After living in NYC for over 20-plus years, it is absurd to think of New York as one local market, regardless of the claims to the contrary.
There are over 330 neighborhoods in the 5 boroughs alone. New York City has roughly 8 million inhabitants, which is about the size of Israel and Switzerland. The metropolitan area is slightly less than the size of Australia. Therefore, it is wrong to think of New York as one single local market.
No one talks about local marketing to a country. Therefore, it would stand to reason that we should not do the same for New York City. It’s hard to imagine a campaign targeting the Upper East Side doing well in Red Hook. When I see agencies making these claims, it makes me question if they really know what they are doing.
The only way that local marketing in New York works is by focusing on a neighborhood or neighborhood clusters, where there is a similar target customer.
If you are a local business in New York City or trying to penetrate the New York market with a new product or service, then the success of your business depends on it. If you approach New York as just one place, you will likely fail.
That’s not to say that you could not be successful in a neighborhood or two, but it will be more out of luck than of planning. Luck is difficult to repeat and scale.
All marketing is local. We, and humans, buy and continue to purchase from people we like or trust. Those relationships happen at the local level. If you think about a restaurant or bar that you frequent, often, it is likely because you like them or the people they attract. Your marketing campaigns should reflect that.
Local marketing in New York can only really be successful with a proper market segmentation. Before we take the next step, it is important that we understand the definition of market segmentation.
Market segmentation is the act of dividing the market by characteristics. These are characteristics that each segment shares with each other, but are distinct and different from other groups.
A good market segmentation is key to developing marketing strategies that will grow your business whether it is a small business or large.
In the example below, I show three possible ways to segment. You could segment by large neighborhood, which may have more than enough of your target segment. If you have a rarer segment, you may need to cluster several neighborhoods to reach critical mass. In an ideal world, you would find an exact match.
With local marketing, it is always wise to consider both digital and analog marketing tactics. A sample of these tactics is shown in the diagram below.
Analog marketing can be helpful if you find the exact match neighborhood. Here, you can focus your efforts on building relationships one on one with your neighbors.
For many of us in New York, the face-to-face method is not an option right now, but it will probably return after vaccinations are complete. Even then, if you have a large neighborhood or a cluster of neighborhoods, face-to-face relationship building can be challenging. However, that doesn’t mean it needs to be eliminated.
For most businesses, search engine optimization (SEO), local listing management, paid digital advertising, and social media marketing make up the bulk of their internet marketing efforts. Email marketing, chatbots, text (SMS), among others, may also play a role.
Local SEO is a powerful tool. It’s a mix of several elements, which I’ll cover the main one briefly.
Listing management is technically a subset of off-page SEO. However, given its importance to local SEO, I wanted to discuss it in more detail. Local listings are how you signal to the bot that your business is legitimate. It also provides valuable information on name, address, and phone number (NAP).
Consistency is key in your listings. A consistent NAP across multiple listing sites is a powerful signal to the bot that your business is legitimate. There are literally thousands of listing sites.
It is a herculean task to do them all by hand. If you only have time to do a few, I highly recommend three: Google My Business (GMB), Bing Places, and Apple Maps.
This only brushes the surface of what local SEO entails. If you would like more detail, please check out our Simple Guide to SEO eBook.
Paid digital advertising, also known as pay per click, is usually a necessary evil. In New York, it’s unlikely that you will rise to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) on your first try. Anyone who promises that is suspect.
To overcome this disadvantage, you can pay for the privilege of being placed ahead of the pack by paying for an advertising listing. The exact method varies by platform. However, since Google dominates search with 80% market share, it is worth taking the time to get familiar with Google AdWords.
This is another area where you can wind up spending a significant amount of money if you don’t know what you are doing. The cost of a professional marketing agency is usually offset by the lost advertising dollars you would have spent learning by trial and error.
Long gone are the days when all of your followers on the social media platforms would see what you posted. Now only a fraction of your followers see what you post. Social media marketing can be helpful locally if you have a loyal following that will actively seek your page or feed for information.
It can also be helpful in building relationships with your customers if you cannot physically see them often. The key to being successful in social is to remember that social is a conversational platform. It is a two-way dialog. If you treat it as just another advertising vehicle for lead generation, then your results will be suboptimal.
Review sites can help your small business marketing in two ways. The obvious one is customers read and trust reviews. Therefore, having them reduces your potential customer’s concern about trying you.
The other is less obvious. These sites can also help your off-page SEO. It is believed that Google weighs the number and recency of your reviews when ranking your page.
This post just scratches the surface of what is possible with local digital marketing. For further details, please visit our local market section and search for the neighborhoods most relevant to you.
Even if I didn’t own a local marketing digital advertising agency, I would still say that you should be engaged in local digital marketing every day. That doesn’t mean you need to pay for advertising every day, but be active in local search engine optimization, content development, content marketing, and social media, so they do not forget you.
Remember, in New York there is always someone else trying to compete for your customer’s attention. Therefore, it is easy for your customers to be distracted and forget about you.
If you have made it this far in this post, I hope you would consider us for local marketing services in New York. Even if you don’t, there are several key factors in finding a local marketing firm. Here are the six factors we believe you should consider.
I would love to leave you with the following points:
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Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkenIn profile
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