I always thought local marketing was for suckers. Having worked at a boutique agency on large accounts for years, the thought of doing local marketing for dozens if not hundreds of local businesses seemed like lots of work for low returns. Local marketing seemed to be a space where quantity trumped quality.
My perception has radically changed!
First, while it’s nice to name-drop big clients, it’s the small clients that need marketing services the most, although local marketing doesn’t necessarily mean low budget or low return. A local business that needs local marketing expertise, may have a huge budget. On the other hand a small business with a small budget may only serve international clients.
Second, local marketing is an opportunity for any marketer or agency big or small. The Local Merchant Report recently stated that local businesses are increasing their investment in marketing and allocating this budget towards digital. Borrell Associates came to the same conclusion in their 2016 annual small business survey. With local business marketing on the rise, we as marketers and agencies have to be ready to optimize at a local and national scale.
So even if you think you’re an agency that only services large clients, you may want to rethink that statement - local is the next frontier for marketers. In fact, you may already be doing local marketing and not even realize it.
Below we’ve put together 8 signs that you should be developing your local marketing service offering. If you find yourself nodding your head a few times as you go through these, you should be probably doing local marketing!
1. You’ve been approached by At least 2 local businesses
If your agency has been approached by at least two local businesses for marketing services in the last six months, chances are you’re missing opportunities. Similarly, if your team has put together at least two pitches or proposals for a local business, you’re already engaged in local marketing!
2. Your client has many locations
You may not think you’re local because you deal with massive budgets for big clients like Walmart for example -- a HUGE brand. But guess what? Even Walmart is a local service wherever they’re situated and people include them in “near me” searches indicative of local purchase intent. If you have clients with many locations or franchises, chances are you need to know how to optimize for them locally by creating local marketing campaigns. For instance, a client with multiple locations could benefit considerably from an appointment booking CRM or Call Tracking, as it would help (1) increase conversions and foot traffic, and (2) track where their most targeted customers are coming from.
3. Your SEO is suggesting location hierarchy in the site structure
Conducting an SEO audit on a business’s website is pretty standard practice when it comes to online visibility and success. The recommendations that come from these audits range from very technical onsite considerations to duplicate content issues. If your SEO person or team has included recommendations for URL structure with location hierarchy in your client’s site audits more than once, chances are you should be doing local marketing -- your clients need you to! While you may not have realized it, your senior SEO has.
4. You’ve done event marketing on behalf of a client
Marketing campaigns can take many forms, including events of many kinds. Sometimes they’re in-store or onsite, with big promotions leading up to the event or a launch of some kind. Even though this could be for a new Apple store (definitely an Enterprise size client!) your team would have to promote that event in a geo-targeted way and know how to make use of even Facebook for local marketing purposes. Similarly, if you’re client decides to run a conference or any kind of speaker event, they’ll want their marketing agency to be able to get local people to attend!
5. Complex campaigns are too time-consuming
If you’re tired of trying to figure out Omniture, ERPs, and complex contracts with big-name clients only to find that your team is stumped for how to get them results, you may want to consider adding other services. Stop and define your strengths as an agency and showcase them. Your team may be spending too much time on large enterprise campaigns and find that optimizing for local is a walk in the park, while opening up a whole new market. An quick work-around to any service offering that is too time consuming or too technical for your agency, but that your clients want, is to white label a service or a third-party platform. Doing so allows your agency to offer your clients more added-value without the learning curve. Of course, though, every marketing campaign, big or small, can be very time consuming and/or costly if not managed properly, so beware.
6. You’ve had to set-up Google My Business pages for at least one client
There comes a time in every marketers life where they have to set up a Google My Business (GMB) page. I remember working with one client in particular that was a very well-known multinational luxury brand and about half way through the contract at the brand level, they turned to our agency to also optimize their hundreds of individual locations nationwide. Next thing I knew I was knee-deep in how to optimize Google Business pages for multiple locations. I had to repeat a similar process to include their brand on Bing. I immediately created a guide to creating and optimizing business pages on Google and Bing for the agency I was working for, quickly realizing that we had to be ready for anything, including local optimization. At the end of the day, that national brand needed local optimization, and if our agency didn’t offer it, they’d simply turn to another that could. And let’s face it, from the client’s point of view, if you can’t optimize locally, how can they trust you with national or even international scale campaigns?
7. You’ve done a local awareness Facebook Ad campaign for a client
If you’ve run a local awareness ad campaign on behalf of a client, I hate to break it to you, but you’re already doing local marketing! Similarly if you’ve geo-targeted your Facebook ad campaigns or Instagram ad campaigns on behalf of a client, you’re also already walking that line. So why not embrace it and perfect it while diversifying your service offering?
8. You’ve recently learned the definition of geo-fencing
If your agency recently learned what it means to run a geo-fencing or competitive conquesting campaign, chances are you’re doing a local display campaign. Again, sorry to be the one who has to tell you this, but you’re local marketing already. Even though display campaigns are typically fueled by large budgets, they do really well at a local scale.
And if you’re still not sure, take our 2-minute Are You A Local Marketer Quiz to find out!