As health regulations rolled out over the last year, businesses modified their physical spaces and procedures to create safe environments for both employees and customers. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on businesses across the nation, and perhaps none more so than small local businesses who rely on residents of their community to succeed. It has shown us all how important it is for a business to have a strong online presence.
By leveraging local search engine results and bolstering social media strategies, local business owners can grow brand awareness, engage with customers, and drive sales. In this article, we will be reviewing a few key strategies for staying in front of your local customers during the pandemic and beyond.
Local Search Engine Optimization
One of the best ways to maintain your local marketing presence is local search engine optimization (SEO). Letting customers know about your services is important for keeping your business visible. Local SEO is all about increasing the search visibility of your business within your community. This includes claiming business listings and other tactics to make sure that you show up on local searches when people are searching for your products or services on Google.
A great tool for your local SEO efforts is Google My Business. By claiming your Google My Business listing you have access to various tools to manage your online presence on Google. “Near me” Google searches are frequently used by those who are ready to make a purchase or schedule a service. Google takes the users current location into account to provide local results to ensure they are relevant to the user. Having an updated Google My Business account and a website that is mobile friendly can help ensure high conversion rates for the “near me” local search results.
For more information on how to leverage your Google My Business account, check out our blog post to learn more about optimization.
Maintaining a positive reputation around your business is a key component in any marketing strategy. Consumers use peer reviews to make buying decisions on just about everything. About 85% of consumers trust reviews about as much as recommendations from their own friends or family on products or services. If you are not asking satisfied customers for reviews on your business, then you should develop a review request campaign which will generate a continual flow of current reviews and opportunities for you to engage with the reviewers.
Responding to reviews shows that your business cares about what your customers have to say, and you take the time to pay attention to feedback no matter if it is positive or negative. Your responses to positive reviews give you the opportunity to expand further on your products/services or show your appreciation for your customers. Responding to negative reviews show that you will work to resolve the issue presented by your customer.
Optimizing Local Website Content
It’s hard to overstate how important it is to drive your visibility in local search engine results. About 50% of people who conduct local searches end up going to that business within a day.
By posting regularly on your website with blog posts or podcasts that incorporate relevant local keywords, you can enhance your visibility in local searches. People want to visit businesses that are close to them, partially for the convenience but also to support the local community. The drive to support local small businesses is stronger than ever after a harrowing 2020 for business owners.
Social Media Marketing and Advertising
It’s important to know who your customers are and what marketing messages resonate with your target audience. The analytical tools provided by social media platforms give business owners insight into the engagement around their content which can be used to develop more effective marketing messages. Adding hashtags that are relevant to your local area makes your content more likely to be found in other local searches and adding a location to your posts increases your visibility.
Social media advertising is another opportunity for businesses to expand their brand awareness and drive engagement from prospects. These options are cost effective and provide calls to action that encourage users to engage with your business. The flexibility available when building social media ads allows businesses to test out different combinations of messaging, graphics and calls to action to learn what provides the best ROI.
How Cutwing Can Help
It isn’t a secret that the past year has been tough on many local businesses. Now more than ever, developing a strong local presence online is a critical component to success for small businesses. Cutwing Marketing works with clients to increase their online presence and drive customer engagement through local online optimization, keyword research, and social media marketing. Contact us today for more information.