I live in a relatively small town (Franklin, pop. 67,000) on the edge of the larger city of Nashville (pop. 610,000). I work all over the world but I rarely seem to work locally. I know there are local projects that I could be involved in but it took me awhile to learn why. As it turns out, I’m better known across the USA, and to a lesser extent globally, than I am locally. I’ve come to discover that it is because I’m a lot better at marketing globally than I am locally. While I enjoy the local work, the reality is that local work is just as, if not more profitable and the client pays less due to decreased travel expenses which means the project is more likely to happen in the first place.
As you may remember, I wrote about using Social Media in a post back in 2012. Interestingly enough, most of that post still holds true today. However, this definition of social media is a shotgun approach that while necessary, it will not give you the best chance of rifling in on local prospects. So, here are some ideas for getting your message out there in your local market(s).
Use “Old” Social Media – Before Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn were around social clubs were used to network local professionals. These clubs are still with us. Think The Rotary Club, Lions Club, Chambers of Commerce and the like. The biggest complaint you get about these are that they skew older demographically, however, they also require flexible schedules, money, and some sort of volunteer work. The people able to devote these things tend to be the (older) executive decision makers within firms. They have presenters/speakers every week and most are very happy to get a speaker with killer visuals that teaches them something new. It’s not a sales pitch, and you’re better off talking about community improvement projects, but the point is to let the movers and shakers in your community know who you are and what you do.
Alter “New” Social Media Approach – How can you make sure that more locals see your online media? Start by linking your online social media to local groups. Almost every subdivision/developer/non-profit/local activity group now has a Facebook page. Check their rules to make sure that it is allowed (as in HOA member only or similar) but where allowed, link to these from your company and/or employee’s personal pages to make more local connections to your feed. A great time to do so is when you are posting about local interest sites. Once again the goal is education about what you do and how to get in touch with you. Another area to follow is Google AdWords. I could write an entire article on crafting an AdWords campaign, but if you want organic search results and ad placements that target your local market a good AdWords campaign is a necessity.
Technical Seminars – Most of us are concentrated on the input side of the equation. Look to those downstream in the data flow and offer to help them incorporate your data to make their lives easier. Whether that is presenting at the local Revit roundtable meeting or speaking during lunch for the local Bar Association this is another way to make sure that local professionals who may be using services similar to yours know that they can get them locally from you as well.
Tie Into Local Conferences – Nashville is a conference town. I try to make as many as possible if I see any tie in to 3D imaging. Some are good, some are years from maturing into a viable vertical, and others are a bust. You won’t know until you go and learn the lingo, the standards, and the problems. This ties in to the “local” theme because there are thousands of cities to choose from when planning a conference. If they chose your city there is probably a tie into your locality. Learn what it is and use it to tie yourself to them both.
Pay it Forward – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Why train, test equipment, QC personnel, or whatever in your office parking lot if you do not have to. I am certain that there is something in your town worth scanning and some person(s) or group that would be ecstatic if you offered to do it for them. Take pictures and video, write a press release, and work your local media. In the end you will have used training to gain a friend(s) in the community and you may have made the paper or the evening news. It doesn’t get much more local than that.
Image: Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation