Local Marketing: Online Marketing Guide for Local Business
When a person moves to a new city, travels or simply wants to explore new experiences, local businesses are among the most handy and popular options. As specialists in Online Marketing, we recommend all entrepreneurs behind such businesses to create a strong presence in the digital environment.
According to GoGulf, 46% of all Google searches are for locally relevant information. Moreover, 88% of them materialize in a direct interaction between the customer and the company, either in the form of a phone call or as a site visit (Nectafy).
What does this mean? That a strong presence on search engines (search engine optimization), complemented by brand awareness strategies through Social Media Management and local platforms is the key to the success of a local business.
What do online marketing strategies mean for local businesses?
Local Marketing is, as the name suggests, a promotion strategy approached by local brands in order to increase their visibility. Unlike the case of a business that operates on the market at national level, most of the time, the Marketing objective of a local business is precisely the visit to the location. This goal radically influences the tactics that a marketer should implement.
Here are 5 main steps that any online marketing strategy for local businesses should follow:
Step #1. Make sure you have a fast and mobile-friendly site!
We talked at length in one of our previous articles about the optimal loading speed that each site should reach in 2020. We mentioned then that currently about 47% of users expect a page to display in less than 2 seconds. The further a site moves away from this value, the higher the possibility of a high percentage of bounce rates. More specifically, potential customers, once they reach a page that is quite difficult to load, will leave it without watching its content.
To check to what extent your site has an optimal display speed, we recommend that you use one of the programs developed for these measurements: GTmetrix, Pingdom or Developers, about which we have provided more details here.
You’re probably not surprised that more than half of your traffic is currently generated by mobile searches. Is your site optimized for such a device?
A mobile-friendly site involves applying a layout adapted to viewing from a screen of variable size, with a vertical format, so as to facilitate access to all the elements available on the page (menu, contact page, etc.). It is also recommended to keep a simple, intuitive design. A website’s ability to be responsive can be verified by accessing the testing tool provided by Google.
As a local business, you need to make sure that you provide the user with a pleasant browsing experience. On average, 66% of mobile searches result in a direct contact between the potential customer and a local business if, of course, the site is optimized for such a device.
So, before accessing high-performance promotion strategies, start here! UX is a basic component, on which all other online marketing processes will depend.
Step # 2. Google My Business
If you’ve searched Google for a service available in your city at least once, you probably noticed the section below the results page. It contains a list of local businesses, according to your search option, ranked according to a whole series of criteria. For example, if a user enters “near me” inside the search, then the priority selection criterion will be the distance between the two geographical points (the closest businesses will be listed according to the user’s location).
To ensure a good position in this results section, it is advisable to pay attention to the description you enter on the platform, to choose your field of activity carefully, to include photos and to be active, answering the questions / reviews received.
How do I sign up for Google My Business?
The application is free, so anyone can register their local business to enjoy more visibility in both the search engine and Google Maps. You should not avoid this service if your business does not have a headquarters location. If you are a freelancer in the field of photography, for example, you can choose the option in which you do not display the address (you will enter the home address, but it will not be public), but only the city.
It is advisable to enter as much information as possible so that users can reach you more easily. Include in your profile the operating schedule, images from the location or a mini-portfolio, a link to the website and encourage your customers to leave a review!
Step # 3. Search engine optimization, the most important element in the online marketing strategy for local businesses
Is it worth investing in SEO in 2020? This question is on the lips of a growing number of entrepreneurs, and when we talk about local business managers, curiosity is even more pronounced.
There is a myth that only an online store or a national company needs SEO services. Nothing more false than that! Local SEO strategies are far from being less efficient. They are simply an adaptation of common tactics to give a business more visibility locally.
What does local SEO mean? A juxtaposition between SEO and geography!
