Strategies For Marketing On A Local Level
Does your business cater to local customers? If so, you need to implement various SEO tactics to ensure that local customers can find your website when they search online for the types of products and services you offer. Not having a website that’s optimized for local search today is the 1990s equivalent of not being listed in the Yellow Pages. According to the Kelsey Group and more recently Google, 94% of Internet users perform local searches, and according to a study by TMP and Comscore, 82% of local searchers follow up offline with an in-store visit, phone call or purchase. So, if you want to boost your bottom line and make the most of your online marketing efforts, make sure that your website is found wherever possible by local consumers.
Use Local Keywords
In order to drive local traffic to your website, incorporate local keywords into your website’s content, title tags, and meta tags. Perform keyword research to determine what keywords local customers are using to find websites like yours. Local keywords typically include the type of business and your city and state. For example, if you’re a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, keywords you might target include “Personal injury attorney Philadelphia” or “Personal injury lawyer Philadelphia PA.”
Add Your Address and Phone Number to Every Page of Your Website
Make it clear to search engines and users where your business is based by adding your physical address and phone number with a local area code to every page of your website. Doing this also improves your website’s user experience because it makes it easier for people to find your contact information and get in touch with you.
Claim Your Listing on Local Search Platforms
One easy way to increase your local business’s exposure is by claiming your listing on major local search platforms, like Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local. These local search platforms require you to verify your phone number and address. Maximize the effectiveness of your listings on local search platforms by adding photos and videos, writing compelling copy, incorporating target keywords, adding coupons, and keeping your listing up-to-date.
Get Listed in Local Directories
If your business is not listed in multiple local directories, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to show up in local searches. Some directories where you can get your local business listed include Yelp, YellowPages.com, Merchant Circle, LinkedIn, CitySearch, and Foursquare. Making sure your business has a presence anywhere potential customers could find you is vital to the success of your local marketing plan.
Ask for Reviews
Encourage customers to review your business on local business directories, as long as it’s not against their terms of service. Most local directories, besides Yelp, allow businesses to solicit reviews. Reviews, both positive and negative, help to build trust and add credibility. You can ask customers to review your business via social media, on printed receipts, in your email signature or on invoices.
Not only should you focus on getting found locally, you should also strive to provide top-notch customer service at every step. In this era, information about your business, both good and bad, has the potential to spread at breakneck speed across the web. Treat your customers extremely well both online and offline to ensure that your business is represented in a positive light online.
Every business struggles to connect with their customer base. This is true of start-ups and growing businesses as well as for those enterprises that are long established. The team at Ideaover10 has years of experience helping businesses get seen and we’re going to share some valuable strategies with you.
Who Are Your Customers?
Before you get too far into your new marketing push, you need to identify local demographics. A good way to do this is to look up the most recent census data regarding the age, gender, and family size in your region. Your local Chamber of Commerce may have this information in addition to data related to local spending and economic growth. Not all of this data will may seem immediately relevant to your business but it’s actually worth knowing. If you were a contractor or owned a construction company working in the residential market, it’d be helpful to know if the average family size has been on the rise; this trend suggests that those large families are going to be looking for large homes. Your advertising efforts could thus be focused in venues that are aimed at the same customer base.
Identify Advertising Mediums
Every public venue has a number of advertising mediums that intersect within that space. To understand how this works, think about a department store. The department store has a local radio station playing on the overhead speakers; there are local entertainment newsletters available near the entrance, and ad space is sold on each shopping cart and on the bus station benches near the store. Within one space, you have at least four opportunities to advertise. You have to select which of these are going to be most appropriate for your business; at the same time, consider which of the available advertising mediums your target demographic is most likely to interact with.
When reaching out to the owners of these mediums, make sure to ask about distribution statistics. These statistics reflect in part the consumption of advertisement. For instance, the official circulation statistics of a local paper will tell you how many people are likely to see your ads. Before you choose which medium to advertise in, look at what kind of saturation the agency controlling that medium enjoys in the area.
Prioritizing Business Visibility On The Local Level
In order to prioritize local advertising, you have to make a long-term strategy that can be implemented in stages. This can be as simple as purchasing a years’ worth of ad space in a local free newspaper. If you choose to have posters and brochures printed, don’t just print one batch; once your initial batch has been used order some more.
And finally, make an effort to be seen in your local community. Name recognition and brand identity can be created through the actions of everyone affiliated with your business. Participating in civic festivals such as parades and cultural events allows potential customers to see the people behind the name. Trade shows, industry conventions, and similar events are also good ways to showcase your work and become known to your community.
While an increasing number of businesses exist entirely online, it’s still typical for businesses to have both a physical, “brick and mortar” location in addition to their online presence. With all the buzz surrounding social media marketing and other online marketing trends, it’s easy to feel pushed towards prioritizing the online side of your business. However, don’t do this at the expense of local outreach. You have customers living in your area and you need to make sure they know about you.
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.