing Principles

Principle 1 – Know exactly what you want your marketing to do

If you don’t know what you want your marketing to do, how do you know when it did what you wanted it to do? You also have to think of your local marketing on two levels:

  1. Your company’s overall strategy
  2. Your individual marketing activity goals

Your company’s overall strategy is what you say about your business in your marketing materials. You should include your logo, and a well-thought out tagline, offering and call-to-action.

Your individual marketing goals are defined by the return on investment you expect to gain from your individual marketing activities. If you purchase advertising, your goal should be to recoup the money you spent on the advertisement and preferably more.

Task: Figure out what your small business is about. It is local? Is it bigger than local? Decide exactly what it is you want to stand for and stick with it. Then use that persona in your next (and all) marketing activity with a specific goal in mind. Start with this specific goal in mind then craft your marketing materials around this goal. Know where you are going before you start.

Additional Reading: How to Focus On Your Marketing Plan

Principle 2 – Build relationships with others who share your goals

Do you spend time with your business peers, discussing ways to help grow each other’s small businesses? You should.

You’d be surprised at how many ideas other local small owners can help you come up with and “competitors” often have insight they’d be more than happy to share. Here are two ways you can develop better local business relationships with owners who are committed to the same level of success you are:

  1. Joint Ventures – Find other local businesses that offer products and services that compliment your own and either do cross promotions or straight out package your goods together. Get together and talk about what customers are saying about the promotion/package and ways you can make it better.
  2. Endorsement – Create a group of complimentary local businesses and help each other develop packages that are more appealing to customers, then endorse those packages and businesses to the group members’ lists.

Task: Make a list of local businesses you think can help your business and/or those you think you could help. Write down at least 20. Then contact the owners and pitch them your idea.

Know exactly:

  • The objective you want to attain from the alliance.
  • What benefit each member should expect to get from the alliance.
  • The plan for establishing each member’s contribution.
  • Ensure the perpetual agreement of each member or replace them with others who would be in agreement.

Additional Reading: 5 Ways To Find Lucrative Joint Ventures

Principle 3 – Have faith in your marketing

The fruits of marketing success often lay in future crops. You must have a long-term plan and see each step as a brick in the road to the major goal you want your small business to become. Sometimes the best return on investment isn’t a cash return, but rather Facebook friends or a few hundred new email addresses added to your list.

Create a budget that allows you to grow incrementally and consistently, knowing each of your activity’s is a step towards your overall plans.

What kind of overall plans?

  • 10 Year Plan – Where do you want your business to be in 10 years? Will you still be a part of it? Will you have other/more companies instead?
  • Annual Plans – What exact goals do you need your company to make each year to make your 10-year plan a reality?

Task: Have you set your business goals high? If not, why not? Are you holding back your own success? If you aren’t aiming to be the best, someone else will surely be glad to come along and offer the same things you do, better. Write your goals down and do some marketing every day that supports those goals and you’ll find the faith you need.

Additional Reading: How To: Create the Perfect Marketing Plan

Principle 4 – Develop the right personality for your business

What personality traits do your customers have? Do you know? Do you know how to find out? Are yours the same? Are your businesses? Can you really be honest about either?

Personality’s are one of those things that we feel we own, but in many ways, our markets own them, too. If our customers demand we change our business in some way, we’d be wise to listen to them.

Two good ways to figure out if your company has a “good” personality are:

  • Polls – Use polls on your website or at your place of business that ask questions about your business that can be used to help you provide your customers with a better experience. What was the first thing you noticed when you walked in our store today? What was the last thought you had as you left?
  • Talk to Your Employees – No one knows your business better than your employees. They hold in their opinions a goldmine of information on how you can improve you and your business’s personality.

Task: Make a list of tough questions you’d like to have your customers answer and provide them with the means to give you this feedback easily. Talk honestly with your employees and/or customers and make a list of the items that are most common in their answers. Then do something about those items.

