Local businesses need local marketing. You need to attract customers from the local area or, in some cases, tempt people to travel to you. Any business that services a particular area needs to use both online and offline marketing techniques to promote their company and bring in customers nearby.
Local marketing methods are evolving all the time, just like any other marketing techniques. So it’s important to keep up with what matters and what has the most pull in the marketing world. If you still need to refresh your local marketing strategy for 2017, you should take a look at this guide.
Local search engine optimization is a key technique for local marketing, and it is continuing to grow through 2017. Displaying prominently in search engine results is important for a lot of local businesses.
Fortunately, there are many techniques that can be used to take a local approach to marketing online. Some aspects of local SEO are evolving, while others remain largely the same. It’s still important to make sure that you use title and meta description tags for your content and to make sure that your business displays correctly with useful information on Google Maps.
However, businesses need to be careful with some aspects of local SEO. While using local keywords is important, it’s essential to pay attention to the correct way to use them. When place names are randomly tacked onto keywords in ways that don’t look natural, it’s unlikely to be helping your business. Local SEO can be hard to get right, which is why it’s a good idea to turn it over to professionals if you’re not sure what you’re doing.
Automating Local SEO
Automation is something that people have begun to use more and more in various areas of business. Local SEO hasn’t escaped the drive to automate, and there are various SaaS platforms designed to make it easier.
These platforms can help to make local SEO easier by storing business location data so that it can be pushed out to different channels. They can help to manage business listings on search engines and social media. However, some local marketing experts have noted that it’s also important to take a managed approach that uses real people to do valuable work. Automated solutions can only do so much.
Any business owner who wants to improve their SEO and local marketing needs to recognize the importance of mobile. The use of mobile devices has increased over the last few years and continues to grow. Making sure that anything a business has online is mobile friendly is vital in today’s world. Anything from the website to advertising needs to work on mobile devices.
People now use their phones and tablets to search for what they need more often than they even have before. So it’s essential to take mobile into account when planning a local SEO strategy. Digital marketing agencies like Digitalico Media recognize how important mobile search is, aiming to improve SEO on mobile platforms and desktops. Mobile searches are arguably more important for local businesses. People regularly use their phone to find things when they’re out and about.
The Rise of Hyperlocal Marketing
Another important aspect of local marketing linked to mobile search is hyperlocal marketing. This has been on the rise and is a key element to concentrate on in 2017. Hyperlocal marketing is the practice of targeting users within the area using their location. People often perform searches for services and businesses they want “near me”, and this type of search has increased in the last couple of years. Hyperlocal targeting is closely linked to mobile because many people use their mobile devices to perform searches while they’re already on the mobile, or just about to be.
A general search on Google for local businesses will bring up a map and other details, including some popular choices. If the search is made even more locally specific, Google can narrow down the results even more. Businesses need to be prepared to take advantage of this so that their details are listed in these hyperlocal searches.
Google My Business
To improve search engine results, one of the most important things a business needs is a Google My Business page. It’s essential to claim the page for your business so that you can customize it and include all the relevant details about your company.
You can list the basic contact details, like address, phone number and website. There are various fields to fill in with information, plus the opportunity to add high-quality images to promote your business. It’s important to fill in as much as you can when it comes to your Google My Business page. The more you can do, the more likely it is for people to find your page. The aim is to make sure your business will appear on Google Maps and increase your chances of it being displayed in the top three local results in a general Google search.
Local on Social Media
Social media is also an important thing to pay attention to if you want to improve local marketing for your business. Social media profiles and pages play a role in getting local customers by targeting the audience you need. Through social media, you can use more organic marketing techniques, as well as using various paid advertising platforms.
For example, Facebook’s pay per click network allows you to target your audience based on location. This makes it easier to get your Facebook page and your website in front of the right people. Social media should be used socially, of course, giving you the opportunity to connect with local people and perhaps other local businesses and organizations too.
Listing in Online Directories
Don’t neglect to consider business listings in online directories when you’re thinking about how to improve local marketing. Google My Business is just the start of ensuring that information about your business is available online. The majority of people use search engines to find local businesses, and many of the results will come from websites like Yelp, which list businesses.
But many businesses have not claimed their business listing on these sites, which means they have no control over what information is listed there. If you claim the listing, you can ensure it provides valuable information that will help to promote your business. Make sure you use both national/global listings sites and more local ones that could concentrate on your region. You can also ensure you get your business information on data aggregators like Infogroup. When you list your details, make sure they’re always the same.
The Importance of Online Reviews
Online reviews are very important when it comes to local marketing. In fact, they matter to all businesses. Negative reviews can have an impact on your business, especially if they outnumber positive ones. Average ratings are prominent in Google search results for businesses, and it’s easy to find the reviews that go with them.
There are several places where you should be monitoring reviews. Although you shouldn’t delete negative reviews, you can respond to them and perhaps use them to help better your business. The way you respond to reviews can be just as important as the reviews themselves.
But what do you do if you need more positive reviews? You can’t make negative ones go away, but you can ensure that you get positive ones to balance them out. Asking for reviews might seem needy, but the majority of people will leave a review if you ask them to. You can get in touch with customers via email to request that they leave a review.
Or perhaps encourage them to when they visit you. For example, perhaps if they leave a review they could be in with a chance of winning a prize. You should keep an eye on reviews on Google and Facebook, as well as other relevant sites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor.
Localized Web Content
The content you post on your website and share via social media is another key element of SEO and improving your local custom. As well as having more general content, you should make sure to have content about your local area.
For example, a bicycle store could share blog posts and videos about local cycling routes and rides or local bicycle events. A restaurant might talk about the local food scene. Or a hotel could have content about other businesses and events in the neighborhood that guests can visit when they come to stay.
This type of content helps you to use local keywords in your content more naturally and attract people who live locally or are interested in the area for other reasons. It’s useful for hyperlocal marketing, and it can be a good idea to talk about local points of interest and landmarks. For example, someone might search for “restaurants near the Space Needle”.
There are many things to think about when it comes to local marketing. It’s important to keep up with the latest practices too.