The digital ad ecosystem offers a slew of opportunities for local businesses to find, target, and connect with local customers. And, because the goal is driving foot traffic – not web traffic – you don’t even need a website to take advantage of most of these opportunities.
Following are some of the best local search strategies to take advantage of now, whether you have a website or not.
All ad platforms, including Google AdWords, offer some form of Geotargeting. Depending on the platform, you can tailor your ads to target users based on zip code, city, or even a radius around a location. In AdWords, for example, if you only want to target users within a mile of your business, you can do that.
One of the best ways to drive foot traffic is to make it easy for customers to connect with you. You can do this by running ads that include location extensions, which include your address, phone number (with click-to-call functionality) and a map marker with your ad text.
Google is continuously updating the way their content appears for users. The latest iteration is the local knowledge graph, which pulls content from various review sites, including Google+ Local pages. To optimize your Google+ Local page, include updated location information and attractive images. Encourage user reviews by actively posting on your Google+ Local page.
Just because review pages are crowd-sourced doesn’t mean you don’t have a say in how your brand appears. Most review sites, such as Yelp, enable business owners to “unlock” their pages, adding images, descriptions and other helpful information. Learn more here.
No local search strategy would be complete without social media pages that are optimized for the local audience.
The opportunities may seem endless, so start small: Take control of your digital presence by optimizing your social pages and claiming your review pages.
Then, consider your purpose. Do you want to drive foot traffic today? Then run ads. Do you want to become known as the place in your city for your product or service? Then run ads, and turn your social game way up – posting frequently and connecting with local influencers.
The sooner you start, the sooner you can welcome new customers into your business.