When it Comes To Marketing Systems, The Best Marketing Is Local
A business coach once told me, "All marketing is local." I thought he meant I should tell everyone I knew what I was doing. Today, we coach our owners to make sure they tell everyone they know (and even people they don't!) about their business. It's a good practice, however, recently, I have developed a new understanding of local marketing. In fact, I now believe, The most important marketing is local marketing.
The incredible reach of the internet and mobile devices makes it possible to reach a massive audience. That reach can distract you from seeing business that is right in your backyard. Let me give you an example.
There is no doubt there are numerous elementary schools in the Phoenix metropolitan area where I live. But how many elementary schools are within a few miles of my house? Before I looked, I counted 3 or 4. I was shocked to learn there are seventeen elementary schools in our school district alone! Those schools serve more than 10,000 kids! If I expand my search to include all the schools within fifteen miles, the number triples.
For years, we cast a wide net. Working with digital marketing agencies, focused on lead generation, we advertised where we got business, and we got business where we advertised. However, that spread us out, like too little butter on too much toast. We had a "good" business, with enough demand to keep our trailers rolling, but that business was expensive not only in dollars to serve but in staff feeling stretched thin. Typical drive times were 45 to 50 minutes between parties. All that gas, miles, and stress for the drivers. They had virtually no margin of error to get from one party to the next. It could be exhausting. I know. I did it for years.
However, two years ago, we reinvented our marketing program. Instead of focusing only on cost per lead and lead volume, we set a new goal. We wanted leads that minimized drive times. What if we went deeper, instead of wider? It seemed crazy. Marketing to a smaller geographic area felt like we would be shrinking demand. Would there be enough business in our own backyard to fill our trailers?
The answer was yes.
Initially, we hoped to trim average drive times by as little as 10 minutes. In the end, we cut them almost in half. Today our program creates demand within 30 minutes of where the trucks park for the night.
This shift in marketing focus produced a multitude of benefits. First, we are not burning nearly as much fuel. Second, the equipment is not taking a beating driving so many miles. Finally, our staff is not so rushed. They have more margin of error to deal with traffic, or the unexpected. The most surprising part of this program is that we are generating even more word of mouth.
Why would that be?
Instead of crisscrossing the whole city giving people a glimpse of our brand, we are making a stronger impression in the same neighborhoods and schools week after week. That repetition produces awareness. Going deep into neighborhoods has allowed our franchise owners to unlock the latent value of their territories. Today more owners see a clear path growing their business one neighborhood at a time. Focused local marketing is fueling their growth.
I am now a firm believer that The most important marketing is local marketing.