When beginning to discuss creating a local marketing strategy with our clients I like to break this down into two easy parts. Let’s look at them like this….
[Local Marketing] [Strategy]
Pretty easy concept to understand. This is simply focusing your marketing efforts in a certain geographical location. This can be advertising promotions, inventory, products, services or events. It can be creating content that people in your local area might be interested in. But, the basics of local marketing is simply marketing in your local area. This local part is really important to those businesses that need customers to visit their brick and mortar locations and those that service homes/businesses in certain areas. If your market is worldwide, then your marketing strategy wouldn’t focus solely on a geographical area.
The strategy is where I see many businesses begin to go down the wrong marketing path. While discussing strategy I am beginning to hear common misconceptions about what strategy is. Many businesses seem to think of strategy as a goal. Others think of strategy as one tool they will market with. Both groups would be wrong.
John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing fame has,what I believe is, the simplest definition of strategy:
“A How, Not a What”
Of course there is more to a local marketing strategy then just breaking down the phrase itself. To have a strategy you need to have a goal, figure out the tactics you’re going to use
If our strategy is the “how” then our marketing goal is our “what”. Goals are usually why we are trying to come up with a local marketing strategy in the first place. When speaking to business owners many have the same basic goal. The goal that I hear often is to increase the number of new customers coming through the door to purchase goods or services. That’s a pretty big goal to have! However, with a goal stated you can now work on the “how” you’re going to make it happen. As stated above this how will become our strategy.
Once you have a decided upon goal you will then begin to work on the strategy to make your goal a reality. It’s usually at this time in the strategy conversation that you will begin to touch on the different things you will need to move your strategy forward. Those “things” will often be the tactics you use in reaching your goals. Tactics are simply the actions and tools you are using to implement your strategy to meet your goals.
Let’s imagine that we are new owners of a local gym. You’ve spent tons of money in getting the gym ready for your customers. I mean, the equipment is in great shape, your membership prices are competitive in the market, you offer different fitness classes, and you even have great amenities like tanning, massage, etc. The only problem is so does every other gym in the area.
Your goal is to increase the number of new members joining the gym.
Your strategy is gain new members,but not just any member. You have done a little research and have discovered that the members that bring the most profit to your gym are not professional bodybuilders or trainers, but rather mothers who are looking to stay in shape at a gym they feel comfortable visiting three times a week. With this ideal member profile now in place, you will now determine how to appeal to this group. After a little more research you realize you have products and services that are important to mothers, such as your on-site daycare, that you do not communicate effectively in your marketing communications.
To make sure that your message of what you offer mothers is front and center, one of the tactics you take is to run a social media campaign directed to these potential members. You highlight the products and services you believe these members would appreciate and also separate you from your competitors. You also spend time educating them about your gym and getting these new prospective members to feel comfortable with your gym by showcasing behind the scenes videos that show that the members of your gym feel like they’re a big extended family.
Goal- Increase the number of new customers.
Strategy- Find your ideal audience and then create or showcase products or services that separate you from competitors.
Tactics- Social Media, Website content, Online Ads focused on gym, gym members, and amenities that your ideal member feels are important.
No goals, strategy or tactics in the world will succeed if your prospective local customers don’t Know, Like, and Trust your business. Your business should always have a overall local marketing strategy to get the community to know, like, and trust your business. This way when you really focus on a goal, like gaining more customers, the groundwork of K.L.T has been consistently done. So, if you don’t have a deeper local marketing strategy and goal then by default you should be working on K.L.T.!