Today's businesses can reach consumers around the globe with just a click or tap. But is there value in narrowing your focus to a hyper-local market? Marketers increasingly say yes. Brick-and-mortar stores catering to a local crowd have advantages that worldwide e-commerce businesses don't. Now experts are using not just local, but hyper-local marketing.
What is Hyper-Local Marketing?
The term "hyper-local" might sound new but the concept dates far, far back. Hyper-local marketing narrows your efforts to a small radius around your business. Local marketing might target your town, county, or state, but hyper-local can be as specific as the surrounding neighborhoods near your business.
Is Hyper-Local Too Narrow?
Many business owners are startled to hear the suggestion that they focus only on their business neighborhood. When we now have the capability to reach audiences around the globe, honing in on a 20-mile radius can seem ridiculous. But there are significant benefits to adding hyper-local efforts to your overall marketing strategy.
Why Use Hyper-Local Marketing?
A Search Engine Boost
Targeting a very local audience and optimizing your website for them will help you get found very easily in search engine results. It's difficult competing with larger, more well-established businesses in the realm of SEO, but when it comes to local results, you have the advantage. Even if you have several direct competitors in town, as long as you're properly using hyper-local marketing, customers closest to you will see your business first.
Even if your SEO ranking isn't high, Google prioritizes local businesses that customers can visit quickly. Someone in your neighborhood will have a far easier time seeing your website come up in a search than a business on the other side of town.
Today more internet users are conducting "near me" searches to quickly find businesses they can visit now. According to Google, "near me" searches increased by 130 percent on mobile devices between 2014 and 2015.
Showing up in a "Near me" search is valuable, sometimes more so than ranking with ordinary SEO, because consumers who search for nearby businesses have a strong intent to buy. Internet users who search "Restaurant near me" or "cafe near me" are more likely to plan on visiting a restaurant or cafe that day than more generic searches.
How Do I Get Started with Hyper-Local?
The goal of hyper-local marketing is to show up in local search results. Set up your business online with clear information and linked profiles to sites like Yelp or Google. Once your business is findable in a search, your next step is gathering social proof. Consumers want to know they can trust your business to provide a pleasant experience.
Many consumers come to trust a business through online reviews. A consumer may never even set foot in your restaurant without considering reviews first. As a business owner, you can't control the reviews left about your business online. The only aspect you can hope to control is the customer's experience.
Customer Service and Experience
In hyper-local marketing, stellar customer service is a must. The more foot traffic you generate, the more visitors will share their experiences about your business and lead more information-seeking consumers to your door.
That's why you need to ensure that customers who come through your door leave thoroughly satisfied with their experience. Consider ways to engage with your local community and delight customers. While your methods will depend on your image and branding, here are a few ideas to get started:
- Coupons for the next visit to encourage repeat customers
- Social media photo competition
- Customer suggestion contests (i.e. new menu item, seasonal decor)
- Population-specific discount (i.e. military, senior, or get creative!)
- Drawings, raffles, or giveaways
- Birthday freebies
To implement these ideas, you'll need to track and record customer data. Ask customers to sign up for your loyalty programs at the counter or better yet, when they log-in to your Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi analytics can also identify first-time customers so when they opt in to your email list, you can send them a thank you and coupon for their next visit.
Brainstorm and choose marketing ideas that will delight your customers. Then set up a system that will let you record the data necessary for those ideas.
There's no single way to conduct hyper-local marketing. Every neighborhood is different. But keep in touch with what your community cares about and you'll be on the right track to reaching even more potential customers.