6 Tips For Marketing Your Business To Get More Local Customers

6 Tips For Marketing Your Business To Get More Local Customers

 

For businesses that rely on local customers, marketing used to mean putting an advert in a shop window or local newspaper, or maybe handing out flyers. Now, local online marketing has really come into its own and provides businesses with a whole host of different tactics to get in front of new customers.

 

But, to really get the most out of local online marketing, businesses need to make sure they’re doing it right and not just wasting time and effort. Here are our Top Tips on How to Really Succeed in Local Online Marketing.

 

  1. Have a plan and stick to it

 

This should be obvious, but unfortunately it’s a crucial step that many businesses forget. If your marketing isn’t planned out it becomes almost impossible to track and measure any improvements, or lack of improvements that you make.

 

If you have no previous experience of putting a marketing plan together then take some time to do a bit of research, dull as it may seem it is a far better use of your time than going in blind! A basic local online marketing plan could start off by listing your business goals, then breaking down how you intend to achieve them.

 

For example, do you want to increase revenue by 10% across the quarter? How do you intend to get there? Will you employ an additional sales person, or will you sell higher value products? How will you get that message across to potential customers?

2. Invest in a Mobile Friendly website.

  • 40% Of Mobile Searches Have Local Intent (Source: Google: Creating Moments that Matter)
  • In October 2016, mobile internet web usage took over desktop (Source: Telegraph)
  • Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% will visit a competitor’s site instead. (Source: MicKinsey & Company)

Make sure your website is mobile ready

 

With Statistics like these it’s pretty obvious that you need your website to be mobile ready! People who are searching from their mobile are likely to be out and about, looking for what they need at that moment. If your website can’t be opened from their phone because it uses flash, or because there is too much to load then you could be missing out on valuable business leads every day.

 

3. Make Sure Your Campaigns Are Geo-Targeted.

 

geo targeting

 

If you want to attract customers within a specific local area, then it’s no good aiming your adverts far and wide where people from anywhere in the world can see them but can’t take action!

 

Sites such as Facebook and Google Adwords and other Display Ad networks, allow you to target ads using a geo-location feature, meaning your adverts will only be seen by people in the locations that you specify.

 

Think about how far people are likely to travel for your service and then target those areas to find your new customers.

Research conducted by Bright Local conducted a survey asking respondents how far they would drive to for 13 different local services. The results are below.

 

Driving Times to Local Businesses Infographic

 

Interestingly people are willing to travel for 5 minutes longer to visit a Dentist/Doctor than they would a Solicitor or an Accountant.

 

Alarmingly people are willing to travel an extra 2 minutes to go to a Pub then to a Gym. What does that say?

 

Make sure that your location is obvious to anyone who might be searching your kind of service within your area. Don’t leave this information confined to the contact us page. Include your location details on every page of your site so Search engines recognise it and more importantly potential customers know exactly where you are.

 

4. Engage with Customers Online.

 

social media engagement

 

When you’ve spent a lot of time building up your local online marketing you also need to be seen as a real human presence, not just a marketing machine. This means you need to take some time to engage with your customers, respond to comments they leave on your website, have conversations via Twitter, and thank people for their feedback.

 

Social Proof is now all important, and online comments and actions that remain searchable and in the public domain are often viewed as being just as important as recommendations from Friends and Family.

 

Don’t undermine your own marketing efforts by forgetting to be a real person!

 

5. Be Top of the Search Engines

Basic SEO strategies can help generate sales and customers so it’s vital to get it right. If the search engines recognise your site as being filled with valuable information on a subject then it also helps your credibility with customers.

Being at or near the top of search engine rankings will ensure you get the best of the search engine traffic coming to your site on a regular basis.

It’s not just SEO that gets you to the top of the Search Engines. Tools such as Google My Business also help, along with Videos, Images, reviews and a strong social media presence.

 

6. Get 5 Star Online Reviews

 

 

Local search user reviews help build new customer trust. If a person isn’t acquainted with your business, they’re going to want to get an idea that other people, past customers, are happy with the work or service you have provided before spending their money with you.

 

If they do not know anyone whom they can ask about your services they turn to online user reviews to get a feel for how you operate.

 

90% of consumers read 10 reviews or less before they feel that they can trust a business (Source: BrightLocal)

Therefore it is imperative that you have in place a system to get clients to leave their positive feedback online.

 

Local Online Marketing is not complicated but with increased competition for people’s attention, time and money it is vitally important to have a plan and continuously act on it to build a stream of new customers.

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When 7 becomes 3 – Google Shrinks the Local Business Map

When 7 becomes 3 – Google Shrinks the Local Business Map

If you run a locally based business, Google's latest update could affect your search traffic. Find out more here. www.bigthinkingonline.com

As of Friday, Google made a significant change to its search results.

Now instead of having 7 businesses represented in search results with local intent, there are only 3.

google local seo

 

What’s different?

