Location is key (literally, we love being in the London city centre). Where your business is and what competition surrounds it can determine success or failure. Similarly, in marketing, you will have to decide on where to make your pitch in order to reach your local, regional or international audience. While geomarketing sounds like a fancy term used to describe the global marketing tactics of multinational corporations, we’re going to show you why your small and local business absolutely needs to make geomarketing part of your digital marketing strategy.
What is geomarketing?
Geomarketing simply means using location data for marketing efforts, both for analyzing and mapping customer segments for review and to inform decision-making, and to target potential leads. With today’s digital technology and location data available through mobile devices and social media, geomarketing is hotter than ever and increasing in reach and capability.
Traditionally, it was companies with the most access to location data (such as mobile service providers or customer database marketing companies) which played an important part in geomarketing. Geomarketing now is accessible to any business and can be implemented even by small companies. The mere mapping of customers has been joined by local business listings, mobile marketing and social media to make it a readily available marketing tool.
The benefits of geomarketing
Geomarketing can identify where customers are and how they are segmented in a region. An effective geomarketing campaign can apply this information on multiple levels to identify new markets and opportunities, establish sales territories, organize logistically and plan new locations or campaigns. Customers are more and more using geo-marketing tools to find a company, business or service locally and near them. These are the three main ones and their benefits:
- Web search: Geo-listings or local business listings are search results where a search engine displays a list of businesses matching the search criteria and arranges them on a map. As a business owner, you can claim and update your marketing information. However, you cannot influence any customer ratings displayed, you can only focus on acquiring positive reviews.
- Mobile Marketing: This geomarketing tool is geared to meet customers on the move with SMS alerts, mobile apps, mobile optimized websites and mobile advertising as key components. App installations and subscriber lists for push or SMS notifications take time to build, but the benefits of mobile marketing are that companies can target customers on the devices they have with them all the time and use for price comparison and mobile shopping.
- Social Media: Your customers are using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Swarm, Yelp and other mobile apps and tools to find businesses, products and services. These social communities provide recommendations and a place to leave their own reviews. A local business can be very exposed on social media, but the benefit for you as a marketer is that you can leverage social media to your great advantage.
Geomarketing strategies for your small business
Search engines double as business listings through local search. To ensure the highest ranking possible for your business website, you need to clearly tell Google and Bing up to date information regarding the location of your business, opening hours and the type of your business. You local SEO efforts should include claiming your Google Business Page, consistently listing your name, address and phone number across your whole website (ideally on every page and with schema.org markup) and acquiring local reviews. Think about an instructional page on your website that tells customers exactly how to review your business. Use this Local SEO Checklist to identify areas for improvement on your website and help customers find you better.
If you’re not using Google Adwords already, your competition most likely is. The advertising program of Google generates over 10 million conversions per day. While Local SEO measures will help you with your organic rankings, you can use Adwords to acquire customers through paid search. An average text ad can generate around 200 clicks per day – with an industry average conversion rate of 2%, Google Adwords could bring you a couple of new customers per day. You can design your ad campaign to specifically target people only in your area to see geomarketing in action!
Marketers will always stress that content is king, and it goes for geomarketing as well. You need to continually bring visitors to the website of your local business, and you will only achieve this with something more than a product or service description and an About Us page. Quality content adds weight to your page and is a positive ranking factor as well. If your business does not have a blog already, now is the time to start. Find a healthy mixture between covering local interests and writing about your business. Blog posts should be 500 words minimum to be considered authoritative by search engines. Blogging about local interests attracts new and potential customers to your site and offer value to your existing ones. You should aim to create brand recognition and loyalty in the long run with your business blog.
Your clients and customers are already using social media. Whether or not they’re already talking about your business, the only way to influence that is to be on there as well. Each social media channel works slightly different as to how to attract followers, so you need to experiment a little to discover where your audience is and what social geomarketing strategy works for your local business. Again, local is the keyword here – 5,000 likes from locals on Facebook might be more worth than 10,000 from people who are not even near your business. Same as on your blog, use your Facebook Business Page to share a mix of local news and happenings as well as promotion for your business.
On Twitter, you can use the advanced search to find people near the location of your business. Select users to follow with content you can retweet. Only roughly 20% should be about your company, because no one wants to follow a promotional only account. The content you share on social media should create value for your followers, create connections and form a community around your brand.
If your account is not seen as blatant advertising, the more people will remember your company’s name positively when they see your products or services elsewhere. To find shareable local content, follow other local businesses you trust or marketing partners, local institutions and news sources as well as organizations and charities. Over time, you can build social media into a channel of influence and credibility where your customers are looking for support – which they will return.
Social Media Advertising
Apart from investing time into maintaining your presence on social media and curating content, you can also use paid advertising on social media as part of your geomarketing efforts. The advantage here is social media sites (especially Facebook and Twitter) will allow you to very specifically target not only your location, but also your ideal customer. You can choose a custom audience, location, demographic, age and gender, interests, behavior and connections. A paid advertising campaign on social media can be used to increase engagement or promote your page, send visitors to your website, increase sales, reach people near your store or make customers aware of a promotion. With paid geomarketing on social networks, you can optimize your campaigns to get the most of your advertising buck and target those most likely to visit your local business.
More Geomarketing ideas
Our tips are just to get you started and learn where you can best meet your audience and target customers. Once you’ve gotten the hang of Local SEO and geomarketing for your small business, there’s more you can do!
- Consider a daily deal or offer: there are now more coupon and discount websites and apps than ever. A deal or a discount can be a great way to target new potential and reward existing customers.
- Is your business already on Pinterest? Create a board with a map and add locations and photos. With 7 billion place pins, Pinterest is becoming a listings directory of its own!
- Location Tags for everything: don’t forget to geo-tag everything you share. Pictures and videos on social media, blog posts, photo albums – location tags help your local customers find you better.
As you see, despite the intimidating title that sounds so global, geomarketing is digital marketing done geographically. What initially sounds like big data efforts only multinationals can engage in is now easily accessible even to small, local businesses. If you haven’t yet started with geomarketing activities for your small business, now is the time! It’s easy!
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