It is estimated that by 2018, nearly half of all local advertising spend will be on locally targeted advertisements. With the growth in mobile browsing, companies are now ensuring that all advertisements and websites are catered towards local users through enterprise local marketing automation. Even in the land of the SERPs, Google is now prioritizing landing pages with location information such as clickable driving directions, local descriptions and local keywords, in an attempt to provide more relevant results. Search content such as addresses, maps, store hours, photos, and customer reviews are topping the results section on SERPs. With 61% of consumers saying local results are more relevant to them than paid or organic results, it is no wonder why enterprise local marketing automation is expanding.
What is Enterprise Local Marketing Automation?
Local marketing automation (LMA) platforms are set up to assist in the proper optimization and promotion of your brand online. These tools are an effective way to: retarget your visitors to optimized local landing pages; manage your listings; provide mobile optimization functionality; grow local SEO; manage your brand’s reputation; and run local paid search or social advertising campaigns.
There are many reasons why you should use enterprise local marketing automation tools. Here are a few:
- Improved Rankings: LMAs will help with localizing your information, making you a more relevant website in the eyes of many SERPs
- Cost-Effective: by continually improving your SEO through LMAs you can reduce your cost-per-click, and ensure a ROI with locally targeted content
- Time-Efficient: Rather than searching endless databases in hopes of claiming your listings, LMAs will bring any mention of your location to you.
- In the following sections you will find a detailed breakdown of key local marketing strategies and how each strategy can be improved by enterprise local marketing automation.
This is a crucial part of local marketing automation because it is the management of your company’s local listings, which include up to date contact information (phone number, email, etc.) as well as maps, your address, your store hours and relevant photos. It is important to properly manage and monitor your local listings to reflect any changes in your company. Something as minor as an out of date phone number or inaccurate store hours could lose you valuable customer visits. Listings can also include detailed information such as product descriptions, payments accepted, sales, and services provided.
On Google and other SERPs, as well as in online directories, you should claim your listings. Claiming your listing via the phone will allow Google to index a local page for your company, while giving you control over all content posted about your brand in online directories. Below is a group of listings you should actively manage:
- Search Engine Listings – Google, Yahoo, Bing
- Social Network Listings – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare
- Map Listings – Mapquest, Google Places, Bing Local, Yahoo Local
- Internet Yellow Pages Listings – Superpages.com, Yellowpages.com, Yelp
- Data Aggregators – Acxiom, Infogroup, Factual, Neustar Localeze,
- Online Directory Listings – Relevant to your industry (i.e. autotrader for cars)
When it comes to managing listings for a larger company or corporation, local marketing automation platforms can be put to use to simplify the process.
Another useful local marketing strategy is integrating local search engine optimization, such as location specific keywords, into your company’s website. All levels of SEO development should have local rankings in mind, as this allows your site to rank well locally. Such strategies can include:
- Adding locations to titles (i.e. Brooklyn Barbers, Hudson Florist, New York Pizza etc.)
- Including product categories and locations in properly optimized Meta descriptions
- Location specific content optimization (i.e. business hours, address, contact information included within site content)
- Localized URLs with product categories
- Store Location Updates (i.e. new openings, closings, holiday hours etc.)
SEO is in ongoing process, and for that reason local marketing automation platforms provide the option to continually audit your content. Local marketing automation software can keep track of how well your pages are ranking on SERPs, and which areas need to be improved. The platforms will also report on any mentions of your location online (citations) that are not currently linked to a landing page or website. This is a great way to find any listings or mentions of your store that you might not have known about.
Localized Landing Pages
As well as having a properly optimized website, your brand should also set up landing pages to cater to each specific store location. In other words, whether your company has 5, 50, or 500 locations, there needs to be an optimized landing page for each of those stores so that you can track and tailor content to each location’s key demographics.
Local landing pages should first and foremost be mobile friendly. Eight out of ten mobile users who are browsing stores on their mobile device are then either calling or visiting in store. This is why enterprise local marketing automation tools are important, as they can detect a user’s location and guide them to their relevant landing page. Content on landing pages should be fairly simplistic with location information, store hours, maps, and photos readily available. You may also want to include local events, relevant coupons or in-store sales on these landing pages to help promote a conversion at that particular location.
For example if you go REI’s website you will find a store locator that redirects users to their specific location landing pages. In figure 1.0 (above) you will see the landing page for Austin, Texas that includes a brief history of that location, an address, map & directions, store hours, and other stores nearby. REI even features tailored information to that location such as jobs, rentals, services, and daily classes/events that they offer in Austin, Texas. This is an excellent example of a localized landing page.
Location marketing automation tools can provide you with templates, and widgets, as seen in the above example. They will give you the option to include forms, maps and links to social sites. They can also assist in mobile optimization by providing click-to-call options, and traceable phone numbers.
One of the major shifts companies have noticed in the past decade has been the growth of educated users making informed purchases. In other words, before making a purchase most people are educating themselves on your product, as well as your competitor’s products through user and website reviews. Proper reputation management is becoming a more valuable asset with each passing day as the online shopping experience continues to expand.
Google and other SERPs are now beginning to weight online reviews and feature them on product listings. There is nothing worse than having your product rank well above the competitors organically, only to be brought down by a less than favourable review. Try to focus on addressing any concerns you receive about your products in a timely manner. At the same time, you can use incentives to promote customer reviews. For example offering 10% off their next purchase, or a chance to win a free item if they review your product. Or simply follow up with a customer and ask if they would take the time to review your product.
When properly used, location marketing automation platforms can gather product reviews from a variety of sites and place them in one easy location, as well as highlight positive reviews.
Local Paid Search & Social Media
Another useful local marketing strategy involves targeting local users with paid search ads and social media. This can include flash sales, and discount offers specific to the user’s location, as well as targeted social media advertisements on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Combining this strategy with the aforementioned ones will help create a successful local marketing campaign.