What is Hyperlocal Marketing?
Hyperlocal marketing is a method of marketing that focuses on reaching a targeted audience within a local area. You want your customers to find you when they’re searching for the products and services you offer within a particular region. The point of hyperlocal marketing is to attract people within a defined service area so you can meet their needs with your business.
When people go online and look for a service, there are a lot of different ways they might conduct their inquiries. They’ll often use specific search terms with phrases like “near me”, “best”, or “top-rated” within a certain town or city. As voice search grows and evolves, there are a lot of new ways people are beginning to find businesses like yours. For example, mobile searches with the term “near me now” have exploded in the past two years, ushering in an increase of 510% in that short time frame. Phrases like “best” and “right now” have also seen a huge increase; in the past two years, searches with these phrases have increased 125%. These phrases are becoming far more common than they used to be, and it’s important to pay attention to this so you can help your customers find you.
As people reach for their smartphones more and more to find information, it’s important that you set up your marketing in a way that targets people on the devices they’re using most predominantly. This is why it’s important to have your website optimized for mobile, but bear in mind that your website is only one way that people find you online. Of course, it’s a very important way—it’s essentially your home base—but you also need to pay attention to the other channels people might use to find you. As it turns out, about 73% of customer engagement happens off your website. In other words, your website is responsible for about 27% of the attention you’re attracting, but the rest of your new business occurs because people find you in various other ways.
What Does Your Local Reach Depend On?
Although Google is notoriously secretive about the factors that go into ranking businesses in its search engine results pages (SERPs), some experts have analyzed this topic and uncovered that your local reach is largely dependent on a few factors:
Google Local Pack is a group of three local business listings that are served up to searchers at the top of their results pages. They feature companies that provide products or services within their local vicinity. Unlike organic search results, which are derived from Google’s web crawlers and the library of information the search engine stores about all the websites online, Local Packs are driven straight from your Google My Business account information. There are other elements to your Local Pack rankings, too.
- Google My Business – 35%
- Reviews – 16%
- On-page – 15%
- Links – 15%
- Behavioral – 8%
- Citations – 7%
- Personalization – 6%
In other words, there are a lot of different pieces Google considers when it decides who’s going to show up in Local Pack results. While it’s important to focus on your Google My Business account and get stellar reviews from your existing customers, it’s important to understand that there is no single factor that contributes to your placement in Local Packs.
Local organic search results factor in different weights and contributors when Google decides who will be seen at the top of the list. Local organic search is thought to comprise approximately:
- On-page – 32%
- Links – 31%
- Behavioral – 10%
- Personalization – 7%
- Google My Business – 7%
- Citations – 6%
- Reviews – 6%
The more you learn to target each important ranking factor, the more likely you’ll be to show up with positive placements when your future customers are searching for the items or services you have to offer.
When Google looks at companies, these are the factors it considers when it’s trying to decide if it should show your company to searchers. Again, a lot of different factors play in, but these are the main categories:
How often are you publishing new content on your website, directories, and social media? Google takes into account how new your content is, including everything from blog posts to reviews and everything in between. If you just post content and leave it, Google’s going to start to say, “Okay, this was relevant when it was posted, but now that it’s years old, it’s not so relevant anymore.” This, in turn, can cause you to fall down in the rankings. It’s vital to continue to create new content across the board to ensure the search engines understand that you’re relevant and valuable to its users.
Where are you in relation to someone’s search? Does Google know you service the area that person is searching from?
Do others link to your website as a source of knowledge and expertise? Prominence can include elements such as reviews, referrals, and listings on other companies’ websites.
Is the content you’re creating valuable and useful? Does it provide answers to the questions people are searching for? Google is essentially a giant filing system; anytime someone goes onto the platform and conducts a search, Google wants to return the information that’s most relevant to what that person is looking for. You should be writing blogs to answer questions that customers in your area ask. Make sure your website talks about your services in a very comprehensive manner that helps them know you’re the right business for the job they need done.
Are your business hours set to open in the moment someone is performing their search? Google takes availability into account because if somebody is searching for a service, the search engine is going to want to show businesses that can actively help them in that moment.
What Are the Best Hyperlocal Marketing Strategies?
At Surefire Local, we spend every day examining the strategies that work best to help Google see our clients as the brands that should be recognized in hyperlocal searches. The following are seven hyperlocal marketing strategies that can help your business stand out against your competitors. Be mindful that none of these is a standalone strategy; they all work in conjunction with one another. Each of these elements plays a role in growing your business and giving Google the information it needs to put your brand in front of its users.
Again, around 25 to 27% of how people interact with you online and find your information first will be through your company’s website.
The first piece to look at is your URL. This is the name of your website online. It exists in a couple different pieces: the protocol, domain name, top-level domain, and path.
- Domain name. Your domain name is the piece that you’ll show most people. For instance, our domain name is surefirelocal. Essentially, this is the name of your website.
- Top-level domain (TLD). This refers to the extension you use, such as .com, .net, .co, .org and so on.
