While perusing the Internet for new ideas and to keep myself updated on the latest business happenings, I came across this excellent presentation on marketing localization and thought it had some very interesting statistics that make the case for why you need to localize your marketing efforts. The first number isn’t a huge shock, but does lay the foundation for nearly everything I’m about to say: 97% of consumers do online research before making a local purchase. Translation: If you can’t be found locally and aren’t targeting locally, you aren’t going to beat the competition.
So how are companies making their local presence felt? In short, many aren’t. We all know one of the laws of marketing is to be where your customers are. Yet somehow, the fundamental tenet has slipped many companies’ minds. According to ReachLocal, of marketing organizations surveyed:
• 45% are not doing geo-modified paid search
• 40% are not managing local business listings
• 34% are not doing online directory ads
• 55% are not on local online review sites
What this means is there’s still a very statistically large void for information about local brands/products/services to be filled online. ReachLocal goes on to state that “search engines are the no. 1 source of online information on local businesses for local consumers,” with MarketingProfs predicting that by 2015, 30% of a all searches will be local (that number was 12% in 2009).
So how can you fill this gap? Well, you can play the paid search game in hopes to outbid your competition to appear in search results, but that can be costly, especially in more competitive industries. The three best ways to go about it are improving your organic search, localizing your social media content, and good old-fashioned targeted direct marketing (since we’re talking digital, email would be the primary example).
When dealing with local search, your basic SEO principles apply: it’s all about keywords and content. Beyond that, some other things you can try are localizing your newsletters (if you have one) and archiving them on your website. This could be as easy or as tedious as you want it to be, from merely changing the name of the region in the header to adding a brief “local” section in each edition. Similarly, you can add a “local” section on your homepage that cycles through company news or info that certain local audiences might find relevant. This would be especially useful for insurance agents/brokers with health care reform rules varying from state-to-state.
Recently, DocuStar’s Director of Business Development, Liz Schaefer, tackled the issue of social media localization, so I’ll let you read her suggestions in more detail here.
For direct marketing, email messaging needs to speak to its audience. This means local sales and marketing teams need to have the ability to tailor the brand’s message to fit their needs. That sounds like an arduous task, but technologies like marketing resource management can simplify the process while ensuring brand consistency and industry compliance. Newsletters also would fall under this category, since they are hopefully being sent out before being archived. Additionally, email content can point back to social media platforms to help boost that element of your local strategy.
So there you have it. If you’re not already in the local marketing game, the statistics show you’re still not too late to join in and carve out your own niche. If anything, they should imbue a sense of urgency in you to do so while you have the chance. Through organic SEO, social media and direct marketing, you have the opportunity to turn your business presence into a big fish in a relatively little pond, so why not take advantage?