5 ways to leverage local marketing to grow your brand

If you’re like most small business owners, the thought of saving time for marketing, especially when you don’t have a lot of budget to work on, can be overwhelming. But there is good news. Local marketing is marketing that small businesses can do well, and without a huge investment of time or money. Good local marketing build your brand– but that’s fine too to keep your brand’s reputation, which is why every small business should keep local marketing on their radar.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your business doesn’t have an online presence because you don’t have a website or use social media. Your customers are online whether you are or not. In 2014, a huge 80% of consumers researched products online before making in-store purchases. There is a good chance that these numbers have only increased since then. So if you don’t manage your online reputation, who knows what is happening to them! For example, your business might be listed on Yelp! even if there is no review and you haven’t claimed the business. This type of web presence in an empty store undermines your trustworthiness (that you are who you say you are) with search engines, not to mention the potential customers who stumble upon them. Keep in mind that millennials rank by word of mouth, like Yelp! and UrbanSpoon, as the most important influence on their purchasing decisions.

Your customers aren’t just online, they’re probably on their smartphones. Eighty percent of those who use the internet have smartphones, and US mobile data usage increased 20% last year. Every business needs to organize its online presence and ensure that the experience is optimized for mobile consumption. Here are the five most important ways to get started.

1. Manage your brand online

Being local might not seem like an advantage when driving past traffic jams in the Target parking lot, but on Google, a local address and contact number makes a big difference.

Start with Google My business and make sure that all of this basic information – company name, address and phone number, a.k.a NAP — that’s correct. This is essential for local search ranking. Consistent referrals build trust with search engines. If you have conflicting names, addresses, or phone numbers in different places on the web, search engines may even think they’re referring to different companies.

To effectively manage your online representative, claim your business across as many platforms (Yelp !, CitySearch, etc.) and in as many directories as possible, making sure your NAP is consistent. Search engines will take into account all instances of your business name, not just the correct ones.

If you found any inaccurate information, keep in mind that it can take anywhere from two weeks to three months for major local business data aggregators (Information group, Locate, Acxion, and Factual) to update their indexes.

2. Local online / digital marketing

For a strong online presence that will attract search engines and the potential customers who use them, you want to create as many positive (and accurate!) Quotes, i.e. mentions of the name and address of your business on other web pages, with or without a link, where possible. These can include announcements on a chamber of commerce site, mention in local online media, or a popular blog. Quotes are therefore a great way to show that your business is part of a local community. Ultimately, quotes make your business both more visible and more reliable to search engines. Quotes can be crucial if your business doesn’t have a webpage, as this information will be the only information search engines will have about your business.

It is also essential that all of your online documents are optimized for mobile viewing. According to the Pew Research Center, in mid-2015, 64% of adults in the United States owned a smartphone, and mobile consumption is expected to continue to grow. Almost all of those smartphone users (94% of them) search for local information on their mobiles, according to Google. Why are these numbers important? Google says 90% of mobile users haven’t yet decided which brand to buy when they start searching, and 82% check their mobiles in-store about an upcoming purchase. Appearing in a mobile search increases brand awareness by 46%, with more than half of mobile users discovering a new business or product during their search. One in three smartphone users end up buying from a different company or brand than they expected, meaning that mobile gives you a good chance of attracting new customers.

However, it is not enough to be accessible on mobile, because along with the increase in search and influence on mobile, there has been an 18% drop in the time consumers spend on a mobile site. So if your site loads slowly or forces users to click too many pages, those potential customers are gone and probably won’t come back. If this all seems more than you have time, check out Moz’s handy guide to mobile optimization.

3. Want your potential customers to like #LoveLocal? You should too.

Participating in your online community is a great way to increase citations and build your reputation with search engines. It’s also a great way to market your business in the right places. Let the community know that you are a trusted local expert in your field.

A great way to get involved locally is through a small business community like Townsquare. Small business owners can use the platform to interact with other busy small business owners, get local information and recommendations on services and products, and even find ways to partner with others. local businesses.

This type of networking can really pay off. “Seventy percent of entrepreneurs report buying and sourcing goods and services from other small businesses,” according to an American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor study. “Almost all (96%) small businesses are committed to supporting their local communities through different activities, such as donating to local causes (70%) and participating in community projects (49%). An overwhelming number of small business owners are shopping from other independent local businesses for non-commercial purchases.

4. Face your fears on social media.

If you’re not a techie or a millennial, the thought of jumping into social media might seem like a waste of time or something you just don’t have the time to deal with. Neither is true. Unlike a large business, you don’t have to be everywhere. Choose your social media wisely by finding out where your customers are and being clear about what you want your social media time to achieve. If you’re a retail store, for example, Instagram can be a better use of your time than Twitter. Moz has a short quiz that can help you understand how to target your efforts and a complete chart describing your options.

Once you’ve decided where you want to spend your time (and probably some of your marketing money), you can automate a lot of your social media efforts with tools like HootSuite or Buffer, which means you don’t have to stop what you’re doing every time you want something on social media.

Social media can be great for starting a new web presence. And some businesses find Twitter to work well as a customer service tool.

5. Better target

If you know your niche, your targeted marketing will be more successful than trying to compete for large, expensive keywords or covering one or more channels with pervasive content. The better you know your customers, the more you can focus on so-called “long-tail keywords” in your paid advertising. Long-tail keywords are more specific than keywords, and they tend to be phrases searchers use when they’re about to make a purchase. This can mean the difference between someone looking for “clothing” or “womenswear” and “a 1940s print dress in perfect condition.” Obviously, there are fewer people who search for this phrase, but people who are are much more likely to be ready to buy the dress you have in your vintage boutique specializing in women’s clothing, or come back to your store. site in the future. Because these long tail keywords are so specific, there isn’t as much competition for them. Believe it or not, paid advertising today is one of the few places in the world where more expensive can actually mean less effective.

If you’re not on social media, follow a few of your favorite brands and see what they’re up to. What resonates with you? What is wrong? Remember to think like a customer. Your own experience as a customer should be kept in mind when planning a marketing strategy.