What are the Best Online Local Marketing Solutions 2014?
Our Marketing Team responds to calls every week from business owners who hire an SEO firm only to find out they hired a reseller, or an offshore company who are following a template strategy. These companies make big promises but do nothing more than publish a few spammy links, and use outdated SEO tactics.
In many cases there is not a single, properly trained, SEO in the whole organization.
As a business owner, little knowledge can make the difference between wasting your advertising budget, or branding your company as the best service and product in your local market.
We’ve offered a short list of tasks you should expect in any marketing campaign running in 2014. We hope this will help you understand the basic tasks involved in Local SEO.
Google Geo-targeting uses Centroid Bias
Someone searches MY TOWN Medical Center the search will be bias towards medical clinics located closest to MY TOWN. This makes local SEO vital. Without properly optimizing your Places and Maps, you may be missing out on local traffic.
Local Marketing and Hyper-local Marketing
There are major differences in a typical SEO campaign and a local campaign. Most business owners do not realize that there is a difference in the execution of a local marketing campaign and a hyper-local campaign.
The following explains the differences between a general SEO campaign and a local one.
- SEO Campaign drives traffic – Local campaign drives leads
- SEO Campaign builds on a brand – Local builds the company/consumer relationship
- SEO Campaign can be run by SEO techs – Local Marketing requires a marketing company.
- SEO campaign focuses on search engines – Local online marketing focuses on leads.
Knowing the differences between the two types of online marketing campaigns can help you find the right marketing company. Combine SEO and Print Marketing
The best local marketing companies blend their SEO campaign and their ‘real world’ print campaign. If they only offer one, or the other, then they are not able to create a single marketing message. This reduces the ‘conversion to buyer’ ratio of your online leads.
The best local marketing campaigns start by creating a brand for your company. They will focus on the whole practice because your customers may be walking in the door, and phoning you.
Be concerned if the SEO firm wants to jump into an SEO campaign, without researching your business. If they don’t know your business then how can they promote it?
Here are some points to cover when hiring a company
Who Is The Point of Contact Person
A local campaign cannot be run effectively when you don’t have a point of contact person. The first question you need to ask is, ‘how real’ is this person?’ More importantly, watch for vague references to ‘team’ and ‘SEO tech.’ If they don’t use names, and if you are not able to talk to the team members, then you are probably working with a reseller or an off shore company.
Local marketing is personal. It cannot be managed properly by an intern, or someone who works as a real estate agent by day and resells ‘off shore’ services at night. It requires someone who understands the local market. You need someone on ‘ground zero’ who is focused on your success.
Social Networking Signals
Social networking turns a flat online campaign into a powerful branding tool. The ‘trust value’ of a website and social network can never be underestimated when selling online. This is vital in a local marketing campaign. Your customers may one day meet you, or phone you.
Many consumer’s first impressions are formed when they read your blog or Facebook page. This is why social networking should never be dismissed as a waste of time. It is the ‘first step’ to turning a visitor into a customer.
Blogging Can Make A Local Business Thrive
Blogging is a non intrusive way to get past the gatekeepers. A marketing company should take your image and sales seriously. One way to find out if they do is whether they want to jump in and build links, or whether they ask questions, create a branding package, and help identify the message you want the consumers to have.
If you want to sell locally, then your blog is not the place for ‘made for web’ or ‘cheap articles’. The blog is the place where consumers will decide whether to buy from you, or the competition.
Maps Marketing and Citations
There is more to maps marketing than publishing a citation.
- Jpegs need to be optimized.
- Maps need to support the message.
- The message needs to focus on the consumer, not a keyword.
- Your business needs local clients, not ‘hits’ from across the country.
- Geo-targeting needs to be hyper-local
- Your target demographic needs to be tightly focused
Did you know?
- 82% of local searchers follow up with a phone call or doorstep visit.
- With the integration of Google Local Maps on Smart phones mobile search increased 400% in 2011, and is growing exponentially ever since.
Local Maps marketing and citations contain no boundaries. It isn’t a ‘one time’ task that can be completed by a student. It is a monthly relationship building campaign.
There are a few buzz words and tools that you want to hear your marketing company use. There are also a few you don’t want to hear.
- Google Places/Google Maps
- Google Tags
- Google Gadgets – depending on your product
- Google News
- Google Voice
- Google Webmaster Tools
- Unstructured Citations
- Region Specific Directories
- Industry Specific Directories
- Horizontal directories (Yelp)
- Local Places Page
- Adding Meta Data to your website
- Adding Google maps to your website
- Rich Snippets
- Map Reviews & Reviews (Do not ever use ‘paid or fake reviews’)
- QR Codes
- Schema Local Markup
- KML file (Keyhole Markup Language)
- Guest Blogging on local sites
Local Marketing vs Local SEO
There are a lot of tools that can bring local traffic to your website. PC or Mobile search is only one. Some other ways to build local marketing and draw traffic include:
The most important thing is to remember that there is an ongoing component to local SEO. The search engines, and many directories, drop SEO value and authority for work published in the past and forgotten.
Local marketing requires more. It focuses more on closing the sale. It blends the marketing tools mentioned above with the following:
- Business cards
A true marketing campaign is built to build revenue, not ranking positions, not traffic. These things are good – but without sales they are a waste of time.