Local store marketing on the web is a uniquely important business marketing strategy and one that many multi-location national companies are not as engaged. To understand why, if you type in a keyword search on Google and you will notice that generally the first results displayed are local business listings pinned on a map. These local business listings provide companies with local offices, stores, or franchises the tremendous ability to share local store level marketing information online with potential customers – but unfortunately many do not even take advantage of this tool.
Interactive Store Level Marketing
Local business listings are more than just a one-dimensional online directory. With local business listings, local stores, office locations, and franchises can effectively “saturate” the local communities with store-specific information through the Internet. The local web marketing process helps to reach local buyers when they are ready to use the services.
Google search results not only display regular organic search results, but they also include local business listings (and the associated business marketing information) next to the maps. The map listings are relevant to the requested search or based on near a specified city or street address.
The listings shown on the top of the search results can be managed to include a wide array of local marketing material including pictures, sales, reviews, and more. Local store level marketing can also be known as geographic web marketing. The idea is to reach both desktop and mobile searches in a specific local community. Local store marketing can be actively updated and managed through the local business listings. This is a great way to market a national or global brand directly to the local customer using the local stores.
Merchandising a Store Online
By managing local business listings, you are essentially merchandising a store on the web. This is effective for companies of all sizes. Consider each independent store, office location or franchise location listing can be claimed, managed, and optimized. Based on the marketing information they can reach their specific local customer within and near the community of the location.
This is a new highly visible window for the local store level marketing. A customer may be at home or even out and about running errands. If they search for a product or service you offer, your local listing can appear in desktop or mobile searches. The search results not only display the map listing, but include the local store marketing information you have provided.
Local consumers now have immediate access to your address and links to directly call or email the store. In addition to contact information, categories, and descriptions, the local marketing information can also feature the following materials:
- store promotional materials
- store pictures (inside and out as well as 360 degree spin tours)
- store videos
- product pictures
- product videos
- special offers
- event information
- …and much more if you expand your reach
Build Positive Customer Ratings
One aspect of the map listings is especially pertinent for local store marketing is the customer ratings and review section. In this area, customers can enter reviews about their experiences with the specific store. Local store level marketing includes actively managing customer reviews to ensure positive public relations. Local customers who are less than satisfied with their experience at a specific store can post a review that is permanent. Stores can also encourage customers to share positive experiences they have online to maintain positive ratings.
…and did we mention this goes well beyond Google? A variety of other websites are included such as Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Local.com, Merchant Circle, Citysearch and many others that include search engines, social communities, 411 websites, GPS websites, and business directories.
Managing your individual store reviews at multiple consumer oriented websites is important for any business. This will provide critical information for both the local staff’s ability along with engaging with local customers.
Local Web Marketing Services
There are generally two types of companies that provide geographic marketing services.
The first are those that provide “data” only services for syndication. Aggregators and Syndicators are good for mass production information marketing. They need to be part of the process, but they are not the silver bullet on their own.
The second provides both web marketing processes and syndication. Be careful here since some of them are not well staffed to do anything beyond Google.
Seeking assistance for local store marketing is no different than seeking professional help for your website’s search engine optimization. You will need to have professional help in the optimization of your local business listings. In addition the marketing firm will monitor and manage your reviews together with other local marketing processes that include:
- duplicate listings,
- updating your marketing information,
- analyzing the analytics, and
- the keyword ranking reports by surrounding city
Your best bet is to seek out a marketing firm who will execute marketing processes and communications versus a technology firm who is executed individual tasks.