How to Tailor Marketing Content to a Local Audience’s Needs

Even in our connected 24/7 digital universe, local communities haven’t lost their stamp of uniqueness. Learning how to tailor your marketing content to a local audience, therefore, is critical to content marketing success.

Whether you’re entering an overseas market with a different culture and language or expanding into another city in your state, you need to nail local SEO, learn local peculiarities, and speak in a way that connects with your audience. Learn how to master customizing content to each locality, and you’ll have a formula for content marketing success no matter what markets you move into.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Start by optimizing your content for local search.
  • Choose a language that reflects the local culture to communicate.
  • Plug into your community both online and off.

Start with Search

To paraphrase a classic movie line, if you build it, they won’t necessarily come – unless they know where to find your local office. Whether yours is a small business that focuses on your immediate area or a multinational corporation with local franchises and offices, your customers need to find you online and off.

Use localized keywords

Today, most people start looking for what they need online. More often than not, that search will take place on their mobile phones, even in their homes. Optimizing local search for the keywords locals use to find what you sell should be your first step, advises Content Marketing Institute’s Paul Sanders.

Look at your content and social media analytics to see which keyword searches drive local traffic to your content. Also, do a little research on what the locals call your products. For example, if you operate a Steak n’ Shake in New England, your local customers probably won’t search for your products with the word “milkshake.” They’ll likely use “frappe” instead.

That‘s just one of the many localisms that exist in this country. In other countries, similar linguistic deviations occur. It pays to find out what they are and use them in your content, along with local place names, to land near the top of local search results.

Include local communities in your content

It goes without saying that you should incorporate the names of local communities in your content. However, avoid awkward keyword phrases, like ‘best plumbing company Pittsburgh PA.” Contrary to popular opinion, using natural language is best. Google’s search engines are sophisticated enough to pick out local signals when you include your location where it should naturally occur.

Get Involved in Your Community

Using your blog as a virtual megaphone, promote local events and charity drives. The more closely you align your products and services with the event’s purpose, the better it is for search and your reputation in the community.

For example, the New England Steak n’ Shake could sponsor a milkshake drinking contest, while a hospital’s personnel might want to conduct free blood pressure checks at a local festival. That way, the keywords you use won’t seem like you’re hyping your products and services. They’ll fit in naturally with your post.

Build Local Buyer Personas

Use the data you’ve gathered, along with the information your community outreach has gleaned, to create local buyer personas. Get as specific as you can to create a portrait of each of your local target market segments.

Use their demographics, the neighborhoods where they live, their hopes, pain points, and online behavior to fill in the details. The more details, the more your buyer persona will “come alive” to your content team.

Image via Saaslist

Use Native Speakers to Translate Your Content

When you move into a new country that doesn’t speak English, you want to hit the ground running. To make sure that your existing content speaks to your new customers with the same message as the original, use translators who are not only fluent in their native tongue but in English as well.

Image via Pixabay

In fact, when you establish your roots in your new location, consider hiring native-speaking teams to create original marketing content that addresses specific issues that locals face. Be sure to keep the lines of communication open with your new content teams to ensure that your brand voice stays consistent across international borders.

Use Localized English to Communicate in the Audience’s Voice

Research shows that “mirroring,” tailoring your speech and body language to those with whom you are communicating, helps you get your message across better, making you seem more likable. However, when you go overboard, it can seem condescending, says psychologist Jeff Thompson.

Case in point, Hollywood actors and politicians have had their *cringeworthy* moments trying to mirror their audience’s manner of speech, as this parody so well illustrates.

However, using Australian English when you’re tailoring your message for an Aussie audience or calling a milkshake a “frappe” for your New England-wide campaign helps you communicate your message better to local audiences.

Just be sure to do your research. There are a few everyday expressions here in the States that are off-color across the pond. If in doubt, ask your local teams.

Feature Local Industry Influencers in Guest Posts

Non-competitor subject matter experts can give your blog posts an extra boost of trust among local audiences. For example, if your business sells aftermarket parts for high-end sports cars, a well-known local car dealer would be a strategic choice for a guest blogger.

Or, if you’re opening a new franchise of your dance apparel store chain, invite your new city’s top ballet professional to conduct an online workshop on your company’s YouTube channel. You’ll likely need a restock of your pointe shoes in no time.

This tactic doesn’t only give your business more local clout. It also endears your brand to the local experts whom you invite to become guest bloggers.

Localize Seasonal Promotions

When it’s December in New York City, you’re thinking snowflakes and sleighs. However, when you’re doing a holiday campaign for your Sydney branch office, a beachy theme might be a better idea.

Use seasonal variations in each area for which you’re creating marketing content to determine which blog posts you should put on your content calendar. For example, a big-box store might want to post a link to a post about the best way to plow out of a driveway in January, while for your Florida audience, a post on when to start planting a spring garden would be a better choice.

Listen and Respond on Social Media

Listening to what locals are saying about your brand on social media is a critical aspect of connecting with them online and off. Social connections are important for all companies, but especially so for local audiences.

After all, they can spread the word about your business in person among their friends and colleagues. Paying attention to their thoughts can be useful in a variety of ways:

  • Fruitful sources of future content: Your prospects’ concerns, objections, and questions can form the basis of blog posts, account-based marketing content, and FAQ pages.
  • Springboards for conversations: Social media can’t realize all its potential unless you engage your followers in thoughtful conversations.
  • Building trust: Answering your local prospects’ questions with information that helps them solve problems is marketing gold. Doing so positions you as an authority in your field, while blatant self-promotion activates today’s skeptical consumers’ “Spidey-senses.”
  • Creating local partnerships: Working together with businesses that complement your own can expand both businesses’ networks. Exposing their customers to your products and services can widen your customer base as well.

Leverage SMS Text Messaging for Local Audiences

While you don’t want to overload the locals with messages to the point that they type in “STOP” in all caps, text messaging gives your content a personal touch – so important for local audiences. Use SMS messaging to remind prospects about special promotions and sales, links to your latest email newsletter, or a thank-you message after they’ve made a purchase.

List Your Business with Search Engines as a Local Business

If your company meets the requirements, listing your business with Bing Places and Google My Business is a great way to get near the top of local searches. It will take a while for Bing and Google to verify your location, but it’s well worth the wait.

Combined with content custom-tailored to your local prospects’ needs, a local listing can go a long way toward building awareness in your community. If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality, localized content published consistently, check out our Content Builder Service.

Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today – and generate more traffic and leads for your business.

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

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