You probably know that local marketing is a booming business for brands. But to continue reaching your target audience, your brand will have to remain relevant to them. Last year we showed how local influencers and brand activism could contribute to this. Two significant challenges will be added for the coming year: creating experiences and engaging with the local community. Read all about it and other local marketing trends for 2023 in this article.
1. Creating experiences with local events
After spending two years behind the laptop and mainly following online events, live events returned in 2022. A trend that will only continue next year. In 2023, 85% of event organizers will have at least three live events planned. We will see micro events and local activations in abundance this year. Instead of over-the-top events for everyone, smaller events organized by a local branch, for example, will increase in popularity. Instead of scale, the focus is more on involvement and intimacy this year.
Why? Local events are much more personal for their attendees. This contributes to forming a personal bond between the brand and the customer. This allows even the biggest brands to form an emotional bond with consumers. They feel a lot more connected to the corner shop than to an international chain.
Another activation trend that we will see a lot in 2023 is pop-up events (not to be confused with a pop-up shop). During a pop-up event or activation, products are not always offered for sale, but brands build a temporary brand experience. Adidas, for instance, organized a golden ticket scavenger hunt for adidas Members Week called the adidas CONFIRMED Pop-Up. Posters with a large QR code were hung in various cities worldwide. These posters led to a pop-up location. If you managed to find this location, you could win a golden ticket for the CONFIRMED app, so you could buy exclusive sneakers from the CONFIRMED collection.
Source: adidas CONFIRMED (via Hypebeast)
How can you use this in 2023?
It is crucial to consider the local market: respond to local events and the needs of the regional consumer. Your franchisee or regional partner should have the resources to organize small local events themselves. For example, making branded materials and activators easily and centrally available.
Want to know more about local marketing? Check out our comprehensive local marketing guide.
2. Local Search Updates
Local search is an essential part of successful local marketing. Local search has been a major part of Google's offering for years, but more platforms are adding local search features, such as Instagram. Here are the local marketing trends for 2023 in search:
Google Maps recently released an update called Neighborhood Vibe. The feature shows the vibe of a neighborhood by showing photos uploaded by users. Google does this by combining AI with content from Maps users. They add more than 20 million contributions to the map every day, including reviews, photos, and videos. This update makes Google Maps feel more like the real world by enabling a "vibe check". According to Google, the feature is intended to help users decide what's worth discovering. Thanks to this function, local hotspots appear directly on the map. A similar feature was introduced by Instagram this year: Instagram Map.
These updates are part of broader local marketing trends: social search. It is no longer uncommon for us to use social media as a search engine and we are increasingly relying on user-generated content for our search results. Some social media such as Instagram already offer the ability to search for posts from nearby places or specific locations. If you add locations to your content, it will appear in these search results. Local people can easily find your business.
How can you benefit from this?
Although Google and Instagram's directories are determined by users, these features help give visibility to local branches. In order for customers to tag your business and location on social media, you need to make sure that your location is visible on Google and social media. Additionally, you can create creative ways to encourage customers to submit photos, reviews, and stories. Your company cannot directly influence the content, but you can influence the people who visit it.
Dishes near you
Catering businesses should pay attention: Google has announced a new feature that allows users to search for specific dishes in their area. For example, are you really looking forward to dumplings? Then you can search for “dumplings near me”. It does not just display the restaurant, but also highlights the exact dish. By doing so, visitors won't need to compare menus from different restaurants to find their favorite dish.
How can you use this?
Menu information is gathered from restaurant websites using open standards for sharing data. Do you own or run a (franchise) restaurant chain? In order for Google to read the menus, each location should make their menus available online so local guests can easily find them.
This feature is currently only available in the United States, but is expected to be available in in Europe in 2023.
Want to know more about Google local campaigns? Check out our extensive blog article!
3. (Short) Video Marketing
Video, video, and more video. Video content is expected to dominate social media content in the coming years and short videos will receive most of the attention. There is increasing investment in short video formats on sites such as TikTok and Instagram Reels, as well as other platforms like Twitter and YouTube (Shorts).
So video is no longer a small part of your marketing strategy: it must be central and reflected in your local marketing plan. According to Hubspot research, 90% of marketers who already use short-form video will increase or maintain their investment next year. One in five marketers plans to use short-form video for the first time by 2023. If your target audience is on these platforms, then hopefully your brand has already adapted to these "new" channels. Next, you'll want to involve your local partners or branches.
How can you use this in 2023?
The first step is to establish a presence on social media at a local level. In case you haven't done that, now is the perfect time to start doing so and directly make video part of it. TikTok has also recently added a lot of useful business features such as advertisements and company profiles. As a result, it is no longer just a place for young people to show off their dancing skills. Platforms like TikTok are great because you can do anything with them as long as it's entertaining. There are few rules about what is right or wrong. Therefore, they are an ideal channel for involving your local branch and employees in the creation process.
@dominosau this was fun but uhhhh think i’ll stick to making pizzas 😳🍕#hipswing #dominosau #pizza #delivery #fyp #foryou #foryoupage ♬ Viva La Swing aka #SandoTwist by @Abiud_Sando - user47027482927
To summarize: in all of these local marketing trends, creating experiences and engaging with local communities is paramount. Hopefully, these trends will give you inspiration and tools to get started with local marketing in 2023!