Guide to Local Search Marketing Strategy [2021]

Guide to Local Search Marketing Strategy [2021]

Guide to Local Search Marketing Strategy [2021]

Guide to Local Search Marketing Strategy SEO lightbulb

Comprehensive Guide to Local Search Marketing Strategy [2021]

Business is all about sales. Without sales, there is no money. Without money, there is no business.

These are basic business facts.

Sales are the primary focus of any business. Or at least it should be.

Focus on Sales

To be successful, you need to focus on sales. And the fastest, easiest way to do that is with the big four of digital marketing:

  1. Local marketing strategies – includes your online presence: Website and social media.
  2. Search engine optimization – both macro or standard SEO and Local SEO.
  3. Branded content supporting targeted copywriting.
  4. Email marketing and subscription newsletters.

This article will show you how to sell more to new and existing customers using these four digital marketing strategies.

But first, let’s talk about the basics of local marketing, local SEO tools, and some background on search engine optimization.

Online Presence

Smart business owners know that optimizing your local business website is the cornerstone of all marketing. You can not be effective in marketing your business without an online presence.

Your business website should be the hub for everything. It’s where your web content and customer resource pages are maintained. All marketing campaigns and local search engine results pages point to your local landing pages and location pages housed on your website.

Your website should have a part to play in your lead generation and new business development. This one decision affects everything from local search visibility to social media marketing. An online presence needs a place for visitors to go and learn more.

Digital Marketing Strategy

In a recent survey, 92% of business owners believe that a website is the most critical part of their local marketing.

So how is it possible that 28% of small businesses have no website? That’s according to the SBA (US Small Business Administration) statistics.

Sometimes percentages get lost without solid numbers to back them. So try these on for size:

  • The SBA considers a small business size to be 500 or fewer employees. Personally, having conducted many benefits enrollments for 400 to 500 employee businesses, I can tell you they are not small.
  • In 2020 there were 31.7 million small businesses in the United States (SBA statistics).
  • And just in case you’re wondering, the large business number is tiny in comparison with only 20,139 (businesses with 501 or more employees) (SBA statistics).
  • That means there are roughly 8.9 million businesses in the United States with no website.

No Website. No link building. No SEO tools or Search Rankings to worry about. But also no new business from online customers.

Google Local Intent Searches

Digital marketing takes time but gives back great ROI (return on investment).

So what are those business owners doing with all the extra time they aren’t spending with online marketing? My guess is they’re not selling anything to new customers since 46% of searches on Google have local intent.

And the Local 3-Pack appears in 93% of local intent searches on Google. The 3-Pack is how Google presents the top businesses that can most likely sell you what you need in search results.

Every business wants to be in the Google 3-pack.

Ignoring this opportunity is leaving a massive amount of potential business on the table.

Google Domination

According to a June 2021 Statista report, Google dominates the global search engine market with a 92.47% market share.

In June 2021, Hubspot pegged the estimated number of Google searches at 5.6 billion per day.

Yet, according to Google, 56% of businesses have not claimed their Google My Business (GMB) listing.

What is Google My Business (GMB)?

Google offers a free online business profile for your business. It’s called Google My Business (GMB), and it appears in search results from Google Search and Google Maps.

Here’s the kicker about Google My Business listings. It appears regardless of what you do. When someone conducts a Google search, and your business is in the results, then a GMB listing will appear.

And there’s the catch. It doesn’t matter if you have ever set up your GMB listing. Google will find available info on your business and create the listing for you.

As you can probably expect, much of that information could be old or inaccurate.

Unclaimed Google My Business (GMB) Listings

Another issue, especially with unclaimed Google My Business (GMB) listings, is how easily they are claimed, updated, or changed by anyone. Even your competitors.

So that fierce business rival down the street can find your unclaimed GMB listing, create a free Gmail account, and claim your GMB. Once they control it, they can change your hours, phone number, or even report that you have gone out of business.

That is precisely the scenario that Google does not want to happen with GMB Listings. So they have a process in place for the proper owners to take ownership of their GMB listing. Unfortunately, the process is anything but easy. It is so much easier to claim the GMB listing now. It will save you drama down the road.

A Google My Business (GMB) listing is a no-cost opportunity to quickly improve your search rankings and keep your business on the radar of the Google local algorithm. There honestly is no downside to claiming your GMB listing. It’s a powerfully effective SEO tool.

