Marketers already in hot pursuit of the constantly connected consumer have a lot to look forward to this holiday season, and much to do to prepare. Retail sales are expected to rise 3.8% in the US this season, with e-commerce attracting a good deal more shoppers with a projected 15.3% growth rate. Multi-location businesses are facing both greater challenges and opportunities than ever before to connect, engage and convert searchers into loyal customers.
Not long ago, your physical location was one of the key determinants of success. You needed to pick a prime location, where people walking by could see your sign out front. Today, consumers are finding you online and engaging with your store before they ever set foot near your business.
It’s a trend that Rio SEO and Radius8 explored together in our recent webinar, 5 Tips to Leverage Local for Holiday Success. Brendan Phelan, co-founder and VP of Strategy at localization platform Radius8, hosted the event alongside our own Tyler Ludwig, Director of Product & Strategy here at Rio SEO.
Here are the highlights and their most important tips for local marketing success as we head into the holidays (see the full recording below, as well).
1. Master GMB Listings to Give Consumers the Where, When, & More for Your Stores
In the US, we’ve seen a 500% growth in “Near Me” searches in recent years as consumers increasingly use their connected devices to find nearby solutions to their problems. It’s a search tactic that 82% of smartphone users are now using to explore the world around them.
What do consumers see when they search your local area for products and services like yours?
Accurate, optimized local listings are an opportunity to enhance your visibility, but also to add value to searchers, engaging them in their moments of need and converting them to in-store customers.
Fifty-four percent of consumers use local search to find business hours. Another 53% search for directions to a local store, and 50% use local search to find store addresses. We know it’s important to have the fundamental data in your listings accurate and up-to-date, certainly within GMB but also in data aggregators, social, directories and elsewhere online. Google checks listings against a variety of sources, so it’s important that all of your location information matches:
- Name, address, phone numbers, website URL
- Photos, categories and attributes
- Additional links such as menu data or product inventory
- Reviews and Q&A
On top of this, build your location listings out with information such as business descriptions, attributes and categories. Using a centralized local listings management dashboard enables you to give owners and managers control at the local level to accomplish tasks like updating hours for holidays, store closures during weather events, for example.
Google is the new homepage and often, consumers can have their query answered right in the SERPs without ever clicking through to a website. Currently, 61% of mobile searches do not result in a click.
Tyler identified additional key opportunities for local listings, including:
- Google Posts, a critical component in your local SEO strategy.
- Special features like menus and price lists.
- Location ad extensions.
- Review management, which impacts not only public perception of your brand but local search rankings, as well.
- Inventory feeds (i.e. See what’s in store).
2. Boost Organic Traffic with Store Pages
The future of SEO may very well mean that you aren’t ever aware when a search has happened. Impressions are therefore becoming an even more critical KPI, but attribution remains challenging. How can you ensure that each of your locations is in position to appear as Google’s preferred answer right in the search results, so you capture more of that business?
Your SEO basics are as important today as they were 10-15 years ago. But today, your locations have the opportunity to outperform the competition even in aggressive local markets with enhanced landing pages.
Create a holistic experience for the consumer with state, city and location pages, as well as product or service-specific landing pages. You can improve discovery and conversion as well as increase local rankings by incorporating the following into each page:
- Rich SEO markup with Schema – Leverage structured data to help Google understand each page and improve visibility in relevant search results.
- Reviews and social media – Integrated reviews and social media provide valuable social proof to both search engines and consumers in their decision-making moments. Integrated, dynamic first and third-party reviews mean your customers don’t have to go looking for that social proof; it’s right there, compelling them to convert.
- Map and directions – Make it simple for mobile searchers to get directions to your locations in a single click.
- Hyperlocal content – Custom written content, images and photographs, videos, references to local landmarks and other local elements enhance the customer experience while also sending positive local SEO signals to search engines.
Rio SEO’s Local Pages help multi-brand businesses achieve all of this at scale, with the added benefits of seamless integrations and analytics data.
3. Drive consumers from ‘search’ to ‘buy’ by presenting localized store pages enhanced by trends and inventory
How can you monetize more traffic and shorten the cycle from discovery to purchase? Multi-location brands have to contend with any number of factors that affect consumer behavior across the country–the weather, traffic conditions, local inventory, what’s trending and much more. On a late September afternoon in New York, a Michael Kors store is going to offer a very different inventory than its counterpart in Miami, for example.
Radius8 brings localized data to the optimized Local Pages. Achieving this at scale across all stores means relevant, data-backed recommendations being made across the country, everywhere you have a location and consumers are searching for products and services like yours.
Now when a consumer comes to that optimized Local Page with its integrated reviews and proper schema markup, it’ll also have additional elements to personalize the shopping experience for local buyers. Right on that page, a consumer can search your inventory and see product/service recommendations based on their location. Essentially, a mobile consumer can shop your whole store right from the landing page.
As consumer demand for instant answers in their palms of their hand increases, it’s critical that you engage and convert customers in their expressed moments of need.
4. Social Pages: Make sure locations are present where your customers interact, share, and contribute on a daily basis
Humans are social animals, and shopping experiences is no exception. In fact, people love to share their shopping and brand experiences with friends and strangers.
Making sure that your NAP (name, address, phone number) information is correct across your social presence is just as important as managing your search listings. An additional challenge in social is the management of parent and child pages, and how information flows from brand to location pages. Establishing roles and permissions helps brands manage social at scale.
Also critically important is the management and ownership of your local presence. Rogue pages are a common challenge for brands, and they can be created in a lot of different ways, including accidentally by consumers. Identifying and claiming all pages enables you to merge pages, correct erroneous information, and delete incomplete or inaccurate pages that may confuse potential customers, resulting in loss of sale.
5. Drive conversion organically through embedded social shopping experiences.
Taking it a step further, Radius 8 helps brands create social shopping experiences with dynamic local catalogues embedded in Facebook Pages. This enables brands to show local inventory inside of the social media experience at scale.
Consumers love to live in social. Linking to your homepage and hoping they’ll click through, start searching and eventually buy runs counter to how consumers behave online.
Embedded social shopping experiences allow consumers to shop inside social, without the extra legwork of seeking out your products and then searching around for social validation. Instead, you can drive consumers straight to conversion without ever requiring that they leave their social experience.
Want to learn more? Check out the entire webinar below, including Q&A between participants and our local marketing expert hosts.
View the slides:
For additional resources, don’t miss:
- Our latest POV on 7 types of Content you need in a Voice Search World
- Your free local presence audit from Rio SEO
- Get answers to your frequently asked questions