When your audience is a local one (ie. In one city, in your neighbourhood, etc.) it can be easier to connect with them because you completely understand them. You ARE one of them. But what about when you are ready to expand to new markets nationally – or even internationally?
There may come a time when you have saturated your local market so you should look to a larger prospective customer pool to achieve new growth goals.
If you are a brick and mortar store or restaurant without any eCommerce options, and you don’t have any plans on expanding, a local audience is great. However, if you have expansion on the brain or what you offer isn’t necessarily limited to your immediate geographical area, then you should consider reaching beyond your immediate pool of customers.
It’s not a bad idea to start small and grow – starting with a national marketing strategy right away means bigger budgets and getting to know different segments of your audience in different geographic markets all at the same time. Sometimes it works best to conquer a smaller audience first and move on to the next region, learning from mistakes and adapting your strategies to match the new geographical market.
Websites can reach anyone anywhere
In many cases, your website is the first impression potential customers will have of your brand. You have full control of your brand messaging on your website so you can tell your story how you would like it told. It’s your chance to stand out in the best way possible from your competitors, both on a local and national level.
A well-designed and mobile responsive layout ensures ease of use for your customers, and regularly updated content keeps things fresh so they will keep coming back. While design is a key factor in attracting an audience on your website, content is equally as important because it needs to attract attention and instill trust in your audience. Be prepared to invest in both design and content to set you up for success with your website.
You should also consider Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to leverage keywords your target audience is already searching for. More than just keywords, a great SEO campaign also involves link building to increase traffic back to your website. With SEO you can also narrow your focus to a smaller geographic area or look at a broader region. The more geography you want to cover, the more you will need to invest in your SEO campaign.
Establish yourself as the expert
People don’t just buy from brands, they connect with those who they think are the best in the industry. To become the best, you need to build credibility and authority by increasing your visibility. To do so, consider writing articles and guest columns for media placement and guest blogs on popular sites. This will also increase links back to your website and increase your ranking in search engines.
You should also connect with influencers who will review your products/services. By doing so, a third party is helping to build your credibility with their followers, which is more effective than you telling them how great you are. Be careful to connect with quality influencers who reflect your brand values and whose audience matches the profile of your own target audience.
When considering this type of strategy, start local and aim bigger as your reputation and profile builds – or work with a PR pro who has existing relationships who can advocate for you.
Social media means national marketing dialogue
Social media is not limited geographically because it is online based. Choose your channels wisely according to what your audience uses so you can reach them in the most effective way possible. You also want to limit your social media channels to what you can handle. Building a successful social media following takes time, and you won’t do much good if you are stretched too thin.
Use hashtags, geotagging, and influencer tagging to get traction on your content and engage in dialogue with potential customers. This will help you keep the social in social media rather than just putting out a stream of one-sided content.
To boost your reach, run paid campaigns targeted at specific areas. For example, a special offer for people located in a city or neighbourhood is a great way to expand your reach in a targeted way. This type of campaign can also be easily duplicated across different markets.
Pick your “hot spots”
Just because you are aiming for national marketing reach doesn’t mean you need to be everywhere at once. Work on grassroots and experiential campaigns in key cities, using the images and video content for your blogs and social media. This is a great opportunity for you to engage local media and influencers for coverage because of the local nature of the story.
A national marketing strategy is a larger investment, but it is essential to take a fresh approach from your existing local strategy if you want to see success. Inevitably, investing more in your visibility will also positively affect your local marketing, so it is a win-win in the end.
If you are looking to expand your reach and you need guidance, call SongBird to find out how we can help you get there.