No matter how local or small-scale a business is, there are digital marketing strategies that can help it thrive, according to Justin Wenokur, a digital marketing specialist. As Director of Strategy for Cox Media Group Local Solutions, his job is to travel the country in support of all of CMG’s local television and radio stations to ensure that they and their advertisers get access to all of those strategies.

When asked whether business owners should focus more on local marketing or national and regional, he says it’s all about local. “The simple answer here is an adage in marketing, but it is as true more than ever,” he says. “You might be a large national or regional company, but your customers are local.” 

Here, we sit with Wenokur and delve into the top tactics for marketing a business on the local level.

Why does local beat national when it comes to digital marketing?

The way we buy might be changing, but we will never be so far away from buying locally, and many of us prefer to buy from people whose messages we feel speak to where we live. 

Ford is one of the biggest automotive manufacturers in the world, yet as a Texan, I still regularly see their ads claiming their Ford F150 is a truck as tough as Texas. It is not surprising to know that it is the most sold truck in Texas. Ford knows what Texans care about in a truck, and they market to us in a way that tells us they understand.

Another reason is that the tools to market locally are so readily available to you and your business and don’t require near as much effort as you might think. Finding a marketing partner that understands local marketing is finding one that probably also leverages many different technologies that you can leverage at a reduced cost due to having those technologies spread across multiple customers. This tech will allow you to make every message unique while leveraging the scale provided to you by said tech.

Can you list three effective tactics for marketing a local business?

  • Improve your local SEO. The map section of Google gets nearly 50% of clicks when it is served on the search engine results page. Getting reviews locally and posting regularly to google my business pages will help this significantly.
  • Local listing optimization, which is also known as NAP consistency, stands for Name, Address, and Phone number and helps make sure this information is consistent across the web.  
  • Build custom and local landing pages for your local ad campaigns in addition to local organic search rankings. No one wants to land on a page that serves the entire nation or metroplex when we have performed a local search.

What role does SEO play in local marketing?

A huge one! Local SEO and website SEO are not the same things. They take two completely different types of effort. Our company has a staff dedicated to each that work together, but perform different tasks because success comes very differently for the two.

What are three tips you have for small businesses wanting to start local marketing?

  • Always have Facebook ads running in your neighborhood. It is cost-effective, hyper-targeted, and incredibly effective at communicating who your brand is why local patrons should know it.
  • Leverage the targeting capabilities you have in Google Ads so that you can be very specific in your ad copy. Mentions of local establishments in ad copy like “next to the___ post office increase click through rates. But it’s only effective if you work hard to manage your targeting preferences in Google.
  • Email marketing to your local community with a special offer that they can only receive if they live in specific zip codes. The trick is only emailing people in those zip codes to eliminate any waste.

What else should entrepreneurs know when marketing their business locally? 

COVID-19 has only increased the need for localized marketing. People want to patronize businesses, but the way we do that needs to change. Making it possible for people to engage with your brand by following safe practices tells people you care about their health and family.  Make it easy for me to be a customer, and I will be because I am passionate about small businesses near me surviving.