We love local marketing. It’s intuitive, Google loves it so it tends to add it to its priorities and it’s a challenging way to make your business more competitive. It mixes great customer interaction with online marketing strategies so there’s many ways you can take this to kickstart your campaign.
If you’re having trouble getting your business’ local market techniques off, it’s most likely because you just need to polish your process. If you’re still getting issues, here are 5 power moves to fire up your local marketing.
Updating Your Local SEO
To start, boosting your local SEO is one of the important pieces of the puzzle you need to resolve first. SEO can spell what is a successful campaign and what becomes another one of the many attempts you tried that went south. Don’t worry though since this is part of the learning process.
At the most basic level, local SEO becomes local by utilising phrases that refer to a specific area of interest that you are trying to rank for. As example, instead of using “internet marketing agency” as your primary keyword, consider utilising “internet marketing agency Brisbane” or “Brisbane 4000 internet marketing agency”, depending on how specific of a location you are trying to catch within your target audience.
By creating a geolocation qualifier, you’re competing for an area that you want to focus in, rather than fighting for primary keywords that are nationally competitive and will be competed in by businesses with much bigger budgets than your SEO.
This also allows you the option of being added to the coveted Three-Pack, which is the top-level post that Google gives for the most geographically relevant results to queries. This is why it is important in your website to have an accurate NAP (Name of Business, Address, Phone number), together with a Google my Business entry.
Utilise local keywords as your primary H1 or secondary H2 tags and, if possible, add it as a part of your url. Remember that make sure this comes as natural as you can and optimised in priority for human readability, then search engine readability.
Use Yelp and Other Local Business Directories For Visibility
We love our local business directories in our agency. They are strong, useful ways to quickly build an audience, especially in Australia where the tradie business is strong and alive. Also known as the online citation, it puts your NAP out there for readers to see and they can provide reviews, testimonials and even referrals when possible.
Amongst these local business directories, we specified five in a previous article that can be highly useful for you due to their active community and features that are useful to business owners. Yelp is the most famous of them – and for a reason: it’s simple to use for the average reviewer, it’s an easy, no fuss review and directories site and it has a mental ring to it. You tell somebody about Yelp, they’ll know about it immediately.
What’s important in taking advantage of your local citations is to make sure to always monitor the comments you receive in them and reply immediately.
If it is approval or a positive response that provides meaningful information, remember to give your thanks and note of what they liked. If it is a criticism, take an internal audit of your business and see where you can improve – thank the customer if you think the criticism is valid enough to warrant a change. You don’t need to do this for everyone, but only for the more meaningful reviews that you have received.
Start Some PPC Advertising to Test Your Local Market
One of the primary advantages of PPC advertising is that it allows targeted ads to a specific group of people that you want. This means you can send targeted Adword ads and Facebook Ads and limit it within a span of locations that you have in mind.
When doing this, prepare a few styles, templates and content that you can use for some A/B testing, letting you take advantage of the cheaper ad campaigns. This is great, considering that you only pay for ads that have good impressions and provide results.
Location targeting always makes sense if you have a message that is only perfect for a certain geography. It also connects you easier with your audience as people love local heroes within their ranks.
Work with Your Local Business Neighbours
Another smart business move is to work with your neighbours to create a local network of business referrals. Being friends with your neighbours is great, especially if there’s some crossover for your businesses that you can be buddies with each other without being each other’s direct competition.
As an example, many small businesses may need your digital marketing and SEO expertise if they are trying to build a website. In return, you can expect them to refer clients that are not within their bounds but are covered within your niche. If you only do optimisation and marketing, you can also partner up with the local graphic artist or programmer, depending on what is needed.
This camaraderie makes sure that everyone wins: everyone gets clients when there is some work available. You can also provide services to each other, making sure there’s a good amount of it going around. Trade business cards with your building neighbours or office neighbours and propose this in as friendly and amicable manner as possible. Offer benefits to them and make them feel that they will be getting value when working with you.
Get a Referral Network Going
A referral network, similar to a neighbourhood alliance, is a way to improve the intake of clients through joining groups and allowing for other businesses to refer them to you, in exchange for a nominal fee or making sure that you create referrals yourself as well. Whilst you can look for online referral networks that ask for a bit of money, there’s two other ways to do it.
The first option is for you to join a local chamber of commerce and business organisation, which is typically available in many suburbs or cities. The advantage of joining comes from the events provided by the chamber, together with inherent trust within the organisation that you joined. Typically, you’ll be provided with membership insignia within your business – a sign of trust for clients and the businesses that are members of the club.
The second option is to enact something similar to a networking lunch. Whilst this is going to take a lot of guts, the way to do it is simple enough:
- Request with your previous clients or friends about business owners within your nearby circle and ask for their email.
- Send them an invite, specifically asking if they are interested in meeting other business owners in a round table networking lunch to create a small referral network with each other
- Note the benefits their business will most likely get
- Make sure to tell them that you will be the host but participants will be going Dutch.
What this creates is a strong combination of your business providing a gateway to introducing businesses to each other, creating a good thought leader presence for your circle. Some tips to make this more effective include:
- Do not make the meeting about you. You’re the host and you’re simply having people over to meet each other. The short term goal of the business is have each person introduce themselves, their businesses and what services they provide. This keeps the focus away from you and make you gain their trust by not making the entire event about you.
- The long term goal is to get these people trust you as a business provider, so make sure to engage them consistently without going overboard.
- Make sure the round table is not above 12 people and at least around 5 to 6 people. Anything above or below that can be sub-optimal as it’s either too crowded or too small of a group for people to be motivated.
- Make sure to note that everyone’s going Dutch. Paying for lunch puts you under suspicion of hidden agenda, but simple arranging for everything makes you a good micro-manager.
Whatever you decide on, even a 10% conversion rate for you nets some business, and best case scenario you get to create a small, strong circle of fellow business owners willing to part with their clients for some referrals.