Reaching consumers at a local level isn’t just for mom and pop stores. Major businesses like Chipotle and Walmart rely on effectively connecting with consumers in the communities where their businesses are. Unfortunately, according to a new survey from Forrester, The Localized Marketing Imperative, 77% of surveyed multinational brands find it very challenging to execute local-digital marketing strategies across all their stores. 

The good news is that there are digital marketing strategies that brands can deploy to reach consumers at the local level, which is particularly important now as consumers stick closer to home during the pandemic. 

Geofencing And Geotargeting Are Effective Ways To Reach Local Consumers

The Forrester study found that “73% of surveyed multi-location marketers agree that customers expect their experiences to align with their immediate context. One way multi-location businesses can deliver personalized, contextual experiences is by thinking and acting locally,” which can be achieved with properly executed geotargeting.

By serving ads to consumers when they enter a specific zip code or targeting certain consumers geographically based on publisher or first-party data, brands can create loyalty via coupons or other promotions. Geotargeting also allows large brands and businesses to curate messages based on qualities specific to the area with location-based messaging. For example, recently, how “open” an area is because of COVID-19 could be very relevant when using geotargeting.

Social Media Engagement At The Local Level Can Make Consumers Feel More Included 

Local social media engagement, an area that 31% of brands reported having no paid local strategy for, is another way by which brands can effectively reach local shoppers. For instance Lululemon has local ambassadors all over the world, whose pictures and bios appear on Lululemon’s social pages, website and in-store collateral. Brands can also post on Facebook pages for individual locations, chat with consumers who have concerns and engage in local partnerships that amplify their presence in communities beyond being a chain or big box store. 

Websites And Search Ads That Offer Information On Local Deals, Delivery And Inventory Can Drive Sales

Corporate websites for multinational brands that successfully and consistently offer local information are more likely to earn credibility, drive brand awareness and increase foot traffic. The rise of buy online pick up in store (BOPIS) during the pandemic, and consumer preference for in-store fulfillment options, is an indicator that consumers are willing and interested in physically going to stores, not just staying online. Once in stores, many consumers will pick up additional items. Websites that offer local promotions and accurate inventory information can also create repeat use and trust with consumers, which is important now that shoppers may be watching their wallets or reluctant to waste time browsing. 

“Customers are used to quickly searching for decision-making information anywhere, at any time, and on any device, and they expect the results to be tailored by their location,” found Forrester. The study also found that if shoppers can’t find the information on brand websites, they will find it other ways, through “search engines, ratings and reviews sites, and social networks.” Any of these third-party information sources could display inaccurate or unflattering information. In addition to accurate and informative websites, management of reviews at the local level should be a priority for brands as they work to create aligned strategies between local and national marketing efforts. 

Optimized searches using tools like local inventory feeds on Google and up-to-date information panels can be the beginning of a consumers’ shopping journey. “Consumers have become more invested in their communities since COVID, not less; and near-me search continues to grow. It’s going to become even more important for national-local brands, chains and retailers to execute effectively against local searches and local-social engagement, which is increasing not declining,” reported Marketing Land’s Greg Sterling. 

The effective deployment of targeted digital marketing strategies lets brands “meet” their local customers, offers support to local franchises and serves the current “shop local” moment, even as national brands. 

Are You Looking For New Ways To Reach Targeted Audiences?

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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