Here is the marketing plan for your regional business


OPINION: It used to be that you could only build a successful business in a big city. Now, with heavy use of social media and better supply chain management (albeit not in the post-Christmas time of post-containment traffic), you can build a business anywhere.

I have a particular love for regional businesses. I love the community, connection, and camaraderie which are harder to find in a big city. Prior to March 2020, I was spending several days a month on the road all over New Zealand organizing a day of marketing training. We have rarely held them in large centers, focusing on towns and small towns, as we know that there is a rich vein of entrepreneurs, small business owners and businesses that other trainers and presenters were often missed. Due to the pandemic we have moved online and miss my tours around both islands.

Of course, you can run any type of business from a regional center. Some of our regional customers have made beautiful furniture, supplied engineers for huge projects, created machines that are exported to Australia, made art that is shipped around the world, and more.

For these types of businesses, social media and telling your story online is an essential part of the marketing strategy. You have to use the Internet as your megaphone, to help people far beyond the corners of your part of the world find you, know you, trust you.

* How to find profit in retail
* Why Small Business Owners Need a LinkedIn Profile
* Covid-19: Accessing additional support as an Auckland business

Own your story if you run a business in a regional area. Some business owners think they have to pretend they’re running their business from Auckland to get business. For every person who would only work with Aucklanders, there will be many who don’t care.

For businesses trying to expand outside of their geographic area, finding new markets that are easy to break into is important. One of the biggest mistakes regional business owners make is making “breaking into the Auckland market” their primary focus.

Wellington's project manager Natalia Campbell has become a surprise social media sensation thanks to her amazing cookie art.


Wellington’s project manager Natalia Campbell has become a surprise social media sensation thanks to her amazing cookie art.

The larger the population, the more opportunities there are. But the larger the population, the greater the competition. I often suggest that companies looking to enter the Auckland market start by testing smaller, quieter markets that might have more open opportunities. Even when you move to Auckland, try to fragment the area a bit, such as focusing on the north, south, west, east, or center, and then build from there.

If you are a regional business and want to focus on your own local market, your strategy will be slightly different. Don’t be sidetracked by the strategies that work for national or international brands, as they often add an extra layer of complexity to what can be a very simple marketing plan.

At a very simple level, a business operating in a targeted geographic area only needed three things to grow:

  1. A good offer

  2. Excellent customer service

  3. Satisfied customers

Since your business is part of a community, this was often enough to get both returning and referral customers. The pandemic has changed all that, as many of us have had to change the way we connect and operate.

I spoke with Toni Flanagan, who runs Social Project, a social media training school in Boome, Western Australia, on my podcast this week. She and I spent time discussing the biggest change for regional businesses over the past twenty months; moving online. (Toni is also amazing on Instagram Reels teaching people how to create them)

She shared, “It made people realize that you can have your successful restaurant, store, or boutique in town, but you can also have that second source of income from a larger market. I have a client who behaved very well during the pandemic. She was a market exhibitor moving online. She was stuck in Tasmania and couldn’t even come back here, but could continue to run her business. This has been a huge learning curve for all businesses over the past few years, but it has been particularly so for regional businesses, which have had constant issues with the supply chain, couriers and must operate. online rather than face to face.

Toni noticed that because we all had to learn new digital skills together, it made us more supportive of each other at the local level. “People were like ‘I can’t do this’ on social media. When they saw business owners that they really wanted to try, I saw them say to themselves ‘I want my business to survive, so I will’. The online small business community has really supported each other through this, ”she explains.

Rachel Klaver says you can run any type of business from a regional center.


Rachel Klaver says you can run any type of business from a regional center.

Toni and I have both worked with hundreds of small business owners in our respective countries, helping business owners become more confident online. We learned that the only barriers to success were the level of commitment to learning and to taking risks. We’ve both worked with business owners in their twenties and up to over 65. It’s the attitude that helps people get around online. Not the age, type of business, or location of the business owner.

Face to face business and online marketing have the same basis. The focus is on the customer, building a relationship of trust with them and showing what we do. This message works both in person and online.

Whether you’ve made the trip online or are still trying to navigate your way, here are five things you need for your marketing as a regional local business.

A website

It’s like a storefront, or the reception area in your office. It should show people who you are, show pictures of you and your team, clearly describe what you do and how to get in touch. If you are a retailer, they also need a way to buy your products. If you are in the hospitality business or tourism, you need prices and a way for people to book.

A Google business page

It used to be called “Google My Business”. I like to describe it as the Google version of a Facebook page, although it is configured and managed differently. One of the best walkthroughs on how to set it up properly is this guide from Corey Hinde

A Facebook page / an Instagram page

Facebook is still a place many locals go to find the answers, usually on a community page. You need to set up your page, but more importantly, you need to make sure you keep it up to date. I currently use our local Facebook pages to find out who’s running, times, and if people are closing for the Christmas holidays. One of our local cafes hasn’t posted on it since 2018!


Local networking is essential for locally targeted businesses. There are professional associations and chamber events, as well as the golf club, the gym, the pub. The burden of owning a small business in a local area is that you need to be aware and remember that everything you do and say will impact your business in one way or another.


It’s so easy not to worry about email as a local business, but it’s your insurance policy when the unexpected happens, it’s something you own and it gives you a chance to ‘deepen the relationship. I harass all the local businesses around me to have a mailing list. I’m especially proud of our local grocery store that has listened and slowly built a list that they email each week for bread and other special orders.

Some of the things that you might not have to worry about if you are a local business are huge SEO spending and time, and large ad budgets on Facebook. In New Zealand, a local business can get great coverage from advertisements in a small area for between $ 150 and $ 200 per month. You also don’t have to worry about creating huge success on your social media pages. If your followers are all local, loyal, and comment on your posts, it’s better than having 10,000 followers and no comments.

Local business owners should show their faces in publications, with images on their storefronts or inside their premises. This is your virtual experience of the real you, and we need to know who you are.

Whether you are focusing on marketing in your area or outside, the same marketing truths apply. You need to have a consistent post, consistently post and share online. You need to focus on building a community that searches your posts, opens your emails, and loves what you do, wherever you are based.

Rachel Klaver is a marketing strategist specializing in lead generation and content marketing. She owns Identify Marketing, which works with businesses to create the strategy they need to better tell their story to the right people. Tune in to his weekly MAP IT Marketing podcast – created to help small business owners learn about marketing.

Identifier Marketing is a content partner with Stuff for specialist small business information. Find Rachel’s events here.


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