One of the most iconic billboards of San Francisco was courtesy of Yahoo!. You may have seen it, it's faced the northbound lane and it had this cool retro-Vegas hotel vibe.
If Yahoo's goal was to generate awareness, they succeeded. It was really hard to miss that billboard. And in a city that's over-saturated with big-name brands and hot start-ups, it's easy for small firms to think that the only way to get their name out there is to emulate Yahoo's approach — if they only had Yahoo's advertising budget. However, before you get despondent and pack your bags and move to Joshua Tree, first check out our take on alternative and affordable ways of marketing in big cities.
These approaches are predicated less on traditional outbound techniques like billboards and radio ads and more on the premise that your target big-city demographic will be mobile, social, app loving, and tech-savvy. Therefore, brainstorm ways in which an urban lead may stumble upon your brand and take the necessary steps to make this a seamless process while presenting your brand in an attractive manner.
The most obvious example, of course, is social media advertising. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter now make it easy for brands to create highly targeted, geographically focused ads. If you want to reach customers in Chicago, you limit your ads solely to users in that city. Better yet, you can set your own budget for these platforms and can access robust analytical reports to see what approaches work best.
Also understand that customers will be more likely finding you before you can directly reach them. Take the classic question that's probably uttered a thousand times every night in any given city: "Wanna get sushi tonight?" The would-be customer will then whip out their smart phones and go to Yelp. In fact, regardless of your industry, odds are many savvy city leads' first exposure to your brand may be through sites like Yelp, so make sure your Yelp account is effectively managed.
Most importantly, remember that a majority of these city slickers will be accessing your brand via mobile devices, which influences two main elements of your strategy for marketing in big cities. First, make sure any display or banner ads are mobile-friendly. This includes having a striking image, brief and crisp copy, and a strong call to action. Similarly, ensure your home page is also-mobile friendly. Does your home page and its associated components, like your blog, look good on mobile devices? If not, pull up with your designer and ask them their thoughts on responsive Web design. Revisit your 1,200 word blog posts and trim them down to more digestible sizes. And make sure your home page is lean and mean with minimal "friction" that can distract users with tremendously short attention spans.
Lastly don't forget the power of local search. Our pals over at HubSpot provide some great advice along these lines, including the importance of creating local pages, optimizing key SEO elements, and, as always, investing in great content.
What do you think? How does your brand try to penetrate over-saturated marketers? What tips did we neglect to mention? What approaches have proved particularly effective for your brand?