We’re big fans of exploring the latest digital marketing trends here at Snap. And if we were to create a list of the hottest marketing phrases floating around in 2018, “shop local” would be at the top of it. Hometown pride runs deep, and there’s something about giving back to the local community by shopping locally that brings warmth to people’s hearts. According to Forbes, the United States boasts over 28.8 million small businesses—or approximately 99.7% of all US businesses. This number seems staggering, probably because corporatized chains like Target and Starbucks seem to far outnumber the mom-and-pop shops that once ruled the land.
However, there are events specifically designed to champion these small businesses—think farmers markets, and unique markets like the recently opened Keg and Case in Minneapolis, which are designed to highlight the best of what local communities have to offer. Similarly, your store or e-commerce platform should be designed to maximize repeat traffic by highlighting the best of what your business has to offer. Keep reading to see our best tips for getting more local customers through your 2018 holiday marketing campaigns.
1. Amp up Your Local SEO
Neil Patel shares that Google shook up the local search engine optimization world with their fondly named “pigeon” algorithm update in July, 2014. This was a big deal because the update gave greater weight to local businesses through boosting focused keywords in things like local online directories and popular search engines. Local SEO does take time to build, but the end result will make this holiday season feel like a present designed just for you. After putting good work into your keyword research, ThriveHive recommends adding your buzzwords to these places on your website to boost your traffic and overall ROI:
- Page titles
- Page headers
- Page descriptions
- Body content
- Image alt text
2. Run Location-Specific Ad Campaigns
This tip will quickly become your best friend. As Forbes claims, these ads are key to helping the little shop on the corner compete with big corporations. By using Google ads to target and engage the most immediate, specific audiences right in your own backyard, you are giving personality and local charm to your brand. This is something few huge companies can do.
Running location-specific campaigns and boosting your local SEO can also make a huge difference when it comes your voice search traffic. For example, have you ever noticed your gas tank hovering dangerously low, and asked your phone to show gas stations near you? The better the exposure of the local gas station around the street, the more likely that Google will show it as a nearby result. Since all businesses are competing for the same customer base, you need to play the game smarter to win their business.
In addition to learning how to run targeted campaigns, it is vital that you also learn to track the results of said campaigns. By learning what works and what doesn’t when it comes measuring your social ROI, you’ll be able to make your ads even more targeted and effective in reaching your consumer base.
3. Network, Network, Network
You may be thinking, “duh, this one is obvious.” In reality though, networking requires an incredible amount of thought, careful planning, and a great sales team. According to the ‘Small Business Consumer Pulse Survey’ sponsored by American Express, 9 out 10 Americans think it is important to support local small businesses. Furthermore, 73% of those same respondents are willing to go out of their way to shop at local businesses, instead of corporate stores.
People are willing to put in the work, so meet them halfway by getting your business out there! Work with local influencers, attend conferences, sponsor happy hours, and network at as many social gatherings as you can. Even simpler, make sure you always have a business card on you for an easy connection. Word of mouth will go a long way in making your business a staple in the local community.
4. Partner Up
Partnering with local businesses, and giving back to the community, can yield major returns for your company. (Check out a section in one of our posts on how doing good can yield a high ROI.) There are easy ways to partner with the local businesses around you. In doing so, you are building a good repore in the community—and can champion some causes near and dear to your heart.
Try out one of these partnership ideas:
- Run a 24-hour sale with a percentage of proceeds going to a local charity
- Hold a fundraiser in support a community-based cause—like building a new playground
- Have your company happy-hour at the local brewery around the corner
- Offer free services to your favorite non-profit in exchange for a seat at their benefit
The Bottom Line
Like the saying goes, “you reap what you sow.” By putting in the work to amp up your SEO, improve your location-specific ads, network with those around you, and form strategic partnerships, you will gain the support and business of your local community. Have some strategies that are already working for you? We’d love to hear about them!