Last week I had the pleasure of teaming up with LaserAway’s Paul Baumgarthuber during an eTail webinar. The webcast focused on utilizing local SEO tools to drive online conversions for multi-location businesses. The session reinforced just how much potential lies within a company’s own brand as it spreads across the local search ecosystem. It also dealt with how important it is for a brand to take claim and control the data being distributed.
With more than 96 percent of PC owners conducting local searches and 80 percent of local searches on mobiles phones converting into sales, it’s a no-brainer for brands to start tackling local search marketing strategies now! After great feedback from the session, it seemed that the biggest hurdles for brands were: (1) budget, (2) setup time, (3) where to send information, and (4) measuring ROI from local SEO.
To summarize on the opportunity for online conversions, here are a list of key takeaways:
Start by building your digital storefront.
Having a brick-and-mortar location, plus an ecommerce website, is simply not enough to ensure that consumers searching keywords and phrase that relate to your business locations will actually find your business operations. With the vast amount of algorithmic factors that go into a search result, offline locations are continuing to lose ground unless they have optimized local landing pages (desktop and mobile).
Here are some essential factors to gain online visibility:
- Automate with a local CMS platform;
- Build locally optimized store landing pages;
- Include a mobile user experience;
- Add category/product specific landing pages;
- Use best practice local SEO, including Schema Markup;
- Make sure to have relevant local media on the page (e.g., offers, videos, products, etc.); and
- Localize your content!
Cast your net with syndication.
Recently, Bill Connard, Rio SEO’s vice president of local search solutions, wrote in Search Engine Watch about the importance of where to claim, validate and optimize your local business data to make sure when people find your brand that you control the experience. Although some of the options can be costly, taking on the free local listings first and then working your way down to the data aggregators and social networks is a great first step to drive incremental traffic to your website and local storefronts.
Bridge the gap from online to offline.
As local search becomes more integrated with your marketing strategy, measuring the ROI of your efforts can seem like a fragmented unknown. This often leads multi-location brands to question the merits of investing in a local program.
Don’t worry! Here are some quick techniques you can implement to boost and report on local ROI:
How to drive online traffic
- Incentivize users with conversion tools that matter to you.
- Local coupons, menus, ordering, click-to-call
- Add local media to your local landing pages.
- Events, appointments, loyalty forms
- Allows visitors to buy online and offline.
- Show off your awesome store with Google Maps Business View.!
- Localize your paid search campaigns.
- Local products (PLAs), geo-targeted text or display ads
How to measure local ROI
- Measure analytics from local landing pages on desktop and mobile devices.
- Analyze click activity for on-page elements.
- Driving directions, coupons, form fills
- Measure online to offline with coupons and local promo codes.
How LaserAway uses local SEO to drive conversions
We concluded the eTail webinar by asking LaserAway’s Paul Baumgarthuber to provide insight on how his company leverages local SEO and Rio SEO’s Automated Local SEO software to create a hyper-localized experience for its brick and mortar locations. When it comes to local search, brands and marketers face a lot of challenges in choosing the right solution and strategy for their business.
As LaserAway’s organic growth strategist, Paul provided a great list of tips to make sure you are investing your time and money wisely:
- A “one size fits all” strategy doesn’t work;
- Local businesses need a different approach than Internet companies;
- Drive leads and customers from a target area (aka Qualified Traffic);
- Traffic and rankings only matter if they drive leads, customers and revenue;
- ROI is your most important metric; and
- Your strategy has to be financially sound.
Tackling an online marketing program has its challenges, so missing any of the necessary steps can cripple your brand’s online presence across search, maps, and even GPS networks. The opportunity to garner incremental traffic to your ecommerce stores, while driving foot traffic to actual locations, is a double-edged approach that will keep paying for itself for years to come.