How to Nail Local Marketing in Your Area: Survey Findings Revealed

How to Nail Local Marketing in Your Area: Survey Findings Revealed

Read Time: 11 Minutes


25 Mar 2019

You’re passionate about your business, and know all in the ins and outs of your product and service. But the world of marketing continues to evolve at a phenomenal rate, and sometimes you can feel like you’re swimming through treacle when it comes to knowing how to best market yourself to potential customers. We know the pain – we’ve been there! 

Because we care about your local success as much as you do (we’re pretty much your #1 fan!) – we launched head first into finding out what people in your area love (and hate) when being marketed to, along with some pretty surprising generation and gender trends. 


What is Local Marketing?

When we say local marketing, we mean all of the marketing activities you perform to drum up awareness and sales – like advertising in a local paper, flyer drops at local mummy groups and Facebook advertising. 

Local marketing is one of the big fundamentals when it comes to getting your name out there – 30% of searches made on Google begin because the searcher wants to find a local business. And with customers choosing to shop more locally thanks to schemes like Small Business Saturday, you have a lot of engaged people around you – it’s just getting out there and shouting about what you do! 

We asked over 1,000 UK consumers what they really think about your local marketing efforts, and here’s what they had to say:

local marketing likes and dislikes


Local Marketing Love and Hate

We might not be able to agree on Brexit, but one thing we can all agree on is what kinds of marketing we love and what kinds we really don’t. 

what makes a successful local marketing campaign


As a nation, our overall favourite ways of being marketed to by companies is through social media and free samples. Cold calls and door-to-door sales were unanimously voted as the worst methods.Here's a little more about each marketing strategy so you can adjust your plan accordingly.



Social Media

Let’s face it, social media is pretty addictive. From scrolling through your best friend’s boyfriend’s dog’s Instagram account through to seeing a new gin festival launching in your local town – social media is changing the way we socialise as well as the way we market ourselves. With the UK spending on average over 2 hours a day on social media, and Facebook claiming profits of $16.91 billion in Q4 2018 – this is definitely a space you need to be in.

Free Samples

Shopify (2018) claim that free samples can boost sales by 2000%. With claims like this, it’s no wonder half of our respondents claimed that blagging a freebie would make them interested in a local business.

1 in 10 responses hailed the humble freebie as the most memorable piece of local marketing they’ve come across. Some honourable mentions included free prize draws, pizza, trials, cake, balloons and eggs to name a few! 

But be careful – you don’t want to give away the fruit of your labour for nothing. Here’s a top tip if this is something you’re thinking of weaving into your 2019 plans:


return on investment tips and ideas



Cold Call

According to HubSpot (2019), only 1% of cold calls convert into an appointment or sale – so it’s no surprise why a whopping 43% of our respondents named it as their #1 pet hate in local marketing. 

But why does this age-old marketing tactic have such a bad name? Our respondents named cold calling to be intrusive or seen as a scam, and has ultimately been given a bad name through fraudsters and fake companies calling up about “your motoring accident” and “PPI claims”.

This is not to say calling potential leads is bad practice, you just need to be more effective with how you do it. So, if you’re looking to drum up business over the phone, be honest, friendly and prepared to face cold tones from your recipient at the start of the call.

Sales Person Visit

Bad news for door-to-door salesmen, this is the second biggest hate when it comes to local marketing. Similar to cold calling, we found that respondents felt spontaneous visits to be intrusive, disruptive, pushy and were uncomfortable with having a stranger at their door. But with names like Avon and the well-known and loved ‘peg-man’ for the northern readers becoming a thing of the past, have we grown to hate sales visits? 

Not exactly.

We’ve grown to love our privacy and personal space. With the British public needing on average 3ft 8in of personal space between them and a stranger to feel comfortable, it’s no surprise that someone turning up at your door 1ft away is always greeted with defence.

So how do you combat this? Sales visits are always more effective when organised in advance. And if this is not possible – why not begin by first sending a freebie that can be used as a conversation starter? Or a piece of direct mail that intrigues your prospect about your goods or services? 