Specifically, in the Keyword Research process, our specialist will pay more attention to the keywords that make direct references to a particular location. Thus, instead of optimizing the expression “Chinese restaurant”, we will replace it with “Chinese restaurant Bucharest”. With this simple SEO adaptation strategy, you will make sure that people who come to your page following a search have the opportunity to visit you on the site or establish direct contact with your business. The traffic will thus be of quality, and the users who will reach your site will correspond to the customer profile (buyer persona).
Also in the case of local SEO strategies, time plays a key role. If you want to be among the top three results on Google that enjoy, cumulatively, a percentage of 64% of the total traffic, you must start implementing SEO as soon as possible. An investment in SEO at this time will be a long-term benefit and will bring you one step ahead of the competition!
What do you need to remember? An investment in SEO in 2020 means a reduction in promotion costs in the coming years!
Cluj. com, the first brand with local impact that we helped gain visibility, benefits today, following a carefully monitored and adapted SEO strategy, from a monthly traffic value of 300,000 people. If promoted through Google Ads, Cluj.com would have to invest 55,000 EUR / month to get the current SEO value.
Read our whole story about the Cluj.com website here »What is the secret of Cluj.com success? A project for 800,000 people
Don’t forget the NAP!
“NAP” is the common acronym for “name, address, phone number”. These three elements are the core of information about your company when it comes to local searches. Sometimes you will see this written as NAP + W, where “W” refers to the URL of your site. In order for users and search engines to trust the data they find on the internet about your business, you need to make sure that NAP + W appears consistently both on your site and on all other third-party platforms that your business is listed on or mentioned in.
Step # 4 Social Media – How to bring your location “in the spotlight”?
It’s time to get creative! Social Media is a space conducive to the visibility of local businesses and allows you to build an entire community around your brand. An effective strategy is the popular check-in, which many customers prefer.
Claudio Schapsis identified, in a study, the 7 categories of reasons that cause people to check in (The 7 F’s of check-in):
- Fun – people react to fun activations;
- Fame – aim for an image benefit through that check-in;
- Friends – want to make new friends with common interests;
- Flirt – want to interact with new people;
- Fancying – intends to recommend a certain location;
- Following – they want to remember that place to return;
- Freebies – get free services, offers or coupons.
Based on these factors, we have thought of some suggestions for strategies that you can implement starting even today.
Social Media Marketing Strategies:
Turn your location into a trend! Many of the “trendy” locations on Instagram come in the context of smart activations, which are worth “share”-ing because they bring aesthetic value, convey a strong message, create an unusual combination of elements or simply create entertainment.
You can take as an example the hotels and cafés that have started to address different topics in order to differentiate themselves on the market. Use your creativity and you will find an ingenious way to promote yourself, regardless of your field of activity!
Check-in-s that brings offers. Another popular and also very effective practice is to give discounts or special offers to customers who mention your location in a post on Facebook or Instagram. The same idea can materialize in the form of a contest in which to offer free products / services.
Offer your customers a “celebrity moment“. Include in your Social Media plan the photos your customers take. Communicate very clearly that you will only repost those images that have included your location and you will notice how the popularity of your business will gradually start to grow.
Step # 5. Be part of the community!
For a local business, it is essential to integrate and get involved in the community. When you have the opportunity, show your support for the people in your city and get involved in initiatives that add value.
For example, our friends from Cluj.com are currently hosting an article contest with the topic “What will the world be like after COVID-19?” in order to invite the community to contemplate with hope for the future and to distance themselves, at least for a few moments, from the oppressive atmosphere of the context. Along with them, several local brands joined, willing to offer the winner a few prizes. This is just a model of how local businesses can work together and show solidarity with the community.
Another idea is to register on platforms designed to promote local producers. Especially in this period, when people are increasingly oriented towards supporting small businesses in their cities, such initiatives appear more and more frequently.
Do you have a local business and want more visibility?
SEO 365 wants to support local businesses and provides, during this period, free consulting. We are a team with over 20 years of experience in IT, and in the recent years we have specialized in online marketing. We have worked, during this time, both with local brands and with national companies, and our strategies have achieved performance in both cases.
Let’s identify online opportunities for your business together! »Free Consulting