Antoine Marchand of Uberall Breaks Down The Importance of Business Directories

We recently sat down with Antoine Marchand, our Customer Success rep at Uberall to chat about the importance of a digital presence for local businesses – including directory listings like Google My Business.

Uberall provides many tools and services to support local businesses through their partners, helping to manage their customer’s customer experience. This includes the user’s online presence and reputation management, among other features. Uberall also helps ensure their client’s information is properly disseminated to Google, Facebook, and other key online directories and platforms, while gearing each specific listing to the business’s environment, location, and industry, as not every online directory is right for every business.

Antoine has been with Uberall for three years now, coming over to the company when they acquired SweetIQ. Today, Antoine is an expert at helping ensure customers receive the guidance they need to properly navigate the different features available to them through the Uberall platform. So who better to chat with about online marketing for local businesses? We wasted no time jumping in.

The pandemic’s effect on local marketing

Over the past five years, the pace of online marketing for businesses has increased. And that’s even more true over the last year and a half, thanks to the pandemic.

Every business, large or small, recognized how critical it was to use digital tools and technology to acquire, engage, and retain customers,” Antoine explained. “E-commerce in all its forms, including online ordering with in-store/curbside pickup, grew significantly. Retailers also finally recognized that digital and physical retail are not two separate things, but part of a single, larger customer experience. That’s been one of the biggest changes. Customers are entering a singular user journey. Before, marketing was much more siloed.”

It hasn’t just fallen to local businesses to keep up with the changes, however. As business directories became much more important in helping get up-to-date (and often changing) information to consumers, those directories had to adapt as well.

Directories had to make it much easier to update business hours, and Google My Business specifically added new attributes, including curbside pick-up, and the option to add a COVID-19 update, among other things. 

Looking beyond directories is also important

Beyond directories, though, business owners need to focus on the overall “customer experience,” says Antoine. With online marketing (as with traditional marketing) the overall focus needs to be on the customer experience. Ask yourself:

  • Will you be found when and where your customers are searching? 
  • Do you have a sufficient number of reviews? 
  • Is your site fast and easy to navigate? 
  • Can customers easily get in touch with you to get their questions answered?

“Consumers value convenience and business owners need to provide that convenience across multiple channels – where the customer is looking,” said Marchand. “It’s quite challenging. The ‘customer experience’ is the sum of all these things [mentioned above]. Online is where customers will encounter a business first in most cases. That first impression – often on Google – is essential. But the information customers discover must also be sufficient to answer their questions.”

Bottom line? Marketing for local businesses has become a Digital First endeavour.

While you should be present and active on a number of business directories (and Antoine says you should have a full directory line-up), Google My Business is a great place to start.

“Everyone’s reaction is to open the phone and map the business location, and usually it’s from within Google,” said Antoine. “It’s a strong place to start. The world of directories and apps is always changing, but the need to have business data distributed to all the right places remains consistent.”

He offered these finals words of advice for local businesses:

“Ensure your processes are properly set up. Be consistent, be patient, and enable yourself to have success in the future.”

Full disclosure: 10|20 Marketing is an Uberall partner, specializing in helping smaller businesses gain access to this award-winning platform they otherwise would not have enough locations to qualify for. Ask us for a free consultation to understand how this platform can benefit your local business. 

Four Unique Ideas To Market Your Local Business

Five years ago, if you had an Instagram account for your business, you were ahead of the game and likely generating leads and traffic with ease. These days, however, more and more companies are online, and it can be hard to break through the noise! So here are some unique ideas to market your local business that will help you stand out from the crowd, online and offline.

1. Create Educational Videos

Video has spiked on the marketing stage. More and more consumers choosing to consume content via video instead of reading blogs or listening to podcasts. According to Buildfire, YouTube was generating more than 1 billion unique views a day more than ten years ago! And social media platforms have caught on – Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, and, of course, SnapChat and TikTok are rising in popularity. Yes, even for small businesses across sectors.

Video content can be anything from a lengthy, detailed, professionally shot and edited YouTube video to a 15-second Instagram Reel with a few quick, actionable tips that are shot and edited right inside the app.

However you do it, remember to provide value for your audience, and have fun!

2. Guest Post

Increase your reach and get in front of new audiences by guest posting on other sites. Search for local businesses or websites that have the same audience as yours so that you’re talking to your ideal clients. Once you find a perfect site, it’s all about putting together your pitch and offering up a unique article for them to share. Make sure you are offering something special, valuable, and that isn’t a carbon copy of something already on your website. 

