As your brand continues to expand with new locations in other towns, states, or even countries, the need for local digital marketing becomes even more important. Even though you have a specific voice and aesthetic associated with your brand, you’ll need to find a way to cater it to different local audiences.
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can start doing to establish yourself as a notable member of the local community while still retaining your brand’s unique voice.
- Claim local listings
- Reach out/join local groups through social media
- Create a local SEO strategy
Local Digital Marketing Step 1: Claim Local Listings
A digital presence starts with online listings on multiple business review sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and TripAdvisor. This is an absolutely crucial step in the process: according to a report from SOCi and Forrester, 80% of multi-location marketers admit that location information on third-party sites have a major impact on their brand’s reputation.
This means that when you start creating your listings, make sure the information you add is correct and up-to-date. Wrong or outdated information is an easy barrier to entry and leads to poor customer experiences even before people walk through the door.
On top of an expanded online footprint, local listings can house reviews, which are vital to attracting local attention. The SOCi/Forrester report found that 60% of marketers agree on the importance of what customers see on local ratings, reviews, and social sites influence on their decision to visit a store and make a purchase.
- 97% of people make a purchase after visiting Yelp
- 76% of reviews are now either on Google or Facebook
- 92.4% of consumers use online reviews to guide most of their ordinary purchasing decisions
When you do get reviews, you should also learn how to respond to negative reviews and positive feedback. It shows you care what people have to say and increases trust between the two groups through continuous engagement.
Review responses are so vital to the local digital marketing process that the SOCi/Forrester report revealed 79% of marketers see the ability to set up and manage service-level agreements for review responses as the most valuable feature to have when optimizing localized marketing efforts.
Local Digital Marketing Step 2: Engage via Social Media
Review responses aren’t the only way to engage with consumers. Social media is another valuable asset in your local digital marketing toolkit. Consider the stats below from the SOCi/Forrester’s findings and customer reviews data:
- 86% of customers increasingly look for local business info on large search and social properties
- 40% of digital consumers use social networks to research new brands or products
It’s not enough to just post deals or announcements. Use tried-and-true community management best practices to effectively engage on a local level. Learn to “read the room” and use the right messaging and graphics to tell a story or educate the customer. Even if you’re using brand guidelines it’s important to be human in your posts to better relate to people and increase overall engagement.
This is harder when it comes managing different accounts for multiple locations, but the process is made easier when using comprehensive resources like Hootsuite reputation management software, which lets you create content for multiple brands at once.
Local Digital Marketing Step 3: Execute a Local SEO Strategy
With local listings and social media accounts squared away, you can round off your local digital marketing strategy with some local SEO efforts.
Having your listings set up correctly already contributes to this step. In addition, combining reviews and SEO together can help you rank higher when it comes to local search results. However, you can still do more to ensure a higher spot online when people are looking for businesses similar to yours.
Ensuring an optimized website helps search engines find the right signals that further establish online trust. In addition, continuing to create content in the form of blog posts can get you noticed. Google likes fresh content, but it also tells consumers that you’re a thought leader in your field. That extra layer of knowledge can be a major differentiator between you and the competition.
There are many cogs that keep a local digital marketing strategy going, but it doesn’t take much to get it started. Here’s the thing: there are great reputation management software solutions available that make every step of the process easy.
When done correctly, you’ll have more loyal customers that will help you spread brand influence with their friends and to new places where you can set up more locations.