Many businesses that market in a specific geographic area are perplexed when it comes to the new digital frontier. How can they tap the efficiencies of new interactive technologies like social media when they market to a small subset of customers? Add on to this the many new digital offerings that are confronting local businesses and you can see why it’s difficult to determine what’s the best mix of advertising dollars and which ones will deliver the highest return to their locally-based business.
Customers who use the internet to do local searches turn into local shoppers. Many of these searches are now being done via mobile phone. According to TMP and comScore in October of 2009, 37% of customers who searched for a local business wound up going to the store in person. The Kelsey Group also found that half of all local searches are being done by cell phone — you can see why developing a localized strategy for digital marketing is becoming increasingly important.
Here are 6 strategies that local businesses can use to capitalize on these online-to-offline strategies and drive traffic to a geographically-based business:
- Use paid search and search engine optimization on localized key words (e.g. barbecue Kansas City)
- Experiment with social marketing opportunities such as Twitter that allow geo-targeting of customers. Also, Facebook social ads can be targeted on where a consumer lives.
- Use marketing analytics to determine customers that live close to certain geographies and then increase bids on paid search terms that are geared at those customers most likely to buy.
- Try digital coupon sites which provide users with certain codes that are good for discounts. These are some of the most popular tools of online shoppers.
- Make sure your business is listed in shopping comparison sites that allow users to look at a variety of products side-by-side.
- User-generated review sites give customers handy word-of-mouth references that are as applicable to business-to-business marketers as they are to consumer marketers.
It’s confusing out there. Experiment with some of these digital strategies on a localized basis and see if they are a cost-effective use of your marketing dollars.
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