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By Amol Roy
With the advent of technology and the development of new channels of communication, the older approach to marketing at a local level has undergone a paradigm change. Right from the times of considering inserts, small print ads and banners to gain attention, today we have the option of selecting the precise location targeting with the help of sharply defined marketing techniques known as hyperlocal marketing.
Hyperlocal marketing is defined as the process of targeting potential customers in a very specific, geographically limited area, sometimes a few blocks or streets, often with the purpose of targeting people conducting ‘near me’ searches on their smartphones.
Benefits of hyperlocal marketing
Hyperlocal advertising lets consumers search for products and services on their mobile phones, allowing them to visit or call through a call to action-oriented ad which pops up with their respective phone number and a map with their current location. The location is then sent to the ad networks which sell the ad space with the location information to other similar channels. This helps advertisers reach out to the relevant audience more effectively.
Depending on their budgets, companies can opt for the ideal channel mix for themselves. It could be an amalgamation of conventional and hyperlocal channels, small print ads, TV, radio, newspaper, pamphlets, among others where small businesses can advertise to reach out to as many people as possible for them within and around their business location.
Apart from the reach, hyperlocal marketing provides an incredible return on investment. By sponsoring local events or using local influencers in their social media content, brands can get their name right in front of their target audience – to the people who can drive into their stores the very same day. Also, hyperlocal digital marketing helps garner online reviews which can boost local rankings of the brand further.
This form of marketing also harnesses the absolute power of the ripple effect. It helps build brand recognition in the area and close by to where the business is based. People know what the brand’s name is and what they are selling.
Search: The driving force for hyperlocal
The dynamic digital ecosystem created by Google, localised online directories, social media and mobile marketing – all enable businesses to easily connect with consumers in specific areas and enable consumers to connect with local businesses on a never-before-seen level.
In the olden days, when people needed to call a company but could not get the phone number, they would search for it in the White Pages. To search for a type of business, they would search in the Yellow Pages. However, things are much different in today’s digital world as now search is king. If a local business is targeting a local market but doesn’t have a massive name recognition, it is essential for it to be found by online search engines.
Services such as Bing Places and Google My Business have made it a lot easier for local companies and businesses to be found by search engines. Google My Business allows local business listings to appear in three places in location-based searches on the first page of Google search results: in Google Maps, Google+ and in organic Google search results.
How hyperlocal digital marketing is changing global marketing
Hyperlocal digital marketing has certain best practices which need to be kept in mind in order to create effective advertising online. These are:
SEO: Businesses should get their hyperlocal SEO in place by using the relevant keywords in their ads. For instance, a health food startup can use keywords like health, low calorie, fitness, gluten free, among others. Businesses should insert their official address, name and phone numbers in multiple directories such as Trip advisor, Google+, Bing Places and so on. As per Google, people need the bulk of information from within one km. Recently, Google has launched Neighbourly, its hyperlocal Q&A app which effectively organises available data on the basis of the information that people are searching for.
Content: Posting local content that feels more personal to the target audience will go a long way in helping businesses acquire customers and spread their branding message among them. One needs to take advantage of the local stereotypes which can be included in the marketing campaigns to make it more personalised. For instance, summers are frustrating due to excessive heat. So, health food brands can create a campaign around this fact and launch a special offer for the summers centred on cool and healthy foods.
Retargeting: Customers who have shown interest in the brand’s products and maybe even visited the outlet at some point can then be retargeted via regular SMS/email campaigns that carry compelling promotional offers to get them back in the fold. This form of audience targeting can also be defined in terms of demographics and psychographics which include gender, age, interests, hobbies, among others.
Geo-fencing: This allows businesses to select a specific area and this technology allows only targeting their ads to the people who are in that area in real-time. The target area can be as narrow as 500 metres and further go up to any length.
Social media influence: Both Twitter and Facebook have a small business division but both platforms offer different approaches to help local businesses reach their target customers. But in general, they both show companies the value of using social media for business, how to create impactful content strategies, grow an online community, engage users and drive business sales.
Overall, these local strategies, once implemented, can help local businesses find the right customers and prospects which can take the business to the next level. Hyperlocal marketing, thus, promises to be the future for many businesses and brand. And those who recognise its potential at an early stage will remain ahead of the curve.
The author is founder, Shutter Cast