Let’s start with some quick-fire stats about the power of local sales:
I’m sure it hasn’t taken us long to convince you of the importance of local targeting. Given the influence locality can have on sales, opting for the right location for your business platform can make all the difference when it comes to profitability.
But what if you aren’t based in a high-traffic area?
Many business owners operate out of their private residence. This means you could have opened your computer repair company, for example, out of a small village with a population of a few hundred individuals. As far as local targeting is concerned, this isn’t going to offer a good opportunity. However, you may have a large town or even a city within an easily commutable distance — a local area that you could take advantage of to dramatically increase sales potential.
The problem is, you aren’t actually local. You are within a “catchment area” instead. How do you compete with truly local businesses when you live 10 miles away from the financial hub you are seeking to benefit from?
Virtual Phone Numbers
Local phone numbers give you instant local authority. An area prefix leads to the assumption that you are operating nearby. Caller ID from local landlines will often even display the name of the town or city the number is registered to. Employing a geo-targeted phone number for your business is a very simple way to achieve an improved local presence.
Acquiring local numbers is easy and affordable. You don’t need offices within the city or town; instead, you can use new technology and establish a virtual phone number.
Virtual phone numbers are numbers that you purchase through a service provider and route to your current phone systems — such as your business landline or mobile. It works by the provider registering a number to a local address on your behalf and using call forwarding to send all communications transmitted to that number to your phone line. In short, customers call the local number and they’re directed to you. You can also use the virtual phone number for outbound calls, so even when you dial from your mobile, it appears to customers as a local landline.
Local SEO & Online Marketing
Local SEO — or local search engine optimisation — is a vital tool for attracting business. 46% of all Google searches are looking for information on local businesses, events and opportunities. Putting yourself in front of these searchers is all but guaranteed to increase your sales, but how do you get there?
The first step you want to take is registering for Google My Business. This will give the search engine targeted information about your company, so you can appear for local searches more effectively. To do this, though, you’ll need a local address; otherwise, you’ll be geo-targeted to your current location, which won’t support the local marketing you are hoping for.
Again, the answer to this problem comes from the digital age.
You can register a virtual business address in much the same way as you can a telephone line. A virtual address enables you to pay a monthly fee for a recognised business address within the town or city you want to locally target without you having to purchase property or office space. Prices are very low but give you access to important local marketing tools.
The next thing you’ll want to do is optimise your website — or build a website if you don’t have one. Use locally-targeted language and content to let users know you are the business they are looking for.
Don’t just sell “computer repairs” — sell “computer repairs in Oxford”.
Build Community Links and Promote Locally
Digital tactics present great opportunities for local sales, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore more traditional marketing techniques. The power of a community presence cannot be underestimated — local promotion and community building can have major implications for brand awareness in your target area.
You don’t have to live in the area to be part of a local marketing drive.
Examples of locally-targeted marketing techniques you can employ include sponsoring events, supporting charities and groups, placing marketing materials within the community, and attending events like fairs and conferences.
Become a part of the local business landscape — make yourself known. Just because you live and work on the periphery of the local area doesn’t mean you have to be on the periphery when it comes to getting noticed by customers.