Regardless of the size of your company or the industry you’re in, it might be challenging to break into the local market. Before you ever open your doors, you have to deal with a slew of challenges, including budgets, business strategies, staffing, and sourcing suppliers.
Local business owners, on the other hand, may not have the resources – or even the desire – to partner with a multimillion-dollar marketing firm when it comes time to launch.
As it turns out, the only thing you need to stand out is a well-thought-out brand strategy and the time to put it into action.
Creating a Local Brand in 7 Steps
With your brick-and-mortar store, you have a distinct edge over your national rivals since you can customize your brand to the local culture.
Here are the top seven things to focus on when developing a brand strategy for a small company in your area.
1. Make Your Brand Relevant to Your Community
To test your brand in multiple areas, you don’t have the luxury of being a worldwide firm. Make sure your branding efforts are focused on the correct audience—your community.
Your customers are more likely to return if your company is relevant to the people who reside in the area where you operate. Customers are more likely to stick with businesses who match their beliefs, so if your values fit with those of your customers, you’ll be seeing them again in the near future.
A lot of market research will be required before moving on to the more concrete parts of branding.
Conduct local market research
What are the needs of the people in the neighborhood? Which things do they have a hard time letting go of? You should be able to answer these questions at the conclusion of your market research.
Instead of trying to meet your audience’s expectations, figure out what they want first. But first, you need to know where your firm is located in order to determine:
- How much area is your business meant to cover? Are you serving your street, your town, your city, or your state?
- What’s the realistic size of your local market?
- How far are customers willing to travel in order to get to your store?
- Who are the competitors within this space? How many are there? What sets your business apart?
The simpler it will be to establish a relationship with the residents of a certain place if your branding efforts are more specific to that location. As a result of your market research, you now have the information you need to construct an ideal consumer profile for your organization.
Create a persona
That are the people who reside in your neighborhood? What do they do for a living? What kind of interests do they have? Are you searching for families, single millennials, retirees, or something else?
Your ideal customer avatar should include pain concerns, demographics (age, income level, etc.), their preferred shopping locations, their favorite reading material, etc., in order to acquire a comprehensive image of your target client. The more you know about their interests, likes, and dislikes, the better off you’ll be in the long run. The more you learn, the more you’ll be able to figure out:
- Your USP, or Unique Selling Point, that makes you stand out
- The services that your customers will want from you
- Which language to use to best engage your customers online and in person
- The best places to reach your customers when you start marketing
There are a few ways to gather these answers, such as conducting surveys in your area, doing social media polls or conducting keyword research to determine what people are looking for.
Keep an eye on the interests, habits, and preferences of the people who purchase your goods and services. Make your company a must-stop destination for visitors to your city by incorporating local character into your marketing strategy. It will be easier for you to connect with your community when you know more about it.
2. Build a Brand Identity
Creating a brand identity for your business is the next step after figuring out who your target customer is and what motivates them.
Developing a strong brand identity is an important part of establishing your company’s overall image in the eyes of the public. When it comes to your brand’s message, your brand’s identity is the vehicle via which that message is conveyed to your customers.
When it comes to building a brand identity, how do you really go about it?
Creating a message suited to your audience is the first step. When you know what your target audience wants and needs, you can tailor your message to their desires and requirements.
You should include the following in your message:
- The values your brand stands for
- A go-to brand voice, or tone through which you’ll communicate with your audience
- The main benefit of your business
- Actions you want your audience to take after interacting with your brand
In order to effectively communicate with your target audience, you must develop a set of visual signals that represent and reinforce your brand’s message.
The following are the essential points to focus on:
Logo – You’ll want to develop a logo that perfectly conveys your brand’s message to your consumers.
Color palette –Colors may have an influence on people’s emotions and behaviour through transmitting subtle signals. Choose a color palette that is consistent with your brand’s message and values, and study color psychology.
Tagline – Does your business have a succinct tagline that sums up what you do?
Brand imagery – Create a visual style guide for your business that outlines the colors and themes you want to utilize in all of your communications.
Website – You must have a website for your company, whether it’s local or not, so that your consumers can discover all the information they need. Your logo should be prominently displayed on your website, as well as the colors and images associated with your business. As intimidating as it may seem, there are numerous resources out there that can educate anybody how to design a website (like this one!) without any coding knowledge, and you can even utilize a DIY website-building platform to do it.
Store – Your brick-and-mortar shop should represent your brand’s style and mood, much as your website. If you operate a restaurant or a clothes shop, you should use the same logo and colors on your menus and product tags. When it comes to decorating, keep in mind the message you want to convey with your business.
The idea is to constantly explain who you are and what you stand for as you create your identity. Make sure your brand is clear, succinct, simple to comprehend, and effective for the majority of your consumers’ initial impressions.
Whatever the size of your local company, you may go from obscurity to local renown with a strong brand identification. Keep in mind that your company’s basic beliefs should guide the design of its brand.
3. Use Local SEO to Your Advantage
As a result, local companies have still another edge over their foreign counterparts: SEO.
An enormous amount of traffic may be gained by local SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In order to ensure that your brand appears at the top of search engine results when people search for services you provide, you should include your company in local directories and optimize your website for relevant keywords.
The first thing you should do after creating and designing your website is to optimize it for search engines.
- List your business’s Name, Address, and Phone Number on every page of your site. Make sure the details appear the same on every page, so Google knows that the information listed is correct.
