Getting Started with Local Digital Marketing
Every organization today needs to have an online presence. That includes local businesses, or they will lose to smarter, more resilient and digitally focuses competitors. Consumers are searching through digital channels for local products and services... and not just restaurants and shopping stores. The mobile device has replaced the Yellow Pages for all things local.
Local digital marketing can broaden a business's reach into the local market, lead to greater revenues, and boost profit and company growth. You want your company to be profitable and successful, so it makes sense to invest time and money to develop local digital marketing strategies and discover just how much it can do for your company.
The Local Landscape- Local Matters
Billions of local searches are carried out monthly. Searches using "near me" have increased to 34 times what they were 4 years ago (it's a common Google suggested search term). And while a lot of transactions are still happening in the local shops, having an online presence helps as many clients search before they choose to visit the store or business.
Local Digital Marketing
As ubiquitous as Amazon is, it might surprise you to know that almost 85% of all transactions are still in local stores. Still though, individuals are shopping and comparing online even for local products and services. Most have made their decision by the time they visit the store. 75% of those who conduct a local search on their smart device will go to an associated business within 24 hours, and more than 25% of those searches are going to lead to a purchase.
Today's consumers have much higher expectations, want instant satisfaction (and knowledge), and will act upon an idea when it's top of mind. They're more likely to make immediate decisions when what they see is consistent with that idea. At that moment, the focus is on need, not brand. The mobile phone is the favorite for this activity. A person today checks his phone 150 times throughout the day and spends almost 3 hours on their phone each day! Each instance on their phone, they spend approximately 70 seconds online.
Business used to be a function of physical location. Some businesses had online sites, however the function of the site was to indicate the physical location of the shop. Business depended on foot-traffic and rarely was the decision made to enter the store based on the website (other than where it was located).
Competition has evolved so that today, digital marketing drives offline sales even for local businesses. Local shop traffic has decreased significantly, and customers are now spending twice as much money online for local business compared to a few years ago. Consumers rely on web searches to assist them discover local products and services, even if they'll go to the store in person. They look at websites for additional information before they choose to visit the shop. With COVID, this trend has now been the dominant form of local shopping. Search online, order and then go pickup (or have it delivered). Even if COVID completely disappears, consumers have now learned the convenience of local order, pickup and delivery services. Businesses are responding to this fundamental change in consumer behavior.
Why Turn to Digital Marketing?
Local digital marketing helps local services reach more customers, increase their revenue, and create new jobs. It helps businesses grow substantially and can help small businesses be far more successful compared to one that does not have a digital footprint.
Services that utilize digital marketing successfully are 3 times most likely to increase call volume, increase leads, and increase total sales compared to those without a digital marketing strategy. The top 20 percent of small businesses using digital marketing found their reach extended well beyond their local markets as well.
SMBs that utilized local digital marketing strategies were able to see earnings increases that were almost 4 times as high as services without a digital presence. The leading 20% of organizations using digital marketing earned nearly 2 times the income per worker than their competitors.
Discover How to Grow Your Business with Google
With all of the benefits that come with an effective digital marketing program, you should setup and engage your digital marketing strategy now.
Begin with Google. That will get your visibility up quickly and allow you to begin to optimize and strategize for your overall local digital marketing plan. Google will allow you to benchmark your results and leverage your resources as you develop an effective strategy that branches into social media, other sites and directories. You'll also quickly discover what you need to be doing to your existing website to improve overall engagement and results. This will all evolve as you drive more consumers to your website.
Most will start with the basics. Never ignore the fundamentals... this will be the basis for the rest of your digital marketing strategy. First, if you don't have your Google My Business page created and claimed, do it today! What are you waiting for? Build out a complete and accurate profile for your business. It's amazing to me that more than half of all Google business listings are still unclaimed.
Do be one of those. It is absolutely essential...
Create a Business Listing
The first step is to create a Google My Business listing. Google has made Google My Business the digital replacement for the Yellow Pages. It is so good, in fact, that many visitors will find enough information on the Google My Business page and will not even visit the website. Google has all of the relevant information right at the users' fingertips. The Google My Business listing is usually the first thing a consumer will see when they search for local products or services. That listing will connect them to your business via directions, phone, email and even instant messaging (as long as you have it set up). As much as 40% of local searches are looking for the hours of operation for the business, so keeping this up to date ensures your potential customers find the details they're looking for.
Google provides excellent opportunities to present your business visually. You can include pictures to your products and services, your location and even your employees - bringing you organization to life. Include special images of your store, items, team members, and anything else that will help encourage people to engage with your business. Businesses with pictures added to their listing tend to get 42% more requests for directions. It should go without saying to include your telephone number. Google makes the phone number clickable - making it easier for the mobile device visitor to call your business.
One of the most important aspects of your Google My Business listing is the Google reviews about your products and services. Some digital marketing companies ONLY do reputation management and in a competitive industry, the services are not cheap. You should at the very least have in place a process that allows you to encourage your customers to post a review for your business on your Google My Business page.
You'll have the ability to construct brand name loyalty by responding to online reviews. It's possible to be informed when customers write a review, which lets you respond with your perspective, offer services to issues, answer concerns or simply say thank you to the consumers.
The Google My Business dashboards provides "insight" reports which let you see what's working and what you might wish to change. It helps you see how your listing impacts your service, discover how searchers find you, how they interact with your listing, and what time of the day or week you generally have customers trying to find your service. You'll be able to see if clients are calling for more information, requesting instructions to your store, or visiting your website to find the information they need.
Develop a Great Website
Developing an excellent website is important to local digital marketing success. Many of your possible customers will want to visit your site before they choose to visit your regional store.
Bear in mind that they are probably also visiting your competitor sites. Use your online competitors to determine how well you stand up. More than 40% of individuals comparing organizations online will try to find sites to help them decide and the website is the top-clicked link on the Google My Business listings.
We're not suggesting that you build a full-blown ecommerce site. Start with a basic site developed by a professional. A simple site won't be too costly yet will be durable and include everything that's needed to attract customers and assist them become consumers. A correctly developed website will be able to grow with your service in the future if required. The most important feature of your site includes mobile responsive design and accessible contact features (forms, call buttons, email links and multiple contact areas on the site (preferably on every page). Full descriptive pages of your products and services and a page about your company will help consumers decide if they would like to do business with you.
The fundamentals of your website include registering your own domain name for the website (we like Godaddy.com). Then, make sure you have appealing, relevant graphics, basic navigation, a site search, and well-written, understandable text. Utilize the information from your Google My Business products and services listings to start your website, then personalize it with images, service information, and more. Make certain to include anything you believe your clients might search for before purchasing something from your company and make certain it's easy for them to find without getting frustrated.
Begin Your First Campaign - Google Ads
Once you've covered the basics, you can venture into advertising. We suggest focused ad campaigns on Google (stick to a very specific niche). The more general your ads, the less likely your campaign will be. For Google text ads, Google charges only for clicks (although Google likes high "click through rates"). You want to be there when the customer needs you; your ads will show when your potential customer is searching for products and services you've used as keywords in your campaign. Your first campaigns on Google should either be done with a professional or at the very least use the Google "Smart" campaigns to help you build out the ads and keyword sets.
Get Going with Local Digital Marketing
This is just the beginning of your local digital marketing program. Local digital marketing and creating a regional online presence can have a big influence on your service, causing rapid growth, increased revenue, and a much larger consumer base. Start dealing with your service's digital presence using the 3 basic steps outlined here to start getting all of the benefits of being connected to your clients online.
1. Establish Your Business on Google (Google My Business)
2. Build a professional website
3. Create a modest campaign on Google Ads for your first venture