Local Marketing

local marketing is about to boom! With the refinement of Google search, which now emphasises an appropriate local match, it makes a lot more sense to optimise websites and content to reflect the locale of the business. Google Maps became Google places, and now it’s Google+ Local for business. This evolution of more laser targeted search results means that a business in any town or city can be found easily for by the audience for whom it’s relevant.  

Just as importantly you’ll note that it’s now Google+ pages, which means every local business is now featured on a Social Media platform. Integration across all digital media is a foregone conclusion and Google have stolen the march on other platforms by making it a mandatory requirement to be a member of G+ in order to obtain local rank. Likewise if you wish to view a listing you need to enroll as a G+ member.

The BIG issue here is reputation-we are now IN the reputation economy. It’s kind of crept up on us, and, as a natural consequence, reviews and personal opinion plays a much bigger role in the choice of the consumer than ever before. The old “Word of Mouth” has now gone mainstream via Social Media, Google + reviews and pure review sites. So local marketing becomes a word of mouth exercise in the real and virtual sense.

The very good news is that this shift in public awareness can build strong communities, and encourages integrity and fair play in the day to day business dealings of a local economy and the relevance of local marketing. An honest competitive firm has a far greater chance of success than a shady outfit. This leads to a sense of well-being and true reward for those that genuinely deserve it, and makes people more motivated to deliver great service and quality.

The downside is that customers can be spiteful regardless of the value they receive, and still post bad reviews for less than savoury motives. Likewise a member of staff having a bad day runs up against a customer who’s just lost a bet on the horses and BAM! – Bad chemistry and a bad review can ensue. The upside far outweighs the downside however and one bad review in a forest of positive comment is obviously a purely vindictive effort by some disgruntled customer who probably complains about everything. If, however the comments are based on a genuine shortcoming then it’s a reasonable process to contact the customer note their comments and offer them something special to compensate them for their bad experience. A genuine company that wishes to engage in local marketing shouldn’t have any concerns if they’re prepared to listen and improve their game to meet customer expectations.

Another boon for local marketing is via mobile websites/apps, SMS and coupons. Statistically 90%+ of all SMS messages are opened and read within five minutes. If you’ve built a database of diners at your restaurant you can let them know instantly if there’s a special event or a midweek discount, and you WILL strike gold with a % of the recipients. Likewise any business can take advantage of the massive shift in search volume to mobile.

In summary the new paradigm of community marketing is a valuable trend if the business is geared to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that now abound in your city or town.