Check out more tips on guest posting and other marketing ideas by John Lincoln here.

3. Host an Event

Events are a great way to attract a local audience. While COVID-19 is still lingering, most events will need to be online, but hosting an engaging, valuable event virtually or while following local regulation is entirely possibles. Whether it’s a party, promotion, product demo, anniversary sale, or anything else you can think of, the options are endless and don’t have to blow the budget.

LOCALiQ suggests pairing your event with a promotion to draw in more visitors, and to host your event (safely) outdoors if possible to attract the attention of passersby.

4. Give a Speech

It’s not just giving a speech – addressing an audience is always a great way to position yourself as a local subject matter expert. Public speaking or presenting can be nerve-wracking, and organizations like ToastMasters can help make it easier. However, they will get easier as you do more, and as a bonus, the more you do, the more exposure you will receive!

As Constant Contact points out, especially when focusing on hyper-local events, these opportunities can go a long way to position yourself as an authority in your industry. And if you’re worried about the old adage saying that the definition of an expert is “someone standing at a podium one town away,” don’t be! The more you speak, the more you extend your reach, build your credibility and gain more trust. 

Thinking outside the box and marketing your local business in less saturated areas can help set you apart from the rest of your competitors. If you’re looking for other concrete ways to market your local business that will help you stand out from the crowd, check out some of our past blogs.

How To Be a Local Marketing Pro in Six Easy Steps

Local Marketing: The action or business of promoting and selling products or services to a particular area or neighbourhood. –

As a local business owner, being able to target your local area is extremely important. You want to reach these people, engage them and ultimately attract them to your business. And that could be in the form of foot traffic to your business’s location or website traffic.

Did you know that almost half of all Google searches are specifically for a local business? Follow these tips to ensure you show up in those search results like a local marketing pro.

Google AdWords

Running a Google Ad campaign can allow you to get highly specific with your targeting, so you reach those near your business. Google Ads can give consumers directions to your store but can also be used to encourage online shopping and website visits. In addition, you can tailor the ads depending on the specific product or service you are promoting.

Local SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a combination of tactics that help your business’s website appear higher in search results. SEO tactics can include keyword optimization of your website and content, website load time, and how easy it is to view or navigate your website from phones and tablets.

Local SEO draws information from your local listings – like Google My Business, Yellow Pages, Bing, and Waze. Ensure these listings are updated with your business address to encourage consumers to come to your location.

Tailor Your Website

Does your website speak directly to your local neighbourhood? Name the areas or boroughs specifically, including local landmarks, reference local stories, and make it easy for people to gain context for your local area. Making your website feel like an old friend to consumers will help you convert website traffic from leads to sales – whether that’s via foot traffic in your store or an online purchase.

Optimize Your Social Media Platforms

Having a social media presence is essential, but with the large amounts of people (and now businesses) on social media these days, it’s vital for you to stand out from the noise and make sure you’re attracting the local audience want.

For example, Facebook page names and Instagram handles and usernames are all searchable fields. If you are targeting local, make sure to include your city in these fields to appear in searches on those platforms.

Make sure your address is listed, and, on Facebook, add your business hours. Then, take advantage of Instagram’s buttons, including Order FoodBook a Call, or Reserve a Table

Tell Stories

Stories have always played an essential role in communicating, beginning with the sharing of oral histories thousands of years ago.

People relate better to stories and also remember them better than facts or numbers. So including stories in your local marketing is a great way to capture your audience’s attention and stand out from the noise. In addition, stories help people think of you the next time they are near you and want what you offer.

Here are some story ideas for a pizza parlour. Instead of advertising the types of pizza you offer:

  • Detail local business deals being closed over a slice
  • Satisfying late-night cravings when nothing else is open
  • Or talk about the retired couple who’s been coming in weekly since you opened decades ago.
Combine Multiple Tactics

Individually, each of the above strategies and tactics can help your business grow, but the best local marketing strategies will include a combination of them. You don’t have to do everything under the sun. Still, by appearing in multiple places to your audience, you increase brand awareness and trust, which ultimately encourages locals to visit your business.

For more tips on how to become a local marketing pro and learn how to increase foot and website traffic, check out the rest of our blog posts.