Never is the value of local marketing more apparent than when travelling or moving. I’ve been doing both recently and noticed that, despite the opportunity, many small businesses don’t do it or don’t do it well. Yet with a few tweaks to existing digital activities, small businesses can take the plunge into their small pond.
The Opportunity of Local Marketing
Perhaps the most obvious benefit for small businesses to include local marketing is that local businesses often have a competitive advantage over non-local competition. For small B2C businesses, local marketing is a way to identify itself as “one of you” and to create loyal customers by providing what local customers want but can’t find elsewhere. Modest wedding dresses, for example, may not appeal in LA but have a huge market in Salt Lake City.
For small B2B businesses, local marketing allows you to specialize in the needs of local businesses while reducing costly travel expenses and potentially reducing sales cycles. How much easier is it to build a relationship with a potential or existing client by popping by their office to address some concern or to connect at a local event?
While local marketing makes sense strategically, there’s also a more practical reason; it’s profitable. According to arecent Google study, 18% of consumers searching locally made a purchase at a store they found in that search, compared to just 7% of non-local searches.
You might be convinced but as a small business owner you don’t have a lot of time to make changes to your digital marketing. So here are three ways to quickly get your small business on the local scene.
Google’s Venice update provides local results with every search so we’re all in the local SEO game now. This post byKoozai is packed with great advice for mastering local SEO, but the lowest hanging fruit for small businesses to pick to get that local traffic is to:
- Include the information people want most: full address, phone number, hours of operation, and directions. Providing these in the footer of your website allows it to display on every page and to be consistent, which helps search engines verify your site.
- Optimize your site for mobile users. I cannot stress this enough! There are several ways to make your site mobile-friendly, and Responsys has a greatblog post breaking down the pros and cons of each. Regardless of what you choose, your customers and your bottom line will thank you.
Google Places ensures your small business shows up when people, like me, search directly from Google Maps. It’s free and as easy as setting up a profile page. Be sure you select the right category for your businesses and use the exact same contact information from on your website.
Local Listing Sites
Hubspot compiledthis list of 50 local listing sites, but rather than going through each, focus on the one or two that make the most sense for your business: Yelp if you’re a restaurant, Angie’s List if you provide services like plumbing, or BizJournals.com if you’re in B2B. Chances are good that there’s a local listing site your customers already use to find businesses like yours. If you’re not sure, ask and/or review your Google Analytics to identify where your website traffic is coming from and start there.
Local marketing not only allows you to compete better, it can also have a significant impact on your bottom line. By tweaking your digital marketing activities to include local audiences, any small business can profit from the power of the small pond.
April Lisonbee is a freelance marketing professional living and working in Los Angeles, CA. Follow her on Twitter @Alisonbzz.