It goes without saying that if you’re a small business owner that operates or sells products locally, you cannot ignore your online local marketing efforts these days.
But, even if you don’t necessarily sell your products or services directly to your local community, there are still several reasons you should consider optimizing your online performance so that you rank in your local searches.
Why is including local search engine optimization so important in my digital marketing strategy?
As of January 2021, there are more than 1,197,982,359 websites globally. Sure, many of those are in different languages, covering different topics to yours. Still, that’s a lot of noise you have to cut through to get your website or business in front of your target audience.
While gaining global sales can be an exciting goal, the odds are that it will be much easier to begin by reaching your local audience first. User data shows that customers are increasingly turning to localized searches:
- 97% of customers that search online look for local businesses
- Half of all searches include a location or phrase like “near me”
- Around 80% of local mobile searches when someone is out and about result in a purchase
- 65% of customers use Google My Business for business addresses and phone numbers
- 88% of searches for local business on a mobile device call or visit with 24 hours
Plus, being a part of your community is a great business practice regardless of the boost to your search performance. You get to know other like-minded business owners and can share, learn, and grow together.
Even if you don’t sell your products exclusively or directly at a local branch, you should still become actively involved with your local community. Customers love reading about businesses that support and value their roots and homes. Sharing your passion for your hometown helps humanize your company and might even create a loyal hometown customer base.
Some tips on how you can get started with local marketing for your small business.
Localize your website’s pages or make a dedicated local page
When optimizing your website to rank better in local search results, a great place to start is on your website. If you’re primarily a local business, you will most likely have already covered a lot of this. It’s worth combing back through what you've done to ensure you included local SEO keywords. Also, you need to make sure you have your location clearly stated and a map to help people find you.
If you do a combination of local and non-local business, you might not want to focus so much on localizing every page. In that case, you will want to make a local-specific page optimized for local SEO performance. That way, when local customers are searching for you, they come directly to a targeted page with all the maps and information relevant to their needs, and your regular customers get your usual page.
Get yourself consistently in local listings
There are tons of local directories online for different types of businesses, groups, and more. These directories and listings are a great way to boost your presence in your local community. If your local business isn’t already listed, reach out to them immediately to ask about being listed.
If you are listed online in different listings, take some time to audit how you’re listed everywhere. Google likes to see consistent listings. It’s their way of making sure you are who you say you are and that everyone’s saying the same things about a business. Minor errors like typing “Street” versus “St” in your address on different sites or having different business hours can actually hurt your online search rankings.
Get social in your location
Success in your local community requires you to get active within your local community. You can’t be a business that sits on the sidelines and hopes people will support you. Subscribe to other local pages like the Chamber of Commerce, and get active with them in their events if you can. Search for online communities that line up with your business and any that resonate with you and your passions. As your local network grows, so will your local search rankings.
Be careful not to use these groups to spam marketing messages. That kind of activity is super transparent and will hurt you more in the long run. You gain results when you are a real, active member that helps others. Also, don’t be afraid to take what you learn in these groups and share it on your pages or with other businesses in your community. When you spread the local love around, it tends to come back your way to help you out as well.
Combine your offline marketing with your online marketing presence
You can use your physical storefront to help build your online presence. Use signs around your store to help drive visitors to your website and social media channels. Make it easy for your customers with simple QR codes to scan, and be sure to reward them for their support with a discount or shout-out online.
Get started with your local online marketing for your small business today
As you can see from the above example, unlike other marketing efforts, getting started with online local marketing is relatively cheap and easy. Many of the best practices simply require your time.
If you’re like many small business owners and find your time is in short supply, you can always offload most of your local online marketing needs to an agency.
Whatever you do, don’t neglect your local SEO and local online marketing. They’re a quick and easy way to cut through the noise, ensuring your customers can find you and not your competition.
Connect with us and we’ll be happy to talk with you more about how we can help you get started with online local marketing to supercharge your small business!