Clients are confused.
They're not really sure where they should focus their attention. Should they focus on local business listings, reviews or leads? What about content, social media and call tracking - how much attention do they dedicate to those channels and tactics?
Local clients want the most bang for their buck, but most of the time, they don't have a plan. They definitely don't know which local marketing tactics will produce the results they want.
The worst part?
What works for one local business, may not work well for another.
There's confusion about what works best for local marketing
Experts recommend a variety of different tactics.
"Focus on your local listings. No, no, no, you should be investing in Facebook Ads. If you're focused on content marketing and SEO you'll have lots of free traffic."
The suggestions are typically very broad, incredibly vague and focused on the wrong things. Nine times out of 10, the advice from these "experts" misses the mark. This leads to a tangent of unfocused ideas that suck up a client's time and budget, but fails to produce results.
Your clients are listening to the wrong people.
Listen to bad advice and your local marketing campaigns will fail
There's a problem here.
What is bad advice? Where does bad advice come from?
A better question would be to ask where great advice comes from. The answer is simple and obvious. It comes from your client's customers.
Does this mean their customers are experts?
It means you're able to listen to what your client's customers say and you're able to watch what they do. This is how you determine what matters most for your local marketing campaigns.
That doesn't sound right, does it?
How are your client's customers the best source for information? They're typically the least knowledgeable group you can draw data from. Why would asking them for advice work?
Your client's customers know what they want
They don't have to be experts on your industry, business, product or service. They just need to know (a.) what they want and (b.) how they buy.
There's a lot packed into that simple statement, what does that mean exactly?
It means you know your target audience / ideal customer. These are the customers who are both willing and able to buy. These are the people your clients want to turn into long term customers. Your job as an agency or consultant is to learn everything you can about their customers.
This means you know...
1. The demographics and psychographics of their target audience.
2. Where to find customers that match the demographics and psychographics above.
3. Know the books they read, shows they watch, brands they buy/follow, etc.
4. Their fears - in the form of frustrations, problems, and objections.
5. Their buying process - what they want, what they look for, where they go to find answers, etc.
6. The authority figures they trust, follow or listen to.
Do these details matter all that much from a client standpoint?
Any experienced agency professional or consultant will tell you they understand the importance of these details. Here's the surprising part about these details.
Most small businesses (and many medium-sized businesses) don't have this data.
Most of the time, clients believe they already know the answers to these questions. Often times your clients are able to rattle off comprehensive details about their customers.
But, are they right?
The bad news about their data? It falls apart under close scrutiny. Their customer personas are often based on imaginary or non-existent data, they don't have answers for their customer fears, and their buying process isn't in line with what customers actually do.
Most businesses don't know what their customers want
That's a pretty bold statement to make. The bad news is that it's true.
How do we know?
Research from CB Insights, found that most startups / small businesses failed because of "the lack of a market need for their product." This is the number one reason, cited by 42 percent of the startups in their study, for business failure.
That's sobering and all, but I thought this was about local marketing. How does this apply to local businesses?
Local businesses are in the same boat. Most of your clients don't understand their customers. They don't know what their customers want, so they're likely to get everything else - market need for their product, pricing and even marketing - wrong.
Your clients are the centers of their own universe.
The bad news? Your clients won't listen to you
Sure, you know you're telling the truth, but they don't know that. You could be the helpful agency that's looking out for them, or, the greedy agency trying to pad your pockets.
Truth is, they need to listen to you.
The information you get from listening to their customers, that's the data they need to determine (with a reasonable degree of certainty) what matters most, in local marketing, for them.
The vast majority of local marketing priorities can be broken down by:
1. Process, e.g. the research, analysis, development and promotion phases of a campaign. Each phase of the campaign gives you a clear indication of the resources and platforms you'll need to focus your attention on.
2. Purpose refers to the specific goals of a client's campaign.
Process is, for the most part, fairly straightforward. It's systems and procedures you use in your agency to get the job done.
What about purpose?
Purpose is a bit more complicated. With local marketing, you may be focused on more than one goal (e.g. customer feedback, driving traffic, generating leads, etc.). It's important to focus your attention on the strategies and tactics that matter most.
Want to better understand your client's customers?
Looking to help customers find your clients?
Looking to qualify potential leads for your client?
Working to educate, inform and attract incoming clients?
Engaging one-on-one with prospects?
Did you notice a theme?
There's a lot of overlap with these strategies and tactics. Reviews, for example, can be used to attract customer attention, convert customers on the fence, defuse objections and more.
Here’s the thing with each of these strategies.
They require investment and they take time to mature. Often times it can take as long as six months to a year to fully realize a positive return on investment. That’s discouraging for many businesses, at first.
Many don’t feel it’s worth it to wait that long.
But the opposite is true. These strategies and tactics, once fully implemented require maintenance and ongoing support, but they come with significant benefits.
The upfront cost starts high, but decreases dramatically over time. The returns start low and slow, growing dramatically over time.
It’s something your clients look for…
Because your clients and their customers decide what's most important.
Your clients won't be able to get the results they're looking for unless they:
1. Understand their goals (e.g. lead gen, education, closing sales, etc.)
2. Understand their customers (who they are, what they want, how they want it, etc.)
Understanding is the key to a successful local marketing campaign. The more your clients know about their customers and their business, the easier it is to prioritize local marketing.
A lack of understanding leads to marketing confusion
Are your clients confused about local marketing? If so, it's a good indication that they're missing an important piece of the puzzle.
Most clients are confused.
They're not really sure where they should focus their attention. Your clients don't have to deal with confusion. With the right strategy and tactics, they'll know which parts of their local marketing campaign matters most.