A local market can be a hidden source of opportunities, that so often stay neglected or not explored enough.
Indeed, these days companies can’t wait to expand, conquer foreign markets and “leave” their native one alone, because selling abroad is no longer a forbidden fruit. And I can understand them. Stories about all those foreign goldmines (think of the USA, the UK, Canada..) cannot but beckon to try.
But is it a reason to ignore or give up on opportunities that can be found just next to you?
What’s so attractive about local marketing
Marketing you offer locally has many advantages. Hera are some of them:
- It’s easier to close deals in areas where your sales team can make more frequent face-to-face contacts.
- You speak the same language with your audience, share cultural background, might have contacts in common. This plays into your hands and adds credibility in the eyes of your potential customer.
- Local markets are usually less competitive.
- Doing business locally is easy to handle from the administrative perspective. Locally you don’t need to deal with all tax/legal/regulatory difficulties which, as a rule, appear when business goes abroad.
- While keeping your local market alive you differentiate your business risks. No matter what happens to your clients and sales channels abroad, your company will stay afloat due to your local presence.
When local marketing is a must
On the early stage of business life cycle, there is no better way to find customers than through the closest network. People who know you and trust you already can turn a blind eye to the lack of portfolio, reviews, some flaws in the processes. Even more, these people can honestly tell you when something goes wrong, provide precious feedback and help fix things before they go to mass production and create some serious damages. Here is when a strong local presence matters.
But not only when your business is young and vulnerable, the local market can be of a great support.
Whenever you decide to target a new segment of your potential customers, or explore new sales channels, or modify your offer – do it locally first. Consider this as a test drive. You can easily monitor the situation, build all the processes properly, identify potential risks on a smaller (and closer to you) local scale. If it works, you can just copy-paste the tested scheme and try it on other markets. This way you can avoid many unexpected surprises that might wait for you when you target the foreign market straight away.
And in general, unless your offer is strictly focused on overseas clients only (like vacation rental f.e.), forgetting or not penetrating enough into your local market is equal to losing a big chunk of money. Just like ignoring any other income opportunity.
How to get the most out of your local market
The rule is quite simple: use different marketing/sales channels. So the more channels you develop, the deeper you presence on the market will be.
Though, of course, in practice it’s more challenging than on the graph. So let me share some how-to tips with you:
1. Use your network effectively, but don’t rely on it purely
Don’t get me wrong. Networking, connections, referrals are very helpful. But you won’t “win” the market if you don’t learn how to sell to strangers. So don’t try to build your entire business on them. Explore other ways of attracting new customers. You can read about this in more details in one of our recent blog posts.
2. Personalize your approach
Avoid wide-scale marketing when you approach your potential clients locally. Instead of some generic messages, approach them with customized emails, LinkedIn messages, calls and make them feel a connection to your company right away. Keep their preferences, needs, problems in mind. You can easily figure them out – stalking on your potential clients locally is not that hard.
3. Be clear & simple with your call-to-action
If you target potential customers in the city you’re based in, there is no need to call/email them and start telling about your offer right away. Instead – invite them for a coffee, tell them you will pass by anyways – so why not to meet? This will prove your serious intentions and make it easier to start a conversation.
4. Explore your neighborhood
Don’t limit yourself with your own city. Get out and see what’s there around. Make the trip even more productive – email potential customers there and arrange a meeting beforehand. We often do that for our clients within cold emailing campaigns, and works pretty well.
Hope all these recommendations will be helpful for you too. Don’t hesitate to contact us in case of any questions.