With the increase of smartphone adoption, marketers need to rethink their content strategies. This is particularly true when they consider the mobile local content that drives consumers to their locations. However, local search initiatives have proven to be one of the most cost effective. They are also high converting traffic generators for digital marketers. Moreover, new technologies to improve scalability are bringing local marketing within reach for companies of all sizes.
In this time, when greater competition at the national level puts increased pressure on marketers to make every dollar count, local mobile marketing offers the strongest possible ROI in search marketing.
In the face of such unprecedented opportunity, how can local marketers best capitalize on paid and organic local search marketing opportunities?
Local Digital Marketing is Now Scalable & Feasible
By 2019, 59% of the global population will own a smartphone. Already, the proliferation of mobile has shaped the way we consume media, discover and interact, and fulfill our many different types of needs. For example, currently between 40-50% of all searches performed on mobile devices have local intent, while nearly 80% of local mobile shopping searches convert.
Leveraging the mobile local opportunity and being present when and where your mobile customers are searching for businesses like yours is key to capturing this marketing opportunity.
A recent brief from Forrester Research, co-authored by Shar VanBoskirk and Collin Colburn, showcases the benefits of a comprehensive local marketing strategy. In this post, we’ll share VanBoskirk and Colburn’s tips for getting your local marketing strategy off the ground. We also share our own advice for future-proofing your strategy for local success today and in the years ahead.
The challenge for many marketers has been how to scale all of their dynamic local content to meet this huge opportunity. A single local landing page can take up to 15 hours to produce and properly optimize if done manually, estimates Tyler Ludwig, Product Manager for Rio SEO. It’s a cost most marketers would be hard-pressed to justify.
In their recent Forrester report, VanBoskirk and Colburn point to business listings management technologies like those offered by Rio SEO as a solution to offset these challenges of scale. Now, critical location-related content for each of a company’s locations can be updated and automated across multiple websites, dramatically reducing labor and budget requirements.
Local Benefits Brand Awareness, Foot Traffic & More
Local marketing drives real benefits like enhanced search visibility and brand awareness, VanBoskirk and Colburn note. In fact, women’s fashion and accessories shop charming charlie’s experienced huge year-over-year growth, increased first-page rankings on Google, and a big boost in mobile traffic as the result of their deploying local search automation software.
Smart local marketing drives increased foot traffic, as well, particularly where listings are enhanced with store hours, in-stock inventory and other information to entice shoppers in the door. Automating local marketing also powers location-specific offers for national brands, giving each location a method for showcasing sales and deals most relevant to local consumers.
Forrester’s 5 Tips for Getting Off the Ground with Effective Local Marketing
VanBoskirk and Colburn offer five great tips to help marketers get off the ground with local. Each point is expanded upon in their report, The Local Marketing Opportunity — see the full text here.
1. Establish a local visibility baseline.
A critical assessment of the frequency, rankings and accuracy of local listings is an important first step.
2. Correct inaccurate listings.
NAP information is most critical. However, you want to ensure all business listing information is correct across the local search ecosystem. This offers the best user experience for mobile customers.
3. Create location-specific content.
Correct listings can showcase the unique offerings of each location through ad content and location pages.
4. Syndicate accurate data.
Submitting business listings and location-specific content to search engines and directories ensures your business is represented accurately.
5. Optimize performance.
To be meaningful, local marketing must contribute in measurable ways to your overall business goals. Regularly evaluating current performance against your initial benchmarks is key.
Rio SEO’s 5 Tips for Future-Proofing Successful Local Marketing Strategy
With the above best practices in place, you can focus on taking your local marketing strategy to the next level. Consider these forward-looking optimizations:
1. Optimize local landing pages and listings with enhanced hyperlocal content.
Neighborhood-specific language and offers combined with immersive, locally relevant content create a compelling user experience – one in which searchers can actually envision themselves inside your business. Incorporate hyperlocal neighborhood data across your SEO, social, community engagements and other efforts. If you’re not listing online using the language users are searching with, your brand presence will suffer.
2. Keep an eye on smart devices.
Meanwhile, over the next four years, the global wearables market is expected to grow. This growth comes at a compound annual rate of 35%, reaching 148 million units shipped annually in 2019. In addition, smart watches will account for 70% of the market, according to Business Insider. As consumer adoption of wearables grows, so will the need for local relevance in apps and search, to help consumers discover and navigate to local businesses. Brands can stay current with these evolving local consumer needs by automating the monitoring and optimization of their local business data with a central management platform responsive to the impact of wearables on the user experience.
3. Make mobile user experience your top priority.
In the same vein, Google recently confirmed that mobile search has overtaken desktop. Certainly, in the future the preference to search on mobile will grow. Given that mobile searches often have local intent, successful local marketing strategies today and going forward require a seamless experience. On mobile, this includes from discovery to navigating the brand’s mobile site and through to the embedded media and apps. Most importantly, these capabilities can enhance the in-store experience.
4. Manage real-time inventory at the local level for lower cost conversion optimization.
Relying on Product Listings Ads for displaying available products in search comes at a cost out of reach for many brands. The same product feeds that drive PLAs can be applied as in-stock attributes on local landing pages, for example. This includes relevant products at the local level. It also increases conversions through evergreen content in organic search.
5. Initiate plan to leverage your geotargeting and geofencing capabilities.
Finally, the potential for beacons and geotargeting goes far beyond simply offering sales or coupons. Yet its potential is still largely untapped. Clearly, in the coming years, the market will evolve to overcome the obstacles to wider adoption. This includes the necessity to download an app. So start planning your beacon customer engagement marketing strategy now and stay current on developments.
In summary, see Forrester’s full Brief: The Local Marketing Opportunity — Showcase Your National Brand Where It Matters Most for more insight and helpful use cases to inform your smarter, future-proof local marketing strategy.
Finally, to learn more about how the mobile opportunity for local and multi-location businesses, join us for our next webinar, The Mobile Opportunity for Local and Multi-Location Businesses, on August 11.
Karisa Macias has extensive expertise in local search, digital marketing, and technology.