Ever been hungry in an unfamiliar city?
Although the nearby fast food joint may be a tempting choice, nowadays most people will leverage their mobile device to find local restaurants through a simple search. And while this technology can be very helpful in bringing traffic to local businesses, it can also be harmful to merchants who haven’t yet left a digital footprint that will allow consumers to find their business in the endless abyss of the World Wide Web.
Visibility is one of the most important factors when it comes to running a successful business – both on and off of the Web. In fact, 20 percent of all searches on Google are related to location, while 97 percent of consumers search online to find local businesses, according to Google. This is why merchants must make sure that their business can easily be found on the 'Net – but aside from maintaining a website, there are many other ways merchants can increase their local visibility in order to obtain more traffic, both online and in-stores.
Check out this list of five hyperlocal marketing strategies below:
1. Listing Sites
One of the best ways to obtain visibility is by managing your business’s listing on online directories, such as Google Places, Yelp and Foursquare. This is because many times these are the first sites that pop up when someone conducts a local search. However, even if your business shows up in the results, it is important for merchants to claim their business and customize their listing – with photos, store hours, a telephone number, website URL and even promotions. This not only makes it easier for someone to find your business, but a customized listing will also make your business seem more legitimate, and can therefore improve trust among potential customers.
2. Social Media
Obtaining a presence on some of the most popular social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, can help consumers not only discover your business during searches on Google and Bing, but also help them discover your business in their newsfeed or through social network searches. However, while it is important to only bite off as much as you can chew when it comes to social networks (don’t try to manage more social networks than you can handle), it is valuable for all merchants to create a Google+ page. Although this network doesn’t have as large of a user base as Facebook yet, it still unsurprisingly ranks high in the search results. Additionally, the new Google+ Local feature enables merchants to manage and customize their business’s listing on the social network.
3. Daily Deals
Daily Deals may be a more rogue way to enhance visibility, but they definitely offer a great way to grab the attention of new customers – at least for merchants who don’t mind taking risks. Once a daily deal is launched, the promotion is sent out to local customers via email, and can also be found on the vendor’s website. This can be perfect for bringing in consumers who only happened to find your venue while browsing the local deals on websites like Yipit or DealsMagazine.
Targeting local customers can easily be done by launching a paid search campaign on advertising platforms like Facebook and Google. For example, Google AdWords Express enables merchants to promote their business when consumers conduct local searches for related products or services in a specific area. Most importantly, these advertisements show up during regular Web searches and during searches on mobile devices, so that your ads can target consumers who are on the go and more likely to make a conversion.
5. Website Localization
It is important for every retailer to include basic information, such as telephone number and address, on their website. However, merchants can take this a step further by adding other local elements, including maps and local ads, on their sites. For example, Sears recently added local ads to their websites, which enable consumers to find deals and specials at the brick-and-mortar location nearest them. Although this type of feature is more valuable to a merchant who is running multiple locations, merchants can also add other local elements to their websites, such as maps and in-store pick up promotions. While featuring a map on your site can help consumers pinpoint the exact location of your brick-and-mortar store, offering in-store pickup allows customers to purchase a product online and pick it up in-stores – so they can avoid long lines and shipping fees.