The marketing landscape for local businesses has evolved drastically, seemingly in the blink of an eye. This is especially true at the local level. Traditional marketing tactics still exist, but no local business can expect to grow without a proper local digital marketing plan or footprint.
Marketing businesses in today's local landscape involve a multi-faceted, mobile-focused, multi-channel approach. Google Business Profile, accurate business listings, online reviews, customer engagement, and social media are only a few parts that go into a local businesses marketing strategy.
Components of modern local digital marketing
Local digital marketing is built from numerous parts: Local SEO, Google Business Profile listing, business citations, website location page, social media pages, email, and more. Each piece is critical in strengthening a business's overall local digital efforts, and no part should be ignored.
Company wide tools should also be employed if a business has multiple locations. These include special benchmarking and consumer insights tools that quickly sift through customers' social sentiments. These tools allow for the comparison from location to location and the measurement against your competitors. Additionally, insights use algorithms to help determine actionable member trends. This is highly useful for monitoring and improving customer experience.
The benefits of local digital marketing
These advantages go well beyond driving revenue. Local digital marketing can result in more awareness for your brand, stronger relationships with your customers, and new avenues for your brand to grow.
Local digital marketing: a modern guide
Today, local digital marketing is about employing digital tactics like, business listings, online reviews, customer engagement platforms, and social media while refining traditional advertising strategies. Using these tools allows your business to reach its local audience, forge lasting relationships, and reach those searching for your services.
How local marketing has evolved
In the past, awareness campaigns have consisted of newspaper ads, billboards, flyers, and word-of-mouth. In today's digital landscape, modern local marketing is unrecognizable compared to what it was. With smartphone and internet usage at an all-time high, business marketing has evolved to meet consumer needs. Although billboards and ads still have their place, a well-rounded marketing strategy includes reviews, local SEO, business listings, and social media. These channels provide a better ROI while enabling your business to reach the more potential customers.
Google"Local Pack" search
The "Local Pack" search is typically the first set of results that Google displays when people type a local search, which means a business, product, or service that provides a specific location or a term like "near me." Because Google shows only the top 3 business results in the list, being one of those significantly boosts search traffic and local name recognition. Recent studies have shown that the top three Google business results get 71% of new business calls; hence making it the top three is critical for your local business.
Local search engine optimization is a subset of SEO that focuses on optimizing your local digital footprint so you can be found in local search results. Local search results are terms like "near me" and "in [your location]." Local SEO is the strategic process of emphasizing local brick-and-mortar businesses' optimization efforts. The efforts include the Google Business Profile, accurate business listings, online reviews, optimized location pages, and locally focused content.
Google Business Profile (GBP) listing
A GBP listing is the number one factor in getting ranked locally. With a GBP listing, you can ensure your business's address, phone number, and additional details are accurate and available. It is the number one way customers search for information. A GBP listing also gives people a way to review your business. When people search for your services in an area, your business and competitors will all come up with their Google rating, making this a critical marketing tool.
Optimized business location pages for your website
The business location pages on your site are the cornerstone of any modern local business website and business's with multiple locations. It allows you to host location-specific content such as hours, directions, staff, offer information on services and products, and send the right signals to Google for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. Not only this, but business location pages also play a critical role in your company's local SEO. Having information about your local business location on your site increases your chances of searching for specific terms.
Accurate business listings, called NAP+W (name, address, phone, and website URL), are critical. There are hundred-plus places on the web where your business can be listed. Everywhere from Google to Yahoo and Apple maps. Ensuring that they are accurate for your location is imperative. According to MOZ, accurate NAP+W count for 10% of your local search ranking. Besides that, if a customer can't trust your primary business information's accuracy, they will be concerned about your ability to manage theirs.
Customer reviews are an essential influence on a business's local online reputation and affect a business's ability to draw in new prospective customers. 88% of consumers now use online reviews to find a local business and are potential customers' first impressions of how your company does business. Online reviews also affect a business's local Google Business Profile ranking based on review volume and review rating signals. Again, according to MOZ, reviews count for an additional 9-12% of local search ranking. Lastly, online reviews provide valuable insight into how customers perceive your business's brand and the quality of your overall customer experience.
Creating and maintaining proper social media pages, especially a Facebook page, allows your business to stay in contact with current and potential members. You can answer questions through the messenger feature, which can be a bonus for customers shopping for services. Lastly, social media is an excellent place to show your business's human side and host contests or giveaways. If your company has a fun costume party or festive gathering, sharing pictures can be a great way to humanize your office and help your customers feel closer to your staff.
Creating unique content and sharing it on your website is a great way to show your expertise. It's an essential part of SEO and will help your website rank higher in Google, increasing your chances of being found. Unique content can also result in organic traffic growth, which can reduce your spending on paid campaigns.
There are many other benefits to digital marketing at the local business level. By understanding your customer's sentiments and trends, you can get a comprehensive view of performance at both a location and company level. Hence local understanding yields companywide insights.
Benchmarking against the competition
By using readily available Natural Language Processing (NLP) software, businesses can sift through thousands of data sources from review sites, blogs, websites, forums, and more to uncover trending topics.
With many measurable touch-points, your company can accurately and quickly determine where you stack up within the company for service, wait time, customer experience, and many more. This can be done at a local or regional level and then compared to your competitors, allowing you to see where they excel and how to mimic their success.
Insights yield results
Insights also use NLP software to help transform member feedback into actionable data. Reviews, surveys, and customer feedback are abounding with valuable information about your brand. NLP software decisively determines keywords to help uncover root causes for problems and helps drive corrective action. Further, insights help you identify positive and negative trends before they get out of hand.
Local digital marketing has changed
Digital marketing has changed the ways prospective customers find and select services locally. It's also changed how businesses can measure themselves against their competitors while listening to what their customers say. If appropriately managed, local SEO marketing will improve your online presence, foster brand trust, reduce customer churn and increase revenues.
It is vital to choose a digital partner that understands your business model and the importance of the customer experience. The Digital Reputation Group wants to make you the top local business in your category. The Digital Reputation Group drives growth by focusing on local Google ranking, optimizing your business's digital footprint, local SEO, and marketing operations, and stressing the importance of listening to your customers.