By Animesh Misra
With the advent of technology and new channels of communication, the classical approach to marketing products and services at a local level has undergone a paradigm change. From the age of only considering inserts, banners and small print ads to gain attention, today we are talking about precise location targeting through sharply defined marketing techniques called hyperlocal marketing.
What is Hyperlocal Marketing?
Simply put this is a way to focus your marketing and advertising efforts to a specific geographic location sometimes just a few blocks or street away with the intention of targeting people conducting ‘near me’ searches on their smartphones on a real time basis.
According to Ken Research, the hyperlocal market in India will exceed Rs 2,306 crore by 2020.
What has driven the rapid growth of hyperlocal market in India?
The primary reasons are: the huge penetration and increased usage of smartphones in India, change in purchasing behaviour of Indian consumers, rise of disposable income and curated products and services to meet the aspirations of consumers. There is a huge opportunity as technology can make location awareness and geo targeting possible which is the crux of hyperlocal marketing.
What should small businesses do ?
Small businesses in the areas of food, logistics, pharma, hotels, restaurants, grocery, home services, schools, shops, supermarkets, gymnasiums and more should align themselves in adopting new gen digital marketing methods.
How to go about creating a strategy?
This entails effectively communicating to customers and grabbing their attention at that moment, so that they walk down the street through your door or pick up the phone. Suppose you are running a health food business how would you make sure that when someone searches for health foods near your area of operation your business should show up? What steps should be taken to ensure that your goodwill which is in tandem with the excellent service should be noticed. Here are the three golden rules to follow:
1. Hyperlocal advertising: When consumers search for health foods on their smartphones, let them visit or call through a call to action-oriented ad that pops up with a phone number and a map with location. The location of the audience is passed on to ad networks that sell the ad space with location information to other channels.
2. The omnichannel approach: Depending on your budget the ideal channel mix can be opted for. It could be a combination of traditional and hyperlocal channels. TV, small print ad , radio, newspaper insert, pamphlets, social media, localised banner/ kiosk, apartment drive, OOH, bus shelters, Digital OOH etc. For example, Facebook has launched ‘Reach Ads’ where small businesses can advertise to reach as many people as possible around their business location.
However, to create effective advertising the following best practices should be kept in mind:
- SEO: Get your hyperlocal SEO in place by including the relevant keywords related to health, fitness, low calorie, gluten free, protein rich foods available with you. Insert your business address and name and phone numbers in multiple directories (Google+, Trip advisor, Zomato, Swiggy, Foodpanda, Nearbuy etc). According to Google, the bulk of information people need is from within one km. Google has recently launched Neighbourly, it’s hyperlocal question and answer App which organises data basis the information people are seeking for, like where will you find the best chole bhature?
- Content: The key thing to note here is that as a local business your communication should also feel local. One should take advantage of local stereotypes that will dress up the marketing campaign and make it more personal. For example, during summers the excessive heat is frustrating. Create a campaign around that and launch a summer special offer around cool and healthy foods.
- Geo-fencing: This allows an advertiser to select a specific area and this technology will only allow targeting their ads to people in that area in real time. The area can be as narrow as 500 metres and can go up to any length.
- Contextual targeting: The audience targeting can be defined in terms of demographics and psychographics such as location age, interest categories, gender etc
- Retargeting: Customers who have shown interest in health foods and visited the outlet at some point can be retargeted through effective SMS/email campaigns with compelling promotional offers to get them back in to the fold.
3. Reviews: Garner as many positive reviews as possible. Increase your goodwill by prompting consumers to write reviews for maximum impact . Each negative review should be addressed promptly and taken as a feedback to better things.
4. In-shop experience: Once you get the customer inside the store it’s mandatory to provide an exemplary experience. Small businesses have the advantage of providing a customised and personal environment. Use of technology like free WIFI to better the experience always works.
Once you start implementing these local strategies it will help you find customers and prospects and can take your business to the next level. Hyperlocal marketing will be the future for many businesses. Those who recognise this early will have an edge over competition.
( The writer is a leading Digital Marketeer, speaks on Brand Management, editor of Brandonomics and tweets at @ANIMESH2009)