- Incorporate testimonials. Do you have satisfied customers already? Get them to send you positive reviews or testimonials so you can feature them on your site and convert leads into customers.
- Add a map, so your customers can easily find you.
- Make sure your site has quick loading speed.
- Have a blog on your site that covers valuable topics related to your niche.
In order to keep your site fresh in the eyes of search engines, you must post new material often. Identify the search phrases your clients are using to find you, then design content that addresses those issues.
Writing about local news and events can help you establish yourself as a trusted source in your community. Your website should include the names of adjacent towns and cities so that localized search phrases are covered.
Set up your Google My Company profile, and your business will show in local and map searches as a consequence (right at the top of the Google search results page). Acquire your firm included in local directories, i.e., get citations, with connections to your website if possible. When your site gets more “juice” from search engines, it will rise to the top of search results pages.
A brief introduction to local SEO can help you get started on the right foot. Your website should be constantly updated and optimized for search engines, from utilizing the appropriate keywords to making it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for.
4. Target Local Media and Publications
People in Miami are unlikely to go to Newark to shop at your business, even if you’re highlighted on CNN. Focus your marketing efforts on local media outlets.
If your target market consumes local media, seek out the most widely read publications in your region and see if you can get an organic or paid advertising placement there.
It’s probable that your target audience is within a 20-kilometer radius of your business or office. Becoming a regular fixture in local magazines, news sources, and billboards is an excellent method to build brand awareness and familiarity in your local area.
Having said that, the internet may be a helpful resource. Get engaged in the discussion on local blogs and community websites.
MTL Blog, a local blog that covers news, cuisine, and activities throughout the city, has more than 400,00 Facebook friends and about two million readers a month, making it one of the most popular blogs in Montreal.
When a bar, club or restaurant is listed on the site, locals and students alike come to the establishment to sample the city’s newest culinary offerings. Montreal businesses, think what an MTL Blog feature can do for your brand’s visibility!
5. Develop Social Channels and Content
If you’ve done any market research, you’ve probably discovered that your target audience spends a lot of time on social media. As a result, you have a wide range of options to connect with that audience.
Social media content may come in a variety of formats, from short Tweets to lengthy blog entries. It’s critical to consider the format in which you’ll publish your material, but what’s more crucial is whether or not your target audience will find value in it.
The response is likely to be yes, hence it’s likely to be successful.
There are a variety of ways in which content that gives value may be characterized: instructive, amusing, informative, and inspiring.
- How-to blog posts
- Explainer videos
- Witty one-liners
- Case studies
- and the list goes on.
Isn’t that what we discussed earlier? Regardless of whether it’s a blog post, a tweet, an infographic, or a branded picture, it’s critical to develop content in that language. Every picture you share on social media should adhere to your company’s brand standards.
Look at successful businesses and their social media initiatives and you’ll see why consistency is so critical.
They are recognized for their amusing tweets, most of all for their sly attacks on their rivals in the fast-food industry. In every tweet, their brand language is clear: humorous, down to earth, and sardonic. They don’t take themselves too seriously.
Their social media efforts are great because they’ve built a community around the brand, rather than just the food they sell; the company constantly engages with other big players in their niche, asserting themselves as one of the top fast-food chains in the league, and creates an entertaining feed for their followers to follow.
In the same way, Nadia Cakes utilized social media to build their brand. Following the misinterpretation of their cake design by the public, a small bakery in Minnesota saw an increase in sales.
The bakery owner’s smart one-liners caused hilarity during the occasion and went viral. Since then, the local firm has gained more than 300,000 followers on social media.
If you want to connect with your audience, you can do more than just provide “conventional” material. Do some market research and experiment with various sorts of content to discover what resonates best. Then, take the finest ideas and run with them!
Since the demographics and preferences of each social network’s users are unique, you’ll almost certainly discover that certain material performs better than others when promoting it via those channels.
When you know what your audience likes to read or watch, you can share that content consistently and watch your audience increase.
6. Get Networking
As a service provider, you must be a part of the community you are trying to serve.
As customers come to know you and your team, they’ll begin to identify your business with your own brand identity. Running a local company gives you the unique opportunity to meet your target market on a personal level, which is ideal for building a successful brand.
Participate in community service and networking activities in your area. Do everything you can to become involved in your community by hosting seminars, speaking at events, and engaging in any other manner you can. Additionally, you’ll be able to forge new business relationships and get new leads as a result of enhancing your local brand this way.
7. Turn Staff into Brand Ambassadors
It is critical to your company’s success that you utilize every asset at your disposal to reinforce and spread your brand’s message.
Many businesses neglect the importance of their employees when it comes to building a strong community connection, but this is a mistake.
There are two main reasons for this correlation.
The first thing to keep in mind is that your employees are likely to be a member of the community in which you operate. Those in your town, city, or neighborhood are more likely to understand and appreciate your purpose if they believe in what you’re providing and are actively involved in marketing your brand. As a second benefit, consumers are more inclined to trust your firm and its products if they perceive that your employees believe in what they’re saying.
Make sure your staff understand your company’s vision, value proposition, and branding initiatives by creating training sessions that stress your brand.
Over to You
To break into your local market, you now have all of this branding information at hand!
Don’t forget to keep your target audience at the center of everything you do while you establish yourself as a company on social media and in person. You’ll be able to build strong relationships with repeat consumers if you keep your message at the forefront of everything you do.