Some of our clients want to expand into new cities or towns but they don’t have a physical space or office. Below are 5 tactics I recommend in order to achieve a local presence without a physical office. These tactics tend to be focused on business-to-business clients but can be deployed in business-to-consumer organizations to some extent.
1. Relationship Management
Be prepared to be personally invested in this community for the long term. Local business owners want to ensure trust and longevity; therefore, face time at networking organizations and clubs such as Rotary, Board of Trade or Chamber of Commerce is important. Once you’re in these clubs, being active within their boards, committees and speaking engagements is key to building trust. Trade Associations are also a very good source of networking with very specific target audiences and industries.
2. Localized Search Engine Optimization
Ensuring your organization’s website is optimized for local search is critical. Placing the city name in search engines, such as “Financial Planning (Surrey)” or “Printing Services (North Vancouver),” is common practice for people looking for local service providers. Landing pages within the larger corporate website that focus on specific locales can help with organic search rankings. A physical PO Box in that city and a local phone number forwarded to your office can also help give a sense of local presence.
3. Physical or Out-of-Home Advertising
Out-of-Home (billboards, transit ads, etc.) advertising creates a trusting familiarity with residents and help generate brand awareness and loyalty. However, this rarely leads to immediate leads on its own and needs to be part of an integrated plan. Because this medium is frequency based, I always choose cost-effective OOH options over higher-priced billboards. Suppliers like REC Media are diamonds in the rough for this strategy and are able to gain national coverage.
4. Event Marketing
Sponsorship and event marketing can be cost-effective, and they also allow the sales team to be present with a potential audience. Charity events like galas and running races are usually cheap to participate in, and can be leveraged effectively with the right strategy. Be careful to choose the right events—there are never-ending opportunities to participate in them as every charity or organization seems to have its own gala or race these days.
5. Local Print
Community newspapers remain strong with consistent readership and circulation, because local families and businesses want to see their names in the paper, and the content is geared towards community activity that isn’t always prevalent on the web. Working with newspapers to create editorial or guest columns could be a good way to stretch a print spend. I typically use the papers to create awareness for a specific event, deal or activity as they are a good “call to action” medium.
Posted on 06 12, 2012 by Braden