A local marketing strategy is key to any company, whether it’s a small local business or one that’s part of a larger franchise. According to a comScore study, 78% of people who conduct a local mobile search follow up with an offline purchase. But local marketing takes some effort and a bit of planning to pay off in the long run. Here are the steps we recommend taking to create a winning local marketing strategy:

Step 1: Set Your Goals and Budget

The first thing you need to do is to establish your marketing goals and then set a feasible marketing budget. Goals will guide your planning by focusing your energy on one specific target. And a budget will keep you from going overboard, and push you to find inexpensive and clever ways for your marketing campaigns.

Step 2: Examine Your Target Audience

Consider important questions about your customers such as where they search for information—social media, local blogs or magazines, online reviews? And how many of them live near your business? Hint: Connectivity’s Reviews and Social Media Monitoring product can help you find which platforms your audience is most active on and what they’re saying about your business. Plus, you can use Connectivity’s Customer Insights product to track customers’ geographic proximity, their demographic information (household income, marital status, etc.), their interactions with your business, and what’s leading them to you (via website, social media, Google My Business, etc.).

Step 3: Update Your Business Listings

Online business listings such as Google My Business are great at building trust and bringing in local customers. GMB not only gives customers up-to-date information about local businesses, it provides an option to call the business directly from the listing, so searchers can just press an icon to contact you. Avoid the common mistakes many businesses make with their listings by reading our handy guide to online listings.

Step 4: Take Advantage of Local SEO Terms

Mobile searches are on the rise. So it’s important to include both general and local SEO keywords to capture your local audience’s attention. Use specific terms such as “flower shop Seattle” instead of just “flower shop.” And use the names of neighborhoods within your city, such as “flower shop university district Seattle.” You can improve your SEO campaigns with Google Analytics, here’s how.

Step 5: Keep Your Online Content Local

Write your blog for your local audience. If you have a gardening center, make blog posts specific to your city and even specific to different neighborhoods. By taking a more personal approach to online promotion, you present yourself as knowledgeable about your community. Consider connecting with local bloggers to strengthen your influence online.

Step 6: Build Community Relationships

To create a memorable presence in your customers’ minds, you need to put a face to your business. An effective way to do this is to get involved in your community by sponsoring local charities and participating in local events. This is a great way to meet your customers in person and develop a loyal following.

Step 7: Offer Special Deals and Discounts

Once you’ve caught your target audience’s attention with relevant and engaging material, and established a relationship, you need to give them a reason to buy something from your business. Consider sending email campaigns or posting on social media with exclusive offers (a 15% discount for walk-in visitors or free deliveries within a certain radius).

Lots of businesses think globally, but don’t forget that many customers like local goods and services. Follow the steps above, and you’ll lead local consumers to your business and encourage them to make that purchase!

Top image credit: Viktor Hanacek

Dylan Lake is Demand Generation Manager for Connectivity.