If you’re a brick and mortar business, or your business relies on local customers, you may think marketing is just for online businesses or big companies. But think again! There are plenty of marketing strategies designed to help you boost your local presence and earn more business from within your community.

Here are 3 strategies to help you win the local marketing war, plus a closer look at businesses who made these ideas work for them.

#1: Website Redesign

If your business isn’t quite meeting your customer’s needs, a solid redesign may be in order. However, redesigning your website goes beyond getting a whole new look and feel. A successful makeover should be customer-focused and deliver a better way to meet their specific needs.

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Customers are using smartphones and tablets more and more to access information about local businesses, from looking up business hours to booking air travel. With this in mind, Bering Air knew it was time to bridge the gap between their website and how their customers use the Internet.

While they have hubs in three cities across Western Alaska, the majority of Bering Air’s customers live among the region’s 32 villages. What they found was that getting Internet access in these areas often proved difficult without a smartphone. Plus, because their existing website wasn’t mobile-friendly, they were fielding too many calls about scheduled arrivals and departures each day.

By redesigning their website into one that’s mobile-friendly, they created a better online experience for their customers. They can now search for and book flights directly from the palm of their hand, whether at home or on the go.

Bering Air website
The redesigned, mobile-friendly website of Bering Air.

#2: Local Media

A great way to spread the word about your brick and mortar business is through local media support. And you don’t need a publicity stunt to garner attention. Even a simple event that takes place annually can get your business the local exposure it needs.

So that’s exactly what the owners of WildFin American Grill did. Their Issaquah location was the first in the Northwest to introduce rooftop honey – in fact, their rooftop is used only to produce honey for restaurant guests. After all, WildFin is known as “the catch of the Northwest,” and harvesting their own pure, organic honey is just one way they keep things truly local.

In Fall 2013, the restaurant’s five beehives were ready for the first harvest of the season. The seasonal event was featured on an episode of Gardening with Ciscoe, which airs on Seattle’s KING5.  Local personality Ciscoe Morris joined in on the fun, from checking out the healthy hives to taste testing a few dishes featuring the signature rooftop honey. Watch the episode here.

Wildfin Rooftop Honey Announcement

 

#3: Brand Hashtags

Creating a brand hashtag helps your business connect with and stay top of mind for customers. When you repeatedly use your hashtag in social marketing campaigns, this consistency will lead to familiarity and loyalty over time.

But this strategy isn’t just for online businesses. Local businesses can also take advantage of the trend – and that’s just what Lake Hills Orthodontics did when they repurposed their catchy tagline into their brand hashtag, #comesmilewithus.

smile gallery
Gallery of #comesmilewithus photos displayed at the Lake Hills Ortho website.

Lake Hills Ortho offers services for all ages, but their primary audience is teens who need braces – and these customers also love to hang out on Instagram. Knowing this, Lake Hills Ortho launched an Instagram branding campaign using their signature hashtag, #comesmilewithus, which is used to market everything from blog posts to promotions to fun times at the office.

And because the hashtag is simple, short and easy to spell, it’s easy for their teen customers to remember when tagging Lake Hills Ortho in their own photos. By using the hashtag in this way, everyone is working together to build and grow a community around the practice, online and off.

Over to You

Tell us what strategies your business used to win the local marketing war?