- Path. The path is essentially the filing system for your website. It indicates where particular information or pages live on your site.
Additionally, if you’re doing hyperlocal marketing, you would add a location tag within the areas you serve. This should be set up not just for your home city, but also for any city where you live and provide service. The importance of this from a hypo local standpoint is that it gives people a full scope of where you work. This helps both Google and potential customers understand where you perform your services.
You also need to actually talk about where you’re physically located. Be sure you provide your company’s name, address, and phone number (also referred to as your NAP). These three main pieces of information should be shown very clearly on your website because Google will look at that information and compare it across all of your listings online. The goal is to have your NAP information consistent everywhere because different phone numbers or slightly different names or business locations can confuse Google’s algorithms. This, in turn, can cause you not to show as high. Consistency is extremely important.
At Surefire Local, we use a program called GeoJuice, which helps you do little check-ins. Each dot on the GeoJuice map shows where your employees have checked in. This allows potential customers to easily see where your service area is and if they fall within that region.
Of course, Google isn’t only looking at the front-end of your website that customers see; it also spends a great deal of time checking out under the hood, so to speak. Google’s algorithms pay attention to the backend of your site, which is why elements such as local schema are important to getting your brand noticed. Local schema are basically tags or summary descriptions of the information on your website. You should use schema to show your service areas because they’re basically a shortcut that allows Google to see and read what’s on your website. To learn more about what schema is and how it works, head over to schema.org. It’s noteworthy that the majority of local businesses are not taking full advantage of local schema. In fact, only an estimated 44% of small and medium business sites include schema. If you’re having a site built, make sure to ask if schema is involved.
As we move into more and more technology driving our daily lives, smartphones are becoming the norm. Lots of people are accessing your website from their phones and many of them are calling you through your website on their phones. The majority of traffic (52%) is mobile at this point. Meanwhile, 66% of emails are read on a smartphone or tablet and 52% of pay-per-click (PPC) clicks come from mobile.
In order for your site to be mobile optimized, make sure the text is easily readable, links and navigation are easily clickable, and it’s easy to consume the content when viewing your website on a smartphone or tablet.
47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. The longer it takes, the more likely you are to start losing people. 40% of consumers abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Similarly, a one-second delay in a page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. To optimize your site’s speed:
- Enable file compression on images
- Reduce the number of redirects
- Leverage browser caching
2. Directory Listings
Directory listings are all of the places where the information about your company can be found. The primary directory listing is Google My Business. This is what shows up in Google Maps or if somebody searches your name. It shows your Google reviews, any photos you’ve added to your gallery, and any questions and answers about your company. It’s essentially your second website because it really is that important.
Despite its importance, 56% of local businesses have not claimed their Google My Business listings. If Google views your company as valuable to your community, it might create a Google My Business listing on your behalf. Even if you didn’t create an account yourself, you could still have a GMB listing floating around on the internet. Search for yourself online, and if you discover that you have a GMB listing that you haven’t yet claimed, go through the simple process to claim the listing.
Although Google My Business is the primary directory, there are actually 70 or 80 others in total, and you want your business to be found on as many of them as possible (and in places you’ve never even heard of before). More citations equal more visibility in your local service area.
Reviews are how your past customers show either pleasure or displeasure with how you worked with them. Google takes reviews seriously when it’s deciding how prominently you should be featured to future customers. If you have a lot of unhappy customers, Google is not going to be as likely to show you because it doesn’t have the confidence that you do a good job. Conversely, if you have a lot of great reviews, that help prove to the search engine that you have many customers who have benefited positively from your services.
You want to get as many new reviews as possible to stay in good standing with Google.
- Strive to get three to four new reviews each month
- Focus on sites with high domain authority (Google, Facebook, Yelp)
- Ask your customers in person, then follow up with automated emails and reminders
Surefire Local’s software can help you request reviews and reply to the reviews you do receive. Whether positive or negative, there are ways to make all reviews work in your favor, but the most important thing is getting those reviews in the first place. 48% of consumers only pay attention to reviews that were written within the past two weeks. Older reviews certainly matter, too, but as your staff, business model, location, or other factors change, many consumers will be paying attention to the most recent reviews people have left for your company. This is one reason it’s important to constantly be getting new reviews all the time. Going back to the elements we mentioned before, each review contributed to recency, distance, prominence, and relevance signals.
On average, for every review you respond to, you’ll experience about a 1/4 increase in your star rating. This is fairly important because customers see the way you interact with reviewers and are more likely to pay attention to businesses that engage with their customers.
Content is a very wide-ranging concept that includes an assortment of types, including:
- Blog posts
- Social media
The content you post—no matter what form—should include carefully curated keywords, as those will help Google understand what you’re talking about so the algorithms will know when to recommend your information to its searchers.
The average Google My Business profile only has 11 photos on it. If you can get more than 11 photos onto your GMB page, you are automatically above the norm. The more photos you have, the more your potential customers will be able to see exactly what you do, who you serve, and why they should give you their business.
