When I moved from Barcelona to the Gold Coast seven years ago, I honestly didn't know much about this iconic beach town or the new suburb I was living in. Fortunately, over time as I became more familiar with the area and started to feel like a real Gold Coaster, I was lucky enough to make a very good friend: Google. Until I could learn the way myself, Google helped me get to school every morning and find local businesses or specialists I needed all around the city from a yoga studio, childcare centre, a vet to a car mechanic. Without my mobile phone searches, I would have been completely lost! However, all these local enterprises didn't just magically appear on my Google Search pages. No-sir-ee! They did their groundwork and invested in an informed and effective local marketing strategy. Approximately 97% of people learn about local businesses via online searches, 78% of which are done on mobile devices and lead to either a customer call or visit to the business within 24 hours. Furthermore, near me mobile searches increased by 136% last year. Based on statistics like these, if you have a physical office or retail space and your goal is to reach the people around you, getting local is key to your business marketing strategy.
Let's start by clarifying what local marketing is.
Local marketing is geared toward an audience who is within a certain radius of the physical location(s) of a business, and who might realistically purchase the product or service anytime. For example, if you are a restaurant in Burleigh Heads, Queensland, driving website traffic from Perth is not going to do your business much good. Instead, start employing local marketing tactics to ensure most of your audience is located near enough that they can drive to or order delivery from your restaurant. The first step to achieving a successful local marketing strategy is to define who your buyer persona is. Senior Content Strategist at Portent Inc., Travis McKnight said, the biggest approach people should be taking is really understanding whom they're trying to sell to what benefits people can get from the product or service, and then relay that information upfront. Without having clearly defined your buyer persona, your marketing strategy might be at risk as you won't be targeting an audience who will patronise your business, meaning a total waste of your budget.
What types of businesses might benefit from local marketing?
Many different businesses can benefit from local marketing, but some types of commerce find it is essential for their operation. As we mentioned before, restaurants are a good example because they have physical locations utilising takeaway or dine-in options. Other examples include retail stores or professional services such as lawyers or medical centres. While these types of small businesses often have an online presence , local marketing can increase store or office foot traffic and boost awareness to help connect with a larger regional audience. Even for us at Zakazukha, as an intergrated marketing agency that mainly operates digitally, a big part of our general marketing strategy is based on reaching out to the local enterprises situated around us, as we believe nothing beats an in-person consultation.
The six local marketing strategies you can start today
- Make sure your website is mobile friendly
Approximately 62% of all website traffic comes from people using mobile devices. No doubt, that also includes the customers who are in your area, so it's vital to make sure your website is optimised for convenient mobile navigation.
- Be consistent with your NAP
Make sure your business name, address and phone number (NAP) is consistent throughout the web as search engines like Google love consistency and will recognise you as a legitimate establishment operating within a specific area.
- Optimise your local SEO and social media pages
Search engine optimisation (SEO) involves helping your business to rank higher on Google Search pages via locally relevant terms and keywords. If you need some help with keywords, Google Trends is a helpful (and free) tool to identify what terms are popular in your location and industry. This also applies to your social media channels which should be optimised and localised accurately. This means maintaining an active social media account by pre-scheduling your content and providing up-to-date information about your business. If you are looking for a user-friendly social media scheduling tool for your channels, we highly recommend Sked Social. Here at Zaka, we manage multiple social media accounts and have found that Sked makes it very easy not just for us to manage and schedule, but also for our clients to review and accept posts.
- List your business on third-party websites and directories
There are many third-party websites, directories and review sites that mention local businesses and direct consumers where to shop. These sites are especially beneficial for SEO, and you don't want to miss that! The most important listing you want to be on is Google My Business, as it will allow your business information to show when people search for your name, product and/or industry.
- Encourage your customers to leave positive reviews
Let's face it, the first thing people look at when choosing a service provider, product, or business is the reviews. Encouraging your customers to leave glowing critique or even incentivising them with a discount code or freebie will help build trust and credibility for your business. Be sure to spend some time reading and responding to reviews with an open mind, using all feedback received to improve your service and products. Avoid copying and pasting generic responses and instead try to personalise every answer so your users know their opinion is valued.
- Host or sponsor local community events
Having your digital marketing sorted is essential but building a community around your business and brand is invaluable! By hosting or sponsoring local events, your brand exposure will increase dramatically and you might even capture local press attention, further improving your chances of being found online by a local audience. For instance, did you know Zaka sponsors the Redbacks Football Team and hosts Yaka at Zaka, a biannual networking event for emerging businesses and entrepreneurs? These kinds of sponsorships and events help us get to know our community and create stronger professional networks. If you are a local business or entrepreneur looking to boost your local presence and connect with the people around you, contact the Zakazukha crew to start devising an effective local marketing strategy. Alternatively, if you'd like to attend our next Yaka at Zaka networking event, please email [email protected].