When was the last time you took your old phone book out of your drawer, looked up a local company and wrote down their phone number on a piece of paper?
So instead of skimming their dusty, old phone books, most people today are turning to their PCs and smartphones for answers. And if you’re a marketer, this basically means that local-search marketing should be an integral part of your overall strategy.
However, research from MarketingSherpa indicates otherwise. According to the often-cited Search Marketing Benchmark Report, only around 27% of modern marketers are actively engaging in local search as a part of their organic search strategy.
But the lack of competition isn’t ne only reason why you should pay more attention to local marketing.
1. Mobile is Mainly used for Local Searches
The number of smartphone users is still steadily growing – Ericsson is even predicting that we will have more than 6.1 billion users worldwide by the end of the decade. So it’s not surprising to see just how much have people become comfortable with mobile as a means of searching.
In fact, according to a recent Mobile Path-to-Purchase report, roughly 60% of people today use mobile exclusively to do product research and guide their purchasing decisions. The report also points out that a vast majority of these searcher are local-specific. Since people can search the web on the fly, they’re far more likely to make local searches.
In addition, search engines like Google and Bing have noticed this trend, and are making efforts to respond to it. This means, they are collecting more data about search histories and locations of their users, and are doing everything in their power to give them more local-specific search results.
2. Customer Reviews are Great for Business
You already know that user-reviews are helpful for local hotels and restaurants. However, they are also important for most small businesses too. Having a good number of five-star reviews can make consumers feel more comfortable doing business with your company.
For instance, a 2014 BrightLocal survey of more than 2,000 consumers (90% of which were from the United States) revealed that 88% of people read user-reviews in order to determine the quality of a local business. 39% of them said that they read reviews on regularly, while 49% said they read them just occasionally.
Image Source: www.brightlocal.com
And since sites like Yelp and Google sort their listings by most reviews, it would be smart to encourage your customers to leave reviews on those sites. Because if you don’t have enough positive reviews compared to your competitors, your listing may not even be visible to your average consumer.
3. You Have Less Competition on a Local Level
Our last point is especially significant for you if you own or you work for a small company. This is because focusing on local marketing (both online and offline) means dealing with less competition. For instance, competing for certain keywords related to your services or products on a national scale, you’ll be competing with every similar business in the country.
And while local search strategies have numerous benefits like improved brand awareness, many companies across the country are still struggling to implement local marketing into their overall strategies. According to Forrester Consulting, most marketers in the United States still have “limited local experience.”
Even if you don’t have any experience with local marketing, this opportunity to capitalize on lack of competition is still to good to be ignored. Luckily for you, the Internet is full of useful and more importantly, free resources on the subject, such as the Humanitys local marketing guide that will help you get started.
Now, despite what we said in the previous paragraph, you have to be aware that companies across all industries are slowly becoming aware of localized marketing, and its benefits. Five years ago, only 30% of marketers accepted localization automation tools or platforms, according to CMO Council.
Today, however, that percentage is much higher.
In the next couple of years, more and more marketers will realize the potential of localized marketing and if you want to keep a competitive edge, you have to focus on local as soon as possible. Let’s face it – local is already huge – and it will only get bigger.