Local marketing for your small business can be simple, cost-effective, and highly targeted. With a strategy tailored to your products, services and ideal customer, you can showcase your products and services to a large audience, generate leads, and increase your conversions.
Local marketing creates brand awareness within a specific community and drives traffic to that brand online. The key to effective local marketing is to understand your target audience and tailor your marketing efforts to the audience’s needs. Wield creates the optimal blend of techniques to attract and involve your potential customers by exploring approaches, monitoring outcomes, and adapting accordingly.
The following 7 efforts comprise a rock-solid local search marketing strategy:
1. Website Audit
A successful local marketing effort depends upon a solid foundation. In order to benefit from local advertising, your website must be optimized for search. A properly optimized website is both user-friendly and populated with relevant content.
- ✓ Confirm your website is responsive/mobile friendly.
- ✓ Confirm your website is accessible/user-friendly for impaired users. Usability takes into account a variety of factors including the following:
- font size
- color contrast
- image alt tags
- ✓ Localize your website content. In addition to your listing your location, with an embedded map, reference your local area and use local terminology throughout your website.
- ✓ Familiarize with your website/brand’s position, ranking, competitors, and traffic.
- ✓ Identify the relevant keywords that your target audience is using to search for your products or services.
- ✓ Confirm you are collecting email addresses and consent.
2. Marketing Persona(s)
Another key to successful local marketing is accurately defining your buyer personas. Your target audience’s demographic (tangible) and psychographic (emotional) information can be used to define a generalized representation of your ideal customer(s). This information helps to determine how and where your marketing budget will be best spent.
Common demographic variables, or characteristics are as follows:
- Gender Identity
- Personality: Introvert/Extrovert
- Challenges: What does this person struggle with in relation to meeting goals? What serves as a roadblock for this person’s success?
- Lifestyle: Spending habits, family, technology/social media usage
- Where do they go for information?
- What is important to them when choosing a vendor? What do they value most?
Negative Personas: Define who is NOT a good fit for your products/services
3. Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the practice of promoting websites and increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). The most successful, sustainable efforts combine both search engine advertising (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO). SEM involves creating and running paid advertisements (pay-per-click [PPC]), on search engines. SEO involves enhancing a website, with a mixture of on-page and off-page optimization techniques, to improve its ranking in the organic (non-paid) search results.
The overall goal of search marketing is to make the website more relevant and authoritative in the eyes of humans and search engines, leading to higher visibility and increased organic traffic. By combining the advantages of targeted advertising, immediate results, and measurable performance, SEM can increase your brand’s online visibility, and attract relevant traffic, leading to more opportunities to introduce and sell your products/services.
3.1 Organic Search
Citations refer to any references to your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on external websites, directories, and social media platforms. Citations can also include additional information such as business hours, URL, and reviews. Citations are an essential component of local search optimization because search engines use the data to evaluate the credibility and authority of a business. Consistency is key! Your business details should be correct, consistent, and complete everywhere your name, address and phone are listed – and your business should be listed in all relevant directories, including social media profiles.
In addition to providing accurate information for local searches, social media is an invaluable tool for improving your search engine rankings (including within maps!) and driving traffic to your website.
By creating and sharing quality content on social media platforms, you can increase your brand visibility and customer engagement, while building valuable backlinks to your website. This effort establishes, grows, and secures your virtual footprint. Even if you don’t intend to use a particular social platform or don’t currently see a need for it, securing your brand name within popular platforms is not only necessary to aid in local searches, but to protect your brand reputation as well. Registering your brand under your name prevents unauthorized users from taking your name.
Up-to-date and consistent business citations across all platforms can improve your local search rankings and attract more customers:
- Google My Business – a free business profile that helps your business turn local online searches into new customers. List your contact information, business hours, service offering, customer reviews, credentials, offer bookings and communicate directly with your customers.
- Apple Business Connect – make it easy for customers to find your business using Apple Maps by create a listing that is accessible to everyone around the world who uses Apple devices and built-in apps — with directions, contact information, and actions.
3.2 Paid Search
- Google Ads
- Local Services Ads – help you connect with people who search on Google for the services you offer bolstered by Google Screened or Google Guaranteed badges to help build trust.
- Local Search Ads – feature your business locations and lead users to call or visit your locations when people search for nearby businesses on Google.com or Google Maps
- Bing Places for Business – While Bing’s search engine controls a significantly smaller market share than Google, you can still connect your business with millions of online searchers via your free Bing profile
- Microsoft Advertising – Bing and Yahoo search present a valuable and cost-effective addition to Google Ads with access to millions of customers.
3.3 Social Media Paid Advertising
Advertising in social media enables you to meet your customers where they are. With social media local advertising, you can target your unique audience by characteristics including interests, gender or location, ensuring that your ads are only seen by the people most likely to be interested in your products or services.
Not every platform is right for every brand, however, all the major players offer local marketing tools that can help grow your brand exposure. If your audience is here, you should be too:
- Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger Specify your ad’s audience by targeting defined interests, gender or locations and use ad targeting to connect with the people most likely to click.
- YouTube – Easily create a video Ad with customized YouTube templates – optimized with your brand images, logos, and colors including access to YouTube’s extensive library of royalty-free music tracks
- LinkedIn – A professional networking platform primarily used for career-oriented purposes, including job searching, professional connections, and industry networking. With LinkedIn Ads, you can geographically target customers in your local market.
- SnapChat – Users can send photos and videos that disappear after a brief period. Advertisers can use location-based targeting, radius targeting, and location categories to reach potential customers and drive them to your website or physical location.
