No matter what the dominant platform may be, local marketing is only going to grow as technology improves.
Snapchat went public last week, with a valuation of around $24 billion at the time of writing. Snapchat boasts some of the highest user engagement rates across all social media platforms, but is struggling to gain new users as competitors like Instagram and Facebook release features such as Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories.
Whether or not Snapchat retains its user base or eventually succumbs to its larger competitors, one thing is for certain: platforms for user-generated content as a whole are only getting more and more popular. Local marketing is a technique that takes advantage of user-generated content, which is why this needs to be on your radar.
This is one of the defining trends of 2017, and your business needs to adapt if you want to stay ahead of your competitors.
Your Business Needs Local Marketing
When you think of “local marketing” perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is Google Maps.
When a user types in “[your business] stores near me,” the first local results that show up usually do come from Google Maps. But that’s not the only element of local marketing! Check-ins on Facebook, adding locations to Instagram posts…anything that refers to your physical store in an online setting is a part of local marketing.76% of smartphone users visit a store within 24 hours after conducting a search. - Google Click To Tweet
We mentioned a week ago that Google was making PPC AdWords changes to improve the performance of their ads. You’ll find that disruptive technology, shifts in algorithms and new products will always shake up the marketing space. But in 2017, you can be confident knowing that the role of local marketing is only going to become more important.
You may have heard the statistic that 76% of users who search for a business, end up visiting their store within 24 hours. At this point, it’s a no-brainer that your business NEEDS to have up-to-date information on Google and Google Maps. It’s also a given that your website NEEDS to be mobile-friendly, as mobile searches outnumber desktop searches by 3:2.No matter who wins the platform war, local marketing is the true champion. Click To Tweet
Google Map locations still rank above organic search results, so a properly set-up business location still generates a lot of reach. More importantly, though, is the fact that local marketing is very targeted and very persuasive because it is user-driven. Facebook check-ins and Snapchat geo-filters act as a form of third-party validation and “free” marketing.
Google, Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram – no matter who wins the platform war, local marketing is the true champion.
Fundamentals of Local Marketing
No matter what new tools come out, the fundamentals of local marketing remain the same. You need to be easily found, incorporate local marketing into your overall strategy, and encourage visitors to support you. Here are five steps on how you can do just that:
1. Think Mobile First
Mobile searches have already surpassed desktop searches – your website needs to be mobile-friendly. Your local marketing efforts will be for nothing if you entice a visitor to land on your website, only to have them bounce because they can’t read your content or because your web design is confusing.
2. Try All New Platforms
You don’t need to create an entire marketing strategy every time Facebook launches a new product. In fact, you don’t even need to use your business’ official page to test new features! To get in the mind of your customers, you need to act like a customer.
Take selfies. Try live videos. Go through the process of checking in through Facebook or Instagram. You’ll find interesting trends – we found that hosting live videos could boost overall page views over ten times its initial amount.
By trying new things, you’ll often be the first to see the potential of the new “biggest thing.” Have you heard of Facebook ‘Messenger Day’?
‘Messenger Day’ is a Snapchat clone made by Facebook and is automatically located above Facebook Messenger chats – a service used by over a billion users daily. Staying on top of these product announcements give you the largest pool of resources to make real, meaningful interactions with your customers. All you have to do is try it out.
3. Empower Your Fans
If your customer bothers to tag your business or check in via Facebook, don’t ignore it. ‘Like’ their status, thank them for the patronage, heck, maybe even give them free swag! By empowering your fans, you reach all of their friends and family who see their status and photos.
Brand advocates provide a stronger message than any of your campaigns can push. Encourage your fans to talk about your business, perhaps with a local promotion or campaign, and prepare to interact with your customers.
4. Get Testimonials
What’s the first thing you notice on a local business result? What’s the key deal breaker between two similar services? That’s right – testimonials and reviews. No matter how the local marketing landscape changes in 2017, you can bet that testimonials will continue to see a huge amount of relevance.
Make sure to have some sort of system in place to encourage your users to leave a testimonial about your product or service!
5. Employ Agile Marketing
Google and Facebook are constantly driving new product ‘innovations’ to increase their user’s share of time. If you pay attention to their trends, you will be rewarded with better presence, more relevant results, more leads and better sales.
Always employ agile marketing and focus on the campaigns that drive results. We know that Facebook is trying to push videos on their newsfeed – so you should publish relevant videos to improve your page’s reach. Is Google increasing the prevalence of featured snippets? Add more content that directly answer common questions your customers may ask.
In order to employ agile marketing, you need to stay informed. This is why we offer a month marketing round-up newsletter to keep our clients and subscribers up-to-date on the latest marketing buzz. This month we’ll be discussing local marketing in a series of live videos on Facebook, as well as in our monthly newsletter. If you have any questions or comments, let us know on Facebook or contact our marketing agency. We always have chocolate 🙂