SEO.com Online Content Collective, June 16, 2014

SEO

Honing in on local search marketing and related strategies is the emphasis of this week’s content collective. Unless you are strictly an ecommerce company, a large percentage of your current and potential customers will be based near your business, which is why it is essential to pound out and execute a local search marketing plan.

While a broad-range internet marketing and SEO approach will benefit your visibility at the local level, taking the time to focus on more targeted efforts is also necessary. Three key areas that you may want to incorporate as central elements of your campaign include creating location-based ads, using offline marketing tactics to drive online traffic and building your brand through local marketing.

Understanding Consumer’s Local Search Behavior

A recent study conducted by Google delves into the behavior associated with local search and provides some insight on related consumer action. In order to complete this research, Google partnered with Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased® on studies with more than 5,000 U.S. based Smartphone users. Some of the questions Google wanted to find answers to were based on:

  • The prominence of local search
  • Information consumers were seeking with nearby searches
  • What the answers to the questions above meant for advertisers

Their findings revealed that consumers complete searches with their location and proximity in mind, that most local searchers took action following the search and that location-based ads were preferred and more likely to be acted on by consumers. Some of the statistics gained through this research include:

  • Four out of five consumers use search engines to find local information.
  • Searches take place on smartphones and tablets/computers for business hours, store addresses, and product availability.
  • Local searches ended with more purchases than non-local searches.
  • More than 60 percent of consumers have made use of local information in ads.

The information compiled through this research could serve as a helpful guide to your local search campaign with detailed statistics revolving around consumer’s local search behavior and expectations.

Increasing Local Reviews: Integrating Offline Marketing Tactics

A large majority of local searches follow up offline through an in-store visit, which means that this aspect of the customer interaction should be incorporated into our overall marketing strategy. Online customer reviews are considered to be one of the most important ranking factors for local SEO as well as a strong influencer for potential customers.

However, it can be a challenge to acquire these reviews, especially without an offline approach. Some methods that can be used to drive customers to review your company and products can involve:

  • Persuading customers to provide reviews at the time of service through the use of coupons with QR codes to local review sites.
  • Making the review process simple by linking directly to your business review page from your website or on offline marketing material.
  • Customized receipts to encourage reviews about the transaction.

By including straightforward instructions with your marketing material and directing customers toward a positive review, you can boost your local presence with integrated online and offline marketing initiatives.

How to Build an Online Brand through Local Marketing

Building your brand presence can be one of the most significant moves you can make in your long-term marketing strategy. This can be achieved in your own specific niche or location and provides your business with an identity. This familiarity between and business and its customers simplifies the selling process and can give you an edge over your competitors.

A customer’s knowledge of your business will make them more likely to choose you and this can be used to enhance the effects of other types of marketing you expose them to. There are several ways to promote a brand through local marketing efforts such as:

  • Having consistent company and product descriptions.
  • Regularly using images of your company logo as well as pictures of company owners/staff and workplace.
  • Reputation marketing by building solid customer relationships.
  • Professional and consistent images and messaging on social profiles.
  • Publishing authoritative content.

Building a brand on a local level can be accomplished in conjunction with lead generation efforts and interaction with customers. An identifiable brand and defined local search marketing can effectively advance your online presence while promoting customer engagement and loyalty.

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