Welcome to our series titled “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing.” This seven-part series aims to provide business owners, particularly small business owners, with fast, actionable strategies to win and keep more customers.

Part One is already available; you are now reading Part Two, “Five Benefits of Local Digital Marketing & Five Risks of Ignoring Local Digital Marketing.”

The seven parts of this series break down as follows:

When we last left you, we talked about how powerful ‘near me’ search is for local businesses and pointed out how to save time and money with local digital marketing strategies at the forefront. 

The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing, Part Two

Five Benefits of Local Listings Marketing

Good local and location marketing is like a bat signal for online and mobile search engines—putting you right where those customers are looking when they decide to buy. Here are five of the benefits of investing in your local marketing strategy and creating strong ‘near me’ customer experiences:

  1. Name recognition

    Your business needs to be on the top of the list, whether a customer searches for you by name or something you offer. Optimizing for local search ensures that a customer won’t miss you if you’re close to them when they execute their search.

  2. High volume foot traffic and calls

    More than 3/4 of people who create a ‘near me’ search on their mobiles visit a related business within a day. Populate all of your online listings with your accurate address, hours, and phone number so customers can click to call you or get directions, and you’ll be ready to turn those online searchers directly into walk-in customers.

  3. More sales

    Google research shows that ‘near me’ customers are more ready to buy—with 28% of searches resulting in a purchase. So if you are poised to capture those mobile searches, you will win more customers who will purchase today.

  4. Better word-of-mouth reputation

    82% of adults in the U.S. say they either “almost always” or “sometimes” read online customer ratings or reviews before purchasing items for the first time, and according to the LSA, reviews are the “most important” influence on purchase decisions. You’re leveraging an opportunity if you’re using local digital marketing to boost your reputation and showcase your reviews.

  5. Competitive advantage

    One in three local businesses is not even trying to win local business through Google—never mind on other tier-one directories, apps and maps that could be optimized. Focusing on local search lets you claim the business your competitors are leaving on the table.

Very few small- or medium-sized business owners have figured all of this out—so you’ve got a real opportunity to expand your scope. And it’s not just about data management or technology. It’s about using the tools customers already trust to extend the human element of your physical locations, meeting customers earlier in their journey, and winning their business before they ever step through your door.

Five Risks of Ignoring Local Listings Marketing

Local business owners can’t afford to pass on local digital marketing. Here are a few of the risks of ignoring this critical channel:

  1. You will be invisible

    Your location doesn’t exist if your listing doesn’t appear when a customer searches for a business near them. According to Uberall research, 82% of searches are ‘unbranded’—meaning people are looking for what you offer but not by name. Every ‘near me’ search you don’t appear in is a lost opportunity to make a sale.

  2. You won’t control your business information

     Just because you aren’t managing your online listings doesn’t mean someone else isn’t. Whether well-intentioned or malicious, people may be changing your online information or confusing your customers. A solid local marketing game ensures you’re in charge of your data and listings.

  3. Your reputation may suffer

    Nearly 70% of customers use social media to help resolve customer care issues. If you aren’t actively monitoring and responding to reviews and online communication from your customers, you risk harming your reputation instead of helping it. (You can also learn many other things to improve your services and reputation from reviews.)

  4. You may be a blank slate

    When researching where to shop, customers use online reviews and listings to decide, including Google Maps & Reviews, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’re not active on these review sites and directories—claiming your listings, monitoring reviews and having skin in the game—customers may determine there’s not enough information on you and give you a pass. Active, populated listings and profiles and good reputation management are the keys to winning customer trust.

  5. Your competitors may snap up your customers

    When a local customer looks for you and your listings are not optimized to capture their attention, they may be seeing your savvy competition instead. Prevent a local rival from moving in on your sales by creating bulletproof listings that will grab the top search spot.

The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing

Thank you for reading part two of our series titled “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing.” Part One, “Near Me’ Marketing is Your New Superpower & Save Time and $$ with Local Digital Marketing was originally published on February 22, 2022. Up is next Part Three, “The Fast Five-Step Strategy.”