Now let’s talk about utilizing local marketing strategies to put you in front of your target audience.

Neighborhood Marketing

Local marketing strategies focus your sales efforts in your local community.

That is also known as “sell where you live.”

Before the internet created online marketing and local SEO became the new buzzword, many local businesses were already working with local media. It was easy because, at its core, everything was neighborhood marketing.

Local marketers knew their target audience because they lived in the same local community.

Search engines back then were called word-of-mouth advertising. And online reviews from local influencers meant eavesdropping on the town mechanic talking about cars during breakfast at the coffee shop.

Local Media

This brief walk down memory lane is significant to point out the similarities between old-school marketing in neighborhoods and the Local SEO marketing model used today.

All in all, people still want to do business with someone from their community. Today, the advantage is that you are better able to get in front of your potential local customers using branded content and copywriting at a lower cost than antiquated advertising.

Back in the day, local businesses all used paid advertising because it was the only option. If you wanted to get the word out, you advertised with local media like billboards, radio and tv commercials, newspaper ads, flyers, and direct mail.

Today we no longer have those limitations because we use branded content, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, local search, and many other SEO tools.

Ultimately, everything boils down to one thing. Marketing efforts back then or today are to attract customers that live in your local community.

Fast forward a few decades and the internet may have changed many things, but marketing basics are still the same.

There are many benefits from the internet and a ton of baggage with time-consuming, complicated, sometimes confusing ways to manage local business marketing efforts.

Local Marketing Strategies

Many people start businesses and feel it necessary to take the scattershot global approach to their sales and marketing efforts. Go big or go home.

Strategically speaking, that’s a fire, aim, ready approach. It’s backward.

And it’s a critical mistake in your overall marketing plan, especially with service businesses limited by geography, travel time, or license restrictions.

Why create bland, sanitized content for everyone across the United States when your business only serves the Pittsburgh metro region? It’s a waste of time and money.

A more effective approach is to create local content that feeds focused local landing pages. Then your potential customers are consuming relatable, exciting content that vastly improves your local rankings and your chance to generate leads.

Local Marketing Connects with Customers

But doesn’t that limit my reach to potential customers?

No, it doesn’t limit anything (for the following reasons and some assumptions about your business).

  1. You don’t have millions of dollars in your marketing budget.
  2. You don’t have thousands of followers on social media.
  3. You don’t have an established email newsletter with thousands of subscribers.
  4. You don’t have the time to create multiple websites with unique content.

Whether bootstrapped or funded by investors, small businesses and startups all have one thing in common. They need to connect with customers to sell.

And remember the first line of this article? Yes, everything is about sales.

That is where local marketing shines.

Successful Local SEO is About Relevance

Businesses that use local marketing strategies can achieve higher rankings, increase their conversions, and receive more calls from potential customers than if they didn’t know how to implement an effective local strategy.

That is because of the way search engines like Google work, namely that they give preference to websites that are relevant to the user’s search terms.

A practical marketing approach allows businesses to make their websites more relevant with local marketing ideas geared towards their local audience.

Combining this with SEO tools helps increase backlinks (hyperlinked text pointing back to your website) and build customer reviews, both of which increase your search rankings and domain authority.

But local marketing is more than just that. It’s a combination of hyperfocused content, branding, and an effective SEO strategy that makes you stand out from the crowd and receive more calls from potential customers.

The first step to a thriving local marketing approach is to create a plan built around branding both you and your business.

Branding is Critical to Local Marketing

A brand is an effective local marketing tool because it makes you stand out from the competition. It allows your customers to identify you and communicate your message quickly. When people are looking for a solution to their business problems, they will think of you first.

And branding also helps increase sales by making you more memorable.

Branding is effective for local marketing because once you have established your brand, people can think about it whenever they need to find a solution to their problems, hence increasing sales and leads.

Branded Content Supports Targeted Copywriting

Creating branded content furthers your local marketing efforts by providing you with the material needed to follow up or consolidate targeted copywriting.

For example, creating a series of blog posts about how to solve common customer problems can also double as a branded campaign on its own.

That’s because once the content has been published, you can further local SEO efforts by using it as blog content and social media posts, which helps increase engagement and lead generation.

At the same time, search engines like Google and Bing will also crawl that branded content and index it on your website. That’s how your brand becomes more visible to potential customers.

Relevant Local Content Supports Organic SEO Efforts

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

That’s why they put so much emphasis on providing users with the most relevant search results.

