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Why local is more important than ever for digital marketing strategies

The coronavirus crisis has created a new appetite for local – here’s how to leverage this within your digital marketing strategy



by
Business development, social media & strategy
 

COVID-19 is the global pandemic that has, ironically, made local matter more than ever. This presents a new opportunity for the local, Kent businesses, that Eonic works with. But adapting your digital marketing strategy successfully to capture the new enthusiasm for local will take empathy and careful messaging.

How COVID-19 narrowed our horizons

The coronavirus pandemic has made us collectively more aware of how globalisation makes us vulnerable to a situation like this. The UK’s dependency upon its counterparts has been unquestionably demonstrated by the crisis, for example:

  • trouble procuring PPE from India
  • difficulties obtaining parts for manufacturing when China was locked down
  • retail giants struggling to keep up with demand because of slower importation times.

On a micro level, this has created a sentimentality amongst many people to want to support local suppliers. There has been an increase in support for local farm shops, reflected by the queues outside them each weekend, and ever-increasing posts on social media from people reporting they have discovered new local suppliers during lockdown and want to carry on supporting them as the world opens up again.

As a champion of Kent SMEs, many of whom market predominantly to local customers, Eonic is delighted that many consumers are rediscovering local. But how can you embed this new enthusiasm for local providers and suppliers into your digital marketing strategy?

The importance of getting the tone right in your digital marketing

First, a word of warning: this has been a bruising experience for everyone. Tapping into the strengthened sense of local community is one thing; being seen to exploit the situation is another. Your messaging needs to be empathetic. Positive and encouraging where you can, but acknowledging the challenges we have all been through – and many will continue to go through as the economic repercussions of the pandemic really begin to bite.

Putting local at the heart of your digital marketing strategy

Here are some strategies that you can implement within your online messaging to put the community and locality at the heart of your content:

  • Connecting on social media. Try to make your page part of the local and social community. If someone posts a problem on a forum, get involved in trying to source a solution for them. Equally, collaborating with other local producers can help reinforce the idea to consumers that you’re all on the same team.
  • Potential for social campaigns targeting local customers. Make your online presence resonate with people within your local geographic area. Is there a recognisable, picturesque local spot in which you can take the latest photos of your products? Does your town hold a half marathon that was cancelled because of coronavirus? Mention this on your page and – if you can afford it – offer all those who would have been competing 10% off on that day.
  • Section your database into local/non-local customers. Creating different messaging for different regions will help you reinforce the local message to those who are nearby whilst also refraining from potentially isolating customers who aren’t on your doorstep.

 

The recent months have highlighted the important role local SMEs play within our communities and this provides a key opportunity for businesses, as consumers redirect their focus to more local producers. Encapsulating this within your online messaging and digital marketing – with sensitivity – will help ensure your business is at the heart of the new drive for local.

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