There are 10 Billion unique searches done each month on various search engines and it’s estimated that over 57% of those are for local businesses. Google alone has over a Half Billion unique Local Searches per month. The bottom line is that over 50% of people find what they want through local search.
Online Local Marketing
For most businesses the majority of their customers are local, especially if you are a brick and mortar business, a local service provider or a restaurant. Even with the internet the majority of purchases are still made within 30 miles of home. So it is critical to be found for as many pertinent local searches as possible.
What this means is you want to be found under as many combinations of words as you can, locally. For example, you want to come up in search engines for both “San Jose CA Plumber” as well as “Bay Area Plumber”. The more keywords that relate to your local area the better.
The Challenge for Franchise Marketers
Franchise systems have the particular challenge of showing up local because it’s difficult to have unique websites for each location. Typical solutions franchises implement include such things are micropages (http://franchisename.com/franchisee.html), sub-domains (http://franchisee.franchisename.com) and local websites (http://franchiseename.com).
A micro-page is typically a single webpage on the corporate website.
A sub-domain is typically a 2-3 page micro-website.
A local website is typically a branded local website.
A branded local website, such as http://pdromaha.com for a Paul Davis Restoration franchise in Omaha, NE, can deliver significant local search impact. The image below shows the results for both Maps and Organic search that a branded local website can deliver.
Local Search Tips & Tricks
Regardless of how your franchise system is coming up in local search, here are some simple tips for in-creasing your search engine rankings:
Get your local business listed on Search Engine Maps and in major directories:
a. Top Local Search directories, such as Google Maps, Yahoo Local, and Bing Maps
b. Top online Yellow Pages, such as Superpages.com and Yellowpages.com
c. Any other sites with local components
When you optimize your website you must specifically focus on geography and how keywords will
function together with your location. This way, local clients and customers can find you through search engines.
One important aspect in keyword research is to bear in mind there are many local colloquialisms across the country. Different people might be searching for the same thing, but entering two totally different search words. Localized keyword research is much tougher than what it may appear to be.
Remember to use the local geographic description. In our area people identify with the title “Central Coast” so we would ensure that this was one of our key words, i.e. “Central Coast Plumber”.
Inbound linking are very valuable – for instance, if you are a member of a Chamber of Commerce, you can usually have them link to your site at little or no cost. Inbound links like these can be an as-sured gateway to increased targeted traffic
Make sure that you only apply basic html to crucial information on your site such as address, busi-ness name, phone number and email address. Search engines will be able to index a site easily when information is put in simple text and format. A programmer is essential to do this correctly.
Use email marketing. Research shows that email marketing, mass emailing, is still the number one method of marketing online. Make sure you’re asking customers for their emails and have a link your website to join your newsletter.
As a final comment… content is still king! The copy, or content, on your website still matters most to search engines. Specifically, well written copy that includes local keywords, published often (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) is by far the best tactic you can take to getting the best local search engine rankings possible. Make sure you have access to your website and can make changes easily.
Get Local. Be Local.
Believe it or not… there is more to marketing than the Internet!
The more you can get the neighbors to come to your business, the better. Consider turning your business into a community hub. For example, you could offer your establishment as a venue for dance, cooking or yoga classes. Or, you could do your own fundraiser and encourage patrons to participate. For example, Pastiche Modern Eatery in Tucson, Arizona donates a percentage of every sale to charity, but the business lets the customer decide to which charity they want to donate a part of their check. In addition to highlighting the generosity of Pastiche Modern Eatery, these donations also make the customers feel like they are making a positive difference.
Here are some ideas for being local:
Hit the streets.
Meet the neighbors and engage in personal selling.
Go around to local businesses and corporations with samples and list of your products.
Distribute flyers and door hangers.
Post your product list in a prominent place right outside your business, like in a lit-up display case or on a podium near the walkway.
You could also try holding outdoor events A lot of businesses have found success with sam-pling. For example, when Mrs. Fields Cookies was founded, business was slow. So Debbi Fields started offering samples of her cookies to passersby, and almost immediately her business began to flourish.
Partner with other businesses.
Form partnerships with local hotels, theaters, salons and spas, offices, and any other nearby businesses that fit well with your business and might interact with your potential neighborhood customers. For example, you could offer a discount to guests of the neighboring hotel, and ask them to refer customers to your business if you refer customers to the hotel. Ask other local businesses to participate in a joint promotion, or just make friends with the workers there. Re-member, other businesses’ employees can become your business’s customers.