What is local marketing and why your business needs it

To succeed in a highly competitive business environment, companies need to think about many aspects. When building your digital strategy, one of the most important point to consider is your online presence and reputation on various location-based services. Today, local marketing is an integral part of any fruitful business performance. In this article, we’ll talk about its role for business and explain why it is so important to implement it in your marketing strategy.

Let’s delve into this world of digital presence and start from scratch.

What’s inside

What’s local marketing and how it works

A business can use Google Maps, Apple Maps, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and other location-based and review services, to tell about itself to a local audience — those who are nearby. It's called local marketing.
That is, local marketing is a set of actions businesses can do to be visible to their clients on search, maps and digital services. It helps companies to attract local customers, build a reputation and drive foot traffic to stores, restaurants, banks, pharmacies, etc.
Local marketing includes online presence (being on different digital sources with full and up-to-date information) and online reputation (review management in location-based services).
This kind of marketing is called local because by implementing this aspect of strategy, a business usually targets its potential customers within a specific area.
To understand how location-based services work, let’s imagine you decided to have a cup of coffee in the city center. There must be many options, right? So, how can you choose where to go? In such cases, we’re used to opening let’s say Google Maps and asking it “drink coffee nearby”. Google gives you the most suitable options based on your location. For business, it’s very important to be “the most suitable place” for clients. And companies can actually influence that.
Search engine algorithms cannot visually evaluate listings. Therefore, when choosing which listing to show above others, Google is guided by ranking factors — signals in a company’s listing that the search engine can understand.
Talking about the ranking factors, there are studies on the basis of which conclusions can be drawn. Thus, the recent WhiteSpark research reveals the importance of the following factors:
  • Signals of your listings on Google (Google Business Profile signals): proximity, primary and additional categories, data completeness, update frequency and relevance of information submitted.
  • Reviews: their quantity, diversity and velocity.
  • Behavioral signals: click-through rate, built routes, dwell time and clicks to call.
  • Citation signals: the volume of citations about your business in different sources.
To learn more about ranking factors, check our detailed guide on the topic:
How to rank on Google: local SEO ranking factors you should know in 2023
The most important factors for ranking in the Local Pack, overview how they have changed over a couple of years and what companies should do next and focus on.
With attention to local marketing, a business can optimize their listings to increase visibility to clients in local search results and make them more competitive on the maps. But to do so, it is not enough just to create listings and forget about them. It is necessary to verify the listings, keep the information up to date, manage reviews, and follow the updates of location-based services. Then there is a high probability that your business’s listing will be in the top positions of local search results and customers will be able to find you.
The regularity of this work depends directly on the size of the company, the number of its branches, the activity of customers and the specifics of the business. If you have an electronic store chain, you need to systematically check the relevance of information about each store in each location-based service. The more listings, the more likely there will be wrong information somewhere.
If you have only one coffee house, you do not have to log into the location-based services daily and check the information — it is enough to do this once a month, as well as set up notifications.
For example, in multi-location companies, there’s a separate specialist who deals with listings: he visits a range of location-based services, manages reviews, and buys ads.

The power of local marketing

Local marketing is constantly developing because today users solve most issues through a smartphone. They reserve tables, buy clothes, order a taxi, etc. People's actions are tied to their location because smartphones automatically identify it. Therefore, it is beneficial for businesses to appear in local search results so that people choose their products and services more often.
Local marketing has four main superpowers. With it your business:

1. Is always there for your clients

Local marketing is a kind of digital bridge between businesses and their clients. People search, location-based services connect them with your company and disclose your presence to new customers.

2. Shares important and up-to-date information

Customers will always find you with the right contacts, address, and opening hours, therefore will get a positive experience from the first interaction with your company.

3. Increases the foot traffic to points of sale or service

You can add a phone number, social networks, mail, quick booking or order links to your listings. So people can immediately build routes to your company and make a purchase or order a service, call or select a menu dish for delivery. It is so convenient for customers — everything is in one place and they don’t need to make extra movements.

4. Saves money

Of all the marketing tools, local marketing is the most budgetary. Actually, it can be launched without a budget at all if you don’t use paid promotion in location-based services or third-party platforms.
Of course, if you have a multi-location business, it’s much more convenient to connect a specialized platform for online presence and reputation management such as BrandWizard. It will make a clear system out of the whole work with location-based services, save your employees time and drive your marketing to the point of solid effectiveness. But even in this case you’ll save your money in fact, because the time and efforts of your employees cost much higher.

Which businesses need local marketing

To be short, all offline companies need it:
  • Retail stores, shopping malls
  • Сoffee houses, restaurants and cafes
  • Pharmacies and medical centers
  • Banks and insurance companies
  • Cinemas, theaters, children's centers
  • Delivery points
  • Beauty and spa salons, car repair stations and other places where services are provided on site
Local marketing solves different business problems. For example, it helps small and medium-sized businesses to make themselves known and compete with stronger market players, while large businesses support the flow of customers to points of sale and work with their reputation.