- TikTok – A video-sharing platform where users can create and share short 15 to 60-second videos. TikTok allows your prospective clients to remain within the app when filling in their information or expressing interest in your products/services – providing a seamless experience.
- Twitter – Primarily used for real-time news updates and discussions, Twitter Advertising allows you to build brand awareness, nurture customer consideration, and drive conversions with conversation, follower and event targeting.
- Yelp – More than 500k businesses were paying to advertise on Yelp at the end of 2022, an increase over 2021. Of those 500k businesses, nearly half were service providers. Yelp reports “Over 60,000 new requests for quotes, consultations or other messages are sent to businesses on Yelp every day.”
- NextDoor – Designed to facilitate communication and engagement among people who live in the same neighborhood or nearby areas, NextDoor provides businesses with a direct connection to a virtual “community notice board” where members can discuss local events and recommend services.
- Pinterest – Pinterest is a visual discovery platform where users can find and save ideas for various interests including arts/crafts, fashion, recipes, and more. Target your ads by country, region, metro area, postal code, or designated market area (DMA)
3.4 Organic Social Media
Social media is an invaluable tool for improving your search engine rankings and driving traffic to your website. By creating and sharing quality content on social media platforms, you can increase your brand visibility and customer engagement, while building valuable backlinks to your website. Social media benefits your brand in four distinct ways:
- Social signals: Social media activity signals the popularity and relevance of your content to humans and search engines such as Google that take into account those social signals when determining the ranking of your website. Facebook, the third-most visited site following Google and YouTube, continues to be a top tier variable analyzed by Google’s organic search engine when calculating ranking. The more brand exposure and user interaction within social, the better your brand’s overall search engine rankings.
- Increased visibility: By sharing your content on social media, you increase the likelihood that it will be seen by a larger audience, including people who may not have found it through traditional search. Social media platforms (including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) have millions of users, providing endless opportunities to increase the visibility of your brand and content.
- Increased engagement: Social media platforms are designed to promote participation and interaction, and this can lead to increased engagement with your content such as likes, shares, comments, and mentions, all of which can help to increase the visibility of your content throughout the social platform as well as within search engines.
- Inbound Links: backlinks are a critical factor in SEO because they can help improve a website’s visibility, traffic, credibility, and authority. Social media can help to build backlinks to your website. When your content is shared on social media, it provides an opportunity for others to link back to your website, which can help to improve your search engine rankings, while enhancing credibility and authority.
6. Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most cost-efficient and effective ways for a business to connect with customers, increase engagement, and drive conversions.
Email marketing provides several benefits for small businesses, including:
- Cost-effective: Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your customers. It requires minimal investment, and you can send targeted messages to your audience, making it more likely that they will convert into customers.
- Increased engagement: Email marketing allows you to build a relationship with your customers by sending personalized and relevant content. By engaging with your audience, you can increase brand loyalty and repeat business.
- Higher conversion rates: Email marketing can result in higher conversion rates because you can send targeted messages to specific groups of customers who are more likely to be interested in your products or services.
- Increased website traffic: By including links to your website in your emails, you can drive traffic to your website and increase your online presence.
- Measurable results: With email marketing, you can track the success of your campaigns through open and click-through rates, allowing you to refine your strategy and improve your results over time.
7. Reputation Management
Successfully managing your brand reputation requires a proactive approach to monitoring, managing and improving your online presence.
Here are some strategies for successful reputation management:
- Build and maintain a positive brand image by not only offering quality services and products, but by also regularly sharing high-quality content and positive reviews, and by engaging with your audience on social media.
- Respond to both positive and negative reviews promptly and professionally, showing you care about your customers and are committed to providing quality customer service.
- Encourage positive reviews from satisfied customers to improve your overall online reputation and counterbalance any negative reviews.
- Address negative feedback and reviews by acknowledging the issue and offering a solution. Negative reviews offer a valuable opportunity for your business to grow and improve, as well as to build trust with customers by showing authenticity and good customer service. Your effort to turn a negative experience into a positive one shows your customers you care.
- Monitor your online presence with Google Alerts or other social media listening tools to be informed of any online mentions of your brand so you to are informed about what people are saying about your brand and can respond in a timely manner (see point 2).
- Continuously improve your products or services based on feedback from customers. This will help to ensure that you are providing a high-quality experience and will lead to more positive reviews and a positive brand image.
Additional Ways to Increase Local Small Business
- Community involvement: Getting involved in local events and sponsorships can help you build brand awareness and credibility within the local community. This can include sponsoring local sports teams or events, participating in local charity events, or hosting your own events.
- Local sponsorships and partnerships: Sponsoring local events, partnering with other businesses, or even just donating to local charities can help build goodwill and brand awareness in your community.
- Referral marketing: Encouraging your satisfied customers to refer their friends and family to your business can be a highly effective way to generate new business.
- Guerrilla marketing: This type of marketing involves unconventional, low-cost tactics designed to generate buzz and attention. Examples might include chalk stencils on sidewalks, flash mobs, or creative signage.
- Local print and radio advertising: Depending on your target audience and budget, traditional advertising methods like print ads in local newspapers and magazines or radio ads on local stations can still be effective for reaching local customers.
- Direct mail: While it may seem old-fashioned, direct mail can still be an effective way to reach local customers, especially if you have a targeted mailing list and compelling offer.
Phew! That’s a lot. The perfect local search marketing recipe can be made up of a lot of different ingredients depending on your business, product, and customers. Determining which ingredients—and the appropriate amounts—as well as execution, ultimately determine success or failure.
If you’ve made it this far in the article, and you’re wondering how you’ll ever implement the right strategy for your brand, let’s talk, we’re here to help!