Why Hyperlocal Marketing is key to your local business recovery
Updated: Oct 21, 2021
Regardless of whether you are a local estate agent, restaurant, coffee shop, architect or a franchise owner of a large retailer - if your business relies on local customers - than you need a hyperlocal marketing strategy.
What is Hyperlocal Marketing?
Hyperlocal marketing is a relatively new marketing approach that focuses on a smaller number of consumers in a very defined geographic area. In other words, it specifically targets select people in a highly localized way in an address-specific ‘neighbourhood’, suburb or region that want to purchase or obtain their services locally.
Hyperlocal marketing is a super targeted form of niche marketing. Businesses don’t need to spend money on national campaigns to generate interest, awareness and action. Hyperlocal marketing can be focused on a single polygon or suburb and build the foundation for an authentic one-to-one relationship with customers in that specific area.
When you catch your customers right where they are, and in their neighbourhood, it is known as hyperlocal marketing!
Why is Hyperlocal Marketing important?
The main goal of hyperlocal marketing is to increase interest and foot traffic to local businesses. So instead of spending money on national campaigns that are not only costly but have lots of ‘wastage’, hyperlocal marketing ‘niche’ targets the right market – where consumers are more receptive and likely to act.
Through technology, the world has for years effectively become smaller - Covid has also accelerated the adoption of digital by several years – which ironically has resulted in consumers becoming increasingly ‘community’ focused and supportive of local.
Interestingly, data from Google suggests that in recent years the location-specific “near-me” searches have risen by 130% year-on-year. This has also been instigated by the development of search technology which has resulted in Google making location-specific suggestions to the searches that have been conducted. This indicates a significant shift in user attitudes and behaviour and is indicative of consumers looking for not only convenience, but also highlights their intent to support local businesses and initiatives. Even Google has reshaped its local search in a way to prioritize results based on high-quality Google maps for every near-me search.
Not only is Hyperlocal marketing important to let the community know who you are and what you do, it is also crucial that you become part of the community, that you let people know and show them that you are one of 'them'.
What are the benefits of a Hyperlocal Marketing strategy?
You will develop an ongoing awareness of your business or service offering
You will be top-of-mind when people need your services
By establishing yourself as a leader within the community (an expert within your field and beyond) you develop trust and credibility
You will be seen as relevant
People will start to recommend and refer you - even without having directly 'experienced; your product or service as they feel they know you and have confidence in referring you
You will be the first to see (and respond) to queries and leads about your service offering
You will also be able to see if anyone has anything bad to say about your business and address it quickly (social listening). A large national supermarket retailer in my area is continuously getting 'bad press' on social media. They clearly are not on any of the groups and subsequently don't respond. This negative sentiment will definitely impact them for the worse - if it isn't already
You will be seen as a local - a valued member of the community that locals will want to support (keeping it local)
All this will lead to more support - increased revenue
It is relatively inexpensive (paid support is recommended but not essential)
What does Hyperlocal Marketing involve?
This is a bit like 'how long is a piece of string' - the opportunities for local involvement and awareness are considerable. As a starting point, we've listed some core options in the following diagram (by no means an exhaustive list) - you can add or take away any elements that you deem relevant to your particular brand and community. Like with any marketing opportunity , do not try everything at once - this can be time consuming and result in you doing many things 'okay' as opposed to doing a few things really well. Take it one step at a time and add on as you master that opportunity and become more comfortable.
Ensure that your hyperlocal activities are a) aligned to your brand and b) take place within the framework of your broader marketing strategy
Some key tips and things to consider to make an impact
Set up and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
This is crucial and should be your first step! With so many searches being location based (over 30%) you need to provide detailed information about your company so you can come up on nay 'near me' search queries. Google My Business queries' most fundamental element is location, so your optimization efforts should center around that.
Things you need to remember to include:
Add relevant keywords to your business description to increase your chances of being found. Use a unique and appealing business description with 750 characters. Give reasons and explain how your business is different from others. Stay away from keyword stuffing (using the same target term in hopes of ranking higher for that term in search engines)
Use high-quality photos to make your listing look professional. and appealing. So often brands use the most awful, tacky pics - uurgh!!