And that’s where local content comes in.

When you create localized content, you are making your website more relevant to the people who are looking for your services.

The algorithm will then reward you by ranking your website higher in local searches, which can lead to more traffic and better conversion rates.

As an added benefit of hyperfocused content, that increased relevance also increases domain authority or DA.

So what is DA? It’s how Google measures the strength of your website’s authority. The higher your DA, the more likely it is that your website will rank high in search engine results pages (SERPS).

What is Hyperfocused Content?

Hyperfocused content is a localized type of website content used to increase rankings in Google, generate more leads, and position yourself as an expert in your industry (the domain authority I mentioned above).

And the best part is that it works for any business, no matter the size.

Some examples of hyperfocused content are:

  • Informative articles about issues in your community also highlight your expertise as the reason for choosing that topic.
  • Examples of relatable customer problems and the solutions you developed to meet their needs.
  • Customer reviews that highlight your expertise and willingness to go beyond expectations in finding solutions to problems.

These elements further local SEO marketing.

Create Local Content

Search engine optimization (local SEO) seems daunting at first. It’s complicated, and Google is constantly tweaking and changing parts of their algorithm to serve up better results. Improved local search results help everyone. And consumers rely on your highly developed online presence to learn about your business before working with you.

If local SEO is a new concept for you, consider using local news sources as inspiration for hyperfocused local content.

For example, local news stories about car accidents, hurricanes, flooding, and other natural disasters will interest residents who live in areas where these things could happen.

If you specialize in providing car insurance, the next time there’s a flood or hurricane that hits your city, you should get online quickly and post several blog posts, maybe a few videos, and don’t forget to update your social media accounts to promote that web content.

Examples of Local SEO Content

Continuing with the hurricane or flood example above, you can rely on your experience to provide helpful how to’s that people will appreciate and remember. It’s essential to keep in mind that this is not the time to sell anything. All that goodwill you created from a piece of helpful content will evaporate the minute a prospective customer even thinks you are trying to take advantage of a crisis or emergency.

So, what types of creative, relatable content should you consider?

  1. How to prepare your car in case of an emergency in floods or hurricanes.
  2. How to stay safe and protect your home or business during weather emergencies.
  3. Post a helpful list of tips to follow when filing a claim with your homeowner’s insurance.

Local Business Content Marketing

In today’s competitive market, local search engine optimization (local SEO) and hyperfocused content are the two most effective ways for local businesses to get in front of potential customers without paying expensive advertising costs.

Other free or very cost-effective ways to conduct local marketing include:

  • Social media marketing
  • Local awareness ads
  • Location pages
  • Local listings of area businesses
  • Local community magazines and newsletters
  • Local Business directories with local links
  • Talk to community athletics programs about being a local sponsor of a team
  • Consider adding a small spending budget for Google local services ads
  • Don’t forget to look at other search engines like Bing and register with their business listing
  • Talk to other local businesses about their local marketing ideas and how well they manage local SEO and get their business improved local search results.
  • Run a search on local directory listings for your industry and contact them

Mobile-Friendly Web Content

Another aspect of marketing that has become more and more important over the past several years is the idea of mobile-friendly web content. It would help if you made it easy for local customers to find your business and do business with you.

You are probably more familiar with mobile-friendly content from different websites that you visit. When you open a page, and half the page is off to the side of your screen, that is not mobile-friendly.

There aren’t too many faster ways to run off potential customers than a poorly designed website. Make it easy to work with you, and people will do so.

You can see that local SEO isn’t exactly rocket science, but it isn’t easy!

It takes tons of time and effort, but local SEO can be very profitable for local businesses once it works.

How Local Marketing Helps SEO

The final step in creating hyperfocused content and an effective local marketing strategy that will help you increase your search rankings is to combine it with Local SEO.

SEO (search engine optimization) provides additional hyperlinks, keyword placement, and structure to content and copy that helps search engines like Google more easily read and absorb the information.

That helps Google give better search results while also generating more traffic to your website. And it drives conversions. This is important because the higher the number of conversions from Google search traffic, the better your website ranks in Google.

Everything is Local

Focused local marketing allows you to leverage the simple idea that you live where your customers live. That’s a massive advantage over those big corporations that compete with you.

  • Local media outlets prefer locally based businesses that create local content.
  • Local customers prefer working with a local business.
  • Small businesses are frequent sponsors of local events.
  • Deep community relationships: You live in their backyard and might even sponsor a local sports team for more exposure.

