Most local businesses don’t have big budgets. But that doesn’t mean that their marketing efforts have to stay small. There are plenty of strategies that local businesses can use to drive customers to their stores while getting the most out of their marketing dollars. We launched our first list of free and cheap marketing tactics back in 2017. Now, we’re updating that list with the most powerful and cost-effective ways to grow your local business today and beyond. Be Active in Online Communities Being helpful was a tactic we talked about back in 2017, and it’s still relevant today. Online communities like Nextdoor are now even more popular and filled with thousands of people who could be looking for your expert advice. Online communities that are specifically related to your industry are a great way to establish your authority, as the editorial team at WPBeginner notes. Some of these communities are obvious. If you run a hospitality business, Tripadvisor is a must. Don’t join just any community, however. It’s important that you only invest your time in places where potential customers are active. Bean Ninjas’ Meryl Johnston recommends trying out several communities to get a feel for which ones suit you and your business. When you’ve found one or two communities that work, focus your attention on being as helpful as possible to other members of that community. When it comes to posting, our advice hasn’t changed since 2017: Be as helpful as possible without expecting anything in return. Just make sure you link back to your company’s website in your profile. Create a Business Profile on Facebook Facebook remains a pivotal platform for local businesses today. In fact, it's possibly even more important now than in 2017, given Facebook's increased emphasis on local communities. Facebook visibility can also improve your business’ rankings in Google, writes entrepreneur Alyssa Gregory. All of the content that you post to Facebook, including your page itself, can be indexed by Google and show up in results pages. It’s essential that you create a separate page for your business, says social media strategist Saige Driver. You won’t be taken seriously as a local business if you’re posting from your personal account. Filling out your business profile as much as possible is also important. This includes photos of your business, contact information, a link to your website and your operating hours. Then, Post Interesting Content to That Account As we said back in 2017, it’s not enough to create a Facebook account. You need to keep posting high-quality, engaging content that your audience loves. Writer Christina Newberry recommends that business owners take a quality-over-quantity approach to content creation. Focus on helping customers and building a relationship rather than trying to hammer home a sales message. Your audience will be much more likely to engage and share your content if it offers value. You don’t have to create all of the content yourself, however. Curating content from other interesting voices in your space can be a great [...]
These 15 Hospitality Brands Nail Digital Marketing. Here’s What Franchise Managers Can Learn From Them.
Struggling to grow your franchises online presence? Copy and steal from these 15 hospitality brands, who are killing it online.
Make sure your social media ad campaigns are paying dividends by keeping track of these 7 important social media ads kpis.
Don’t dilute your brand to try and please everyone. Consistent multi-location messaging is one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal.
Don’t let a string of negative reviews impact your business. Here is a five step strategy to turn those negatives into a positive.
All marketing – LOCAL SEO included! – must be evaluated with specific reference to the metrics that drive revenue. If you are a retailer or restaurant, LOCAL SEO should increase the foot traffic passing through your front door. And, if you are a service business, leads or appointments probably matter the most. Regardless of the right metric for your business, we must be able to draw a straight line between LOCAL SEO expenditures and revenue. Consider that The US Small Business Administration and SCORE* recognize the very direct relationship between online success and revenue: 76% of local web searches result in a visit to a related business within a day – and 28% of those visits result in a purchase Your business needs to be prominently represented in those local web searches - and the recipe for success is no secret! LOCAL SEO describes the tactics that digital marketers use to put your business information in front of consumers when they are in the process of making purchase decisions. We discuss these tactics, prescribed by Google, in our recent blog post. Add in a sensible digital advertising campaign to gain a leg up over the competition and you have all the ingredients needed to achieving the customer metrics that drive revenue for your business. All that's left to complete the recipe is the ability to measure results and continuously refine your tactics. However, while many small businesses have made the decision to commit resources to digital marketing and LOCAL SEO, few have baked in success by implementing reliable measurement capabilities. We are here to help. Restaurant and Retail: Engage121 has partnered with solution providers that measure foot traffic so we can provide a fully integrated program. Service businesses: Engage121 develops and manages custom landing pages that measure leads, conversions and bookings. Online retailers and E-commerce: Engage121’s end-to-end Google shopping facility puts local business on par with the largest e-tailers. And, integrating measurement and digital marketing does far more than validate the marketing expense: Achieve data-driven insights into the messages that motivate your consumers; Take advantage of the ability to continually refine your marketing to achieve optimal results; Manage your inventory with the knowledge of which programs are driving traffic; and more that we are sure you will discover! Just remember the steps: Develop a LOCAL SEO program that . . . Achieves the drivers of your revenue, and Measure your results. Learn more Related Services HOT!Content – a no-cost Daily Email with content and DIY tools. Digital Marketing Assistant, (DMA) – a managed subscription service. * https://www.score.org
