Key Takeaways: Overly ambitious marketing goals too often lead to wasted budgets and disappointing results. The most effective form of marketing is local marketing. Local marketing is placing an emphasis on appealing to a very specific area – your geographic farm – and making yourself a known local authority. The ONLY way that will happen is by mastering your local marketing game.
What is ‘local marketing’? Local marketing is the smallest increment of marketing available. It is the antithesis of global marketing, this term is the answer to far, far more business questions than you’d think.
Local marketing is a highly-focused form of exposure marketing. It attracts attention in a very specific geographic area.
But what is marketing, really? It’s a ubiquitous term often paired with a number of obscure qualifier terms like ‘viral’, ‘guerilla’ and ‘digital’. These terms all SOUND cool, but very few take the time to break down what ‘marketing’ actually means.
In its simplest and most basic form, marketing is “the art and science of persuasion”. It is the application of strategic influence on the individual buyer psyche.
Let’s take a look at persuasion unto itself. Robert B. Cialdini identifies six levers to persuasion which help you better identify the values of buyers, and how they can be leveraged to persuade the buyer.
The six levers of persuasion are:
- Social Proof
So what does this mean?
Reciprocity: Long story short, people are more likely to do something for you if they believe you’ll do something for them. They’re even more likely still if you’ve already done something for them. Or if your ask is to do something for them.
Commitment/Consistency: People respect commitment. Whether it’s working out. Or eating well. Or discipline with life decisions. People admire others who identify goals and work unapologetically towards them. The underlying psychology is ‘If you’re this dedicated, there must be something to this’.
Social Proof: This is a fancy way of saying ‘word of mouth’. Social proof refers to anything which extols your virtues and skills publicly. LinkedIn, number of followers on social media, unpaid testimonials and reviews. ALL of these are key to strong personal branding.
They will literally sell you so that you don’t have to sell yourself.
Likability: A major obstacle for many sellers is that they aren’t likeable. Either they’re too pushy. Or you’re too sales-y. Or you’re too corny. Whatever. The bottom line is that ANY objection will cost you a sale.
There’s few less immediately addressable than the buyer not liking you. You are a competent, friendly, engaging, interested and a team player. Show that.
Authority: While so many are desperate to carve out their niche as an authority on broader topics like real estate or sales, the reality is that this leaves scores of opportunity for expertise at the local level. You WANT to be seen as a local authority because people seek you out for advice. Combine authority with likability and you’ll succeed on those two pillars alone.
Scarcity: This is an embarrassingly simple one. People want what they think others can’t have. A small anecdote about scarcity: In my younger years, I was at a Lidz looking at purchasing a hat (I went there because they’re an AUTHORITY on hats;)), and found one I liked. I didn’t love it, but I liked it. Then I saw another one which I liked slightly more, and asked to see it in my size.
The sales guy told me ‘Sorry, somebody JUST called about that one asking me to reserve it until he could make it in this afternoon’. That hat instantly went from ‘nice’ to ‘I want it’. What ensued was 5 minutes of spirited debate on the nature of commerce and – in childhood parlance – the true meaning of ‘dibs’.
In the end, I got that hat because I wanted it. I wanted it because I was initially told I couldn’t have it, begging the question: did I only want the hat because I couldn’t have it?
All that matters is that all of these years later, I still love that hat, and I’ve never regretted the purchase. Even if I think the sales guy might have been putting me on with the ‘phone call reservation’ story.
All he did was help me look at the same decision through a slightly different lens.
The fact is that local marketing is massively neglected not only by those seeking the benefits of marketing but often by those who it benefits most. Small businesses. Small businesses will not flourish without social media presence in today’s market, and they’re often least connected to their surrounding area.
Who cares how many Instagram followers a local bakery has if most aren’t even in the same city or country?
What’s the answer? Local marketing.
Local marketing will help your business immeasurably. Whether you sell houses. Or hot chicken sandwiches. Or garden hoses. If you’re not an e-seller, you RELY on walk-in traffic. More feet = more dollars. This creates a HUGE area of opportunity for small businesses with VERY few affordable options for small business owners.
As a real estate professional, you can offer a gateway to effective local marketing. You can also grow relationships with local residents and business owners.
But first, you need to understand how to speak intelligently on the following subjects:
Parkbench.com is THE perfect amalgam of local-focused news, deals, events and interaction available today. Period. Offering a select group of community-minded ‘Local Leaders’ an opportunity to own and build a website which caters SPECIFICALLY to their geographic ‘farm’.
It also teaches you how to best engage people in your local community, and how to offer value to these businesses at no cost to them.
You literally will not get a better icebreaker than ‘I built a neighborhood website, and I am hoping you’d like to do an interview so we can help get you exposure. Who am I? I’m the person who owns the neighborhood website, and I want to help you get exposure free!’
This covers ALL SIX of Cialdini’s pillars of persuasion!
Targeted Facebook Ads
If you can explain Facebook re-targeting campaigns effectively to a lay audience, and explain how they can maximize value and exposure for a relatively low ad buy cost, you’ve made a friend for life. It’s complex, full of jargon, and terrifying white noise to anyone born before 1975.
This covers reciprocity, social proof, likability, and authority.
Open House Events
Not just open houses. Open house EVENTS. As a real estate professional, you know how to throw an awesome open house – show local businesses how to do the same! Work with local businesses to throw open house events and establish yourself as a community pillar!
Here’s a list of professions who could offer a great deal of value in identifying new leads!
This covers reciprocity, commitment/consistency, social proof, likability, AND authority.
One of the reasons why e-commerce and big box stores have become so popular is simple. People like to save money. We’re only a few decades removed from a time where the main street was THE hub of economic activity for local economies.
In that time, people have built up some ridiculous justifications for not shopping local – the most frequent of which is the price.
Work with local businesses and create discounts specifically created to attract LOCAL business. The premise can be as simple as people coming in with a piece of mail to qualify for said discount. The purpose is to build familiarity.
This covers reciprocity, social proof, likability, and scarcity.
Help local small businesses establish themselves as places where local artists and small businesses can showcase their works! Use a wall dedicated to paintings or photos by local artists. Or playing the music of local musicians. Or setting aside space where local craftsmen/artisans can display their goods.
This covers reciprocity, social proof, likability and commitment/consistency.
Establishing yourself as a local marketing professional is a part-time commitment which can yield major results as you build your profile and master the levers of persuasion.
As you build your reputation as a local marketing professional, you build credibility and name/face/brand recognition; all of which will translate DIRECTLY to leads and listings.
As you see above, only one of these suggestions covers all of the levers. That is the neighborhood website. It’s a phenomenal way to proactively create value for small businesses and people in your geographic farm.
It also takes the benefit of deals, blogging/posting abilities, local news and events. It then makes them hyperlocal and puts them in one easy to use the source.
Real estate professionals across North America are already reaping the benefits of local marketing by way of these neighborhood websites. The only question you should be asking yourself is why you aren’t one of them.