Why go to your local Baskin Robbins than the one a few suburbs away? How can franchises or local businesses differentiate themselves to the people that are from a specific area? In this post, we talk about digital marketing for local area marketing initiatives.
By definition, local area marketing is a great way to target a specific audience in a specific audience, where a business runs campaigns for local communities, engaging in meaningful conversations and activities which can build trust and engagement, which encourages loyalty and repeat business.
You’ve surely come across local area marketing initiatives such as local print advertising, mail drops and/or local events sponsored by businesses in your area. Now, with advent of most consumers using the internet, it’s time to bring local area marketing to the digital space. Here are a few ways franchises and/or local businesses can join the digital revolution without breaking the bank:
1. Set up a ‘Google My Business’ Page
Google My Business is a free service that helps customers find you online using Google Search. It gives you not only prime real estate in Google Search, it’s also free to use!
To set up your account:
- Go to Google My Business and sign in using your Google logins, or create a new account if you don’t already have one
- Add your local phone number to your listing
- Add your business address that’s exactly the same as what’s listed on your website
- Fill in the opening times/days
- Choose the most relevant categories for your business. Categories let customers know what kind of business you have, so it’s very important to get this right
- Upload a high-quality profile image and accompanying pics too. It’s important to remember that your your online presence should reflect your physical offline presence. The more enticing the images, the more engaged consumers will be
- Once completed, you will then be sent a verification code (generally via mail). Enter this number in your account, and you’re done! You’ve set up you Google My Business listing
- When it’s all up and running, encourage your customers to add reviews to your listing. Reviews have a direct impact on local search rankings, so focus on acquiring these as much as possible.
2. Localise your Contact Us page
Not only should your contact us page have the physical address, but embed the map on your site as well! For easy directions plus it literally puts you on the map!
3. Localise your blog
Where is your business located? How about a blog on the top 5 things to do in the area or events that might be happening on certain dates in your area. Include your business in those top places and events of course! If not a tourism-related business, you can twist it to fit it e.g if your business is refrigerated vehicles, one top activity in your area could be picnics or events outdoors and then include how hiring a refrigerated vehicle could help make an outdoor events a success.
4. What’s your social footprint?
Create local business pages on Google+ Local Pages, Facebook Pages and/or Instagram for Business depending on the type of business you engage in. These pages appear in local search making them highly valuable in your local marketing efforts. Depending on the type of business you are in, you could also create a LinkedIn company page or if you’re in Tourism, create a TripAdvisor business profile where you can receive reviews and reply them too. By creating these local pages you’ll be increasing your exposure online and helping potential customers find your business. Once you have all those local business listings you need to make sure you take advantage of the social proof potential. Many of these local sites allow client/consumers to review or endorse your company. Not only will the positive comments establish social proof and credibility to your brand, it will also boost your SEO. Don’t wait for your clients to write reviews, get proactive and ask. You should also add the invitation to review in your email signature and on your website.
5. Join forces with other local businesses
A popular Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tactic is backlinks. Work with other local business websites and ask for relevant links. One way to gain, valuable quality backlinks, is get listed on another site’s website redirecting their audience to your page. How can you do this? Well, start basic, does your business provide goods and/or services that work together with what other businesses do in your area? These businesses are likely to share a similar customer base as yours. For example, a local Baskin Robbins might work together with the local kids playhouse, you don’t necessarily have to create a joint future just a friendly recommendation that you can both mention on your respective websites.