When planning an effective local marketing campaign, there are some basic steps you won't want to forget.
Certainly business websites and social media are important tools for local marketing campaigns. But you'll want to incorporate other local marketing ideas, too. There are also some traps you won't want to fall into when doing your local marketing.
Here's a simple list of dos and don'ts to get you started.
DO be sure to claim your business on My Google Business.
Providing information for your Google My Business listing may be a no brainer and will help your business come up in local search. But added steps like making sure your address squares with the standards set down by the United States Postal Service are important, too. You'll also want tomake sure your geocode is accurate to be sure your location is right on Google Maps.
DON'T forget to claim your business on review sites — like Yelp.
In addition to Google My Business, there are a large number of review sites out there including Yelp, Google and Facebook. Claim your business on these sites so you can gather feedback and respond to customer concerns. Another reason is that reviews helps with SEO and conversion rates.
DO make efforts to encourage your customers to leave online reviews.
There are some things to avoid when trying to encourage customers to leave online reviews. For example, you can't reward customers for a good review or punish them for a bad one. You can, however, let customers know what review sites your business uses and explain the value to your business.
DON'T forget to use tools like Yext to collect reviews on your site.
While it's great to get positive reviews on Yelp or Facebook, first-party reviews on your own site are really most important to search engines like Google. Use tools like Yext Reviews to collect and publish customer reviews on your site.
DO use social media to engage with customers.
In fact, that's exactly what you should be using social media for. Use it to answer customer questions and respond to customer complaints. Really, social media should be used to retain your existing customers and followers and keep them coming back for more.
DON'T use social media as an alternative to other marketing.
While social media remains an important tool, don't get carried away. Tweeting or posting on your company Facebook page aren't alternatives for other marketing efforts. Even posts from social influencers in your industry and elaborate social media events will do little to improve search ranking.
DO invest in a website as part of your marketing — and make it mobile-friendly.
According to Google, 94% of smartphone owners use their phones to search for local businesses. So obviously, investing in a mobile-friendly website means making it easier for these potential customers to find you.
DON'T forget the list sites in your niche.
Developing a website could take weeks — or even months. On the other hand, making sure your business information is correct on the numerous list sites in your industry or region could take substantially less time. But it is still critically important to help customers find your business online.
DO make an effort to manage those listings over time.
Once you've entered your information on list sites for your industry and region, you need to keep the information on these sites current and correct. That means changes in hours, contact information, or location must be made on all the listing sites where your business appears.
DON'T forget the tools that can help you manage your online presence.
Platforms like the Yext Knowledge Engine can make this process of updating business listings easy. The platform is integrated with the web's top listings sites. So changes of information can be made all at once from a single dashboard taking only minutes.