In addition to content you can create for free and upload to Google, advertising can help you attract more customers. This method of marketing involves paying different companies to put you in a higher lot than you would show up naturally. The following is not, by any means, an exhaustive list, but here are some ways we see our clients get the best returns on investment:
- Google Ads (Pay-per-click)
- Local Service ads (Pay-per-lead)
- Bing Ads (Pay-per-click)
These three options help put your ad in front of people searching for you or the services you provide. Additionally, you might try:
- Facebook Ads (Pay-per-click), which targets users who fit your ideal customer
- Yelp Ads (Pay-per-click), which offers you a tight community and ultimately can help grow organic traffic.
So, why would you go down the advertising path? Generally speaking, for every $1 you spend on Google Ads, your business can earn an average of $2 in revenue.
As you set up your ads for hyperlocal marketing, you need to set location parameters, as well as other targeting elements, to obtain the best results. This means making sure you’re presenting the correct information, especially with relation to your geographic service areas, because you don’t want your ads to show up in places where you don’t do work (especially when you’re paying Google for additional website visitors who may not even be able to use your services if they’re not in your area). As you’re setting up your ads, make sure you’re paying attention to the state, city, town, and zip code portions of the advertisement interface.
You also want to create pages on your website (called landing pages) that people will see when they find your ad and click on it. Your landing pages are often the first interactions people have with your brand after they’ve expressed interest in your ad. You want your landing pages to be specific to the ads you’re running, so if you’re running a specific service promo or offering your business to a particular area, the people who click on your ads should be sent to landing pages that are specially curated for their interests. In doing so, you’re likely to attract a higher percentage of qualified leads because the people who will contact you already know that they’ve found a company that’s right for their needs.
Email marketing is easy to do and can deliver a lot of returns on your investment. In fact, for every $1 you spend on your email marketing efforts, you could generate up to $32 in ROI!
Email marketing is very cheap to do. Essentially, all you have to do is write an email and send it out to a bulk list with the goal of connecting to past and current customers, reminding them of the services you perform. Then, as you send out these emails, a certain amount of people will contact you back.
There are a lot of ways to build email lists, including:
- Exit pop-ups
- Email signatures
- Presenting enticing calls-to-action (CTAs) for things like special offers and discounts
- Sign-up sheets at events
In addition to general emails, you can also set up location-targeted email campaigns. Utilize your client management software to track where particular customers are from so you can send emails to people who reside within a specific target area. As you’re setting up location-targeted email campaigns, think about who you’re emailing and where they are. If you have multiple business locations, customize your emails per location. Here are some best practices you should pay attention to as you go down this journey:
- Engage and nurture leads with targeted email campaigns
- Send automated responses to new leads for immediate follow-up
- Nurture leads to become lifetime customers with automated campaigns
- Engage past customers to drive repeat business and referrals
- Stay top of mind by sharing relevant, personalized messages
- Spread awareness around special promotions
Branding is one of the hardest pieces of marketing to actually nail down. With that said, it’s also super important because it’s what people think about when they hear your brand’s name. 84% of searches are discovery searches, meaning that people are not looking for you specifically; rather, they’re just trying to find someone who can help them in their area. Once they find you, if they already have a preconceived idea of who you are based on your name, they might be more likely to follow through with a purchase.
Branding encompasses a lot of factors, but when it comes to hyperlocal marketing, your online presence is vital. Your online presence consists of:
- Brand: Your business name, logo, phone number(s), street address, years in business, and awards
- Citations. This is your website, review sites, local listings, maps, ads, and social media interactions.
- Content. Your content includes your blog posts, photos, videos, social posts, reviews, and Google posts.
Your branding helps people know that you’re a solid member of the community, and that if they work with you, they’ll enjoy a great experience from a reputable business.
When it comes to hyperlocal marketing, your branding isn’t just about your business; it’s also about the greater community at large. To build brand awareness, get involved with charities, sponsorships, fundraisers, and local organizations. Your work is benefiting people in your local community, and if you can reach out to those people before they actually need the work, you’ll be top of mind when they need your services. Here are some ways you can enhance your brand’s outreach locally:
- Ads in local papers or newsletters
- Advertising on event apps
- Blog post featuring sponsor
- Booth, tent, or table at an event
- Link on a website
- Logos on event t-shirts or other swag
- Logo on signage
- Logo on name or website
- Media spots (television/radio/newspaper)
- Mention in email newsletter
- Social media mentions
- Verbal recognition
People look for certain services when they’re experiencing specific types of weather. Seasonality—whether the time of year or after major events—can lead people directly to your business if you employ hyperlocal marketing strategies. You can reach specific neighborhoods and zip codes with ads and emails that are custom-made following weather patterns such as storm damage, heavy rain, droughts, and extreme heat. Have ad campaigns set up in place before major events hit so you’re not scrambling to figure out what to do after something occurs.