Marketing Born and Bred

Playing a little closer to home, we asked counties what’s the best and worst in local marketing. As a general rule of thumb, the national trend of loving social media and free samples and the hatred towards cold calls and sales visits was echoed throughout the land. What’s most surprising are the nuances between counties:

  • North East: ranked search engine advertising as a top 3 marketing channels vs the rest of the nation ranking average 5-10
  • East Anglia: voted newspapers as their #3 preference when it comes to local marketing – a channel which fell average in other counties 
  • London: if you’re looking to advertise to Londoners, radio is not going to do you any favours – with this channel ranked a bottom 3 vs average rankings elsewhere
  • North East: events were claimed to be the #3 most hated marketing channel in the North East when this channel faired average across the rest of the country 
  • North West: if you’re looking to entice those living in the North West, direct mail sent blindly will be greeted with annoyance. If you’re sending direct mail in this region, make sure it’s sent with good intentions and you’re sure your recipient is already aware of your offerings
  • Northern Ireland: residents of Northern Ireland identified traditional marketing in their top 10 marketing channels, with more digital formats like online communities and search engine advertising sitting in the bottom 4
  • Scotland: online communities were voted highly in Scotland vs other regions – identifying a great digital mingling and advertising opportunity 
  • South East: a county that loves something to touch – the South East ranked magazines, flyers, newspapers, direct mail and free samples in the top half of marketing channels with online communities and digital communications being least preferred 
  • South West: the west country ranked many marketing channels that allow the recipient to discover more about a product ranked best with magazines, word of mouth, flyers, radio and newspapers sitting in the top quartile of local marketing preference 
  • Wales: with every other county ranking social and free samples in their top 2, Wales was the only exception with word of mouth ranking second  
  • West Midlands: coupled with the South East, people of the West Midlands appear to love receiving a flyer – voted a top 5 way to receive local marketing 
  • Yorkshire: Yorkshire folk enjoy a traditional mix of local marketing with magazines, newspapers and radios in the top quartiles of votes 


local marketing trends by region


Generation gap

The saying may go ‘age is but a number’ – but our survey found that generations behave differently to different marketing channels when it comes to making a purchase. 

When asked “what tactic is most likely to make you buy a business’s product?” – there’s a heap of differences you should be prepared for when marketing to specific age demographics. 

  • Gen Z: for those young Gen Z-ers, it’s all about experiencing a product or service before taking the plunge and buying with 1/3rd saying a free trial would lead them to buy a product
  • Millennials: wanting to get those Millennials to buy? Promotions work a treat with 1 in 4 naming it as the top reason they’d purchase from a business
  • Gen X: the generation that is well known for its trust in others – 23% claim that the best way to get them to buy is through a refer-a-friend programme
  • Baby Boomers: looking for a way into the Baby Boomer generations heart? Excellent customer service will do wonders for you, with 1 in 4 ranking this as the main thing that would make them buy a product

local marketing trends by age group


Ladies & Gentlemen (and Their Marketing Favourites)

Our results suggest that men and women share the same top and bottom in local marketing preferences, with the real differences lying in preference of each channel:

local marketing trends by gender


  • Social media: half of women are likely to be influenced vs a third of men
  • Newspapers: men are twice as likely to be influenced by a newspaper ad than women
  • Sales people: men are three times more likely than women to be influenced by a conversation with a sales person 
  • Window displays: 4 in 10 women are likely to be influenced by window displays or an attractive web presence vs 3 in 10 men 


UK Print Marketing Trends

So which print marketing tools should you be investing in to appeal to a local target audience? We've revealed the most popular print tools per region to help you out!


A map showing print marketing trends across the UK


In Conclusion

Our findings show that there are lots of ways to create some exciting local marketing activities to entice customers in. Our top learnings are to invest in finding a social media platform that works for you, and consider free samples. But be cautious when using sales tactics that may appear intrusive like cold calling and unplanned visits – when executed poorly this can have a damaging effect on how customers perceive you. 

You know your business more than anyone else; what works for your business may not work for another. Try different techniques and keep pushing those marketing activities that deliver the results you’re after.


About the Author

Hey, I’m Brooke, a Client Service Advisor at instantprint. I’m trained as an expert in all things print and aim to answer all your most asked questions here on the blog.