The Worst Local Marketing Mistakes You Might Be Making

By Raubi Perilli

      Jul 25, 2018     Solutions    

If you're in charge of marketing a small business and seeing lack-luster results, you might be making one of these top local marketing mistakes.  

Ignoring Customer Reviews

Reviews matter a lot to customers. They use them to decide whether or not to do business with you, and they expect you to respond when they write reviews of their own. Consider the data that 84% of customers expect brands to respond to them on social media within 24-hours, and 72% of Twitter users expect a response within an hour. If you want to save or maintain your customer relations, you need to listen and respond.  

Here are a few ways you can better respond to reviews and provide good online customer service:  

  • Set up alerts to your team whenever someone leaves a review.
  • Create a hierarchy for who responds to reviews and when (this prevents your account from going dark when someone goes on vacation).
  • Develop a uniform policy to handle customer complaints regardless of who responds.
  • Reward team members if they hit certain milestones without a delayed response or missed review.

With this process, you can improve your review response rate over time and your customers will appreciate the extra care.  

Limiting Your Online Presence to Your Website and Social Media

Your name can be found all across the internet, whether you control the message or not. From Google Reviews and Yelp comments to various social media pages and business profiles, people are likely talking about your brand and sharing how they feel about it with others. You need to take over this message.  

Actively create profiles on these sites if you don’t have them already. Then, keep a list of your business directory profiles and regularly check them to make sure your content is accurate and up-to-date. This is a great way to expand your web presence and drive more traffic to your website.

Trying to Compete with Big-Name Brands

As a small business, you can’t compete with McDonald's or Geico or Starbucks. However, one of the most common local marketing mistakes is owners trying to take on the big brands with their small business.  

You’re better off using your marketing efforts to connect with customers in a local way. A few examples of this include:

  • Forming strong relationships with local community organizations, non-profits, and sports teams.
  • Creating products with a local twist, possibly by sourcing your ingredients or materials locally.
  • Limiting your marketing efforts to highly-niche channels rather than competing on a national stage.

There’s no way your marketing budget can compete with Geico. You’re better off connecting with customers with a different message and in a more meaningful way.

Related: 3 Ways to Build Local Brand Recognition That Attracts Customers

Ignoring a Local Approach to SEO

As you develop your business website and online marketing materials, make sure you incorporate local terms into your website copy, ad keywords, and overall promotion strategy. It takes two sends to add phrases like “near me,” or “on Main Street,” to your promotional strategy.  

Local keywords have less competition than basic ones, making them easier to rank for. They also can be more effective when customers search for specific terms that are relevant to your brand and location.

Keeping Too Much of Your Marketing Strategy In-House

There are only so many hours in the workday, and your marketing goals might extend beyond what a few people can do -- especially if your team is balancing marketing efforts with operations, human resources, and accounting. You may think you’re saving money by keeping your marketing in-house, but you’re actually limiting your experience and available hours.  

Highlight a few digital marketing factors you want to outsource to see what it’s like working with an agency or professional contractor. Once you remove the marketing burden from your shoulders and handing it off to a professional, you can focus on serving the new customers who start coming in.  

Relying on Close Friends and Relatives to Do Your Marketing

This isn’t to say that you can’t tap into your group of peers for help in your marketing efforts, but it helps if they already have a marketing background and work with businesses in the area professionally.  

One of the most common local mistakes is business owners leaning on cousins, nieces, and family friends to manage their digital marketing strategies. They can give someone experience and get marketing services at a cheap price. However, you could be in for more headaches than help if these friends and family members aren’t as experienced as they say they are.  

When in doubt, turn to the professionals. It’s better to hire industry experts to manage your website or improve your social media, especially when you’re just starting out.

Related: How to Market Professional Services in Your Local Community

Not Reviewing Marketing and Promotion Results

Many small business owners are so focused on doing their work and completing their projects that there’s hardly time to review their performance. They might run a social media contest, but forget to report on how many new people engaged with their brand because of it.  

Regardless of your industry or company size, set aside time to conduct post-mortems on your marketing efforts. This can even be as simple as reviewing your marketing efforts at a monthly meeting and taking steps to improve them in the month ahead.      

Stop Making Local Marketing Mistakes

There are just a few of the most common local marketing mistakes that we find in nearby businesses. However, there are others that limit the odds of success for start-ups and small companies.

If you’re a small business owner, you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Reach out for help and an expert opinion. MyArea Network specializes in helping local businesses get the most out of their marketing. We'd love to stop you from missing opportunities or wasting marketing dollars on the wrong efforts. Contact us today to see how we can help you set up a solid, foolproof marketing plan for your local business.