Nowadays, with so much in the way of marketing technology at our fingertips, getting your business in front of local customers is easier than ever before. By making the most out of innovations in online business marketing (rather than going around knocking door-to-door or leaflet dropping like in the old days), you can significantly increase your business sales.
Although online business marketing is a field filled with rewards, it’s vital that – before you celebrate achieving 100 more views of your product page – you remember that these viewers could be located from all over the world. And that, for example, someone from Manchester is highly unlikely to use the services of a car repair shop based in London.
So, if you need to go about boosting your sales or services to a local audience from a slightly more nuanced perspective. This is where attracting local customers comes in. With this in mind, we’re dedicating this article to be outlining 10 ways to attract local customers, and how you can use these techniques yourself to improve your business’ sales.
1. Google My Business Listing
Setting up a listing for your business on Google is a free and easy way to establish a trustworthy online reputation for your business. It means that, when local customers search for your business or service type, your name will pop up, they can see that you are verified and come highly recommended, and find easily your details to contact you.
A recent SEO study found that a staggering 97% of customers learn more about a local business through the internet. So, it’s imperative that your business name shows up in the Google maps results section.
Another reason why map searches make such a strong way to drive business is that these appear above the main organic search results and just below the paid ads. So, they can be a great way of driving high intent customers through to your website, above your competitors.
To create a shop listing on Google you need to provide key details like your business name and category, address, contact number, opening hours, a link to your website (if you have one) and ideally add some photographs of your business or services, too.
This is another great example of a free service that allows businesses to list themselves on a search engine. It operates in a very similar fashion to Google My Business and acts to help small-scale, local businesses become more visible in the search results of new potential customers.
Bing is actually the second (behind Google) highest ranking search engine in terms of the number of searches that bring people to UK websites. As such, this portal from Bing provides a presence for businesses, that helps their listing stand out in local search results.
To set up your business’s listing, you can either claim an existing listing, import your Google My Business listing into Bing, or create a new one from scratch. Just complete the information fields, feature photos, your opening hours, the type of service that you offer, and how you can be contacted. Then, keep your listing secure by opting to keep it pin-protected.
The likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram are widely used by potential customers who are looking to get a clearer insight into what a business is all about or find out more about your services.
By creating a business social media page, you can help potential customers to quickly and easily find out handy information (such as its address or opening times) and learn more about the services that it provides. What’s more, the images and posts featured on these profiles also offer that key first impression of a business they’re potentially looking to buy from.
Through social media, as your business you can also connect with local groups or fellow businesses in your local community. This will set up a social media presence for your business, and help local customers to find you, too. Creating a listing is just the start, you will then need to start posting regularly to your audience to engage with them which is best done by creating your own strategy and posting calendar. For a business looking to grow fast, there is also the potential for running paid social media ads to attract more local customers with the vast array of targeting options each platform allows whilst controlling your budgets.
4. Add your business to Apple Maps
An Apple Maps business listing provides potential new customers with reliable directions to find your business when using an Apple device (this is hardly a limiting factor, however, as Apple has an average majority share of 50% of all mobile users).
This will allow them to either search for your business and then receive directions from their current locations, or when they look at the map of the local area, they can spot your business as a pin on the map.
To add your business to Apple Maps, all you need to do is:
Go to the ‘Small Business’ menu, then click ‘Add my Business’.
Add your business name, followed by its location.
Add the rest of your business’s details.
Verify your listing, and you’re all set.
5. Local SEO on your website
You can use search engine optimisation (SEO) both within your main website pages and in your blog posts. This will not only drive up the number of viewers that find you via search engines, but also directly attract the attention of customers who are local to you.
You can feature your service in your local customers’ Google searches by optimising your website for local SEO. This can be achieved by undertaking the following simple techniques.
Search for your service in Google and then see what the Google autocomplete feature suggests as the words that might follow. For example, if you search ‘hairdressers’, the following words that Google autocomplete suggests includes ‘near me’, ‘open’ and the name of the town or city nearest to you. With this knowledge, you can use these terms in your website copy in order to have your business feature higher up on the results of these searches.
Create unique pages based on the actual locations you serve*. For example, if you provide your services in Norwich, it is potentially worth creating a unique page as part of your website, that has the URL (for example) – examplephotography.com/wedding-photography-norwich.(*It is vital though that these pages are not just duplicated text on each page with different locations, each location page has to add value to your site and be individual to your offerings in this location otherwise you can end up with duplicate content issues across your website which is not desirable and can impact your rankings)
Ensure your page follows the best practice for its headings, title tags, meta descriptions, image alt tags, etc. Go over your website’s content, and carefully optimise each of these components.
