It’s a bit of a problem. There’s plenty of advice online about managing global brands and how to localize the marketing for customers from New York to New Delhi.
Getting information aimed at enterprises when you’re running a small to mid-sized business can inspire you to think big. And it can also send you in the wrong direction.
Everybody can potentially reach anyone anywhere in the world thanks to the internet. However, did you know that 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information?
Digital businesses and B2B service providers should consider thinking local. It works for dentists, it works for car dealerships, and it can work for you.
What is Marketing Localization?
Let’s cover the fundamentals. Marketing localization is the process of honing in on a specific region. There are two ways to approach this:
- Market globally and adapt the message and offerings to suit each area
- Market regionally and focus your resources on best understanding and serving that area
The former route based on localizing a global brand is typically reserved for large companies that have the people and resources to make it practical.
Focusing on one city or region is a wise choice for many small and mid-sized businesses. Strengthen your presence in your hub. Once you’ve mastered that you can move into additional markets.
Benefits of Thinking Locally
More than ever business can be done from anywhere. Remote and hybrid work got a huge boost starting in 2020 as did everything digital: e-commerce, digital sales, and Zoom meetings, just to name a few.
Your business may have increased its capability to deliver goods and services nationally or even globally thanks to these strides in digital transformation. The question is: should you think nationally or globally?
For many businesses, it makes sense to focus on their local market before expanding their operations. It could seem like a limitation until you consider the advantages.
- There’s far less competition in your local market compared to the national or global market
- Many customers would rather do business with a local company
- Customers will perceive you as more accessible
- It makes it practical to create and foster relationships with customers in-person
- Marketing is more effective when you’re speaking to a defined audience rather than a broad audience
- You can tailor your offerings and marketing to suit the unique needs, tastes, and culture in a specific city or region
- 46% of Google searches have local intent (Source: GoGulf)
- Search result information makes 70% of consumers visit a physical store (Source: Joel House Search Media)
- It’s easier to rank on Google for keywords that are localized compared to keywords that aren’t associated with a city or region
Localizing Your Brand
B2B and digital service providers often assume it’s best to cast a wide net and that geography isn’t that significant. After all, we have Google Docs, Zoom, Dropbox, Slack, and countless other apps that allow us to work remotely.
Marketing globally works for enterprise companies. For small and medium businesses this approach can bury them in a sea of competitors.
The more you have in common with your customers the better. And being based in the same location is a strong place to start.
Every great city has a spirit, history, and things it’s known for. Associating your business with the right place allows you to capitalize on all of that.
For example, banks are strongly associated with the city they were founded in or where their head offices are. When you think about JPMorgan Chase & Co., The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., and Morgan Stanley, an image of the bustling streets of New York City enters your mind.
Finding creative ways to associate your business with its location is a superpower.
Imagine you own a recruitment agency in Vancouver, Canada. Your team goes kayaking in False Creek near downtown Vancouver. You take a photo and post it on your company’s Instagram. That post will be of particular interest to fellow Vancouverites and Canadians. It builds trust and affinity with that audience.
Lessons Learned from Local Publications
Local newspapers have been around for as long as the newspaper itself. And most relevant to the current era, blogs and social media channels that focus on local news, events, and hot spots are widely consumed.
The fact is the majority of these publications are similar in terms of news coverage except they create content about one geographical location exclusively.
The city the blog is about is the key ingredient when it comes to attracting an audience.
You probably wouldn’t be interested in media coverage of a steakhouse in an area you don’t live in or plan to visit unless it’s extraordinary. However, if you live in Toronto, you’re likely interested in a variety of restaurants in the city.
Even when it’s not necessary for a business to be based in the same location as its customers for day-to-day operations, it’s vital to the relationships associated with a service business.
We do business with people we know and like. And the people we know and like are close by more often than not.
Tuning Global Digital Distribution
Search engines give people results tailored to their location whenever it’s relevant, particularly when they’re ready to buy.
According to research by Think with Google, searches with “near me” or “close by” in them grew by more than 900% over two years.
Although websites and social media accounts have global reach by default, it pays to give content a local spin. An ongoing strategy is required to reach the right audience geographically with organic digital channels. However, this important step is often neglected or inconsistently executed when there isn’t a conscious objective to target one region.
Content distribution tools like Facebook Ads allow marketers to pinpoint their audience’s location. To make the best use of this, tailor your message so people know you’re speaking to people from their area specifically. You’ll have a better shot at getting their full attention and it will be more likely to resonate.
There are plenty of SMBs marketing nationally or even globally when it’s advantageous to narrow their targeting. This is prevalent because organic digital content has global reach.
By focusing on a key market your marketing efforts can have significantly more impact. It’s a best practice to not only target a local audience but to tailor your message to them. The more specific you can be, the better odds you have at stopping their scroll.