Building a Local Search Strategy
Do you need more foot traffic? If so, a local search strategy is for you. Simply advertising through the traditional medium is no longer the smartest or best strategy. Today you need a good mix of local advertising, an online presence that functions both globally and locally. When is the last time you used a phone book…yeah, I don’t know either.
If I need to find something, I automatically grab my phone. If I am traveling and need to find something like a restaurant, I just ask Siri. She has definitely turned me onto some unique little finds that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise gone to because they were off the beaten path. Back in the summer, she found us this cute little pizza place in Russellville, Arkansas. This restaurant is a little mom and pop (which I love supporting) joint, but they had the foresight to have a strong local search strategy.
1) Claim All Local Profiles – This includes more than your social media accounts, it includes things like Google Maps, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, MapQuest, you get the idea, basically, any profile possible that your potential customer could find you.
2) Ensure Information Consistency – Make sure all of your information is correct and exactly the same. The author calls it NAP—Name, Address and Phone Number—I would add to that list-website. Not too long ago, I noticed my friend had an incorrect website listed on one of her profiles and I brought it to her attention so she could correct it. Often times, I will do a quick click of the website to make sure it looks like a place I might want to go, so if that is not correct, you could very well lose a potential customer.
3) Keywords – This is in addition to your website SEO. The local SEO really focuses on your target audience. If you’re a trendy boutique that caters to 18 to 20 year olds in your area, then your keywords need to reflect that.
4) Monitor – Regularly check all of your company profiles. Often times consumers will message you via these sources and if you’re not checking them, it immediately gives them the impression that you don’t care. This is especially important in today’s instant answers, instant access world.
5) Local Linking Strategies – This is old school cross marketing. Today’s cross marketing allows your profile to automatically recommend a business that compliments your business and vice versa. The authors used the example of an ice-cream shop across the street from a movie theatre. They are two completely different businesses but compliment one another nicely. Your business has the potential to be in front of many people that may not have otherwise heard of you at no charge. I am definitely a sucker for recommendations offered to me because of a purchase I have made. I would say that a majority of the time I will click the recommendation to see what it’s all about. While this is technology driven, it is just as much relationship driven. You need to personally get out there and make those relationships happen with other businesses.
Much of this strategy is not new; it’s just rehabbed to suit today’s technology and client preferences. I like to mix a bit of new marketing with old-school marketing. It’s easy to overlook some of these seemingly common sense recommendations, but as a business owner it is imperative you schedule one afternoon a month to take care of these common sense items or hire a company to take care of this for you.