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When it comes to marketing, it can be said that there are only ten winners — those who show up or pay for a spot on Page 1 of Google's search results (we're looking at you, big business…)
This begs the question, "How can my business compete and win in such a competitive space for local small businesses?"
The answer is simple…
…Play a different game.
Play the game that big businesses can't play — and beat them to new opportunities and customers.
That different game is Hyperlocal Marketing.
This guide will give you the complete hyperlocal marketing playbook so you, like thousands of other small businesses, can own your market and beat big businesses at winning more clients in your local neighborhoods.
Here's what we'll cover:
- The Big Picture: There’s a Shift in Marketing
- Deep Dive: Let’s Start With the Old Way
- The New Way: What is Hyperlocal Marketing?
- Why Hyperlocal Marketing is the New Way to Scale and Grow Your Business
- The Step-by-Step Guide to Owning Your Market with Hyperlocal Marketing
- Hyperlocal Marketing Depends on Great Marketing
Big Picture: There's a Shift in Marketing
If there's one constant with marketing, it's always changing.
Right now, there's a change going on that's phasing out most of the commonly accepted, universal marketing practices that have dominated the landscape over the last 5-10 years.
In short: the old way doesn't work for small businesses like it once did.
The "old" approach to marketing
What do we mean when we say the old way? Well, there are actually three "old" ways. More on these in a bit, but for now, let's take a high-level look.
Untargeted inbound: consisting primarily of social media and traditional forms of PR.
- This approach worked when social media was in its infancy, and PR firms were instrumental in crafting messages for large audiences to drive interest. When the competition was low, i.e., companies weren't expected to use social media, it worked well.
Untargeted outbound: channels such as newspaper ads and billboards.
- While they served an excellent purpose for general branding, these marketing channels were left behind when new opportunities for better, deeper prospect information and insights became available.
Targeted inbound: tactics including SEO optimization and content creation
- In the early days of search engine marketing, SEO optimization was a new skill mastered by a small group of content creators. However, over the years, everyone has been optimizing, and it's more challenging than ever for content to rank.
With over-saturation and changing consumer preferences causing these channels to lose impact, it opens the door for a new way of marketing: hyperlocal marketing.
We'll dive deeply into hyperlocal marketing and how to do it effectively later.
However, there are a few things to know about why hyperlocal marketing is ushering in a new way of marketing.
The "new" approach to marketing
In contrast to the "old" way of approaching marketing, hyperlocal marketing is a highly targeted outbound strategy for connecting with potential customers.
Hyperlocal tactics are community-centric, targeted, and multichannel. By combining these elements into a cohesive strategy, it benefits you in a few key ways:
Hyperlocal marketing future-proofs your customer acquisition.
With hyperlocal marketing, you don't have to rely on third parties to provide access to new leads and opportunities.
Let's say you're a real estate agent relying on Zillow leads for most of your pipeline. If one day Zillow decides to change its commission structure or limit the number of leads per month, it's totally out of your control.
What happens if you're a small business relying on Angie's List for all your customers if they start charging triple for the same amount of leads?
The point is that with a hyperlocal strategy, you can combine public records data with a consistent, methodical approach to outbound prospecting to take control of and protect your pipeline without relying on a large corporation or third party to do so for you.
Hyperlocal marketing beats big business by more effectively connecting with prospects
Simply put, big businesses are not able to hyperlocal market well.
Home Depot or Lowe's, for instance, aren't going to call every property owner in every neighborhood across the country to build one-to-one relationships.
While big businesses like Home Depot and Lowe's are often convenient and carry significant inventory, they do not possess the expertise a small business owner has on the area and the local clientele.
When thinking about building relationships and long-term customers, they’re not able to compete on many levels.
Hyperlocal marketing is a relatively easy channel to stand-up
Standing up a successful hyperlocal marketing strategy only takes four things: access to the right tools, impactful messaging, local expertise, and consistency.
With all three of those things in place, you'll be able to build a winning strategy with far less overhead and requirements than some "old" marketing channels.
For instance, compared to SEO optimization, a highly over-saturated technical skill often taking years to master, hyperlocal marketing has a much lower barrier to entry.
So, all this begs the question…
Why are we writing this?
At PropertyRadar, we've been helping small and medium-sized businesses discover, connect with, and acquire new properties, clients, and customers since 2007.
Over that time, we've learned a lot about small business marketing, and we're happy to share those learnings whether or not you choose to use PropertyRadar.
What we've learned, we share for free. Take some or all, but the information has worked for thousands of investors, Realtors, mortgage professionals, and home services companies from coast to coast and we believe you’ll find great value in the approach, tactics, and tips.
Deep Dive: Let’s Start with The Old Way
As we covered before, the “old” way was so popular for so long because, well, it worked.
