Turning awareness into sales is a complicated riddle that many brick and mortar business owners are trying to solve. You can throw a lot of money at traditional marketing and advertising, but if you have a bad online reputation, it’s unlikely that you will see a return on your investment. Because of this, we’ve compiled three local marketing hacks that will not only help you combat negative reviews, but build trust, and drive sales.
Why local marketing
The way consumers find businesses has changed drastically in recent years. According to Pew Research, 72 percent of adults in the US own a smartphone and they aren’t just using them to play Clash of Clans. Many consumers are using them to make their lives easier, asking their phones questions like “what is the safest minivan” or “Honda Odysseys near me.”
Google refers to these times when people want to go, want to know, or want to buy as micro-moments and they are quickly becoming the norm for many consumers. Because of this, businesses need to make sure their online presence is optimized so they can be there for these moments.
Succeed with Micro-moments
A post on Think With Google highlights some key opportunities for capturing customer mindshare during micro-moments, including:
- Identify the top mobile searches in your area. As mentioned previously, mobile device usage is on the rise. More and more consumers are conducting searches on the go and those searches result in increased foot traffic and increased sales. In fact, 50 percent of mobile searches result in an in-store visit within 24 hours with 18 percent of those visits ending in a sale within a day. Knowing what those top mobile searches are can help ensure that your business is the one capturing those customers.
- Know the frequently asked questions related to your business. If you know what consumers are asking about your business you can create content tailored specifically to answer those questions. For example, if you were a dentist you might want to optimize for questions like “how often should I floss?” or “do I need braces?” Helping to educate your community about issues important to them can help you build trust.
- Know how customers find your business. Finally, it’s important to find out how customers are getting to your business. Map your customer journey and identify specific moments where customers might have questions. Doing so can help inform your local marketing strategy to ensure your messaging helps push them from consideration to purchase.
Now that you have a better understanding of how micro-moments affect your business, let’s dig a little deeper with these local marketing hacks.
Hack #1: Laser-focused targeting
Marketing has long been data-driven. We are constantly collecting information about our customers and audience and using that to tweak messaging, calls to action, the timing of emails, and everything in between. But there is one area I think we can do any better and that’s by using this data to get even more focused with our messages.
Social media is one avenue where you can score quick wins with this tactic. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and other social media platforms are becoming an integral part of your customers’ lives. They are the perfect channel to reach consumers at the right place, at the right time, and with the right message to increase conversions.
In a recent blog post, we highlighted a number of best practices to improve local marketing with Instagram. One of which was targeting your posts to specific demographics or geographic areas. Doing so should increase engagement because it ensures your message is hitting the right people.
You should also look for opportunities to personalize messaging. Businesses can no longer afford to take a spray and pray approach to their local marketing. Technology has made it easy to collect mountains of information about customers and potential customers. You can use that info to personalize calls-to-action to make them more appealing. According to HubSpot, personalized CTAs converted 42 percent better than CTAs that aren’t personalized.
Hack #2: Optimize your directories for local SEO
One way to ensure that your business is there when your customers need you the most is optimizing your directories for local SEO. Doing so will give your business a better chance to show up in Google’s Map Pack and near the top of local search engine results pages.
There are a number of simple things businesses can do to optimize for local search, but for whatever reason, they neglect to do so. They include:
- Claiming all relevant business directories
- Consistent contact info across all listings and on your site
- Upload high-res photos to increase attractiveness of your listing
- Use your blog to drive links back to your site
- Collect and manage online reviews
Hack #3: Build an Online Review Presence
Online reviews play a pivotal role in every aspect of the customer journey. They help increase visibility because they impact local search rank. They quickly move businesses into the consideration set because a vast majority of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from family and friends. Finally, they can help your business get chosen because online reviews have a strong influence on purchase decisions.
If online reviews are so valuable, why do many businesses let them happen organically? If you don’t have the right processes or tools in place, collecting online reviews can be difficult. In the past, the process was long and cumbersome, so many customers didn’t follow through with leaving a review even though they were willing to do so.
The key for a successful online review program is to make it as easy as possible. You can do this by focusing on which review sites customers already use and then delivering invites via your customers’ preferred communications channel. Doing those two things should result in a significant uptick in your invitation conversions.
Bonus Hack: Let Podium Help You With Reviews
Request a demo to see how Podium’s cloud-based solution can help you use text messages to invite all of your customers to review your business. Podium’s efficient, mobile process can help your business build a strong online presence on the sites that matter most. This will, in turn, improve local SEO and ultimately boost revenues.