Why Implement a Community Marketing Strategy
This is the first blog in our community marketing series. Community marketing is a very effective strategy for small to medium sized businesses, bringing a focus to the perceived needs of existing local customers. We’ll begin by thinking about why you need a community marketing strategy, proceed to the type of customer that most favorably responds to community marketing, and close with some tips on how to start your own campaign.
What is a community marketing strategy? By definition, a community marketing strategy is a program that specifically seeks to engage with prospective customers on a very local level in the community around the physical store location. This strategy directs promotional messages to the local population rather than the mass market.
Customers today want the same things that customers wanted a generation ago. They want products and services that solve their problems along with great customer service. Taking advantage of this with community marketing is a smart logistical move for many brands.
Unfortunately, many small business owners aren’t capitalizing on the potential in their local market. They get caught up in trying to be successful with the same strategies as large operators and REITs. Following the strategies of the big players is great in theory but, unless you can compete with the same huge marketing budgets, you won’t see the same success.
Community marketing is frequently utilized by operators who have only a single location in a market. Nevertheless, even companies with multiple locations can benefit from implementing a community marketing strategy, because self storage is such a localized product. These facilities generally serve customers within a 3 to 5 miles radius. A community marketing campaign can also serve as a supplement to a larger company’s regional or national campaign.
The Key Benefits to a Community Marketing Strategy
Don’t believe that digital marketing is the only way to get results. Digital marketing may hit the mark for certain target markets, but some of the best marketing ideas still happen offline. If you want a great marketing strategy, combine both online and offline in one complete package.
- Grow Loyalty
People want a sense of belonging. You cultivate lasting relationships by creating a sense of community for your customers. These relationships may not turn into repeat business, but there is a high probability that they will turn into referrals to friends and family. Don’t be impatient; this won’t happen overnight. It takes sustained involvement in community events to build brand loyalty.
- Maintain Authenticity
When you reach out to your surrounding community, it shows that you care about the people and support other small businesses. The community will slowly realize that you’re not just another greedy corporation. Be especially careful to be true to who you are. If you don’t remain authentic, your efforts will seem intrusive or insincere.
There are some costs involved with community marketing, but it’s almost guaranteed to fit into your overall marketing budget.
Keep in mind that creating a sustainable community marketing program takes time. It does not happen overnight. As mentioned above, be patient and persevere. It may take six months to a year to see results. But, if you work diligently and stay the course, in the end your efforts will be rewarded.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our series and learn about the type of customer that is most responsive to community marketing.