5 Fold Marketing offers all-in-one marketing packages that, among other things, offer local listings, social media, and review management. On their own, these things are important—after all, a great social media presence can build customer loyalty and help you reach new customers. However, in today’s marketing environment, their importance is magnified by the role they play in local marketing and local search.
In this blog post, we’ll outline the importance of local marketing to your business, and delve into the marketing strategy that best helps you reach local customers with your services or products.
What is local marketing?
Here’s a fundamental, potential problem: the web is global, but your business is local. In other words, the Internet gives you access to a tremendous potential audience, but only a small sliver of that audience are people who are local, and can actually go to your business or use your services. (If you sell things online, you’re the exception to this rule, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore local marketing!)
If you’re a small-to-mid-sized business with only one or two locations, local marketing matters. After all, whether you’re an HVAC company that relies on homeowners in the region you serve for business, or a restaurant looking to attract local foodies, you need to focus on the local.
Getting a view on your website for a California sushi bar from someone in Maine isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s unlikely to result in a customer walking through your door. For that, you need 5 Fold to help craft and deliver your message to a local audience.
How local search works
Here’s the good news: Google and other search engines are already really good at driving local users to local businesses. Using information it has learned about you, Google custom tailors searches to your location and search history.
When customers search for your business, local ranking factors influence their results.
Let’s say that we search generally for “Internet marketing.” Google returns a list of local Internet marketing companies here in Chandler, Arizona (where we’re located), right above a list of articles about Internet marketing. Again, these local results are custom generated for this search based on our location and search history. Google (and other search engines) has become good at sussing out user intent. For example, if I search for “Ramen”, it assumes I’m looking for local ramen places for lunch, and not for a definition of ramen, news articles about ramen, or the website of a store-bought ramen brand.
What are some of the factors that influence what business gets listed where? Google’s exact formula is their secret, but even a quick look shows that the listings weigh some combination of:
- Proximity to user (how close is the business to the user?)
- Number of reviews (how many total Google reviews does the business have?)
- Star rating (out of those reviews, how good of a rating does it have?)
- Traditional optimization (what does the website tell Google about how well it matches the search query?)
- User history (subjective—if I’ve searched for a particular ramen restaurant before, that might be given more weight)