Walk before you run or you may just trip.
Typically, most companies, whether regional or national focus on sales volume, tracking them weekly, monthly and yearly often by region or market. They look to their sales teams and ad spend to drive these numbers in an upward direction. This is just as important in a new market as an existing market.
While sales are always the driving force, mid-market companies often will lose focus of the benefits that local branding can add, which in turn increases market share and in the end their bottom line. After an initial launch and the honeymoon, sustained and mature growth must come from poaching a competitor’s customer. It’s really that simple.
However, when entering a new market, the first thing a regional company needs to know, is their competition in that market and what is positively attracting and maintaining their consumers. If they are national brands, a regional mid-market company already has an advantage if they can create a true local connection that a national brand likely cannot do.
Begin by making strategic connections with a targeted audience through well scripted, choreographed social media outlets and in local market branding. Social media is a perfect way to get a conversation started to build a solid reputation and is the most personal way that regional brands can begin a relationship with consumers.
On social platforms consumers don’t want to be sold, they want to connect and engage. So, do a grand opening, run a contest, or a social enter to win. Start out by not advertising to them.
The information shared should be relevant, meaningful, inspirational and factual. Loyalty is built through trust and having followers on sites like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter means that they trust you enough to bring you into their personal space.
Then once that is well under way, begin utilizing local traditional media begin to market to them on a larger scale. Both components will help a brand become part of a community. Regional companies should use local TV networks, engage an anchor or local personality. Work with the local radio stations and their on-air personalities to bring local awareness to a brand.
Get an interview with a few stations. Then follow up with personal on-air shout outs and conversations. This all fuels that community connection that can be the biggest advantage.
Look at other less typical ways to connect also. Try branding park benches, hand out company swag at the 5K. Support a recycling program and wrap the recycling and trash bins in public areas.
Having a brand that audiences connect and believe in rather than just selling to them will lead to a greater voice in a new market and in turn higher sales.