6 Key Areas You Might Be Wasting Your Local Marketing Spend

Local marketing campaigns are critical to long-term growth and continued profits for those running a small business. These campaigns allow companies to target key local audience segments, promoting ongoing growth and customer retention. This is particularly important for those operating a business in the service sector where customers are searching for where to do business on a hyper-local level.

For these small businesses, marketing spend is limited, and every penny needs to count. But unfortunately, many businesses waste their local marketing spend. According to a report by Proxima, between 40-60% of digital marketing spend is being used ineffectively.

Small businesses cannot afford to lose half of their budget to wasted spend, making it imperative for these companies to look for where the waste is happening and reinvest that money into an improved marketing strategy.

If your small business is not seeing the results you should from your local marketing tactics, take a deep dive into the following six areas where you might be wasting your local marketing spend.

1. By Targeting a Broad Audience

Local marketing works well when the efforts are aimed at a hyper-specific audience segment. Unfortunately, too often, businesses looking to market in a local area pick campaign strategies that are too broad, wasting a large amount of money on an audience that will never convert to a sale.

Today’s consumer is not interested in seeing irrelevant ads. Digital tools have made it possible for brands to understand their customers on a deeper level. By using data, you can ensure that your marketing reaches a particular audience.

For service businesses, this is particularly important. If someone is not a homeowner, for example, and they will never be responsible for scheduling AC repairs at their apartment, targeting them with ads about AC repair services is a waste of money.

What to Do About It

If you are concerned that your local marketing efforts are wasted on the wrong audience, use digital marketing to spend your money on the right audience segments.

A great place to begin is via Google Ads (though you can apply this same strategy to other digital channels such as Facebook or Instagram).

When running an ad via Google, you can target a particular audience segment based on the type of campaign you are running.

For Display campaigns, you can combine your data with two other segments referred to as affinity and intent. Your data will allow you to target people who previously interacted with your business specifically. Affinity segments will reach groups of people based on their lifestyle, buying habits, and long-term interests. Intent segments allow you to focus on people actively researching products or services.

Depending on your goals, you can determine which of these audience segments to include down to a granular level when creating a campaign.

And, when running a video campaign via Google, you can also add life events and other detailed demographics to your audience segments. This allows you to target customers based on milestones, such as becoming a new homeowner, and by groups of people with shared common traits.

Over time, as you begin to see which segments convert at the highest rate, you can double down your efforts on these segments and reduce spend on segments that don’t lead to profitable conversions.

marketing spend on target audiences

2. By Sticking to the Same Strategy

This is a common issue for small businesses that have been in operation for a long time. The company has handled marketing one way for decades, and there are no plans to change.

However, marketing strategies should not be stagnant. What worked ten years ago does not work the same way today. Further, what worked one year ago, or even a month ago might not be the ideal strategy. Digital has created a fast-paced world where marketing strategies must continually be tweaked, and businesses must adapt to changing consumer demand.

What to Do About It

When was the last time you did an audit of your marketing tactics? Have you relied on the same strategy for years, perhaps even decades? If so, there is a good chance you are wasting a large amount of the money you spend on these marketing strategies.

It’s time to do an audit. How are you tracking the return on your marketing dollar? If you don’t have a method to do so, set one up. You need to be able to measure your conversion rates and determine what tactics might now be outdated and are hemorrhaging money.

If you don’t run your marketing in-house, request an audit from the agency you work with and ask about where every penny is being spent.

3. By Dumping Money Into Poorly Performing Channels

For many small businesses, it can be concerning when marketing channels are not performing as expected. If you planned to earn 20 new customers a month via a specific channel, and, instead, it seems that you are losing more customers to your competition than gaining new ones, a natural reaction is to think that your budget might not be high enough to compete.

This leads many businesses to simply dump more money into poorly performing channels hoping that they will be able to outpace the competition in spending.

Unfortunately, this strategy rarely works. It is usually not money that is the culprit behind a poorly performing marketing channel. Dumping more money into the situation simply results in more money lost.

What to Do About It

Before spending another cent on a poorly performing channel, take a deep dive into the analytics around the campaigns you are running. In many cases, you can actually lower your spend while increasing your reach simply by improving how your campaign operates.

For example, if you are seeing a poor return on your Google Display Ads, it might not be because you aren’t spending enough; it could be because your ad copy is hard to read or your call to action button isn’t working. Maybe your display ads are sending customers to a broken webpage or one that is difficult to understand, causing customers to drop off before converting.

