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5 Ways to Break the Barriers of Hyperlocal & Reach New Markets

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Hyperlocal—it’s become a buzzword in today’s marketing, and it’s easy to see why. The number of “near me” searches grew more than 130% from 2014 to 2015 (and still climbing), indicating that consumers are more interested in finding the goods and services they need as close to their location as possible.

Search is adjusting to accommodate for this growing local interest, which is why it is now more challenging to earn organic rankings in areas outside your physical office location. However, what happens when an SMB is in a location that has too small of a population to drive sufficient business? As a marketer, how do you get around that issue?

Here are five ways you can help businesses expand their markets and reach more potential customers.

1. Create a content plan that focuses on strategic cities.

Is there a nearby city where your client would love to do more business? Perhaps they’re in the city of Valencia, California and want more customers in Burbank, which is roughly 30 miles away. Create content on your client’s website that caters to people within that community.

Develop a Burbank page on the site that features past jobs the business has performed there, as well as testimonials from Burbank residents. You can also feature helpful, city-specific information on these pages, such as local resources related to the business’ services. For example, if your client is a contractor, write about municipal zoning and construction laws in that local area. The options are endless—as long as you provide content that a city’s residents will genuinely find useful.

2. Use the “service-area business” setting in Google My Business.

If a business performs their services at the customer’s location rather than at a storefront (such as a plumbing business or maid service), they should be classified as a “service-area business” in their Google My Business account. When you change this setting, you can use zip code or radius targeting to identify the areas in which the business provides their services.

This helps the business get found in the search feature of Google Maps for the areas they serve, even when they don’t have a storefront to feature on the map. (Here are instructions for switching to the “service-area business” setting.)

3. Get involved in the communities you want to target.

Another way to get your clients noticed in communities outside their own is to have them be present in those areas. For example, a business can sponsor a little league or do volunteer work in their target city. This exposure opens doors to new relationships that can lead to more business.

Remember—community involvement is only the first step. While your client is building awareness in the real world, it’s your job as a marketer to actively promote these things online through press releases, blog posts, and social media posts. You can even call the local press to see if they can feature your client’s involvement in the paper, or ask the community organization involved if they’ll feature your client’s website on theirs.

4. Optimize for relevance, distance and prominence.

Those are three main ways Google determines local ranking. Outside of opening an office in every city they want to rank for, businesses don’t have control over distance (proximity to the searcher). This is why they should focus on the two factors they can control: relevance and prominence.

Relevance: This refers to how well your listing matches the searcher’s intent. Help Google understand more about your business by completely filling out your Google My Business profile. This includes properly categorizing the business, writing a detailed business description, and listing accurate business hours. The more thorough you are, the better!

Prominence: This factor considers how well-known the business is—both on and off the web. One way you can improve a business’ prominence is to focus on reputation. Set up profiles for the client on common review sites, have them remind customers to leave reviews, and ensure they’re professionally responding to all reviews—good and bad. The business’ position in regular web results is also a local ranking factor, so be sure to implement SEO best practices.

5. Supplement your SEO efforts with paid advertising.

While this isn’t an SEO tip, it’s a great strategy for businesses that are not generating enough business from their own city. Paid advertising allows your client to target specific cities and zip codes outside their own. This allows the business to attract more customers from more locations.

Additionally, your client will get immediate exposure (as soon as you start running the campaign), rather than waiting for their organic or local rankings to improve over time. Consider strategies such as pay-per-click advertising, display advertising, social media advertising, and paid map listings.

Effective local marketing looks different for each business. It’s up to you to find the methods that work best for your clients!

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