What is Local marketing?
Local marketing, as its name suggests, means targeting a limited geographical catchment area within a given radius of your premises. Clearly, there is little point in promoting your business to an area larger than you can service cost effectively. While the term can relate to both offline marketing and online marketing, in this article, I will focus on the online elements of small business local marketing.
What type of businesses benefit from local marketing?
The people who benefit most from local marketing are usually smaller, bricks and mortar businesses such as; accountants, beauticians, café’s, chiropractors, garages, hairdressers, lawyers, opticians, restaurants, and retail shops. However, the recent growth in self-employment, often from home, means that there are now many smaller local businesses who do not operate from business premises such as coaches, complimentary therapists, designers, makeup artists, wedding planners and style consultants.
What do local businesses need to do differently?
When did you last use the Yellow Pages or other paper directory?
Thanks to the incredible popularity of internet enabled smartphones, local people are using their mobile devices more than ever to search for local businesses. Recent statistics show that
46% of all Google searches are for local businesses
50% of all searches on mobile devices are for local business information
Almost 80% of local mobile searches generate an offline purchase
(Source: http://searchengineland.com & http://www.business2community.com)
How to make the most of local search marketing?
To capitalise on the growth of local search, you’ll need to ensure that your business will show up when people look for your services in your local area.
Simply having a website is not enough! Here are a few additional things you’ll need to do.
1. Make sure that your business is listed on online business directories:
There are an enormous number of online business directories such as Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, Yahoo local, Cylex, FreeIndex, and Business Magnet. Many, if not all, of these directories, offer a basic free listing as well as paid options.
Start with Google My Business
The place to start however must be, in my opinion, Google My Business. This easy to use, free service provides you with a convenient place to manage your business’s online presence on Google Maps and Google Search. For example, if you want to have the chance for your business to appear on Google Maps or the local search listings, then you need to register with Google My Business. It’s quick and easy - just visit the link below and follow the instructions.
Do the same for Bing
Remember, Google isn’t the only search engine in town. Microsoft is doing their best to push Windows users to make their own search engine, Bing, the default. Not surprisingly, they have their own business listings portal called Bing Places for Business. https://www.bingplaces.com/
2. Leverage the power of reviews to build trust in your business
Once you have your local business listings, the next step is to leverage them by getting some independent reviews to boost your online reputation. In a US study, carried out in 2016, 88% of local consumers said that they trusted online business reviews.
Google My business won’t allow you to add reviews yourself, so you’ll need to encourage your customers to leave you reviews. Here’s how to do it.
1st step: Type the name of your company name into Google
2nd step: Click on the “Write a review” button in your Google My Business listing
3rd step: You'll see a Google review box has popped up, copy the URL out of the address bar.
4th step: Shorten this URL using goo.gl or bit.ly
5th step: Email the link to your clients and ask them to clock on it to leave a review
3. Make sure your website is appropriately localised
To increase the likelihood that your business website will appear in the search listings, when a prospective client searches for a location specific phrase such as “Café in Portsmouth” or “Café near me”, here’s what you should do.
1.Add your local business name, address, and phone number to every page of your site (usually in the footer or header)
2.Add your city/region plus a relevant keyword in the page title tag for each page (This won’t be visible to your visitors, but Google will see it and index your page appropriately)
3.Try to include your city/region plus a relevant keyword within your page content
4.Make sure that your website is mobile friendly. Check your own website using Google’s free checker tool https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/
P.S. If all this is a bit technical for you, talk to your website builder and they should be able to help.
Follow these simple, easy to implement, guidelines and you should find that your business will appear more often when people search for your type of business in your local area.
In future articles, we’ll look at more small business local marketing ideas including advertising on social media, local events, and collaboration with other local businesses. If you found this article useful, why not sign up to our mailing list to receive notification of our latest posts via your inbox.