How to do Local Marketing Online
Any local business engaging in web marketing knows that there is a very real need to enhance their web marketing with geo-targeting options. This means that, for those local companies that work with clients within a specific geographic region, no matter how small or large, every level of their web marketing plan needs to include some degree of geo-targeting to ensure the most bang for the invested buck.
Start with the Website
Websites for local companies should include geo-targeting tags and keywords, which are simply targeted town, county or state names placed within their HTML web code as well as their site content. For branch-offices that provide products and services to other regions, developers should consider a drop down menu of regions or cities for site visitors to select based on their needs.
Automated Location Selection Options
In lieu of manual location selections for site visitors, there are some automated code options that allow for smart location selection based on the clients IP address by using IP-spidering or implementing geo-location software.
Without getting too technical, IP addresses are based on the site location on the server it is hosted on, so if the website is hosted on a server in Tallahassee, then the IP address will note the location in Tallahassee. IP-spidering allows for web browsers to locate or “spider” websites based on the IP address location, while the geo-location software can be downloaded to add geo-targeting tools to a website.
Take a look at the Ace Hardware website – the “My Local Ace” option allows for the computers IP address to show several local options of retail locations. These individual location pages include geo-targeted content to enhance the user experience.
When a user goes to the Ace website and opts for the “My Local Ace” page, they’ll get a list of several Ace locations in their neighborhood. By selecting one of the locations, web visitors are taken to a new page for that specific retail store location. They then know what their local store offers.
The marketing benefit is simple: higher conversion rates based on local retail store offerings.
As an extension of a web marketing plan, offering differing opt-in email marketing plans to clients in varying areas can increase the response rates. Keep the messages targeted towards the local news mixed with the news you want to portray and contact list is bound to grow.
Extended content and site updates
Blogging allows businesses the ability to give readers a closer perspective on their business processes, while offering the option for regularly updated content to show on their website. For local companies, it’s important to include regional keywords within the posts as well as to keep apprised of local news and information that may be of interest to an audience.
Businesses are expected to invest up to $2 billion in social media marketing next year, and that includes companies that are looking to market to a local or regional audience. Most profiles allow for the location of the profile or company to be noted, making it searchable by other users. Groups and niches on each site can be localized to only allow members of specific communities to join.
Companies interested in geo-targeting their marketing communications should be sure to reach out to site users and potential contacts that live or work within their specific region.
Taking the “local” shop to a virtual level, following the steps to thorough and effective geo-targeting can ensure that your site is found by the people and businesses in your target region, increasing the potential for convertible site visitors.