Additional Reading: Customer Feedback: The Key To Creating More Value

Principle 5 – Ensure better value than the customer pays you

A full 20% of the typical business is lost each year to attrition, the fact of customers moving or moving on to competitors. It’s possible to cut this number down, and in some cases, even eliminate it. If you sell your local goods online, you could potentially keep customers moving out of the area if your business always made them feel like they were getting more for their buck than they paid for.

A couple of things you can do to provide more and better service are:

  • Always, always, always make it up to your customer when they’ve have a bad experience with your products or services. Even if it’s an isolated event, they likely expect you to stand behind your goods anyway and when you do, they’ll be thrilled that you’re one of those company’s who do.
  • Legitimately look for other ways you can follow up with customers. If you’re customers are individuals, get to know their birthdays, the names of their family members and preferably their hopes and dreams. If they’re businesses, get to know their past mistakes and successes and refer them businesses you think would complement their offerings well.

Task: Think of ways you can do more for your customers and perhaps employees. Write down 10 things you can offer customers in case they have a bad experience then write down 10 ways you can better stay in contact with your customers. How can you incorporate your new business alliances into these lists?

Additional Reading: Exceptional Customer Experiences

Principle 6 – Take personal initiative

Each day, you should have a list of specific goals that you would like to accomplish that are supportive of your overall goals. It can be hard to find the time each day to perform small tasks, but if you don’t have a list, you won’t get them done at all. Devote only as much time each day as you can honestly afford; otherwise you won’t stick to your list.

Today is the most important day, but it’s not the only day. There also:

  • Yesterday – What goals were on your list yesterday? Did you complete them? If so, what results should realistically be expected today? If not, are you setting a pattern or was it an isolated incident? Be honest, and plan your days accordingly.
  • Tomorrow – What effect do you want today’s goals to have tomorrow (and beyond)? If it’s an advertisement, how many phone calls do you want to have the next day? If it’s a new product, what type of feedback do you want to collect and what are you going to do with it?

Task: It may be easier to write your daily goals if you first outline a monthly plan. You can then use each day in support of a specific monthly theme or event to keep your goals focused. For one month, think of all the changes you’d like to see in your business and then make them… one day at a time.

Additional Reading: How to Set and Achieve Business Goals

Principle 7 – Become disciplined

All business must be disciplined, both in their plan of strategy and in their individual marketing activities. The only to do this; however, is to have an owner who stands for discipline and holds him or herself just as accountable as each employee us expected to be.

In many cases, your business is your employees, and if they aren’t trained to have your discipline, it could be the very thing that destroys your business. Make sure they “see” your vision and understand what’s expected of them of all times and then hold yourself to those expectations, too.

Some tips:

  1. Keep your employees in the loop in regard to the direction your company is taking
  2. Share with them customer feedback
  3. Be the first to show up to work each day
  4. Treat each customer the exact way you want your employees to treat your customers

Task: Spend some time with your employees and let them see what you’re all about. Spending all day behind a door cuts them off from the personality the business is built upon. Them see that personality firsthand and discipline yourself to hold yourself to the high standards you expect your employees to use when dealing with your customers.

Additional Reading: 7 Simple Steps To Self Discipline For the Home-Based Business Owner

Principle 8 – Give your full attention

All too often, we set goals for ourselves, and in a rush, hurry through each one with far less enthusiasm and effort than is to be desired. Goals completed in this way earn the results they deserve and cheat both you and your customers.

Instead, use the time you’ve put aside each day for your marketing to focus only on your marketing and the tasks on your list. Turn off your phone (unless you need it). Close your internet browser if you have to.

To give your goals your complete attention:

  • Write them the day before then read and think about them before you to sleep
  • Read them again first thing in the morning and then once again just before starting on completing your list

Task: See your marketing activities from the perspective of your customers. Before you fall asleep each night, think of yourself as one of your customers going through your buying process, using you’re your products or experiencing your services. Focus on finding ways to improve the things you come up.

Additional Reading: 18 Ways to Stay Focused At Work