Local Marketing – Do You Have What It Takes?

Have you ever considered the role local marketing may play in your business’ success?

You may be familiar with the term ‘local SEO’, which is short for ‘local search engine optimisation’. However, did you know that local marketing is a key aspect of digital marketing, and plays a crucial role in getting your business found online?

In order to understand the differences between local SEO and local marketing, and the benefits that each may bring to your business, let’s take a quick look at how Google Maps, Yellow Pages and other platforms work.

Google Maps

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re familiar with Google Maps. Launched in 2005, Google Maps is the most popular mapping platform, and, as of May 2021, there were 483.7 million daily active users on the platform. If you haven’t used it yet, it’s well worth giving it a try. It’s free, and easy to use. When you want to find a location, you simply enter some starting points (e.g. “Washington DC restaurants”) and the software will return a list of results. If you want more specific results, you can limit your search to show only ‘restaurants nearby’. You can even use place-based filters like “dining out near me”, “dine and dash nearby” and “family-friendly restaurants near me”.

What makes Google Maps unique is its ‘breadth’ of information. While other mapping applications only provide a stripped-back overview of places, Google Maps can help you find anything and everything you’re looking for. Want to find a hotel in San Francisco? You can’t miss the opportunity to search for “hotels in San Francisco” and have a wide range of options appear before your eyes. In fact, if you don’t have a clear image in mind of what you’re looking for, it’s easy to find numerous possibilities and make a choice.

It’s important to note that Google Maps is considered a ‘big data’ platform, which can be both a blessing and a curse. The great thing about Google Maps is that the amount of data it stores is constantly increasing. This means that, even if you don’t search for something specific, there will still be a wealth of information available for you to discover. The downside is that, as the number of users increases, so does the potential for spam. It’s become a common occurrence to see ‘fake reviews’ and false information on Google Maps. For these reasons, businesses that rely on Google Maps for their revenue may be at risk of receiving a poor rating or even losing customers to competitors who offer a better experience.

Yellow Pages

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re familiar with the yellow pages – the phonebooks which used to be distributed by phone companies. These were the books which would be picked up by the phone company every month and updated as new numbers joined the telecommunication network. If you’re looking for a business that’s not listed in the yellow pages, you have a couple of options. You can either try contacting the business directly, or you can use a free search engine like YP.com to find them. What makes these directories useful is the fact that they contain all the business’ contact details, including phone numbers and websites. When someone calls the yellow pages, oftentimes they will find several options, which is great for business owners who want to be sure they make the right choice.

The issue with these directories is that they only contain the information which is provided by the business themselves. If the business chooses to be listed in the yellow pages, then they will have to provide the information themselves. If they don’t want to provide this information, then they won’t be found in these directories. Similarly, if they update their phone number or website without updating the information in the yellow pages, then their old number or website will continue to be listed, which may confuse and disappoint potential customers. In these situations, business owners may have to settle for mediocre reviews or even lose business to competitors who are more consistent with updating their information.

Social Media

We’re constantly bombarded with information and stimuli through social media outlets. If you’re not using these tools in your marketing, then you’re missing out on a potential source of customers and content creators. In these platforms, individuals can create and share images and videos which may be inspired by your product or service, or may simply be a representation of everyday life in a way that your product or service relates to. If you’re not actively using social media to engage with your audience and give them value, then you’re leaving money on the table.

What Is Local Marketing?

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes for a moment. What do you want to see when you log on to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter?

Depending on your product or service, you may want to see pictures of people using your product or service, or you may want to see reviews or reactions to your product or service. With local SEO, you’re aiming to rank for local search terms such as “dentist near me”, “doctor near me”, “massage therapist near me”, etc. Using these terms in your marketing will cause your business to show up when an audience types in these keywords. Since these individuals are likely familiar with the area and services you offer, they will most likely be your audience.

In contrast, when someone types in “pizza delivery near me”, “steak house near me” or “fish and chips near me”, they are most likely looking for a restaurant or eatery, rather than a specific product or service. In this case, you want to focus your marketing efforts on ranking as high as possible for keywords such as these.

As you can see, SEO and marketing for local businesses can differ greatly. The main thing to keep in mind is that with local marketing, you are targeting individuals who are already familiar with the area and services you offer. This means that you don’t need to spend a great deal of money on traditional advertising, because the traffic you get will be more valuable. You should also remember that you don’t need to focus on one platform. By incorporating SEO, social media and other platforms like Google Maps, you can ensure that your business is represented across the entire web. Local marketing is not a replacement for SEO, but it can certainly complement it.

Is Local Marketing Right For All Businesses?

While it’s beneficial to target individuals who are searching for your product or service in your area, this does not mean that all businesses can or should do Local Marketing. As I mentioned previously, if your business is not yet established in the area where you choose to specialize, then you’re better off investing your time and energy into traditional SEO methods. In these situations, Local Marketing may not be a good fit, because you don’t yet have the credibility with the local community that you will once you’ve established yourself.

If you are fortunate enough to have a considerable number of customers in your area, then you can take advantage of the fact that they are familiar with your business by using Local Marketing. This is especially beneficial if you’re looking for new customers who are not yet familiar with your business. In these situations, Local Marketing is a great fit, because you can leverage the existing community to gain credibility and make new connections. In fact, if you’re looking for customers in a specific area and don’t want to waste your time going after individuals who are not yet familiar with your business, then Local Marketing is a great option.

The Role Of Local Marketing In Your Business

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either a business owner or sales professional, and are looking for ways to grow your business. I also assume that you’re familiar with the term ‘local SEO’, which is short for ‘local search engine optimisation’. These are the processes of marketing and optimizing your website or app for the local area in which it is located. While SEO can be very useful, Local Marketing is much more than just SEO for local businesses.

The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that Local Marketing is not a standalone strategy. It is almost always used in combination with SEO and other platforms like social media. In addition, Local Marketing is very versatile and can be used to target a variety of markets and industries. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss some of the other important things you need to do if you want to make the most of Local Marketing in your business.