Every small business is looking for a competitive advantage, whether they’re leaping on the newest social platform or trying to outdo their competitors in customer service. One of the main things small businesses need is to build their online presence and gain visibility in the search engines.
There are a number of ways to do this, including optimizing your Google Business Profile and your business directories, ensuring your website is clear, user-friendly, and packed full of quality, well-keyworded content, and making sure your site runs beautifully on mobile phones. However, one thing that can really make your company stand out over your competitors is by implementing location-based marketing for your small business.
What is location-based marketing?
You might be thinking that location-based marketing is yet another bit of marketing jargon for you to learn and wonder why you should pay it any attention over so many other things you have to deal with as a small business owner.
However, all it means is the process of creating geotagged content across your online presence. What this does is let the search engines know which locations your business serves so that they can then list your business in the correct local search results. You are basically establishing your business’s service area online.
There are a number of benefits to doing this, which we’ll come onto in the next section but, done correctly, you will stand out in local search and, more importantly, you’ll appear in the right local search results, so potential leads can find you more easily, see what others are saying about you, and either inquire or book.
Benefits of location-based marketing for small businesses
1. Builds Trust and Credibility
Every potential customer wants to know that they are choosing a reputable company and spending their money wisely. They want reassurance and to see what current and past customers have to say about your business. People put as much stock in online reviews as they do in recommendations from friends and family, so it’s safe to say getting great reviews really matters. People also love to see customer images and social proof (user-generated content) to show that others have had a great experience with you.
But here’s where location-based marketing comes in: The more you have of this social proof, then the more you build trust and establish that you own a genuine, credible business people can count on. And if your reviews, check-ins, images, and videos are geotagged to individual locations for your business, you’re also making it easy for people actually in your business locations to find your business and see all the genuine social proof and positive reviews you have.
Collecting and responding to reviews should be a planned and consistent process as part of your marketing, but it can be difficult to keep up with that and to remember to chase any missing reviews and reply to current reviews. Given the impact great reviews can have, it is both necessary and completely worth the effort involved.
2. Increases Local Online Visibility
You can create geotagged content across your digital footprint, which helps to increase your local online visibility.
Geotagging adds location information to your content, such as videos and images, making it more relevant to users searching for businesses in your area. Geotagging also makes your content more visible in local search, so it’s easier for potential customers to find it.
When potential customers search for products or services near them, your business is more likely to appear in relevant search results over and above the competition, especially if they aren’t using location-based marketing. It really can be that simple to stand out above your competition.
Obviously, the more visible you are on local search, the more chances you have of attracting potential new customers that are far closer to warm leads than cold leads. These people aren’t just browsing. They are actively looking for a business like yours in your local area, and they are far more likely to be ready to buy once they find you.
Clearly, that’s going to increase your number of quality leads and add to your bottom line.
3. Harnesses Social Proof
Think about your own experience when looking to hire a small business. It feels extremely reassuring if you can see online videos and photos of other customers’ real experiences with the company you are considering. You can see how the staff goes about their jobs and how they treat their customers. It all adds up to a view inside that business to show you what it might be like to work with them.
That’s what you want to create for your customers, and you can do that with your own videos and photos to an extent, but it’s even more powerful when your customers do it for you, and you can geotag that content to your location. It’s the same difference that you get when you say your business is great compared to a real live customer saying the same thing. People are obviously going to believe the customer over you, the business owner, because they’ll assume you’re biased. The more of this type of content you have, the more independent opinions and insights you have into your business for potential clients to see and be convinced by.
You can also use, with permission, of course, this user-generated content in your marketing materials.
4. Engages Your Target Audience
Everything you do online either adds to or takes away from your online reputation. It’s so important for you to engage with your target audience and respond to them wherever you find them, whether that’s on social media, your Google Business Profile, or your business directory listings.
You can automate a certain amount of your social media and schedule posts in advance, but you do have to be there in person at least some of the time to answer questions and react to and respond to comments. You don’t exist in a vacuum, and you can’t just throw a one-sided monologue at your audience with no interaction. You have to react to them, laugh with them where appropriate, thank them for their feedback, answer their questions, and show that you really are the business for them.
You can create check-ins, collect reviews, and share geotagged photos and videos on your social platforms, to provide insights into your business and help people to feel a part of it. Over time, you will build a thriving and active, highly engaged online community around your business. You will also build your customer loyalty and move your audience from happy customers to brand advocates, enhancing your online reputation and providing even more social proof.
There are a lot of moving parts to location-based marketing, and it can take up a large amount of time if you let it. We understand that as a small business, you may not have a full marketing team in-house to handle everything for you. You may not have the hours you’d like to dedicate to your marketing. So, you may be wondering not only how you geotag check-ins, photos, videos, and reviews, but also how you find the time for all this while running your business.
Well, the good news is that you don’t have to do this manually. You can save time by leveraging GeoJuice™, a tool created by Surefire Local that’s a key component of our marketing software, Surefire Local Marketing Platform.
You can use GeoJuice™ to create online check-ins across your service area, take photos, and post about real-world experiences. You can take photos and videos while you’re with your customers, geotag them, and automatically share them across your online presence, including your website, your social media profiles, and directory listings.
That instantly provides fresh, new, and highly convincing content on every part of your online presence. You know it’s important to keep updating all of your platforms with quality content that shows why people should choose your business and, with GeoJuice™, that’s exactly what you get, except that you didn’t have to spend the time geotagging and manually posting it.
You can also use GeoJuice™, along with our marketing platform, to actively encourage customers to leave reviews either by email or text. And you can send reminders to encourage those who haven’t posted yet. This should take off some of the load of trying to keep up with a stream of fresh and relevant reviews on all of your platforms. You may even find this helps you get listed in Google’s Local Map Pack as the more great reviews you have, the more of a chance you have at being listed, and that really does boost your visibility.
Combine geotagged reviews, check-ins, photos and videos online, and you have superior social proof that should help you stand out above your competitors, answer the all-important question, “Why choose you?”, build trust in your business, and enhance your online reputation.
You can also use any of the content you create as ready-to-use marketing materials to be shared on your website, your social media, and elsewhere.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
We will show you how GeoJuice can ignite your online visibility in the precise markets you want to increase your reach in. But our professional marketing software does far more than that.
As well as boosting your location-based marketing and helping you get found on local search for all of your business locations, our business intelligence marketing software will help you manage your most important online marketing activities, all within one platform.
You can save time, effort, and costs on every aspect of your marketing by using the right software that’s designed to use automation when it will do the most good and help you complete your marketing tasks far quicker and easier.
You can manage your social media marketing, email marketing campaigns, content marketing, paid ads, and more. Manage and update your Google Business Profile and over 80 online business directories all at once with just a few clicks. Optimize your lead generation, reduce your cost-per-lead and generate more revenue for your business using Surefire Local’s all-in-one marketing platform.
Book your demo today and we’ll show you how we can help.