Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Hyperlocal Marketing Series #2: Local Directories

The importance of online business listings

Let’s face it, in your quest to find some nearby Chinese takeout you’re not reaching for the yellow pages. You’re going to search online. In today’s world, coming up in online search results grounds your business in the reality of your customers. It’s how your company can be right in front of your customers at any given time. And without overwhelming name recognition, a strong presence on local directories is your ticket to the local market.

The first step toward encompassing this type of hyperlocal marketing is making sure your business is listed on Yelp, Google My Business and Bing Places. It might sound like common sense, but it’s important to add the right details to your business profiles. Keep in mind these listings will provide a way for customers to become acquainted with your business, and because they might be their first impression, you’re going to want more than a picture of your storefront and a sentence. Be sure to include the necessary information for search optimization, such as location and phone number. Consider these profiles like the windows to your storefront. Your customers aren’t going to come inside an empty building, and they certainly aren’t going to entertain a hollow business listing.

Another bonus to listing and monitoring your listings—one that couples perfectly with a strong hyperlocal marketing strategy—is that your business will index better in local-based searches. It’s an ideal way to capitalize on your locale and become a household name in your community without a large marketing budget. To maximize this local advantage you must monitor your listings on directories, especially customer reviews. Online reviews weigh heavily toward how your business ranks in search results. They are an often overlooked piece of hyperlocal strategy.

All in all, taking advantage of local directories can drastically improve your customer base in a specific location. If you don’t, other businesses will—surely outperforming your local reach. If you want to connect with the customers closest and most likely to revisit you, look into adopting a marketing strategy that includes a strong hyperlocal approach.

Read our latest hyperlocal marketing posts:
Hyperlocal Marketing Series #1: How to Connect With Your Best Customers

Friday, March 25, 2016

Hyperlocal Marketing Series #1: How to Connect With Your Best Customers

What is Hyperlocal Marketing?

Simply put, hyperlocal marketing is marketing oriented to a defined geographic area—usually a local region, town, community, etc. The idea is to attract local customers and turn them into repeat customers. Hyperlocal marketing has been a part of business since the inception of business itself. While it initially existed as yellow pages, newspapers and direct mail, the term has taken on new meaning in the digital era. Basically, the popularity of search engines coupled with the ubiquity of mobile phones has shifted the marketing landscape to give the power of hyperlocal marketing back to small businesses. Understanding how this digital landscape works will help you connect with and retain your customers.

Search Drives Hyperlocal Marketing

At one time, if you wanted to find a business you checked the yellow pages. Thanks to the internet, that norm has shifted to search. People rely on online search for everything. Directions, dating advice, a wedding photographer, medical diagnoses, an easy hollandaise recipe and much, much more. This is why it’s imperative to have an online presence regardless of your industry. Indexing online is going to help you connect with customers both far and—more importantly—near.

So how does search—the driving force of hyperlocal marketing—interact with the rise of mobile phones?

Well, in 2014 (for the first time ever) there were more mobile searches than desktop searches. Furthermore, according to the Global Web Index, 80% of adults online have a smartphone, and nearly 50% have a tablet. The shift to mobile search has ushered in a new era of online presence. An era that not only requires a website, but a responsive one that can be accessed on a smartphone or tablet. Accounting for your customers finding your business on a mobile device is now a crucial piece of any successful marketing strategy, and one that can be harnessed by small businesses.

So how can a small business implement hyperlocal marketing in today’s marketing landscape?

This series will cover the four best ways to utilize hyperlocal marketing for your business: local directories, social media, responsive websites and loyalty programs.

Read the next article in our Hyperlocal Series: Local Directories