As with all areas of SEO it is vital to create a strategy and do the relevant research into what to optimize and target your website for as the wrong updates to your pages can also negatively affect your rankings for your business. You can find out more about what is involved in SEO by visiting our page gomarketme.co.uk/seo
6. Local Paid Google Ads
Local Paid Ads help you connect with people who search on Google for the services and products that you offer. You would have likely seen an ad if you have searched in Google for a product and service as these ads predominantly show at the top of the page in searches and on map searches. When set up correctly with an advertising budget your ads will show up for customers in your geographic area that you target, and you only pay if a customer contacts you directly through the ad.
To be able to run these local ads you will first need to create a Google Ads account (or alternatively get an agency to create your PPC Google Ads account). As a local business or brick-and-mortar business, it’s essential that you understand how far people your customers are willing to travel to your business for its specific products or services. If you provide rare services, then customers are probably willing to travel further than if you do something more common.
Google Ads is a powerful tool that lets you configure who sees your advertising based on their location by postcode, town name, city name, radius targeting, and country (as well as a wide number of demographic targeting options and audience based options) meaning you have complete control over who can find your business. It is vital to set up your account correctly and utilise local search terms in your headlines, extensions, ad copy, and also to ensure the page that customers land on your website provides them with the correct service/product and a way to easily get into contact.
Dominating your local market with Google Ads is possible but it is vital that you do the relevant research into creating your ads, setting the right targeting, and the correct budgets you will need to reach your audience otherwise you can end up wasting money fast. The main aim of any paid advertising is to get the highest number of customers for your budget to find your business over your competitors and ensure they can easily get into contact or make a purchase.
You can find out more about what is involved in Google Ads by visiting our page gomarketme.co.uk/ppc and we are also here on the phone for a free consultation to help you find out if Paid Google Ads are the ideal way for your business to reach new customers or if you need help on your current campaigns that you have set up.
7. Create links to your business in local directories
Get your business included in a variety of local directories in order to ensure that (for those customers who aren’t using Google to find a local business) you can be easily found by potential new customers.
These local directories include free index, Yell and Thomson local, as well as any other local business directories that you may know of. In essence, the more places where you can shout out about your business and get your name spotted by local customers, the better as long as these are reputable websites that are trustworthy as the wrong types of website links can also cause detrimental issues to your website. Building these links to your website is a vital way of getting in front of potential new customers.
8. Gather reviews for your business
Good reviews are an absolutely essential part of bringing in new customers. Before opting to spend their money with you, new customers will want to see that you are trustworthy.
Platforms such as Google My Business and Trust Pilot to name a few make it easier than ever for people to access reviews from previous customers. You don’t need us to tell you that it’s absolutely essential that you work to keep these public reviews as positive as possible. This, by and large, comes by running your business well and keeping your customer service as friendly as possible.
Encourage local customers who have used your services to leave reviews on these platforms by creating a fast quick link to your review sections and adding these to your email campaigns, invoices and more so that you can gather a large number of (hopefully) positive recommendations that will be seen by other locals.
Essentially, local offline marketing is all about your business making a name for itself, and getting out and about so that your local customers know about you and have positive associations with you. The aim is, when local people require the service that you offer, for your business to be the first thing that pops into their mind.
10. Create relevant informational / blog posts for your services
Blogs are a real help when it comes to increasing the traffic that reaches your website. When it’s specifically local customers that you’re looking to attract, be smart about the kind of content that you cover on your blog posts.
Write up relevant blog posts which are focused on topics that are specific to your local area. These could include things like guides to the local area, a blog post outlining the best local places to visit, detailing any upcoming local events, or any community events that your business will be attending. This is the next step on from creating your social media accounts and through a variety of techniques you can engage with your audience and it is vital you do your research and create an effective strategy to ensure that you are targeting the right customers on the right platform.
As you set about putting these ideas into practice, one essential thing to remember is that you track your conversions. This could involve using either call tracking or contact form conversion tracking to gauge whether your local SEO efforts are actually translating into more local customers.
Tracking your conversions will allow you to assess whether you are successfully using online marketing and SEO to get more leads, customers and, ultimately, more revenue for your business.
If you would like a bit of professional advice on how to attract more local customers for your business, we’re here to help. We have extensive experience across a range of businesses for their digital marketing, branding and website design, including local companies to large UK-wide companies for helping them to expand their customer base and generate more sales or leads.
If you would like to find out more about how your business can attract more local customers, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for a no-obligation discussion.