Steven Donaldson

Marketing with Amazon and Google can help local businesses

Marketing to  Customers with Help from the Mega Corporations

When I received an email from Amazon and saw that it was focusing on a promotion for a local business I realized that they’re now jumping into the marketplace with Groupon and Google. Although the big players—Amazon, Google and Walmart— want your dollars, they also know that you don’t spend all your money with them. They know that there are thousands of local businesses that provide services and products they can never offer. From a local yoga studio giving you half off, to a discount at a local auto glass repair service, these are local, often one-location, sole proprietors running a business serving folks in their town or neighborhood, with no plans of global domination.

Partnering to Find the Right Customers

So when it comes to buying local and fighting the corporate megaliths, does it make sense to partner with them? Yes—they offer opportunities to connect to thousands of customers small business can’t otherwise reach affordably. Think of it this way: your brand is out there, but only those passing by, or currently purchasing your awesome baked goods know about you. Yes, that review you got helped but you’re missing tons of folks who would love your all-organic, multigrain muffins. When you buy ads from Google or Amazon local you are pushing your name and offers to all these hidden local customers. If you do it right  you gain visibility and new customers. The key is not to over-discount but to get folks to know you exist and experience your offering.

Google Dollars?

Google has set things up pretty slickly. They pitch a local online directory, combined with Ad Words ads, and also offer Groupon-type discount campaigns. Combined with TalkBin (a much friendlier version of Yelp), and GoogleWallet, this suite of online options allows you to allocate a specific budget to reach out to interested people and measure your results. This could really help certain types of small, local business.


Educating Local Business to the Value of Local Marketing

In spite of all the negative spin on buying corporate, the technology of the large online advertisers can help small business leverage their local awareness. It pays to figure out the best way to get your local brand out there, which can include implementation of  an online campaign to attract exactly the right customers.

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