If you’re unfamiliar with the term, location-based marketing allows businesses to be found by potential consumers when they search for a product or service in a particular location.
It's a powerful tool for small businesses because it means they can send personalised messages about their products to consumers at the exact time they need them.
Increasingly, customers use their phones insides shops to inform friends and family about retail offers and coupons as well as comparing prices and purchasing goods online.
Google research indicates 30% of consumers buy at a store after viewing their location information and at yellowpages.com.au 70% of searches are made locally to postcodes and surrounding suburbs.
Even more important for small businesses to know is that 80% of people searching on yellowpages.com.au are likely to purchase, with 57% planning to purchase within the next week of their initial search.
These marketing messages are also delivered to a customer’s smartphone when they are physically close to your business via websites that specialise in providing business information. Here are six ways to increase your chances of being found.
1. Get a business listing
Increase your online visibility by ensuring you get featured in online business directory offerings like Yellow Pages, TrueLocal and Google+. These websites provide people with suggestions of businesses based on location and relevance to their search.
It’s important to ensure there is consistency across all your online listings to match your website so there is no conflicting information. Consumers looking for local businesses are interested in opening hours, the local address and product availability. SMEs should make sure all this information is accurate and available.
2. Paid adverts
Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to the method of gaining traffic and increasing the visibility of your website by purchasing ads on search engines. You might also hear this concept referred to as paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, meaning you only pay for ads when someone actually clicks on them.
Services like Sensis Search Ads can help you target customers via keywords, location and your business’s products and services.
3. Get rated!
SMEs should encourage their customers to review their business. Consumers trust reviews from real people and the more positive reviews may increase referrals. Ratings and reviews are a huge opportunity for businesses. Research shows people respond more favourably to a business that handles negative reviews well than businesses who have loads of positive reviews. They’re more transparent and trustworthy.
Reviews on your business profile page across different online directories will also enable word of mouth to work as a powerful advertising tool that could generate leads.
4. Encourage check-ins
Ask for check-ins online and put up a sign in-store encouraging customers to check-in when they take advantage of your location-based products and services. Give them an incentive to check-in or to post a picture of something you sell alongside a hashtag aligned with your business. You could also promote fill-in-the-blank posts such as: “The yummiest #icecreambusinessname flavour is ____.”
5. Social media
If you haven’t already, create your Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages for your business to further increase online awareness. It’s important to optimise your presence on these platforms by including as much localised information as possible.
6. Optimise your website
Search engines like Google and Bing are increasingly delivering search results that have localised content. That means you should ensure your website includes local keywords, contact details and mapping tools so that you rank better on search engines and can be discovered very easily by people who are based nearby.