For a digital service provider, does a local reputation make a difference?

We recently started playing around with some local marketing ideas, after becoming frustrated that there were several inferior companies operating in our close proximity with a better local reputation than our own.

It pains me to see our superior work quality, superior service and all-round better approach to the delivery of requirements go unnoticed where we live and work; yet our reputation is growing daily in larger cities both in the UK and around the globe.

So does it matter? Does it make a difference if you attract no local business in an industry such as ours – so long as you do attract business from somewhere?

We have never done any marketing, other than the occasional Adwords campaign (and those have primarily been to hone our own Adwords skills to better serve our clients) yet we have never been short of work. With continuous month on month growth over the last 18 months through word of mouth and natural organic expansion we have built a thriving business; albeit a stressful one and one where we are under constant pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines.

The results from our local campaign have been poor so far. We still work with almost nobody in Scarborough, and although I believe we are fairly well known and respected by other digital agencies in the area, knowledge of our existence is very limited amongst the demographic we are attempting to reach. Whether this is due to poor distribution of our marketing materials, an unattractive price point for local businesses or simply a lack of demand for our services I am yet to establish.

So does it make a difference? I would suggest that whilst it would almost certainly be a good thing, it might in fact be for egotistical growth as opposed to being a business objective. We don’t need to work with customers on our doorstep, because we do not need to work face to face with our clients – we manage fine using the distance tools we have used for over 6 years. It would simply be a personal boost for myself and the rest of the Netsells team to be recognised as the leading experts locally – a position that I certainly believe we deserve to hold.

What do you think? Should digital service providers aim to build a local reputation, or focus solely on the more profitable projects originating from the major organisations and cities based elsewhere?