If your business has any physical locations, local SEO and marketing should be one of your top priorities — especially right now.
Jonathan Birch, Creative Director at the SEO and digital marketing agency Glass Digital shares how you can attract more customers in your area.
Over the last year, consumers have been making a real effort to shop smaller and more local. There’s a number of reasons for this: of course, coronavirus restrictions have limited how far the public can travel from home, and a lot of people will still be avoiding larger shops and supermarkets that are more likely to be crowded. Plus, we’ve all seen that smaller businesses are struggling the most right now, so a lot of people will be shopping with their local retailers to support them through this rocky time.
The effects of this are likely to extend throughout 2021 and beyond so, if you don’t already, it’s a good idea to get a local marketing plan in place. Here, I’ll be sharing my top five tips that will help you do just that.
Update your Google My Business listing
If you want people in your area to find you on Google, the first step you should take is to ensure your Google My Business listing is up to date. This is completely free to do, and it will give you the best chance of showing up in the search results when someone is looking for a local business like yours. It’ll allow you to claim a spot on Google Maps, too!
Google My Business listings have a lot of different features that will ensure your customers have all of the information they need before visiting you. You can add your address, opening times, and photos of your shop or stock. You can even answer questions through your listing, and provide updates of what is going on behind the scenes.
Google has also introduced certain features that are specifically there to help you through the coronavirus pandemic. For example, you can now add “more hours” to let your customers know whether there are specific shopping periods — maybe mornings are just for the elderly and vulnerable, or evenings are takeaway only. Make the most of all these features to give everyone as much information as possible.
Create local content
In the world of marketing — and particularly SEO — content is king. So, to compete against similar businesses in your local area, you’ll want to start creating content that’s specific to where you’re based.
This isn’t to say you should start writing any old content about the area you live and work in — the information you’re putting out there also needs to be relevant to your specific audience. So, think about what kinds of local content they’ll be interested in, and how it relates to your products or services.
For instance, if you have a dog grooming business, you could put together some guides about the best walks and dog-friendly pubs in the area. Or, if you own a B&B, you could put together some tourist guides that focus on what’s nearby.
Make your NAP clear and consistent
When you’re looking to attract more local custom, it’s vital that your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are easy to find. You also need to make sure they’re consistent across all of your platforms. So, make sure your details are always up to date, and that they’re formatted in the same way, whether it’s on your website, in your Google listing, or on your social media profiles.
Copying and pasting your NAP every time is the quickest and easiest way to make sure that you always get it accurate.
Start building local links
Every SEO and marketing strategy should have an element of link-building, as it can do wonders for your brand awareness and Google rankings. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, it essentially involves looking for opportunities to get a link back to your website from other high-quality sites. Search engines (and people) will see these as votes of confidence.
There are a number of ways you can build local links for your website. For example, you could tell the local press about any exciting business updates that they might be interested in writing a story about. You could also join forces with local businesses to share your expertise on their websites, if this is going to be relevant to their audiences.
It can also be worth spending some time and money on giving sites a reason to link to you. For example, could you sponsor a local event or initiative, or carry out some volunteer work on your company’s behalf and shout about it? All of this will help to give people a reason to write about you, and link to your website in the process.
Use social media to engage with locals
Finally, social media can be a fantastic tool for reaching out and attracting the attention of local customers.
There are plenty of ways you can use social media to bag more customers in your area. Engaging with local businesses and hashtags is a great way of doing this. Commenting on posts about the area, boosting other people’s local content, and posting your own can also really help.
It’s also a good idea to engage with any feedback you receive from your customers, as reviews can really help you to build trust with people who are considering shopping with you.
Local SEO and marketing a more important than ever, so it’s vital that you get a strong strategy in place. Take these tips on board and it shouldn’t be long before you’re waving lots of new customers through your shop’s doors.