Expanding into a new market is thrilling but also filled with unknowns and risks. Like venturing deep into an uncharted jungle, you’ll need to tread carefully and equip yourself with the right tools to cut through the competition and reach new customers. This survival guide will give you eight best practices for how to market and advertise your business in a fresh market like a pro!

1. Do Your Homework

The first essential step is thoroughly researching the new target market to find out more about the people, places, and opportunities that await.

Get demographic data on age, gender, income level, education, etc. Identify consumer behaviors, including the most popular brands and products in the area. Learn how people prefer to shop and pay. Additionally, map out the local media landscape, such as popular radio stations, TV channels, newspapers, and websites. This in-depth “recon trip” will provide invaluable insights to inform your marketing approach.

For example, if your research shows the market prefers local brands advertised on regional radio stations, those should be your key platforms. Take time to get to know the locals so you can make intelligent choices.

2. Find Your Brand Voice and Personality

Once you’ve researched the landscape, it’s time to define your unique brand voice to connect with this new audience. What key differentiators set your business apart? What tone and personality traits will resonate most in this market? Develop messaging that communicates your value proposition with flair.

For instance, emphasize quality and craftsmanship for a market that favors local artisanship. Use a quirky tone if the region appreciates offbeat humor. Make your brand voice magnetic to hook the locals.

3. Get Found Online

As one of the first steps when entering a new market, optimize your online visibility so customers can easily find and learn about your business. Create or update your Google My Business listing with necessary info like address and hours. Build out your website as an online hub with local SEO. Set up social media channels to expand reach. Monitor reviews to manage reputation. Having an authoritative digital footprint gives new customers confidence in your business when they search for you online.

4. Choose Your Advertising Platforms

Now you need to identify the hottest advertising platforms to spread awareness. While tried-and-true options like radio, TV, and print may still be effective, you should also consider trendier digital venues. Where does your target market spend its time online? Research which social media platforms, blogs, and websites draw the most engagement locally. Blend traditional and digital channels to cover all the cool hangouts.

For example, sponsoring local events or partnering with influencers can establish community connections. Meet the locals where they already are.

5. Create Ads That Stop Traffic

With your platforms selected, it’s time to craft compelling ads tailored to each channel. Design visually stunning graphics, images, and videos that pop on feeds and capture attention instantly. Write magnetic copy and optimize for local search terms. Make ads that are impossible to ignore and stop scrollers and listeners in their tracks. 

Test different creative approaches, headlines, and calls to action and double down on what resonates most. Adapt over time as you learn more about connecting with the new market.

6. Track Results and Adjust Accordingly

As you distribute your ads, pay close attention to performance and engagement metrics. See which platforms drive the most website traffic, social engagement, sales inquiries, etc. Double down on the high-performers. For poorer performers, tweak your messaging or ad strategy until you unlock the code to connect with that audience.

Be willing to quickly adapt and optimize, like cleverly navigating through a dense jungle. Let data guide your marketing dollars into the most fertile ground.

7. Get Involved In Your Audience's Circles

Once you’ve reached the masses and fine-tuned your targeting, identify opportunities that speak more directly to your potential customers. This might be in the form of event sponsorships, chamber memberships, church bulletin advertisements, and so on. Show your customers that you support and have passion for the same causes and events as they do by financially supporting the same things they care about.

8. Be Ready To Make a Good Impression

All of these advertising efforts will draw attention to your business, so before implementing any of them, make sure you are ready for it. Prep your sales team, polish your website, organize the shelves, and scrub the floors. It’s true what they say —you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so do whatever it takes to make it great.

More Tips on Branding Your Local Business

BrandsFormation is a proven 4-step branding system by strategist Chuck Mefford that helps local businesses make an emotional connection by uncovering and telling their story.

We're big believers in BrandsFormation at Leighton Media because not only does it work, but it gives us a necessary foundation and system of approaching marketing with intent and purpose. It's a tried and true method to the success we've celebrated alongside our clients time and time again.

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