We’ve spent a good amount of time helping you understand the in’s and out’s of local marketing in our “In the Trenches” series, but now, some of the most important questions to ask yourself with respect to your local marketing budget are “How Much Should I Spend?” and “Where Should I Spend It?”.
When it comes to local marketing budgets, we know these can oftentimes be smaller, more limited monthly budgets that don’t have any room for waste. Even if your budget is $200, $500, or only $1,000 a month, we have an answer for you. But before we get to that answer, you’ll have to know that, unfortunately, smaller budgets come with a few limitations, meaning you won’t be able to do Everything that’s out there. With this in mind, it’s even more important to pick and choose the best places to invest your dollars to get the most return in local marketing.
Here’s our answer big for you, boiled down to a single concept…
– Start with an Upside-Down Marketing Funnel –
Wait… What does the traditional Marketing Funnel Look Like Again?
Before we dive into the what and how of the Upside-Down Marketing Funnel, let’s take a second to talk about the traditional marketing funnel as we know it. I am sure you have seen it before, but in case you need a refresher, let’s do a quick recap on what it looks like and how it works.
In a nutshell, the marketing funnel is how marketers describe the process of getting your message out to the world, by creating interest in your brand, driving intent to buy, and eventually the purchase/conversion. Pretty simple stuff! Most of the time, marketers think about how to drive new customers by starting at the top of the funnel and working their way down the list to hit each part.
However, the challenge here is that you have endless marketing tools, channels, and options for how to make the most out of every piece of this funnel. If you are not careful, you end up spending your entire marketing budget on just the top part of the funnel. If your entire budget goes towards the “Awareness” piece, then you never get to the bottom “Purchase” part of the funnel, which is the entire point of marketing, right?
So how do you choose where to start? We recommend you flip the funnel upside-down and start from the end.
By starting at the bottom of the funnel, your marketing dollars are focused primarily on “Evaluation” and “Intent” stages in order to drive leads and purchases first. Once you’ve maximized your campaigns here, move up to the next pieces of the funnel and invest your budget in driving “Consideration”, “Interest”, and “Awareness” in that order.
So what does this look like practically? Let’s use an example with a local home service business.
- First off, before you get to any advertising or content marketing, you need to invest in a good website that will get people to convert into customers as they evaluate your brand. If your website looks like crap and there’s nowhere for customers to call you or fill out a contact form, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to driving new business from your site. A strong website or landing page is foundational here. Local businesses don’t need anything too fancy or complex on their websites but treat this as the face of your business online and one that helps you capture leads right on the front page. A website build can cost a few hundred or even thousand dollars upfront, so factor this in as an initial investment.
- Once you have a good foundational website, start capturing leads from Google/Bing Search, where we find people who are looking directly for a “plumber near me”, “best dentist in Atlanta”, “where to find a handyman”. We call this “SEM”, or Search Engine Marketing. You can win these new customers by:
- Optimizing your website for SEO rankings,
- Beefing up your Google My Business Page and other directory listings, and
- Running Search Ads to capture new website traffic for people who are looking for the exact thing you offer.
NOTE: We usually see the best ROI performance from our campaigns when we are hitting a 70-85% Impression Share, meaning we are showing ads to most everyone in your local area who is searching for a local product/service. Once you’ve reached an 85% Impression Share, go ahead and move up to the next piece of the funnel with your remaining marketing dollars. If you want to know why we recommend this Impression Share range, click here.
- Next, as we move up the funnel, it’s time to drive consideration and interest in your brand by marketing to your ideal target audience on channels like Facebook and Instagram. Social Media platforms give you a unique opportunity to advertise and reach a group of highly targeted customers based on their demographics, interests, and location. Advertising here can be very cost-effective and even produce great leads as you get your name in front of the right people and help familiarize them with your brand.
Again, we recommend to try and reach 70-85% of your Target Audience here to really maximize your returns before moving on to the next piece of the funnel.
- Now it’s time for the big finish (or should I say, big beginning) to our funnel, Building Awareness. We’re talking about Local Brand Awareness for your business. Let people know you exist and that you’re the best business in town! Build your overall brand awareness with Display/Banner Ads and other outbound marketing efforts. While you won’t necessarily see direct leads from these awareness campaigns, they will help your other marketing efforts as people recognize your brand, and metrics like Click-Through-Rates, Cost-Per-Clicks, and Conversion-Rates will all improve across the board! Stick with the 70-85% reach number here when looking at your overall investment. Channels like Display/Banner Ads are the plan of attack here and can be very cheap, so you may only need to spend a few hundred dollars here each month to make the most of it.
Let’s chart out what this might look like now in terms of your local marketing budget…
|Initial Website Investment||$500-$10k+ upfront investment||General website upkeep costs|
|Ongoing SEO + Google/Bing Search Ads||$500/month||85% Impression Share|
|Ongoing Social Media Marketing||$400/month||85% Audience Reach|
|Ongoing Display/Banner Advertising (& other outbound marketing efforts)||$200/month||85% Audience Reach|
Flip the Funnel. It’s as easy as that. Start with the marketing channels that impact new leads and sales first, then work up towards broader awareness marketing. If your marketing budget can’t quite reach every level in the funnel, don’t worry, you’ll be able to work your way up as you grow your business and win new customers. Here at Adplorer, we work with local businesses and the agencies that serve them to bring the best technology to the local scale. If you are looking for a platform or a local marketing company to maximize your local marketing campaigns, contact us today to schedule a demo of our local marketing platform!