What do you need to implement local marketing in your business strategy

It’s easy. Just prepare:
  • Information: addresses, branches, phone numbers. It needs to be collected and checked for relevance.
  • Your employee’s time: if your company has several marketers, you need to understand who will deal with location-based services and set up a schedule.
  • Patience: if a business has 10+ branches, you need to create a separate listing for each branch in location-based services and verify it. You cannot make one for all branches. This is quite painstaking work. So, here come automated solutions that help make this process systematic, quick and easy as 1-2-3.

How to implement local marketing into your business strategy

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start working with local marketing.
Step 1. Collect up-to-date data: phone numbers, addresses, working hours, social networks, mail, and photos (e.g. if you have a cafe, photos of dishes and menu are necessary).
Step 2. Decide which services you want to add branches to. The most popular location-based services are: Google Maps, Apple Maps, Facebook, etc. Don't forget specialized services: for example, for hotels it's Tripadvisor, to collect reviews it’s Yelp. If someone worked with local marketing in the company before you, find out in which services you already have your listings not to create duplicate ones.
Step 3. Check for fake listings that users can create. Fakes appear if the company hasn’t verified the listing and hasn’t secured the address. Then anyone can mark on the map, say, their house and indicate that the branch of the business is located there. So your customers can come to a fake address and get upset. Sometimes competitors use this technique to confuse customers on purpose.
Step 4. Fill in the company listings in accordance with the rules of location-based services — specify the coordinates, business categories, name, etc. The rules are indicated on the official websites (e.g. Google Maps).
Step 5. Verify your business listings — a free official confirmation from a location-based service that your business really exists at the submitted address and under submitted name. You need to do this once. Verified listings’ owners can reject user changes, respond to reviews, connect social networks, etc.
As long as the company hasn’t verified its listing, any user can assign it and do with it whatever they want: change phone numbers, close branches, delete photos and reviews. This can negatively affect your company's reputation.
Step 6. Resolve content issues. In location-based services, users can add photos to your business listings if they visited your place. It’s very cool to have photos from users (UGC) in your listings, but they are not always aesthetically pleasing. Therefore, you need to take care of the visual and send complaints about irrelevant photos so that the Google removes them. You can do this manually or we can take care of this with our Photo Management Tool.
Step 7. Set up community management. Appoint an employee who will process customer reviews and set the tone of communication for your brand in location-based services.
Step 8. Update the data quarterly if the phone number has changed or the branch has closed. So the information in the public domain will always be up to date, and your customers will find you at the right addresses.
If your business has many locations it’s clear you will face a large flow of information and customer reviews, which is difficult to track and manage. Moreover, there are businesses with very active customers and they need to respond to reviews every day. It takes time and resources of employees. In such case, your brandsavers are platforms that help automate the routine and work with online presence across all digital services from single interface: for example, BrandWizard.
7 steps to boost your Google listing
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In this guide, we share easy-to-follow steps to boost your business listing on Google and get the most of your local SEO efforts
It’s so great you took a step for better digital performance!

How to measure the effectiveness of local marketing

Like any type of marketing, the local one can be measured. There are quite clear metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of business’s online presence. You can track them directly on Google.
What pay attention to:
  • Searches — they can be direct: searches by the name or address of the company (e.g., "mcdonalds nearby"); by category: searches for a specific product or service (e.g., "coffee shop nearby" or "where to dine nearby").
  • Views — they show in more detail how many users see your business listing on Google Search and Google Maps.
  • Calls — the number of clicks on the phone number specified in the listing.
  • Directions (Routes) — the number of clicks on the "direction" button in the listing.
  • Website clicks — the number of clicks on the link, which is specified in the listing.
While analyzing your online presence is clear, online reputation is harder to measure. But the good news is that its possible. We’ve created a special guideline for you on how to do that.
Moreover, at BrandWizard, we have comprehensive Analitycs tools called Online presence advanced analytics service and Online reputation analysis service. With them, you can easily track all the metrics on your digital performance in location-based services and adapt your strategy to get the most from local marketing.
With smart analytics, you can improve your business listings, as well as set goals, KPIs, and achieve impressive results.

To sum up

Local marketing is not just a great tool, but a necessary part of any successful digital strategy. It helps your business to provide relevant information about it across all location-based nd review services as well as build strong online reputation and customer loyalty.
The great advantage of this tool is that it’s quiet esy to implement: you can start working with it at any time and with no budget — it will do you significant good even if you have one point of sale or service. And if you have a multi-location business and need to process and deliver a large amount of data you’re also a lucky one — nowadays, you can find easy-to-use automated platforms that aggregate all data and let you manage your online presence and reputation from single interface.
BrandWizard is ready to empower your business with a smart local marketing solution. Just make a little step — book a demo with our experts and enrich your digital potential.
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