Before the information age, the best way to connect with audiences was to do it at scale with generic messaging, hoping that your advertisement would resonate with a small percentage of prospects.
Targeted campaigns as we know them today simply didn’t exist. The primary method was to expose your advertisement to as many people as possible.
However, as greater access to information became widely available, all types of marketing became bucketed into four distinct quadrants:
The Great Debate: inbound vs. outbound marketing
Hubspot defines inbound marketing as "a strategy where you create content or social media tactics that spread brand awareness so people learn about you, might go to your website for information, show interest in your product, and potentially make a purchase."
Inbound can look like creating blog posts, social media, website and SEO optimization, email nurture campaigns to warm leads, and more.
Hubspot goes on to define outbound marketing as a "traditional method of marketing seeking to push messaging out to potential customers."
Outbound can include cold calling, list building, direct mail, events, cold email marketing, and more.
It's essential to remember that outbound marketing's interrupting nature is not necessarily bad.
When you create ads with thought, care, and purpose, your outbound messaging can be surprising, delightful, and extremely helpful to your audience.
For example, a homeowner has multiple broken floor tiles because of shifting. They really need a tile expert to come and make repairs but haven't had time to search for a tile specialist.
Suddenly, a tile person sends a postcard saying they specialize in repairing tile in that local area. The homeowner can pick up the phone and call the tile specialist that minute and arrange the appointment.
The homeowner's persistent pain point got addressed, and the tile specialist landed a new job — and potentially a lifelong customer.
Each type of marketing has its pros and cons:
✅ Higher intent audience - They are actively searching for a solution
✅ Conversations are often initiated by the audience when they fill out a form or request more information
❌ Content needs to be optimized so your audience can find it
❌ Someone who is not part of your ICP may become an unqualified lead
❌ The algorithms around social and paid advertising are constantly changing. What worked last week might not work today.
✅ Marketing is targeting the right ICP
✅ Marketing and sales team can see more immediate results
✅ Can be scaled for a sales team. You can give a team member a phone script and a list of numbers and complete daily call-downs.
❌ Your audience is not expecting the outreach and may not appreciate the sales call or email
❌ There are increased regulations around outbound marketing that every marketer should be aware of.
Targeted vs. untargeted marketing:
Targeted and untargeted marketing have their purposes.
Targeted marketing relies on marketing to specific people. While seemingly ideal, it's often more expensive and difficult to achieve.
✅ Higher likelihood your message will land with the right audience
✅ You can tailor your message to be more specific to the pain points and problems of the target audience.
❌ Acquiring the data to find the right audience is often tricky.
❌ Matching a message to a group relies on an intimate knowledge of the audience.
✅ Cheaper and more accessible than targeted marketing efforts.
✅ You can reach many more people than highly targeted marketing efforts.
❌ You'll likely reach many more people not within your total addressable market.
❌ It's often "hope and pray" that your marketing will find the right people at the right time.
Leveraging a combination of tactics provides 4 types of marketing:
While using the marketing quadrant helps us understand the tactical nature of marketing efforts, the reality is that you'll fall within one of the four segments that utilize a combination of tactics:
- Untargeted Inbound
- Untargeted Outbound
- Targeted Inbound
- Targeted Outbound
Each segment can be the right option depending on the business and customer base, so here's a quick overview of the four types of marketing:
Untargeted Inbound Marketing
Untargeted inbound would be social media content and publicity campaigns. This type of marketing can be easy for some business owners to do, but it can be hard to reach the right client in your local area this way.
In this case, small businesses are often told to use this form of marketing. It's easy to do, but it's hard to make it perform and actually drive new customer growth.
Untargeted Outbound Marketing
Untargeted outbound is things like every-door direct mail (hitting everyone in a specific area), television ads, radio ads, billboards, or other methods intended to reach a broad audience.
This type of marketing is expensive and ineffective as it does not put your messaging in front of the right people. As a result, you can spend a lot of money reaching out to people who do not need your services.
Targeted Inbound Marketing
Information published online through popular industry platforms, like Zillow and Yelp, or published with high SEO optimization, are inbound high-targeting.
Your message is likely picked up by the right people interested in your services, making it an effective marketing tool. However, inbound high-targeting marketing is expensive and saturated.
Targeted Outbound Marketing
The most cost-effective marketing is highly targeted outbound methods, such as direct outreach email, direct social media messages, door knocking, phone calls, referrals, and geographic location.
In particular, this is the quadrant hyperlocal marketing lives in.
Given that we’ve taken a deep dive into the “old” ways of marketing, it’s time we shift our focus to the “new” and dive head first into all things hyperlocal marketing.
The New Way: What is Hyperlocal Marketing?
