With a worldwide total of 4.57 billion internet users, businesses need to be well-versed in online marketing tactics now more than ever before if they want to edge out the competition and get noticed by customers within their target market. Local digital marketing can help you gain exposure in your area and give your business the visibility needed to boost the sales of your product or service to locals in your community. Here’s how you can ensure your local marketing strategies are top-tier.
Understanding the Journey of Today’s Consumers
Before you can convert local website visitors into leads, you must first understand not only the journey that people within your target market are on, but also where each visitor is within that journey. Here are some critical questions to ask.
What Channels Do They Use?
Knowing where your potential customers go on the web helps you understand where to place ads and what marketing strategies will be the most effective. Here’s a list of top channels consumers are using.
- Google: It’s no secret that Google is where the majority of people go to locate the information, products, or services they are looking for in their area. Google boasts an average of 100 billion searches per month, meaning that there’s a lot of marketing potential here but also a great deal of competition.
- YouTube: YouTube is the second-largest search engine platform, trailing just behind Google with roughly 3 billion searches each month. Video content is increasing in popularity exponentially, and hosting your videos on YouTube not only gives you significantly more exposure, but it’s also extremely easy to share YouTube clips on social or embed them in your website.
- Facebook: Facebook marketing is extremely effective for small, local businesses due to its ability to offer granular targeting at a very low cost. Facebook allows you to publish ads for a target audience you select based on parameters like location, age, job, and interests. This means that your marketing dollars are hard at work appealing to users that are most likely to be interested in your products or services instead of going towards a larger audience with more people who are less likely to be interested in your offerings.
- Other Social Media Channels: Other popular social media channels that local businesses can use to market themselves are Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, as well as more obscure channels like Tumblr, Tik Tok, Reddit, and Snapchat. Instagram can be particularly effective for businesses that have products that can be photographed and presented stylishly, while Tik Tok can be a good place to put short videos that you cross-promote to your YouTube platform.
What Devices Do They Use?
It’s also imperative that you get a feel for the types of devices that your audience primarily uses, so you can ensure that your marketing efforts are compatible with each for maximum impact. Ads, blogs, and website pages that are cut off or poorly displayed can result in users “bouncing,” or immediately clicking away from your content, meaning your marketing budget is essentially going to waste.
Make sure your local digital marketing content is displayed well on various devices, including:
- Desktop computers
- Other mobile devices
What Trends Do Today’s Consumers Follow?
On average, it takes a dozen interactions to convert a website visitor into a lead. Knowing what trends your target audience follows can help you connect with users where they’re at, increasing the chances that their interest will gain traction and drive leads. Here are some top trends across every industry to help you get started.
Today’s web users are looking for content they can interact with and be a part of. This is called interactive content and includes calculators, quizzes, branded mobile apps, surveys, live videos, and any other content that users can engage with. While it’s still important to have quality written content on your site, you also want to have a plethora of interactive content that requires more than passive viewing.
Videos and Podcasts
If your website and social media channels don’t already feature video content, now is the time to start. Studies show that internet users spend up to 88% more time on websites that have embedded videos and on social media, posts that have video are shared 1200% more often than posts with text and images only. Make sure your video content is high quality and easily digestible.
While the majority of web users are drifting towards more engaging, actionable content, search engines are still using written content as a litmus test for site quality. On average, the top-ranking articles on the first page of Google’s Search Engine Page Results (SERPs) are 2416 words — each. If your website has pages that are mostly 300-500 words, consider putting effort into creating long-form content that is rich with local search keywords.
Shoppable Social Media
Another trend that local marketing experts are seeing now is an increase in shoppable social media posts. Social media giants like Instagram and Pinterest allow businesses to tag photos of their merchandise in-post, which directs to a simple shopping form that makes it easy for social media users to complete a purchase. Photograph an attractive display of your products and use them to tag listings that have been pre-loaded into your social media platform.
To stay competitive in their local market, businesses need to get personal with their target audience. Also called one-to-one marketing or marketing personalization, this strategy is used to develop targeted advertisements to individual users. By using personalized marketing, your business can effectively deliver the right marketing message at the right time to users who are most likely to buy from you.
How to Build a Strong Local Internet Presence
It takes time and effort to create a strong local digital marketing presence. The most effective campaigns cast their nets wide, ensuring your business can be found in multiple places online — wherever your target audience is. Here’s where you want to focus your efforts for maximum exposure.
Local SEO is extremely important for small and medium-sized businesses who want to get noticed by potential customers in their communities. A comprehensive local search engine optimization strategy typically includes sharpening your Google My Business profile, as well as optimizing key pages on your website for the most popular and relevant search terms for your company. The more location-based content you can create on your website and across your online presence (listings, reviews, photos, and videos) the stronger your presence will be.
Your Google My Business profile should include as much information as possible about your business, including operating hours, products, services, your telephone number and website URL, and images of the inside and outside of your business. Often, customers will select a competitor based on the presentation of the business listing on Google; if your listing is lacking information, you may be driving traffic to your competition.
Voice search is taking over traditional keyword searches and this isn’t expected to change anytime soon. With Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Siri, and other AI assistants, the number of searches for terms like “roof replacement” and “HVAC repair” are dwindling. Instead, your prospective customers are asking their assistants full questions like “Alexa, how much will it cost to replace my HVAC unit?” or “Hey Google, show me a top-rated roofing contractor in my area.” Make sure your website content is geared towards these users with FAQ pages that have short and sweet answers that are more likely to rank.
For a more indepth look at optimizing your online presence for voice search, check out: How to Optimize Your Content for Voice Search
Advertising on Google, Bing, Yelp and Facebook (among others) is one of the quickest ways to boost your visibility in local search results. Utilizing Google’s Local Services Ads can place your business at the very top of search results, even ahead of traditional Google Ads. Advertising on these different platforms can help your business reach a wide range of prospective customers. Bing tends to cater towards an older audience, whereas Google and Yelp are used widely by everyone. Your advertising strategy doesn’t have to break the bank either. You can get excellent results by managing a small budget. Learn more on our in-depth Google Ads webinar!
Social Media Marketing
Social media is an excellent way to gain more local exposure for your business and engage with potential customers without investing much of your marketing budget. The only downside is if you don’t use a publishing tool like the Surefire Local Marketing Platform to schedule social media posts in advance, you can quickly find yourself wasting away hours without getting much in return. The best strategy for social media is to plan and schedule your content ahead of time so you can spend more time on the ground engaging with people in comment threads.
Email marketing is one of the more traditional types of digital advertisements on this list, but it’s still a viable method for capturing user data and marketing to people who may still be interested in your products or services but haven’t completed a purchase. Consider offering a “freebie,” like a downloadable eBook or infographic, in exchange for user emails. Then, use these emails to build a list of potential customers that can be sent coupons, deals, and newsletters.
Power Your Marketing with Local Marketing Software
At Surefire Local, we know how critical good local digital marketing is for today’s businesses. We know what it takes to create a strong local presence online and can guide your company in creating a multi-tiered web marketing strategy tailored to your own goals, utilizing the industry’s most powerful software. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you maximize your local marketing efforts.