Provide a proper and precise business address
Include a local phone number
Include your working days and hours
Choose the primary category that sums up your goals, products and services. The category should ideally be how the consumer see's or experiences your brand and not be too clever or 'visionary'- the aim after all is to get found in search.
Build up your local reviews
As you are no doubt aware, mobile searches are always followed by reviews - be it on Facebook, Zomatoe, Yelp or any other review platform relevant to your business or industry. Not only are reviews crucial for search, but research has time and time again illustrated the impact of reviews on consumer behavior - with one survey highlighting that 88% of customers trust local reviews as much as personal recommendations.
So, make sure to encourage your customers to give reviews - ideally instore. You can also offer discounts, free items or special offers to encourage reviews. When you have built up a library of good reviews - include them on your website, in digital or other advertising campaigns.
Use Hyperlocal adverts to target consumers
From a traditional above-the-line perspective, you local audience could be targeted through signage on local sports fields or even at the local high school. More often than not this type of advertising is more about goodwill and presence than exposure and reach. Alternatively, you could place an advert in the community newspaper or run a campaign on your community radio station (oftentimes community media can be negotiated into providing additional advertorial or editorial to support paid campaigns).
With digital use location targeting to generate awareness and drive incremental sales. Geo-fencing also allows your targeting to be incredibly niche. Other ways to target could include;
Customers passing through your general area
Specific events - if there is a conference or sporting /musical event
Customers near competitors location where you could highlight the benefits of your product (or even some reviews) to encourage them to 'drive on by'.
Social Media is your secret weapon
Do a search of all the Facebook groups in your target area and then join all the relevant ones. Many private groups do not allow businesses to join so join in your private capacity.
Scroll through each group and get a feel as to what gets posted and what gets traction. You will quickly be able to identify what is important to that community - what are their 'hot' buttons , what are their issues, what brings them joy, what are they proud of .. essentially, what makes them tick. These are incredibly valuable insights, as not only can give you a steer as to what you could support commercially (sponsor etc.) but they can also indicate how and where you could add value to the community beyond your obvious 'business hat' boundaries. In my local area, the residents were up in arms due to extensive roadworks that were taking incredibly long and causing major traffic jams. The social groups were full of posts with residents expressing anger and frustration. A local estate agent took it upon herself to meet with council and the contractor and get accurate information as to progress, upcoming scheduled work etc. She regularly provided the community with updates as to progress, anticipated major disruption times etc. Before long, by simply passing on the information timeously she became recognised as a leader in the community - a person in the know. Not a bad reputation for a local estate agent to have!
Keep checking in and reading the posts - you will be surprised how often people ask for recommendations on a plumber, a hairdresser, an architect or are looking for a house to rent or input on a new car. If something in your field comes up - reply. Quickly. Don't only reply to sales leads but where you can add value.
Be on the lookout for insights that are actionable!
Many groups allow a day every week for local businesses to promote themselves - take advantage of these by sharing specials etc.
Off your business page, posts updates and news. Also try include content that is relevant, entertaining and/or informative. Social media is, well, social - so don't always think sales or leads. Think engaging. An architect can share some house design tips, an estate agent can share news on area sales performance or how to improve the value of your home ... a restaurant can share recipes or cooking tips. Focus on creating content that is hyperlocal.
If posts on your personal profile are in any way work related, include a hashtag with your businesses name. try think of way how you can make content relevant to both without coming across as 'sale-sey''.
Monitor all the relevant platforms for negative sentiment - address immediately before it gathers momentum.
Lastly, get involved and give something back
Being part of a community also means getting involved - to doing your bit. I am not just talking about charitable work, but also in participating in community activities and giving up of your time and being present ... volunteer to help at community events, provide coffee for the weekend park clean-up or sponsor paint for the community center refurbishment. A little goes a long way.
And although I am a firm believer that any form of altruism must be authentic and be for the right reasons, there are several business benefits that are undeniable.
Positive branding and exposure - especially within your local community
Attract new customers
Instills yourself as a member of the community
A great source of content for your social initiatives