When you run a brick-and-mortar store, focusing on customers in your area is key to growth. With a strategic local store marketing (LSM) plan, you can reach your target market and build long-lasting relationships with the right people every time.
In this guide, we’ll explain what LSM is and how you can successfully implement strong marketing techniques at a local level.
What is local store marketing?
Local store marketing—sometimes known as neighborhood marketing—describes the combination of strategies used to target customers within a specific area. This area is typically no more than a 5-mile radius around your physical store, as the goal of LSM is more so connecting with the community than achieving a broad reach.
When planning an LSM strategy, business owners are challenged with identifying what makes their local community unique. It requires a strong understanding of the people who live in your surrounding neighborhood(s), so you can cater your messages directly to them and increase sales.
Though LSM is frequently used by small businesses, it’s also an incredibly effective technique for franchisees and large-scale businesses with brick-and-mortar stores. By reaching out to potential customers on a local level, your message becomes far more personalized. This can not only help you gain more foot traffic, but it will also help you gain repeat customers who see you as a critical part of the community and spend 67% more than first-time visitors.
5 local store marketing strategies
Building an effective local store marketing plan requires you to blend your hyper-local market research with strategies that help you build relationships, rather than just expand your reach. In doing so, you can build a brand that your audience can fully relate to and they become loyal customers.
We’ll introduce you to some strategies you can use to boost your local marketing efforts and community presence below.
1. Engage on social media
Storefront signage may be able to draw in some new customers, but odds are, your audience is spending more time online than passing by your local store. With most internet users using social media for over two hours per day, social platforms provide endless opportunities to engage directly with consumers in your area.
Keeping an active social media presence for your local store or stores gives community members the opportunity to reach out to you, even when they’re not directly in your area. As you respond more, your customer engagement will rise and loyal followers may become loyal in-store shoppers, too.
Social media ads are also great tools for targeting customers in specific areas with localized content, so you can engage more with potential customers outside of your direct following.
Some businesses may even find it useful to create Facebook groups for their local customer base. As long as you have a team member who can serve as a strong moderator, this is a great way to prove that you’re a leader in fostering community while providing value to locals.
2. Create a customer loyalty program
Reengaging shoppers is extremely important in local store marketing. To compete with the modern convenience of ecommerce stores, you need to provide ongoing value that drives customers back to your physical location after their first visit. Customer loyalty programs can effectively make this happen.
As much as 77% of consumers will take part in loyalty programs. To encourage them to do so, you need to provide ongoing rewards that show them they can get more value out of shopping with you than any other brand. Examples of great reward systems may include:
- A coffee shop offering a free drink once every 10 visits
- An auto repair shop offering a discounted service once every five oil changes
- A grocery store with a tiered loyalty system that allows customers to increase ranks and get better freebies the more they spend
3. Collaborate with locals
Collaborating with local businesses and entrepreneurs is an excellent way to cultivate brand awareness within existing customer bases. Not only do local collaborations show your commitment to lifting up your community first, but they also help you instantly build trust.
Collaborations can take many forms. A local bakery and ice cream parlor may work together to create a limited edition dessert. A gym and med spa may partner on a social media giveaway. Professionals in the wedding industry often just cross-promote on each other’s websites.
Of course, you still want to be strategic about who you’re working with. The most valuable collaborations occur when you work with trusted local brands that share your core values, target similar audiences, and can provide consistent referrals to your business. For example, it would make much more sense for a luxury hair salon to partner with a high-end nail salon than a budget tattoo parlor, even though both options fall under the beauty industry.
Your city’s chamber of commerce can be a great resource as you’re looking for like-minded brands to collaborate with.
4. Take part in local events
Your potential customers don’t want you to just say you’re invested in the community—they want you to show it. Showing up at community events, including both nonprofit and for-profit ones, can be a great local store marketing opportunity for you.
When you have a booth at or simply talk to people at local events, you allow people to connect your face to your brand, making your company feel much more human. In fact, 84% of business leaders attribute a significant part of their brand’s success to event marketing. The power of face-to-face connections is still unmatched when it comes to neighborhood marketing.
Sponsoring events can further show your financial investment in the community outside of your brand. It can also be a great alternative to a physical presence at an event when your team has limited time to spare.
5. Reach out to local press
The majority of Americans trust their local news outlets to tell the truth. This high level of trust means that gaining positive press coverage—which can reach thousands of local customers—can drive an enormous amount of foot traffic to your store.
A large part of gaining press coverage is sending out press releases whenever your business has something noteworthy (or appealing to a mass audience) to report. However, building relationships with your local journalists can have the greatest impact in the long term, as you’ll continuously be considered for local listicles, expert quotes, and other online mentions.
The more frequently your site is mentioned and linked on news sites, which typically have strong page authority on Google, the higher your search engine rank can be for relevant local searches.
Lead your local area
Great local store marketing strategies are essential for any company with a brick-and-mortar store. While it requires quite a bit of market research and commitment, the results can be far superior to those you’d get through general marketing techniques. As you boost your community presence and become a staple part of local customers’ lives, your business will be more sustainable and experience improvements to your bottom line.
As you continue mastering neighborhood marketing, you can start pairing your localized marketing efforts with enhanced relationship-building techniques to drive further loyalty. Get our relationship marketing tips to create the strong customer base you need.