Make organic and local search work together to get found faster We recently considered whether Google has become the new homepage for local businesses. Today, we’re going to take a look at organic and local search and consider how they’re related and highlight ways that they can work in harmony to help you get found faster. It’s not surprising that 65% of marketers* agree that there’s strong correlation between local and organic rankings. The biggest similarity, of course, is that both start with a search. But both also focus on content, backlinks, keywords and website activity. What sets LOCAL SEO apart is the geographic component. With organic search, you want people to know what you do, but to get found locally, you also want to highlight where you do it. That’s where the power and value of your website comes into play, influencing not just organic rankings, but LOCAL SEO. In fact, a majority of marketers believe that companies with good visibility in local Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) have high organic placement, too. At the heart of it all is user intent. Simply put, search engines want to give users what they’re looking for. For instance, when a person conducts a search that includes both a business type and location, the search engine knows that the user has local intent. So, if that person wants to find a good pizzeria that delivers, they may search “Pizza delivery” along with their location. What happens next can make or break discovery: The three closest pizza places – also known as the “local 3-pack,” show up under the ads on the first search results page. Having the strongest LOCAL SEO presence gives you the very best chance at getting your business to display in this free local 3-pack. Why? Because all these local SEO criteria provide the authority to support local rank. Better together There are a few simple practices that help you get LOCAL SEO and organic search to work in harmony. Local business citations: A full 46% of all Google searches seek local information! Google places a lot of weight on having that information accurate and correct. Having a consistent business name, address and phone number (NAP) is quite important, helping LOCAL SEO by providing search engines with your correct location and creating consistent links back to your website and to all your mentions online. Local citations also help your organic search efforts since search engines consider the number of backlinks when they rank websites. The more backlinks you have, the better your chances of meeting your customers right where they are, when they need to find you. Good content: Content is king, especially when it’s structured to meet your business goals and customer needs. What’s more, search engines like fresh content. Adding rich, relevant content, including a locally focused blog post, or simply updating a page, is a great one-two punch because it helps establish your LOCAL SEO relevance and can also boost your organic search rankings. Other strategic synergies between local and organic search [...]
Consumers search, a lot and fast! In this age of fleeting attention and fierce competition, savvy local marketers are looking for new ways to engage with consumers at the very first opportunity. And, most often, that opportunity is presented through Google’s Knowledge Panel. Most importantly, Google’s Knowledge Panel allows local business to engage with consumers directly within search and without any additional clicks. Even though Google presents this first, best opportunity to engage with consumers, a new Moz survey revealed that just over 50% of marketers haven’t yet taken advantage of the opportunities that the Knowledge Panel offers! We’ve touched upon the value of the Knowledge Panel in our previous post, but it’s worth digging deeper to explore the benefits it can unlock for local business. Google Knowledge Panel. What it Is. Why it Matters. The knowledge panel is the box to the right of search results where Google displays information on a relevant business, including the company name, business hours, address and phone number. Today the panel shows up in roughly 40% of searches, and the more localized a search gets, the more likely it is that a local Knowledge Panel will appear. This means that for LOCAL SEO, you need to get smart about using the knowledge panel to help searchers discover and reach your business without any additional clicks. A knowledge panel also includes these actionable features: Q&A: This consumer-facing, crowdsourced feature is similar to the Ask the Community feature on TripAdvisor and Yelp. It allows consumers to ask questions and businesses can provide answers directly within search and without any additional clicks. Users can also give a thumbs-up vote to questions and answers, which influences where the questions and answers might appear on the panel and in search results. Posts: This feature enables businesses to create short 300-words or less blog-style posts that appear directly in the knowledge panel, providing an additional avenue for customer communication directly within search and without any additional clicks. Like Q&A, Posts also appear in search results and are especially visible in Maps search results. Posts are a great way to let prospects and customers know about new products, company news, special offers and events. Posts can include an appropriate call to action (buy now, contact us, etc.) along with a link. Note that each Post expires after seven days so it important to develop the process of posting regularly. Getting Started. If you want your business to appear in a Knowledge Panel, and also gain control over the information displayed by Google, the first and most important step is to (1) claim, (2) verify and (3) complete your Google My Business listing. Here's how we can help: Subscribe to our free HOT!Content service that delivers a daily dose of content for you to post to your Knowledge Panel, Facebook and other sites. HOT!Content also includes an automatic posting wizard – so your online content is always up-to-date – as well as other handy functions to help you build online success. Enroll here. [...]
