Ever since the internet first captured the public's attention, it has become the universal medium that we all use for entertainment, commerce, communications, and everything else imaginable. Its' rise to primacy across so many industries has also made it the most valuable marketing medium in history, allowing businesses unprecedented reach into every corner of the globe. In the beginning, most companies were consumed by their newfound ability to expand into new and far-flung markets. Then, something happened that changed the nature of the game.
Once smartphones started to become commonplace in the mid-aughts, it didn't take them very long to become the primary way that most people use the internet. That new reality forced companies to adopt mobile-friendly web designs and the new and booming app economy, but it also had another, less obvious effect – it changed some of the fundamental aspects of digital marketing. The primary effect has been that today's mobile users want to connect with businesses in close proximity to them, which means that local SEO and local marketing tactics are more important than ever before.
The Critical Nature of Local Marketing
To get an idea of how important location is to today's consumers, consider that studies have indicated that as many as 72% of local searches resulted in a visit to a business within five miles of the user's location and that 78% of those same kinds of searches resulted in a purchase. For businesses, that's the kind of sales conversion rate that you couldn't hope to duplicate through any other marketing means. Those same statistics are also behind search giant Google's move towards delivering local results above all else, as they know they're what users find most relevant. The only real question that remains for businesses is how to best take advantage of the current digital marketing environment. Here's the answer:
Claiming a Share of Local Attention
The best news of all is that the latest shift toward local marketing is something of a great equalizer for businesses. With a location as a prime ranking factor, it's possible for even the smallest local firm to compete on par with far larger competitors, just by doing a few simple things:
1. Optimizing Web Properties For Local Search
The first step toward getting noticed through local marketing is to make sure all web properties are prepared for the task. That means making sure to have a responsive mobile-friendly design, up to date location and contact information on every page, and properly keyword-optimized titles and meta tags for relevant pages.
2. Claiming and Updating Directory Listings
The next step in the process is to claim (or create) business listings on a variety of local directories, and especially Google My Business. It's vital to make sure that all location and business information contained in all listings matches exactly and is completely accurate. That data is how search engines like Google know to include each company in its' local results, so precision counts.
3. Geo-Targeted Ad Campaigns
With the groundwork in place, it's also a good idea to employ geo-targeted digital advertising campaigns to raise the company's profile in the local market. Firms like MAXPlaces Marketing specialize in creating and executing such campaigns and have the know-how necessary to maximize marketing spend to reach the right local users at the right times.
Go Local or Risk Being Left Behind
The bottom line here is that even in an online world that is dominated by large omnipresent businesses like Amazon, the consumer shift toward local businesses is quite pronounced and offers a unique opportunity for local firms to prosper. Taking advantage of that opportunity just requires a purposeful effort to target local users who are already motivated consumers. As the above steps should make quite clear, doing so isn't hard nor does it have to be particularly expensive.
It's also one of the rare times when the marketing objectives of businesses are in perfect alignment with those of Google and it's competitors, who have a vested interest in delivering the local results their users demand. That also guarantees that this is a digital marketing strategy that's going to have some serious staying power and that will continue to deliver strong results for the businesses that pursue it – proving once and for all that even in a global digital marketplace, the best customers are still in every business's own backyard.