In the past local marketing consisted of posting leaflets through doors and posters in shop windows. Now, those techniques are outdated, and businesses rely on the internet to gain customers from near and far. With this, we’ve compiled a detailed guide for all those who are new to virtual local marketing.
Local marketing is all about targeting customers around a specific location. For example, If you run a hair salon, there’s little point reaching out to consumers on the other side of the country. The likelihood of them jumping on a plane just to get their hair cut in your salon is very small. Instead, we focus on the community around this physical location. Sometimes, this process is called ‘neighborhood marketing’ or ‘local store marketing’.
Due to the nature of this process, it’s designed for businesses that aren’t interested in mass marketing. When we advertise on this level, a significant percentage of the budget is wasted. In recent years, local marketing opportunities online have improved. However, many small businesses don’t recognize these opportunities because they’re used to a time where marketing online meant advertising to a mass audience.
You’ll see marketing experts talk about various techniques that could make up a local marketing strategy. However, five elements take on more importance than the rest. If your strategy considers these five aspects, you can’t go wrong!
You may have heard all about search engine optimization, but did you know that it’s now possible to optimize for a local audience? As time goes on, Google tries to provide users with more relevant results when they search the browser. These relevant results are based on location. People who search for a restaurant will see establishments close to their location. While executing local SEO, you are ensuring that your name is the one that consumers see when searching nearby.
How do you achieve local SEO? Well, one technique is to optimize local landing pages and add all local information. In an ideal system, these local pages are accessible both through the national website as well as individually. If you’re only a local business, you can:
There are many benefits to developing local landing pages including a simplified system for marketing, segmenting consumer demand, and learning about each market for ad optimization and product development. Make sure each landing page includes details about products, opening hours, addresses (and names), and that it offers unique images. With trackable phone numbers, you can even compare the performance of each landing page. We also recommend links to Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook, and other review websites.
The development of mobile phones have created an influx of people searching for services of your type while on the go. If you’re available in three locations, make sure each one has a landing page that works on mobile and entices people in.
We recommend looking through all the information regarding your business to ensure that it’s consistent across all platforms. This includes all names, phone numbers, addresses, business hours, maps, and photos. Whenever your business is mentioned online, this is called a ‘citation’, and having citations conflict can harm your performance. In the past, we’ve seen companies get punished because of a discrepancy between ‘Inc’ and ‘Corp’ in the company name. Make sure your details are consistent across all listings.
We know, you probably have listings all over the Internet, so where do you start? If possible, begin with the important online directories such as Yelp, Google, Bing, Facebook, and Apple Maps. From here, you can focus on industry-specific sites. For example, TripAdvisor and Kayak are important for those in hospitality and travel.
Bonus Tip - Make sure you claim your business pages on all important directories. Did you know that business pages get generated on your behalf? While this seems like a good idea, these listings aren’t targeted to keywords, they don’t have the right category, and they aren’t accurate. When you claim a listing, you are the owner and have authority over the listing.
Many people trust online reviews just as much as friend and family recommendations. Reviews and ratings by your customers are critical for success online. There are two reasons why you should pay attention to your online reputation:
You might think that this is something you can’t affect, but you can. How? By asking all customers to leave a positive review of their experience with your products or service. Often, consumers who love a product are willing to write a review. The problem is that most businesses don’t ask. We aren’t saying that all customers will leave a great review, but some will.
The fifth essential element of local marketing is local paid search and ads. It is common to invest in paid advertising on social media or paid search. In fact, many brands have found success with Google’s Promoted Pins. With this feature, you can reach out to your audience with a tailored message. Paid ads and searches are an ideal way to gain exposure and ensure your appearance when people search for local services.
Here are some of the best tips when attempting to implement a new local marketing strategy:
Optimize your website and consider things like title and meta descriptions, location-specific pages, local address and phone numbers, embedded maps, and geo sitemaps for local search.
Look for geo-specific words and phrases that will help when optimizing your website and social media profiles. What do people search for when looking for a service of your type in the area? This information will prove useful right across your local marketing strategy, so take your time with keyword research.
As well as on-site optimization, you can’t forget optimization away from your website. Pay attention to some key local search directories. This includes:
As noted previously, it’s essential to claim listings and control the information available for consumers. The more consistent and accurate, the better the experience for consumers, and the more likely you are to receive calls.
Link building really will help when you target local keywords. Google is still punishing those who are ‘over-optimizing’, so don’t take link building too far. However, you can still look at local bloggers, businesses, events, charities, and resource pages for link opportunities.
Considering the power that search engines place on customer reviews, it’s surprising how many businesses completely ignore them. Often, they feel as though this is something left to the consumer. Yet, you can encourage reviews without making customers feel awkward. You can send a follow-up email after a conversion, add a button to your website to make it easier for customers to leave a review, or ask in person (or leave a note in the package of a delivery!).
Always analyze performance to assess whether or not you could add to your existing strategy. Look at Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and other tools to check your followers, visitors, and likes are coming from the right location.
Finally, use social media to your advantage and try to create content that resonates with the local community. For example, Twitter allows you to follow local discussions, use Twitter Maps, and give your views on important industry moments. Facebook on the other hand, is good for building a following, joining local community pages, teaming up with other local businesses, paying for ads, and keeping consumers updated with business changes (especially important in 2020!).
With this, you now know the important elements of local marketing and how to get started with your own strategy. Good luck!
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