June 22, 2016
Use your location to your advantage.
This blog is the fourth in a series, a continuation of How Businesses Can Effectively Compete on the Web, that will take you in-depth into the strategies and tactics that give businesses a competitive edge. In the first blog, we took a 30,000-foot view at areas that create the most opportunity. In the second, we looked into one of the most powerful drivers of the digital business world, SEO. In this week’s post, we’ll look at the more traditional local marketing efforts that can often be overlooked, but are very powerful in differentiating your business and your brand from the competition.
Local marketing is an area where small businesses can thrive. If your competition is larger and spread out geographically, you can use what you know about your community to grow your business. You have the advantage of leveraging valuable relationships without a large investment of time and money.
Local Review Sites
Having a sleek website and a robust social media strategy is an important part of marketing, but managing your online local reputation is key to building a strong foundation for business.
In 2014, 80% of consumers were researching products online before making in-store purchases. Chances are, those numbers have only increased. If you’re not managing your online reputation, you’re leaving the most valuable marketing asset in the hands of your competition.
Local review sites like Yelp, Foursquare, Angie’s List, TripAdvisor and others are where many people do their research before buying products or visiting restaurants. Keep in mind that millennials rank word-of-mouth and review sites as the most important influences on their purchasing decisions.
Eighty percent of those who use the Internet have smartphones, and mobile data consumption in the US went up 28 percent last year, so assume that most research is being done on a smartphone. Every business needs to be aware of its online reputation. making sure the experience is easy and accessible while on a mobile device.
Claim your online information
Ranking well on Google is a tricky process, the easiest thing you can do to help build a strong SEO presence is ensure your local address and contact number are correct. This can make a big difference.
Claim your business with Google My Business and make sure that all that basic information—business name, address, and phone number, aka NAP—is correct.
Manage your online reputation by also claiming your business on other review platforms (Yelp!, CitySearch, and so on) and in as many directories as possible, making sure your NAP is consistent.
Champion other local businesses and campaigns
Talking about other local businesses and starting conversations is a great way to spread the word about your business to people in your community. Participating in online campaigns like #BuyLocal can be a way to increase online mentions of your business and help build your reputation online and offline. Let the community know that you’re a local, trustworthy expert in your field.
Small business owners can use platforms like Townsquared to exchange information and get recommendations for services and products. They can even find ways to partner up with other local businesses.
Get more specific with ads
Some businesses fear being specific. They worry that by targeting one group of people, they will exclude others.
When you are purchasing Google ads or paid advertisements on Facebook, competing for broad and expensive demographics or promoting generalized content makes it difficult to connect to potential customers.
The better you know your customers, the more you can focus on the specific words, images and campaigns that will grab their attention. With an overwhelming amount of information on the internet, people have learned to search for specifics. The difference between someone searching for “cars” or “best cars for a family” and “car with highest safety ranking for family” can mean your business winning against the competition who refuses to be specific.
There will inevitably be fewer people searching for that phrase, but the people who are, are much more likely to connect with your business because the terms are specific, and there’s not nearly as much competition for them.
When planning a local marketing campaign, remember to think like a your customer. Ask your neighbors for their opinions. They are your perfect customers.
For more information on how your business can compete in your local area and in your industry, get in touch with our media experts to schedule a consultation.