It can be easy to get caught up in only targeting a broad distance of audiences, especially since many businesses recently expanded into eCommerce. However, local audiences are still a considerable portion of your sales and deserve as much, if not more, of your attention. In fact, 70% of consumers support local businesses by shopping online only, or a mix of online and in-store. Even more, 46% of all Google searches are local, and nearly a third of online consumers in the United States used the internet to search for local businesses daily.
It's essential to know how to reach a local audience if you want to continue to grow your business and to do so, you'll need local audience metrics. Unfortunately, local audiences are fragmented and unclear, making it challenging to conduct broad analysis. While there's no easy standard for determining local reach, you can evaluate individual metrics using social media or event attendance to gain an idea of it.
Here are some helpful ways you can gain more insight into your reach with your local audience.
Evaluate Your Following on Social Media
Social media marketing is a gold mine for local audiences, especially those interested in building and maintaining relationships with their favorite brands in the area. Your involvement on social media can tell you a lot about how you're reaching your local following, and those who actively engage with your site are likely to be a passionate customer group.
Social media platforms and following depend heavily on your industry — not only do you want to be on the platforms your audience is on, but you want to be on the platforms best suited for your business. For instance, some companies will perform better on visual sites, like Instagram, while others will need to rely on sites like Twitter to reach followers.
Consider posting content using local language and phrases to evaluate your local following better. Consumers in the area not only appreciate how relatable a local brand is to their wants and needs, but it will also give you a better idea of who of your followers are local.
Check Your Email Engagement
Another great way to get an idea of your local reach is through your email marketing. Your carefully curated email list will tell you a lot about your local audience members, giving you a much better idea of how well you're reaching them and if you're genuinely resonating with their needs.
You can also check your open rate, as they will tell you how well people are involved with your company and brand. If you notice a dip in local engagement, this would be an excellent opportunity to implement targeted email blasts and other methods to keep your brand front of mind and encourage more local involvement.
Better yet, you can also use those statistics and consumer data to determine which topics work with which groups to curate your email marketing better, from customer to customer. After all, personalization plays an essential role in consumer/brand relationships — 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging.
Assess Your Website Authority
Your website activity and authority likely indicate activity amongst local groups, and with the help of CRM software, you can also develop further insight into your audience. Since your main goal here is to reach your local audience, having a CRM that helps you track and measure customer experiences with your brand at every touchpoint can be a significant player in evaluating your reach among local audiences.
While this can vary by industry, a low web authority pairs with a high social media following, indicating an incredibly passionate following. In many cases, loyal followers go to your social media for any new launches, announcements, helpful information, communication, or other help.
Count Your Event Attendance
Partnerships and sponsorships are so crucial to staying relevant or becoming relevant among local audiences. Because your sponsorships are local, you'll get hands-on and up-close-and-personal interactions with residents that you can use to build relationships and loyalty. Event attendance doesn't fall into the digital category (which is much easier to track and measure), and it's a good indicator of local reach because every attendee is exposed to your brand.
There are still some digital ways to track and measure local reach among your audience at the event. You can gain some insight by whether or not people RSVP on Facebook or Eventbrite — letting you know who's actively interested in attending. On the other hand, day-of numbers at events give a more tangible indication, so comparing interest numbers to who shows up is also essential.
You could also post about the event afterward to elicit more audience engagement, using engaging formats to get more insight into who came, who had a great time, and even bring more brand awareness to yourself.
By asking questions and conducting surveys of those at the event or immediately after the event ended, you can promote loyalty and gain valuable insight. Alternatively, you can offer a promotion to attendees that prompts them to answer a survey to use it.
The Key to Reaching Local Audiences
It's a challenge to reach your local audience and an effort that must be continually improved and adjusted with each new insight into your customer base and ever-evolving buyer behaviors. Getting involved with your community with local sponsorships and local channels is vital in reaching that customer group and creating a trusted and loyal bond that keeps your local Portland business top of mind over the competition. With that being said, working with a media partner can help significantly in getting your voice out to that group.