Local marketing trends: 17+ expert tips from the Local Marketing Lab
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The holiday season just wrapped up and it was a busy month for our Local Marketing Lab podcast! We had the pleasure of hosting 3 outstanding guests across various restaurant industries to uncover tips and local marketing trends for driving success.
After combing through over 2 hours of interviews, 4 major themes emerged as crucial for local marketing results. Let’s explore the top lessons from the lab so you can start the new year off right.
Meet the guests
Our podcast guests from December feature experts from the restaurant and tech industry.
- Steve Lieber, VP of Business Development at BurgerFi and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza [Mastering the art of local engagement]
- Zack Oates, CEO of Ovation [$$$ in the stars: Reviews to revenue]
- Paul Tran, VP of Franchise Development at Roll-Em-Up Taquitos [Unlock growth with awareness and careness]
Leveraging social media for growth
Every single guest emphasized the growing role of social media and content for brand building and customer engagement. While traditional marketing still matters, local marketing trends point toward an online-first approach as the key to growth today.
Why? Social platforms finally offer small, local businesses an affordable way to target niche groups of ideal customers. Plus, the content customers see across channels directly influences their awareness and purchase decisions.
The takeaway? Treat social media marketing and creative content production as a core part of your local growth strategy in 2024. Master one platform at a time, consistently post authentic content optimized for channel algorithms, and carefully analyze performance.
- Focus on niche markets for a more personalized connection. (Steve Lieber)
- Utilize influencers to expand your brand’s reach. (Steve Lieber)
- Segment your audience and tie it into paid marketing for targeted local reach. (Steve Lieber)
- Use social listening to identify new menu items or offerings to meet customer demand. (Steve Lieber)
- Don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. Pull out your phone, record a video, and post it on social media. (Zack Oates)
- Make it easy to be found on social media so people can find your brand. (Zack Oates)
- Be consistent in posting and maintaining your brand’s presence online. Commit to frequent posts (e.g., two to three times a week) to ensure consistent customer engagement. (Paul Tran)
- Authenticity is key; let your brand’s personality shine through in your social media content. (Paul Tran)
- Add value and insights in your posts to educate and engage your audience. (Paul Tran)
- Explore innovative collaborations and participation in unconventional events to increase visibility. (Paul Tran)
Importance of online reputation and customer reviews
In an era where digital word-of-mouth reigns supreme, mastering the art of online reputation management is not just beneficial — it’s crucial. Reviews shape a brand’s image and attract potential customers.
Why? Online reviews often serve as the first point of contact between a business and its potential customers. A strong online presence and positive reviews can significantly influence customer decisions and drive business growth.
Prioritize your online reputation and customer reviews as a key component of your local marketing strategy. Ensure that your customers have a great experience and make it easy for them to leave feedback. Here’s how our experts recommend doing it:
- Emphasize the importance of social listening to understand and respond to customer preferences, contributing to a positive online reputation. (Steve Lieber)
- Online reviews are a primary factor in customer decision-making. (Zack Oates)
- Avoid incentivizing reviews; focus on creating genuine experiences that encourage organic feedback. (Zack Oates)
- A one-star difference in ratings can lead to a 9% revenue difference; thus, managing online reviews is crucial. (Zack Oates)
- Having less than 4 stars on Google can significantly reduce your visibility. (Zack Oates)
- Implement feedback mechanisms like QR codes to gather customer reviews. (Zack Oates)
- Understand that word-of-mouth marketing has evolved into online reviews, which hold significant trust among consumers. (Zack Oates)
- Foster awareness among customers about your offerings to build a positive reputation (e.g., secret menus, catering services). (Paul Tran)
- Engage customers with information they might not know, enhancing their experience and encouraging positive reviews. (Paul Tran)
Incorporating these strategies can greatly enhance your business’s online reputation, making it a formidable force in the competitive landscape of local marketing.
Collaboration and community engagement
Other local marketing trends from our podcast series underline the importance of collaboration and community engagement. This approach is not just about promoting a brand; it’s about creating a connection with the community and fostering relationships that lead to lasting customer loyalty and advocacy.
Collaboration and community engagement humanize a brand, making it more relatable and trustworthy. By engaging directly with the community and collaborating with local entities, businesses can build a strong local presence and create a sense of belonging among their customers.
Embrace collaboration with other businesses, organizations, and influencers in your community. Engage in local events and activities to increase visibility and deepen your connection with the local customer base.
- Explore cross-promotional opportunities with neighboring businesses to create mutually beneficial relationships. (Steve Lieber)
- Use collaboration as a means to offer unique experiences or products that can draw attention and differentiate your brand. (Steve Lieber)
- Connect with local leaders and get involved in initiatives to give back locally (Steve Lieber beach cleanup example)
- Partner with local influencers and organizations to broaden your reach and resonate with the community. (Paul Tran)
- Co-brand merchandise or offerings with larger brands your audience admires. (Paul Tran)
- Participate in local events and activities to increase brand visibility and community involvement. (Paul Tran)
By implementing these local marketing trends, businesses can not only enhance their local marketing efforts but also contribute to the well-being and vibrancy of their communities. This approach goes beyond traditional marketing — it’s about building a network of support and loyalty that benefits both the business and the community it serves.
Innovative local marketing strategies
One of the final local marketing trends from our podcast series highlights the significance of implementing innovative strategies. Embracing creativity and thinking outside the traditional marketing box can lead to impressive results, making your brand stand out in a competitive local market.
Innovation in local marketing is key to capturing the attention of your audience in an increasingly crowded digital space. It allows businesses to differentiate themselves, offer unique value, and resonate more deeply with their target audience.
Be bold in experimenting with new ideas and technologies, and continuously seek ways to innovate in your marketing tactics. This can range from leveraging the latest digital tools to finding new angles in your marketing approach.
- Implement geofencing and proximity marketing for hyperlocal targeting. (Steve Lieber)
- Personalize offerings and customer interactions based on purchase data and order history. (Steve Lieber)
- Experiment with emerging social platforms like TikTok to reach new audiences. (Steve Lieber)
- Use QR codes and digital feedback forms to easily capture customer opinions. (Zack Oates)
- Explore the use of data and analytics to refine your marketing strategies and maximize ROI. (Zack Oates)
- Implement creative content strategies, like storytelling or interactive campaigns, to engage your audience more effectively. (Paul Tran)
- Encourage innovation within your team by fostering a culture of creativity and open-mindedness. (Paul Tran)
- Implement a “secret menu” to delight existing customers and encourage sharing on social media. (Paul Tran)
- Brainstorm creative brand collaborations with non-traditional partners. (Paul Tran wedding example)
Incorporating these innovative strategies in local marketing not only sets your brand apart but also ensures that you are constantly evolving and adapting to the changing market dynamics. These local marketing trends are crucial for staying relevant and successful in today’s fast-paced world.
Embracing the future of local marketing trends
As we wrap up this journey through key insights from our December episodes of the Local Marketing Lab podcast, it’s clear that the landscape of local marketing is vibrant and ever-evolving. From leveraging the immense power of social media to mastering the nuances of online reputation, the wisdom shared by our expert guests offers a roadmap for success in the complex world of local marketing.
Remember, the key to thriving in this dynamic environment is not just about implementing these strategies but also about being adaptable, innovative, and deeply connected with your community. Whether you’re refining your social media approach, enhancing your online presence, fostering collaborations, or exploring new marketing frontiers, the potential for growth and impact is boundless.
We encourage you to dive deeper into these discussions and discover even more valuable insights by subscribing to the Local Marketing Lab podcast. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your preferred platform to stay up-to-date each week.
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