January 29, 2021

The Only Way to Win with Local Marketing in New York

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.

What is Local Marketing in New York?

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. 

Image of Local Marketing in New York

Why is Local Marketing in New York Important? 

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.

How to Market Locally in New York

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

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.

Market Segmentation Infographic Local Marketing in New York

Analog and Digital Marketing

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.

Local Analog and Digital Marketing

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.

Local Digital Marketing in New York - How To

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.

SEO and Listing Management

Local SEO is a powerful tool. It’s a mix of several elements, which I’ll cover the main one briefly. 

  1. On page SEO - On page SEO as the name implies focuses on content of the page. Bots look for three things.
    First, they want to know what the page is about. Second, they want to figure out under which keyword it should be indexed. Finally, based on its algorithm, it grades the page for relevance.
  2. Off page SEO - Off page SEO is how you signal to the bots how relevant your page is to the search audience. The more quality reputable links you have to the page, the more relevant it will be perceived. Local listings are also a subset of off-page SEO, and we cover that separately later in the post.
  3. Technical SEO - This has to do with the coding of the page itself, web designs used, and the site on which we host it. Unless you have some experience with coding, you are best served to hire a professional. You could have the best on and off page SEO possible, but if the bot can’t see the page, it is all for naught. 
Local SEO for New York

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

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 is usually offset by the lost advertising dollars you would have spent with him or her.

Social Media Marketing

Long gone are the days when all of your followers 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. 

Last, as a Bonus, Review Sites

Review sites can help your business 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. 

When Should You Be Active in Local Marketing

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.

Who Should You Turn to for Help?

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.

Six Factors when choosing a local marketing firm

Local Digital Marketing in New York Summary

I would love to leave you with the following points:

  1. There is NO such thing as marketing locally across all of New York City, much less the New York Metro area.
  2. Be smart about your market segmentation. Find the right mix of attributes that are most suited to the value you provide.
  3. Remember, marketing locally is a mix of analog and digital methods. Depending on your segmentation, the costs and benefits can vary significantly.
  4. With local digital marketing, the most common tactics deployed are local SEO and listings, local paid digital advertising, and social media marketing.

About the Author

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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