10 pro tips for mastering local search marketing

A successful local marketing strategy requires more than just choosing a few general keywords and creating pages on Facebook and Yelp. Small businesses and consumers are constantly getting smarter. So if you want to stay ahead of the competition and ensure local customers can find your business, your local marketing strategy needs to evolve.

Small Business Trends recently spoke with David “Rev” Ciancio, Director, Industry Insights for Yext, a company that helps businesses manage their digital knowledge and reputation everywhere they go online, including listings, maps, apps, knowledge maps and more. During the conversation, Rev shared a number of useful insights for small businesses looking to scale up their local marketing efforts. Here are the top 10 tips.

Go beyond Google My Business

Google isn’t the only place where all of your business information should be listed and updated. There are hundreds of them, ranging from general sites like Yelp, Facebook and YP.com to those aimed at specific industries like TripAdvisor for hotel businesses and YaSabe, the US Yellow Pages site for Latinos.

Rev said neglecting these business listings is the number one mistake local businesses make in their online marketing efforts. Yext has a solution that can help you easily control and update all of your business listings across all platforms. But even if you don’t choose to use a paid service, manually monitoring these lists should be a top marketing priority.

Browse online directories regularly

Updating your digital knowledge is also not a one-time task. You should sift through all the places online where your customers can regularly find these facts about your brand, especially if you’ve made recent changes, like updating your vacation hours or adding a new service. . It should only take a few minutes if you’re using Yext. If you manage your digital knowledge manually, it will take much longer because you will have to update each smart service individually.

Rev adds, “A lot of small businesses prioritize their upside marketing efforts. It’s been reported that the average half-life of a Facebook post is around five and a half hours. In other words, if I posted something on Facebook five and a half hours ago, chances are no one will ever see it again A small business owner could spend hours writing and monitoring social media posts and to make sure customers and prospects see them, he should take the time to scour these online networks to make sure his hours and other information is correct and up to date.If someone can’t find his company in research, he will never see this beautiful publication on Facebook.

Use keywords

Keywords are a major part of any SEO marketing strategy. But when thinking about which keywords to focus on for your local business, you need to look beyond your industry and location.

Ciancio explains, “If you’re a pizzeria, you obviously want to use keywords like pizza and restaurant, because those words still describe your business. But let’s say your pizzeria is also very child-friendly – you have high chairs, booster seats, coloring books, kid’s menu options, changing tables in the bathrooms, and a clown who comes in once a week.In this case, you’d also want to add “kid-friendly” or other keywords to differentiate your restaurant. »

Add reviews to your website

Reviews are another important part of local SEO. Sites like Google My Business and Facebook give customers an easy way to share their thoughts about your business. But how do you encourage more comments? One option is to add a review section to your own website

Rev says, “You can also have them on your own website, just follow the rules — you can’t sift through them. Third-party software can help you navigate these rules.

Respond to every review

When customers leave reviews, whether on your website or another platform, respond. You can use it as an opportunity to reverse a negative experience, explain your company’s position, or simply apologize and say thank you.

Rev says, “Even for customers who give your business five-star reviews, it only takes seconds to say a quick ‘thank you.’ And it can go a long way in showing customers how much you value their feedback. »

Publicly thank customers for their reviews

Another way to respond and potentially even encourage more reviews is to publicly thank customers for them. You can add a quick update to your Facebook page by posting a positive review and thanking the person for sharing their feedback. It’s simple, but it can lead to more visibility and might just remind someone who wanted to share their thoughts to finally do so.

Consider paid ads in some cases

When it comes to local search, getting your business to the top of the results page, or at least the top three listings, is the ultimate goal. And sometimes the fastest way to do that is to pay for ad space on Google or other relevant platforms.

Rev says, “If one or two of this three-pack go to a sponsored post, then that might be something to consider at least for your own business.”

Answer questions from potential customers about your website

Although customers can get a lot of information from search engines and business listings, your website is still important. And your goal when creating your website should be to answer all the questions customers might have when deciding whether or not to patronize your business. This can be done through an FAQ section or simply by including enough information on your homepage.

Adapt your website to the customer experience

You also need to think about the customer journey and tailor your copy to that experience.

Rev explains, “If I’m a plumber and I’m working on copying my website, I have to think about how often people call me saying ‘my faucet just broke – I need that someone come right away”. and someone looking for longer term service. If nine out of 10 times someone calls because they need help right away, my website should say something like “Need a plumber now? Click here to call.”

Get ready for voice search

These tips should now help you in your local marketing efforts. But moving forward, there’s another trend that could have a major impact on your search marketing.

Rev explains, “By 2020, 50% of all search traffic should come from voice search. When you do this, you don’t get ten blue links to choose from – you get one response. So small businesses that don’t think about what will happen when people say, “Hey Siri, I need a dry cleaner near me” are going to miss out. »

Photo via Shutterstock

Brandon D. James