Local Marketing in a Pandemic World
By Karyn Greenstreet
In my Synergy Excel mastermind group, we had a conversation last week about how to market to a local audience when in-person marketing isn’t an option. We brainstormed 11 ways to do online marketing to reach your local prospects.
Here’s what I posted in their message forum, and wanted to share it on my blog, too.
In your Hot Seat yesterday, you were asking about online marketing techniques that can be used with a local audience. Even if you can’t meet your clients face-to-face right now, that will ease up at some point, so you want to continue to fill your pipeline for clients, mastermind group members, and students.
As always, it depends on how much time and money you want to spend on your marketing. Here are some ideas:
Immediate prospects, at a cost
- Good old-fashioned networking – Reach out to every past client and current client to see how they’re doing. Reach out to colleagues and partners you’ve worked with in the past. Don’t do it as a mass broadcast – pick up the phone. If anything, you’ll get a temperature check on how your audience is fairing.
- Social media ads – a way to reach your target audience quickly. You can target people by location. You can target by people who have visited your website (but never signed up for your mailing list). You can target people who have parallel interests to the types of people you want to get in front of – for example, you can target people who are interested in Chambers of Commerce, because many of them would be small business owners.
- Facebook ads are relatively inexpensive right now because many larger businesses aren’t advertising – this will change as lockdowns open up. LinkedIn ads are often more expensive but are highly targeted to a professional audience.
- While you’re at it, clean up your Facebook and LinkedIn Business Profile and your personal one, too. If you want to target specific geographical areas, put it in your profile. Search engines do show social media pages and profiles in their search results.
- Paid Google Ads – These can be highly competitive for some keyword phrases like “small business coach” but you can target them to your town or region. You can pick your bidding strategy, and both Google Ads and social media ads allow you to pick a budget. I like Google Ads because they get you in front of your prospect exactly at the time they’re searching for someone like you. Right now when I type “Small Business Coach Houston Texas” in Google, no one has an ad out there right now for this phrase, so you could get ads out into your region for a decent fee. Again, relatively inexpensive now that major brands are not paying to use Google Ads or Facebook Ads because of the pandemic. (There have been many newspaper articles about how Facebook and Google are losing ad revenue over the past six weeks. This won’t last forever but right now ads are cheap.)
- Joint venture with another professional who serves your audience. For instance, if you’re a small business coach, find a CPA, financial planner, attorney, banker, etc. in your area who wants to offer more to their own clients but isn’t interested in becoming a coach or teacher or facilitator themselves.
Long-term prospects, at a lower cost
Building your business isn’t just about getting the next private coaching client or the next mastermind group member. It’s about having a pipeline so you can have a ripe audience for when you need a new client in a few months or want to fill a mastermind group later this year.
Yes, it involves building your mailing list and/or your social media contacts. I prefer building a mailing list; that way, you’re guaranteed to get in their Inbox. That’s not always true on social media.
The purpose of this longer-term strategy is to be seen as a thought leader and to build up a reputation as an expert people can trust.
- Do whatever you have to do to build your mailing list: pick one freebie to give away, and drive targeted traffic to that page. Many of these techniques in this blog post can be used to effectively drive traffic to your opt-in page.
- Gather and share success stories about your current clients/mastermind group members (with their permission of course!). It’s a way for them to get seen more widely, and to showcase how your coaching/mastermind group has helped them. Win-win.
- If you like to write or speak, then either a text blog or video blog can work, though it takes commitment to keep it up.
- If keeping up with a blog is too much work, considering being a guest on someone’s podcast. Choose wisely; you want to find a podcast host who has a big following. It’s not worth your time to do an interview when the host has only 12 people listening. Facebook has a group called I’ll Guest for That Podcast, where hosts and guests find each other. I’m sure there are other places you can look – including if YOU listen to a podcast regularly, why not try to get on their show? Or guest post on someone else’s blog.
- Write short posts for your own Facebook or LinkedIn profile/page. Or, record short videos to upload into social media, YouTube, etc.
Just because you can’t market in-person doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to your prospective clients. This list might give you some new ideas that you’ll use well into the future.