I’ve been doing a lot of work for companies needing “hyperlocal” advertising for the last half decade. Businesses like Foursquare,
Gowalla , Facebook, Yelp, and other social media outlets have definitely convoluted hyperlocal advertising and promotion. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
A few years ago, a well edited kml file attached to the Google Maps API, a halfway decent landing page, and a claimed Google Listing almost certainly guaranteed high ranking for localized searches. Today, competition and a more internet savvy userbase has increased the complexity of a successful localized marketing campaign. Below I have included some quick tips to help start your journey into hyperlocal advertising.
Claim You Local Listings – This is the newest change to local advertising and needs to be the first thing you do after reading this post. Go here and claim you Google Places listing from google. More than likely it will take a few weeks for the postcard and phone number to arrive, but you need your listing in the “directory” if you’re going to have success down the road.
Create a Localized Landing Page – No matter what size business you are running, having a personalized and localized landing page is necessary for hyperlocal advertising success. If you’re a franchise with strict guidelines there may be some red tape, but work with your marketing team to make sure you have a landing page with these key elements.
- Keyword Rich Content – If you know anything about SEO or PPC you will understand why keyword rich content is important, especially for local landing pages. If you’re a florist in Dallas, Texas, or a Carpet Cleaner in Phoenix Arizona, you definitely want to have descriptive keywords to describe to potential customers what you do and what you’re about. This is SEO 101.
- Phone number in the upper right corner of the page – This is more about best practices,
- Address above the fold – This should really be a 2a. Especially for local businesses. You need to have an address readily accessible to your visitors. If you are a B2C with a brick and mortar it is absolutely imperative to your local advertising campaigns to let your customers know where you are and in addition to that they need to know….
- Google Map API, with the ability to give directions – How to get to you. Visualization is the easiest way for potential customers to see where you are. If you can show a user where you are on a map, and give them an option to get directions to your location, you will have a much higher conversion rate. Google Maps makes both of these tasks extremely easy. There is no reason not to toss the API code onto your site and make it easier for your customers to find your store.
- Hours of Operation – Continuing the trend of basic information that needs to be included. This key metadata is critical to potential customers. If you own a business that has non-standard hours, this information is even more critical. If a customer doesn’t know your hours of operation and shows up outside of those hours, you will more than likely lose a customer and the lifetime value they provide. It is simple to include your hours of operation on your site. Customers will appreciate it. Don’t forget to update your hours during the holidays.
- Value Proposition or Call to Action – Don’t forget to give your customers an incentive. Sometimes a call to action is all someone needs to start the buying funnel and convert a lead into a customer. Including an updated list of current offers, promotions, or incentives, is a simple and reliable way to give your customers the perception of value and drive further conversions. Don’t forget to included expiration dates or deadlines to create urgency!
- Access to user reviews – Customers trust other customers. If you have primarily bad reviews, this may not be a good bullet, but if you have moderate to great reviews, definitely use these reviews to highlight the positives of shopping with your business. If your reviews are less than stellar, offer incentives to happy customers to post a review for a a future discount or another offer. Remember, happy customers rarely leave reviews. They buy their product and go on their merry way. Unhappy customers will leave terrible reviews in many different places and can be difficult to placate. This makes happy customers even more valuable. Do your best to encourage positive reviews whenever possible.
- links to social media – Social Media is the future… er, um.. the present. Right now there is a very large focus on social media. Use this to your advantage by linking your local pages to your social media sites. Also, link your social media sites to your localized landing pages. Use cross-promotion where necessary to encourage overlap and exposure. If you can, offer incentives to users who are willing to leverage your social media assets. This will allow you “push” access to your customers and you will be able to reach them more easily and effectively.
So, you’ve done all your hard work and have an amazing, functional, and informational landing page ready for your customers to visit. Now its time to make sure this is the main site you’re generating localized visibility through. Make sure you’ve linked to this site on local search engines and other outlets including:
Google PlacesGoogle+ Listings
- Angie’s List
- Yahoo Local!
- Ripoff Report
- Reseller Ratings
- Local NewsPapers
- Local TV Stations
- Any other Local directory you can easily submit your website to.
Pay Per Click Advertising – Bonus!!!! If you have any budget left for marketing, I highly recommend testing a local PPC campaign to your landing page. It is easy to setup, integrate, and launch. And you can market your site with maximum exposure and very little upfront cost. Done correctly, a PPC campaign can cost < $300.00 a month and generate far more revenue. If you’d like help discussing setting up a PPC campaign with a proven adwords expert. Contact me, I’d love to help.
Very good timing for this article as I am currently working on an hyperlocal laser beam targeted campaign plan. What do you think about KML? Is it still worthwhile?
From a best practices standpoint KML makes sense. From the GEO sitemap perspective it doesn’t. A lot of SEO’s, myself included, were worried about how the KML changes would be affected. A lot of these concerned were unwarranted. I believe KML files are still an effective way to display data on the Maps API.