Well first and foremost the map has moved from the top right of the Google search results to the left hand side. This would be in keeping with the view that users get on a mobile device and as reported last week, in the UK mobile usage of the internet is greater than desktop usage. So to keep congruency for the user, regardless of the device they are using, makes sense.

 

Another difference on the desktop version is the fact that your business phone number is now no longer displayed. Instead the options are to click directly to the users web site or get directions.

 

Oh and of course, the big one. What was 7 business listings on last week is now just 3.

 

Using the same search criteria on a mobile device you can see that the website and directions buttons have been replaced by a phone icon, which is a click to call feature. 

 

google local mobile view

 

How Will the Change Impact Businesses?

It will only impact businesses that were in the 7 pack prior to the change. After all if your business wasn’t there before the change then it will have no impact. If you were in positions 4-7 on the map then you can expect fewer calls and inbound leads via Google.

 

If you are on the new listing in positions 1-3 then I would suggest that the change will have a positive impact for you.

 

Put simply, your business is only going to be competing with 2 others in the area meaning the chance of you getting a phone call from the map has increased roughly 2.5 times from 14% to 33%.

 

How can you increase your chances of getting more calls?

 

To increase the chances that your listing will be picked over the other two then you need to optimise your listing to stand out from the other two. Ways in which you can do this include:

  • Introduce business photos:
  • Add Videos
  • Add updates to your listing.
  • Get and respond to Reviews

 

If your business is not in the new local listing of 3 then the following is a good place to start.

  1. Check that you have a Google My Business account.
  2. Verify the account.
  3. Update all details including; business name, address, postcode, hours of business, main business category.

 

Chances are this alone will not get you into the top 3 positions but will provide the foundation for a local search engine optimisation strategy.

 

Final Thoughts

The cynic in me is saying that this is all about Google digging deeper into the pocket of advertisers. As there are a lot of businesses that were in the old 7 pack that will no longer be on the first page of Google for their service and locality at all. Meaning that if they do want visibility and to continue getting the inbound leads and calls they were getting then one of the options is to pay for that privilege through Google Adwords.

 

In a blog post on Search Engine Land, Barry Schwarz shares a quote from a Google spokesperson with regards to these changes that says:

“We are constantly exploring the best way to bring a better search experience to our users. This update provides people with more relevant information, including photos, reviews and prices, for searches that have multiple results for a given location.”

 

Is this a trial by Google? How long will it last? Will it benefit Consumers? Will it benefit businesses? Only time will tell….

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Google Make Big Changes in the Local Space.

Google Make Big Changes in the Local Space.

There was an important Update to Google Recently, If you run a local Business this could affect you! Google Makes Big Changes To The Local Space | www.bigthinkingonline.com

The Past Few Months

Have seen Google make some big changes in the local SEO space. Most of these changes stem back to the fact that Google has finally accepted that Google+ will never be Facebook and all their attempts to effectively ‘force’ people to use Google+ including tying YouTube to the platform are starting to be uncoupled.

 

And while that will not impact most users or business owners the fact that Google has also announced that they are going to “unverify” inactive Google+ Local pages could have an impact on local listings.

 

What does this mean for business owners?

Back in 2012 Google made the decision to combine what was Google+ Local pages and Google Places together and automatically provide 80 million businesses with Google+ Local pages. While that might seem a little confusing the crux is that whether you know it or not you probably have a Google+ Local page.

 

If you have never verified that page or Google perceives the page owner to be unresponsive then the page might be shut down.

 

According to a message that has been in the local search forums:

In the past few months, you may have seen some changes in the look of Google+ pages that have been associated with Google My Business (GMB) accounts. These changes, including how we treat business pages without owners, are part of Google’s ongoing effort to simplify people’s experience with our tools. We are constantly working to provide only valuable and rich content to our users.

 

On July 28th, Google will begin shutting down those GMB–associated Google+ pages that have not been associated with user accounts and are also not verified. You may find that some of your Business View tours also sit on such pages, but note that after their removal of unverified Google+ pages, the Business View tours will still remain available on Google Maps and Google Search.

 

How does this affect your business?

First off it depends whether you have verified your Google+ pages.

 

If you haven’t verified your Google+ local page then here is some advice for you to follow from the Google Maps team:

Encourage your business customers to verify their listings if they wish to retain their Google My Business page.

 

If a business owner decides later that they would like to have a Google My Business page, please advise them to create a new page and verify their listing. The Business View virtual tour can be then transferred to the new verified listing.

 

Please log a case to our support teams to request that images for your business customer be forwarded to the new GMB page. Please point your business customer to their images in Google Maps.

 

If you have verified your Google+ page then you will have nothing to worry about. In fact I would hesitate to suggest that if your page is verified and optimised then you will be getting an advantage over your competition as more and more competing pages will be removed from the Goole+ listing. Leaving customers and clients in need of your services a greater chance of finding your business first.

 

If you have any questions or thoughts on this topic put them in the comments box below.