Are you having a local business and struggling to get an online presence?
The below 5 pointers are the key to success. It will really help you to layout a plan and then strategize your local marketing efforts on the path to success.
- Management of Local Listing and Local Directories
- Local Search Engine Optimization
- Creation of Landing Pages tailored towards your audience
- Online reputation management
- Paid ads and Social Media Presence
Now let us dig deeper to get more insights on the above points.
Steps to manage your local citations and business directories for local marketing:
- The foremost step is to set up your Google My Business account. The set up and verification process is easy. You will need a valid address, phone number and a registered business name. To validate the same, Google will send a postcard which will contain a 5 digit code. You will receive the same on your provided registered address.
- Once the Google My Business account is active, you need to know the meaning of the term NAP. Name, Address and Place (Location address). The NAP has to be consistent wherever you register your business in the 3rd step.
- Research now starts, search for local business directories or citations in your area. Make sure, you are registered with high authority and reputed websites.
You can also be specific to your niche. For example, for home improvement owners and interior designers website like houzz has been doing really good.
How to find directories in your local area?
You can use the below search parameters on the search engine to find directories, I am going to use an example of an Electrician looking for directories in New York.
For Industry specific directories use below operators:
- “Industry” directory – Example “Electrician” directory
- “Industry” inurl:directory: – Example “Electrician” inurl:directory
- “Industry” intitle:directory – Example “Electrician” intitle:directory
- “Industry” inurl:links – Example “Electrician” inurl:links
- intitle:industry inurl:directory – intitle:electrician inurl:directory
- related:industry inurl:directory – related:electrician inurl:directory
For Location specific directories use below operators:
- “City” intitle:directory – Example “new York” intitle:directory
- “City” inurl:directory – Example “New York” inurl:directory
- “City industry” intitle:directory – Example “New York” intitle:directory
- “City directory” intitle:industry – Example “New York directory” intitle:electrician
Other important links are below, which may be of help as they are listing some Top directories:
Note: The 2 points here is to understand that relevancy to your business and location is a necessity with usage of same NAP that you have used in your GMB account in 1st step.
- Now once you are listed in the business directories, it is time to manage all listings. There are 2 ways of doing the same.
Considering the budget involved you can use tools like bright local and yext to manage the listing in different countries. These tools run automatic scans on all listings and will provide you deep insights on errors and rectification under a single dashboard. However, there is a cost involved as they offer different packages.
Another way, is too do it manually i.e. maintain a list in an excel file and give it a review once a month.
How to use local SEO to boost your local marketing efforts?
Search engine optimization of your local business is a must, if you want to excel in your business and stay in front of your competitors.
We are going to divide this into three topics:
- On-page local SEOThis part of SEO deals with the optimization of your local website. It lay emphasis on optimizing your localized website pages with targeted location based keywords, having localized content that serve your users and making use of local schema and other applicable structured data to stand apart in search results.
- Off–Page Local SEOGetting local awareness through communicating with local bloggers and raising brand awareness via directories, events, sponsorships will help in getting high authority links and votes towards your website, thus helping in keyword rankings and organic traffic from search engines.
- Update CitationsKeep your GMB and local business citations updated with latest videos and images. Make sure you use all features of these websites to maximum potential. For example: GMB itself allows you to post description, hours, appointment url etc to your account that can be big conversion factors for your audience.
Creation of Landing Pages tailored towards your audience:
You have got traffic, your marketing strategy to get qualified traffic is working well.
However, a website landing page which does not solve its purpose of conversion of qualified traffic, will result in a dead end and a waste of investment in terms of both time and money.
So, It is very important that the website landing pages should talk to customer in their language.
Below are some of the pointers that you can keep in mind while creating a landing page for your local business:
- Make your content localized to the best possible extent i.e. use images that speak to local customers, add content and location based keywords that your audience can easily relate to and make sure you describe your marketing pitch clearly.
- Make use of local reviews, accreditations to gain trust of the user. Remember, Trust is an important factor of conversion. You can embed reviews from GMB and other profiles.
- Appropriate use of CTA (Call to Action) buttons for conversion. Track your forms, phone number and email using Google Analytic. Set up Goals, monitor conversion path and then improvise on the landing page elements.
- Videos speak larger than words, make use of videos in order to gain attention of your local audience. It can be a customer review or a marketing pitch video by the owner or his team itself.
- Make sure the page loading speed and the mobile user experience is good.
Online Reputation Management – Handling reviews and Brand Reputation for local marketing
Customer service does not only cater to getting positive reviews but also replying to the negative feedback of your customer.
Remember, all accounts and business profiles including GMB are open to reviews that can be posted from your customers.
The below points will help you to streamline your business goals and acquire a positive word of mouth for your brand:
- Make sure you check all the portals, social media websites and business profiles where your business is listed and reply to all negative and positive reviews., this authenticates that you are a responsible business owner.
- Encourage your customers to post reviews to your social media and GMB account. More positive reviews will help you outrank your competitors in terms of brand awareness and expertise.
- If you are running a local store, shop or restaurant then incentivize your local employees to ask for reviews in store.
Using Google Paid Ads and Social Media for Conversions and Brand Awareness in local marketing:
Paid ads is a tool which can not only help you in getting instant conversions but also in making enhancements in your business strategies as per your buyer reactions.
If you have a budget and I would surely suggest you to initiate with a trail to understand the local market and business demands.
Based on your goals, you can use Google Ads for Local Businesses to target Google search. It is an easy to use tool, where you can set your daily and monthly budget and will be charged only if someone clicks on your ads. The interface allows you to track conversion and even give you the entire data and suggestions for conversions.
In some part of countries, especially US “Google Guarantee Ads” are really helping local businesses to stand out. You can read about more information here.
Another parallel strategy that you can club with Google ads for brand awareness is posting on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, whatever suits your business needs and interests. Below are some important points that you can incorporate in your social media strategy:
- Have a Facebook Business page, Instagram account that have all required business information.
- Post regularly on the selected mediums – Have a post schedule and set up a calendar. You can experiment for time and days based on audience reaction.
- Boost your website content, reviews on these channels. Yes, you can use a little paid budget to grow your targeted reach. Facebook and all other channels has a sophisticated ad manager that can help you to circulate your brand voice to your selected niche of audience.
Note: Other than this, there are other channels that can be good from lead prospective. For example Yelp in US, Justdial in India and Houzz for home improvement businesses all are open for paid ads and can get you some good lead prospects.
The above insights will surely be of great use if it is targeted correctly. You need to be innovative and have a fast approach in order to succeed in this ever evolving competitive world.