Truthfully, numerous factors could cause your campaign to perform poorly. It can take time, but it is well worth the effort to dig deep and determine the root cause of the issue before spending more money.

4. By Settling for Surface Level Reports

Many small businesses have learned the importance of pulling reports on their marketing campaigns. Rather than walking blindly into each new quarter, they actually take the time to see what tactics have performed well in the past and which ones aren’t providing a high enough return.

However, when looking at these reports, too often, business owners are handed surface-level information from marketing teams. These reports might show basic metrics, such as click-through rates or the number of new visitors to a website. Perhaps there has been an uptick in both of these numbers, leaving business owners to walk away satisfied. Unfortunately, surface-level reporting doesn’t tell the whole story, which can lead to spending money on tactics that look good but aren’t actually resulting in profits for the business.

What to Do About It

Next time you look over your company’s marketing reports, whether they are provided in-house, from an agency, or you pull them yourself, make sure you look at information beyond the surface level.

For example, if your company saw a large uptick in new website visitors, what happened next? Did any of those visitors go on to schedule a service with your company? If not, why? An uptick in website visitors can be a good sign of a well-run campaign, but it can also be a sign of wasted spend. Funneling a large number of new visitors to your website will do you little to no good if those weren’t the right target audience. Unfortunately, many marketing companies rely on surface-level reporting to paint a pretty picture. Don’t settle for the basics. Dig deeper and find out what is actually earning you measurable, profitable results.

5. By Ignoring Your Customer Reviews

Perhaps you are running perfect marketing campaigns. You’ve honed in on the key audience segments that best represent your ideal customer, and you’re getting your business’ name out there and in front of the right people.

But then something unimaginable happens — customers who were poised to convert suddenly drop off. Behind the scenes, unbeknownst to you, a customer who was ready to call up your business to schedule a service saw a litany of negative online reviews. Glancing at the complaints surfaced by Google, they also noticed a trend from your business — radio silence.

When you don’t pay attention to the reviews your business is getting and you are absent from the conversation, you can waste a lot of money paying to show customers your poorly managed reputation.

What to Do About It

Put into place a strategy for managing your online reputation. Your company must know what customers are leaving you reviews and for you to actively manage this. This means responding to new reviews as they come in. It means actively seeking out positive reviews from satisfied customers. And it means monitoring your reputation to ensure that you aren’t marketing your business during a slump in your business’ perceived credibility.

Finally, take the time to do a little bit of further reading to gain a deeper understanding of why your online reviews matter and how you can improve your digital reputation here: The Importance of Google Reviews for Your Online Presence

6. By Using a Weak Call to Action

In some cases, the failure of your marketing campaign rests solely on the shoulders of your ad copy. When you pay to surface an ad to a customer with a weak or non-existent call to action, you run the risk of wasting a lot of money.

If a customer glances at your ad and they don’t know within seconds what they are supposed to do next, you are most likely throwing money down the drain. People have short attention spans, and when they see an ad, they don’t want to have to guess what to do next.

What to Do About It

Sit down and go through each ad you are running. Ask yourself:

  • What is the call to action?
  • How is a customer supposed to take this action?

If you can’t answer these questions within seconds, you need to rework your ad copy. Keep in mind, as well, that it can be beneficial to get a second set of eyes on your ads, particularly if you helped write them. Often, what seems obvious to someone on the inside of a business is confusing or unintelligible to someone on the outside.

Additionally, beyond your own analysis, a good indication that your call to action isn’t effective is when your ads are receiving a high number of views with an incredibly low goal completion rate.

Stop Wasting Your Marketing Dollars, Partner with J&L

At J&L Marketing, we are passionate about helping small businesses increase their local reach while lowering their spend. If your business is tired of throwing money at marketing campaigns, only to see little to no return on the investment, it’s time to take back control of your spend.

When you work with our team, we’ll start by analyzing what you are currently doing in terms of local marketing. We will work with you to dive deep into reporting, looking for key metrics that will help us understand where you might be wasting your money. From here, we’ll work with you to put together a strategy that will allow you to tighten up your budget while increasing the return you see.

To learn more, set up a consultation with our team. We will be more than happy to answer any additional questions you have to help you understand how to better manage your local marketing strategies.

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