So what is Hyperlocal Marketing?
Local marketing that is more local than, um, local. What was wrong with the definition, local marketing? Did we all get bored of it?
I was recently interviewed by a journalist as a marketing expert for small businesses on this topic and I turned to trusty Wikipedia for a precise definition = “Hyperlocal content is characterised by three major elements. Firstly, it refers to entities and events that are located within a well defined, community scale area. Secondly, it is intended primarily for consumption by residents of that area. Thirdly, it is written by an individual resident in that area.”
Hyperlocal marketing is being used primarily in the context of search marketing (being found in Google et al), blogging and news content and with the shift in our new social media driven world, this is highly relevant. But I have an issue with this definition. What about if your local or hyper local area can’t support a commercially viable business?
But for me, it still comes down to what’s right for your business. And that is all about your target audience. For some businesses, your audience is UK wide or global and for others, say a local plumber or sandwich shop, your audience is hyper-local – it has to be by nature of the product or service you deliver.
The trend in online search is for users to type in longer search terms and geographical references as they strive to get more local and/or relevant search results. As the worldwide web balloons to billions of websites and users, it is obvious that this will happen.
Use of geo-location and mapping based tools such as Google Places and Google Maps, allows us locally focused businesses to create listings for free that will drive traffic to our website from our local community. This is highly relevant hyperlocal marketing.
The use of smart phones with GPS-based Apps, like the iPhone and Android, means that consumers can now search for businesses that are just around the corner from them, whether they are in their home city or further afield. It enables a business to reach out to consumers when they are are actively looking and are therefore ready to purchase. Something that is elusive and difficult to achieve with mainstream traditional marketing, like advertising in a newspaper or magazine.
Google enables us to serve up geo-targeted pay-per-click adverts with its Google Adwords offering. So you can focus your advertising on narrow geo-relevant audiences to your local business.
Local online directories like FreeIndex, Yell.com, TouchLocal and HotFrog, help consumers find local suppliers and services. So the trend for local or hyper-local has been prevalent for a while and is a widely-used marketing tool open to us small business owners.
We live in a much smaller world today with technology and social media but for me, it still comes down to what is right for your business. Don’t get swept along in the wave to blog, tweet and go hyper-local if it’s not right for your customers and your business.
So my top tip is don’t get caught up in the hype with hyper-local and stay focused on your target audience and how best to communicate with them. Discover where they look for information, how do they research into your product or service, be influenced, and finally make a decision to purchase. Understand those customer touchpoints and position your marketing messages there for optimum effect.
What Hyperlocal or Local Marketing have you tried? What’s worked for your small business?