Hyperlocal marketing is community-centric and value-driven targeted marketing in which small and medium-sized businesses find and connect with new customers, clients, and opportunities more effectively than big businesses.
Let's break that down.
Hyperlocal marketing is community-centric marketing
It leverages specific areas, neighborhoods, or geographies with common characteristics and values. Those shared components are critical to hyperlocal marketing campaigns.
Hyperlocal marketing is value-driven
It deploys messaging providing educational information rather than solely pitching services and products to large groups of dissimilar individuals.
Hyperlocal marketing is targeted
It's outbound and directed to a specific audience with defined similar characteristics.
For example, rather than launching the same campaign across the US, a hyperlocal marketer would create specific segments of their target audience, tailor their messaging to them, and then reach out.
But hyperlocal marketing isn't for everyone. It's best suited for small and medium businesses with local expertise.
There's a knowledge and insight component to hyperlocal strategies. If you're doing hyperlocal marketing, you're a local expert, and big businesses cannot be local experts everywhere.
Hyperlocal marketing is multichannel
Leveraging several marketing channels is the best way to implement a hyperlocal strategy. However, relying on one form of marketing limits your visibility and inhibits brand recognition.
The more channels you can incorporate into your strategy, the better your odds of building trust and familiarity with your target audience.
Why Hyperlocal Marketing is the New Way to Scale and Grow Your Business
Consider the benefits of hyperlocal marketing
Simply put, what matters most in marketing is acquiring new business.
The challenge for everyone, though, is cutting through the noise that property owners and homeowners are exposed to daily to get noticed, repeatedly, in order to own your market.
Hyperlocal marketing does this. It allows you to cut through the competitive noise to discover new opportunities, connect with the property and homeowners, grow your business, and ultimately own your market.
And because it’s not a viable option for big businesses (although they may try), small local businesses can enjoy other benefits, including:
Spending money on the right leads
Marketing is an investment.
Where you invest will yield different results. Instead of placing your bet on channels with low targeting (and a high hope and prayer margin), hyperlocal marketing allows you to spend your budget on the people most likely to need and want your services and offers.
Connecting with the right customers before your competitors
One of the most significant benefits of hyperlocal marketing is that it allows you to find your customer before the competition finds the customer.
Other competitors in your area will be reaching out to the customers in your market. To boost your chances of winning their business, contact them first by using smarter targeting.
Reaching customers before they search for other businesses
It’s essential to be competing in the outbound marketing space so that your customers hear about you first.
You want your customers to hear about you before they go searching for somebody. When they already know your name, it’s easier for them to call you than it is to search online and look for someone else.
Another tangible benefit of highly targeted outbound marketing is that when people have your number, they can pick up the phone and call you that minute to get the help they need. They don’t have to dig through the internet to find a trustworthy service provider.
Realizing higher ROI
Because of all the benefits above, you’ll get a much higher ROI with hyperlocal marketing than with social media or PR. For example, if you own a spa and want to attract high-net-worth women in your area, you can reach out to them directly rather than indirectly.
Consider if hyperlocal marketing is right for your business
Hyperlocal marketing is an excellent fit for small businesses that want to build impactful relationships with their audience by targeting the right people in their city or town.
For example, let’s say you want to reach out to middle-aged women who own a home in some of the nicer areas of North Fresno. Or that you want to hit up homes worth over $600,000 in Meridian, Idaho, which have pools.
These are excellent hyperlocal marketing criteria because they are geographically centered, property type-focused, and demographically targeted.
Given its specificity, these are the businesses that can benefit the most from hyperlocal marketing:
- Real estate agents looking for new listings
- Real estate investors looking for new deals
- Home services companies like landscapers, roofers, etc. looking for clients in need of their services
- Small local businesses like restaurants, spas, and retail chains looking for new customers in a specific neighborhood and with a certain income level
- Medical and dental offices looking for new patients nearby
Check out our guide to hyperlocal marketing for real estate agents, investors, and general contractors if you’re in the real estate or home services industries.
How to get started with hyperlocal marketing
Let’s review: Hyperlocal marketing is community-centric, value-driven, and targeted.
These three essential qualities of hyperlocal marketing are the tactical ideas behind the elements of any marketing campaign: your audience, message, and channel.
To get started with Hyperlocal Marketing, you need to define the same three components in terms of:
- Community-centric audience
- Value-driven message
- Targeted channels to reach your audience
However, one more critical step to effective hyperlocal marketing is consistency.
Owning your market doesn’t happen with a single mailer or phone call. It happens over time by leveraging a consistent hyperlocal marketing approach. To own your market, you must explore a multichannel strategy.
Mixing different types of outreach can help you achieve the 30 touchpoints typically proven to give you the mindshare of a customer.Let's break it down...