The theme is unmistakable – everything is local.

Customers Prefer Local Businesses

I was an insurance broker for two decades, so I can attest to the power of local marketing. But this approach works for any business—real estate agents, Financial Planners, Electricians, basically anyone who deals with local clientele.

Local search marketing is more straightforward and so much more effective than anything else you can do to promote your business.

And people in your community want to work with you.

  • 80% of customers will choose a local business over a national corporation.
  • 91% of customers say small local brands are more trustworthy and treat them fairly.
  • 96% say they shop locally because they value personal service.

In other words, local marketing builds better relationships with customers in your community. Without it, they will never even know your business exists.

Now let’s talk about your local SEO strategy.

Local SEO

“But what about internet search engines like Google? Doesn’t everyone use search engines on the internet?”

Yes, they do. But most people still prefer services from a local company or individual.

As far as local SEO is concerned, Google prefers to send local searches to businesses in your community.

And therein lies the rub. According to Google, 61% of searchers will go to another business listing if the first company they see is not in their local area.

The way to solve this problem is through hyperfocused content for your business.

And it would help if you looked internet pretty. Google wants to send their local search results to a professional business. That means you need to do some essential business grooming and clean up your business.

Using Local SEO to Build Email Newsletter Lists

Your local SEO is your foundation for everything you do in marketing your business. It’s so important that everything else you do for marketing and advertising will depend on it.

You can use local SEO to build email lists for direct mail campaigns, event planning, and more—all without spending a dime on traditional advertising!

When you create useful hyperfocused content on your website, you are automatically creating a foundation for building an email list.

Hyperfocused Content and Local SEO

So how do we combine local SEO and hyperfocused content?

You can take several different approaches to this complicated local marketing puzzle:

  1. Use hyper-focused content as “doorway” pages for crawlers and spiders so they can index your website correctly for local search results.
  2. Creating a blog and filling it with high-quality, hyperfocused content on a regular basis to show Google that you are an expert in your field.
  3. Combining local SEO tactics with social media marketing, especially using targeted online advertising to reach local customers.
  4. Video marketing on YouTube with local content can also be indexed by search engines.

You have to use all of your available resources to reach the most potential customers in your target market through hyperfocused, locally beneficial content.

Comprehensive Guide to Local Marketing Strategies

Now that you understand how local businesses can better reach their target market by using local SEO, it is time to get out there and start working with your customers.

Remember to keep creating quality content for your website and social media accounts. Keep up-to-date with what’s new in the world of local marketing, so you don’t fall behind on any trends.

And when you know about the importance of hyperfocused local content in achieving high local search engine rankings, you can implement this strategy into your own business. You have so many advantages over competitors from outside your area.

Here are a few:

Physical location

It might not seem like a big deal, but a company that advertises as a web or e-commerce based business doesn’t have the same ability to pull in customers as a local business with brick-and-mortar locations. People still prefer going local whenever they can. And Google’s algorithm tends to reward hard work improving local SEO with better content by ranking your business higher in local search.

Local marketing ideas

Think about the many local cultural and community events going on around your region. How hard would it be for a large national company to learn about those events and participate? Unless they have a team of people dedicated to local marketing ideas or outreach, most won’t bother with local store marketing or sponsorship opportunities at that scale.

These are all opportunities for your business to gain exposure.

Once again, it’s all about creating great content that’s optimized for local SEO so that your business ranks higher in local search results.

Optimizing your website for local SEO

Think about it like this, a large company with national exposure can’t compete on a regional basis with a small company that dedicates everything to highlighting their business for local SEO and local search. You can post pictures of foot traffic from local customers; they can’t. You can start a blog discussing local events; it’s difficult for them to do the same. Brick and mortar businesses are powerfully effective at this when competing with national competitors.

You have a comprehensive overview of how to succeed in marketing for customers in your local area. Now it’s up to you to utilize this new knowledge and put it to good use.

Your customers are waiting.

Image of LanceG

Written by Lance Gurganus

Lance Gurganus | Owner, Copybrander, LLC. | Insurance and Healthcare Content | Powerhouse Digital Publisher | 20+ Year Insurance Industry Veteran & Multi-million Dollar Insurance Producer | Lance lives in Pittsburgh with his Wife, Kids, and a 40 lbs puppy that's still growing.

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