Consumers are searching online more than ever before. But local businesses may actually be seeing less web traffic. How is this possible? “Local search” often starts with Google and there are now numerous ways for consumers to find all the information they need right on Google’s first search results page. Google even allows consumers to interact with a local business – all without ever going to a website! This is all enabled by Google My Business listings that are becoming an increasingly vital component in creating online marketing success and attracting new customers. In fact, a new MOZ report found that 64% of local business marketers agree that Google is becoming the new “homepage” for local businesses. Search used to be all about getting a click to your website. Now, it’s also about getting a click to a Google My Business listing. Websites are still important, but keeping your Google My Business and Knowledge Panel up to date is no longer just nice, it’s absolutely necessary. If you don’t, you’re missing a huge opportunity to promote your business. What is the Knowledge Panel? When a consumer conducts a search for a particular business, Google provide the most relevant results as well a box on the right side of the page that is called the Knowledge Panel. The Knowledge Panel for that business includes directions, phone numbers, hours of operation, and more. Knowledge Panels show up in roughly 40% of searches and are especially crucial for providing consumers actionable results not requiring any additional clicks. You can keep your Knowledge Panel information relevant and up-to-date by first claiming, then verifying, your Google My Business profile. Google My Business is a free, easy to use listing that determines what appears on the Knowledge Panel. This will ensure that your customers can find and contact you, in addition to providing an overview of your products or services. Perhaps most importantly, the Knowledge Panel aggregates consumer reviews, making your online reputation readily available to all consumes. Managing your Google My Business listing, and Knowledge Panel, has become indispensable to online marketing success, as well as putting your business in the best position to get found. Social media marketing, in its turn, helps to connect with customers, generate awareness, and increase sales. Claiming and verifying your Google My Business listing requires a bit of know-how, and we’re here to help -- contact us for more information on how to get started. INSIDE TIP: Subscribers to Engage121’s free HOT!Content service can access our 1-click Google My Business claiming app. Enroll here to get started. Good local marketing in the age of Google is no easy task. But doing it right can deliver some of the best returns for your local business. Interested in learning about how we can help manage your local Google My Business listings, and more? We’d love to talk. Learn more Related Services HOT!Content – a no-cost Daily Email with content and DIY tools. Digital Marketing Assistant, (DMA) – a managed subscription service.
Today's consumers are more empowered than ever before, researching products and services in a multitude of ways -- and smart local marketers are there at every touchpoint. While it's true that search will always be at the heart of local marketing, it isn't just about Google. Think about it: With most local businesses laser-focused on Google, it can be hard to stand out. The ability to embrace other opportunities and diversify your local marketing mix can be a game changer for your business in 2019 and beyond. That's why more and more savvy local marketers have broadened their scope significantly, with a new focus on other platforms including social, directories and online reviews. And with competition fiercer than ever, there's no better time than now to leverage a cohesive, versatile local marketing strategy that gets you in front of the right consumers with the right messaging at the right time. Let's talk about what that looks like: Other Search Engines: When consumers are in the market for a product or service, they research on their phones, tablets or desktops. These searches take place on various engines, including Google, Safari, Bing, Yelp, Apple Maps, TripAdvisor, YellowPages and many more sites. In order to meet consumers anywhere and everywhere they're looking, your business needs to be prominent on all of them. Consumer review sites: Reviews are very much a ranking factor and send a strong signal to search engines and potential customers that you are a trusted, quality business. That's why it makes good sense to be active on key consumer review sites. And once you get reviews, responding to them promptly is an essential component of careful reputation management. No reviews? No problem! Contact us for quick tips on how to build a solid base. Online Directories: Up to date directory listings are crucial, so be sure that your contact information, phone, website URL and company details are current and correct across all business directories. Not only does this matter to major search engines, it's an important way to build brand awareness and establish local consumer trust. Social Media: You simply can't do local marketing without social. Social media connects your business to the community in a way that not only raises awareness for your products and services, but also strengthens your branding efforts. By interacting with the community, you get a chance to build authenticity and nurture a genuine connection with consumers instead of just marketing at them. So be sure that your social sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, are active, vibrant and up-to-date. Optimized Content: Once your business is found, the content you provide to consumers can make or break your business. It must be relevant, accurate and fresh, not just on your website but across all platforms -- on GoogleMyBusiness and social sites like Facebook as well as Yelp, TripAdvisor and more -- presenting a consistent, professional, up-to-date and compelling face to your customer. The Takeaway: Be in All the Right Places The change in consumer [...]