Big ideas? Think small.

Thinking small may be a big benefit

When you're a small business owner, it can be tempting to dream of global domination and the accompanying megayacht and other trinkets.

But a lot of the time thinking small can be the key to small business success. Consider this:

For the typical small business, 81% of your customers are from your immediate local area; this almost halves when looking at customers outside of your local area but within your state (41%) and halves again (22%) for customers outside your state. International customers make up just 7% of small business customers.

Put another way: for a ten dollar marketing budget, you can expect to get interest from eight local customers, OR 4 state customers, OR 2 national customers, or 0.7 international customers.

So it doesn't make sense to aim your marketing spend at 'broadcast' media such as television and radio because, by its nature, its reaching people who just won't respond. Far better value and better results will be seen by keeping most of your marketing and promotions local.

The benefits are threefold: you're targeting the market segment that is, by far, most likely to respond to your message; your marketing and promotions are likely to be far cheaper than their state or national counterparts; you build your local credibility and recognition — which is priceless.

Here, then, are six strategies for local-targeted marketing that is likely to achieve far better results than 'thinking global' and other such 'blue-sky' guff.

  • Flyers and brochures

    The humble flyer deserves far more credibility than it currently gets. For less than $100 — a fraction of a single TV commercial — you can get 500 full-colour flyers that can be used as in-store counter toppers or in a letterbox drop that will get results. Results may not be immediate, but that's the best part about a well-produced flyer: generally speaking, they're held onto, so a flyer delivered today is still doing its job six months later. That's pretty good value.

  • Vehicle signage

    If you've got a company car, a truck, or a fleet, turn it into a mobile advertisement.

    Part of your marketing challenge, especially on a local level, is making connections with customers and community: you want your business to be that lightbulb moment when someone asks, "Do you know a builder/florist/chimp trainer/web designer?"

    Mobile media — primarily your own vehicle, but don't ignore third party opportunities such as buses, trucks and scooters — is to get your business pitch out and about and into the local community. Over time you build an image — a brand — that puts you ahead of the pack, simply by being seen.

  • Banners, A-frames, flags and signs

    These things have come so far down in price in the last three years or so as to be almost considered a giveaway. For instance, an A-frame sign can be had for as little as $230, which is a fraction of what such a sign used to cost. And in terms of exposure, they can't be beat. Here's why:

    One of the ways marketing boffins and wonks measure the success of given media is by Cost per 1000 Exposures. Without going into the complexities of the calculations, this measurement gives a baseline across a variety of media of how much it costs to expose your message to 1000 people.

    Ready for this: on-premises signage is 100 times more cost efficient than TV advertising. That is, TV costs an average of $26.20 per 1000 people reached; on-premises signage costs just $0.23 per 1000 people reached.

    Not convinced? A car wash business in Belmont erected a new pole sign with a reader board promotion specials. The new sign increased overall business by 15% and paid for itself in just six weeks.

  • Local newspapers

    Local newspapers are doing it hard (and in many cases it's their own fault), but more often than not they have a very loyal following who tend to read from cover to cover. With such a captive audience, their advertising rates represent great value.

    Advertise a bit and you may find yourself in a good position to talk to them about ...

  • Advertorial

    Let's not mince words: Advertorial is marketing or advertising disguised to look like news content. What's the point? Well, to put it bluntly, people don't read ads; they do read news content. So if your advertisement looks like news content ...

    Sure, sure, it's all smoke and mirrors, but it works. In fact, advertorials are up to 500 times more likely to be read than a straight advertisement. In a split run test of two mail-order ads, the ad that looked like a magazine article (the advertorial) pulled 80% more orders than its traditional, advertisement-style counterpart.

    So, you can put it to your local paper for paid advertorial placement (which is much better value, too, than traditional ads) or be even sneakier and try to get your product launch, sales lunch, or other marketing-whatever in as legitimate "News" and get the placement for free.

  • Your web presence

    Unarguably your web presence is your best-value marketing weapon. But you need to use it wisely.

    Wasn't so long ago that we were being asked by most of our web clients to stretch the boundaries of photoshop credibility by making their 'global' headquarters appear something they were not. The thinking was that the web gave every company, regardless of size, the opportunity to compete in a global market. And of course, one had to look the part.

    Fair enough. And true enough. To a degree.

    But while you're thinking global domination, the stats simply don't agree. And nor, for that matter, does Google. In fact, Google's push this year is toward localisation. Two recent changes to their algorithm (called Knowledge Graph and Venice) allow them to more accurately match their search results to geography. By way of example, if I Googled "takeaway pizza" I will get search results primarily from Coffs Harbour and surrounds, not from Lincoln, Nebraska.  Makes sense?

    So far from Google being a tool for global domination, it is swiftly shifting focus to one of local domination. So make sure, at the very least, you have your web presence recognised by Google Local.

In brief

  • Why keeping it small may be a better marketing spend

    For most small businesses, 80% of your target market are in your immediate local area. It doesn't make financial sense to launch a national marketing campaign if most of your potential customers are, metaphorically, next door. 

    Thinking small — that is, local — may be key to big results for your marketing spend.

Think local, think saso.creative

If you think your marketing resources are too limited to pursue any regular promotional material, give saso.creative a call.
We understand the needs of small business — we’re one ourselves — and are happy to toss around some strategies that might just work for you.
Building your presence in the local area should be the cornerstone of your marketing efforts. We can help you make it happen.

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