The Step-by-Step Guide to Owning Your Market With Hyperlocal Marketing:
Step 1: Define your offer or service before beginning
The first step is to be clear about what you offer. Then, think through this and clarify your offer. Finally, consider not only what you do, but your differentiators.
Step 2: Identify your total addressable market (TAM)
Whether you're a roofer, Realtor, or Investor, you must first understand your total addressable market.
For small businesses, the total addressable market is often the home and property owners in your business's city. Keep in mind that for hyperlocal marketing, you're leveraging your local knowledge and expertise to become the trusted source.
For example: If you're a Realtor looking to find downsizers, you may create a TAM of homeowners over 65+. For them, downsizing isn't the only need—it's finding a home to downsize to. Given your local knowledge, you can help them sell and move into a more appropriate home in the right neighborhood.
Step 3: Segment your TAM into specific audiences
Most companies stop at step 1. They buy a list of properties and homeowners and blast them with the same message.
While that may be part of your overall marketing campaign when appropriate, it's often not a viable way to provide value-based messaging because the 'value' of one person is likely not the 'value' of another.
For example: Using public records and demographic data, you may break your audience into homeowners with 2-story homes, those with pools, and those on large lots. These downsizer segments can allow you to create a message that more likely resonates with each audience member…
Step 4: Match your offer to the audience with a unique message
Now it's time to craft your marketing message.
On your postcard, you might say something like:
"Tired of carrying laundry up and down stairs?"
"Tired of cleaning your neighbor's tree debris from your pool?"
"Tired of clearing brush every spring?"
Step 5: Tailor your message to your marketing channels
Remember: Hyperlocal marketing is not a once-and-done thing. It's critical to leverage phone marketing, online marketing, door knocking, and direct mail marketing to consistently reach out to your audience in the right ways.
Step 6: Leverage multiple channels in your outreach
Email - introducing yourself, your company, or your service over email is the first step in connecting with distressed property owners.
Calling/Texting - once you’ve made contact with local prospects, following up with calls and texts is a great way to build rapport with anyone who’s opted into receiving phone communication.
Direct Mail - any form of a physical piece of marketing or promotional material sent through the mail. You can connect with distressed owners with postcards, letters, brochures, etc.
Door Knocking - you can approach the property and talk to owners and neighbors and learn more about the property and the property owners.
Online Ads - Search and Social Media ads are a great way to spread awareness. A huge benefit is the ability to control how much or how little you spend per day.
Step 7: Automate your marketing to deliver consistent value-based messages
Consistency, consistency, consistency.
Look—it takes dozens of touches before your business may finally be considered "top-of-mind" for someone in your target market. While that often discourages those looking for the easy button, it's the work that happens by the most successful people.
It's not easy, but it can be easier with automations. Set up marketing tools that enable your marketing operations to function smoothly and consistently.
Don't Forget: Hyperlocal Marketing Depends on Great Marketing Principles
Every business is responsible for building trust with its audience and community. Great marketing does this when it follows 5 core principles.
#1. Great marketing is 100% legal and legitimate
Marketing must always be legal, honest, and transparent. The recipients of your ad messaging must be able to identify you and your business quickly. Always follow all marketing laws, such as CAN-SPAM, Do-Not-Call, and endorsement policies. You must know and abide by all laws, regulations, and rules.
#2. Great marketing communicates value
Being targeted can make people feel very uncomfortable. While targeting is a powerful way to identify potential customers, your audience does not need to know how or why you're targeting them.
If someone asks, you should answer by telling them that you operate a local business and thought that they might be interested in the product or service. If someone responds saying they're not interested, be polite and remove them from receiving future marketing outreaches from you.
#3. Great marketing is respectful
Marketing materials must never include sensitive or personal information about your customers — even if you have access to that information. With strong targeting and thoughtful messaging, your audience should be able to connect the dots.
While public records are a great way to identify customers and determine the best angle to engage them, many people believe that the information shared on public records is personal.
Always protect the interests of your recipients. You never want an error outside of your control to put the sensitive information of one person in the wrong hands.
#4. Great marketing has empathy for your customer
Always understand and be mindful of your customer's feelings, thoughts, and experiences. Empathy makes marketing more effective. Never make your audience feel bad. Instead, you want your local community to feel good when interacting with your marketing materials.
#4. Great marketing honors all opt-out requests
You must honor any requests to opt out of correspondences with your business. If someone tells you they no longer want to be in contact with you, be respectful, polite, and professional.
#5. Great marketing is consistently reviewed
Understand that your marketing is subject to automatic and manual review based on recipients' interactions and feedback.
At PropertyRadar, we believe in the Great Marketing Principles, and we strongly advise that everyone does the same.
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