Reaching Local Consumers Through Online Search, A Beginner’s Guide for Small Businesses

By 10/09/2019 Blog

Local consumers possess a strong intent to buy when using online searches with the phrase ‘near me.’ Typically, places have been the most common category for this type of search. However, trends are showing that consumers are now looking for everything from services to goods when using the ‘near me’ phrase in their search. Phrases such as ‘can I buy’ or ‘to buy’ in conjunction with ‘near me’ is up over 500% in the past two years. Ready-to-purchase consumers are also using ‘open,’ ‘now,’ + ‘today’ or ‘tonight’ to refine their search for immediate and updated results. If you’re a local business looking to reach local consumers through online search who are ready to buy, keep reading…

Google + Keywords 

Reach local consumers through online search with Google Ads

Set up a free Google Ads account (if you haven’t already) and you will have access to the Google Keywords Planner Tool. This allows you to refine your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plan by researching keywords that are popular for your type of business. Keywords continue to be a driving factor in the way Google analyzes your business’ online presence. They are the words and phrases users type into their Google search. You can then incorporate these keywords into your website or blog posts. Researching keywords can also give you insight into what customers are looking for online. This allows you to incorporate goods and services you may not currently offer or play up those you didn’t realize were so popular. 

Google + Maps

Reach local consumers through online search with Google My Business

For keyword searches that involve a location, Google will display local results within Google Maps. To land within Google’s local search results, you must have a Google My Business account. This is essential for brick-and-mortar-based businesses to capture local consumers that are ready to buy. To set up or claim your free Google My Business page you must have a verified address. You have the option of hiding your address should you need to use your residential address and want to keep it private. You will also need a URL or website. If you do not have a website you can create a free website within Google based on the information you enter. 

Other essential factors to keep in mind when setting up and optimizing your free Google My Business page are:

  • Using keywords in your description and image file names
  • Getting and responding to reviews
  • Choosing the appropriate category listing with consistent location information.

Don’t forget to continue to monitor your Google My Business page since others have the ability to suggest edits—even your competitors.

Use Google My Business Posts to feature events, sales, new products, latest blog posts, or special messages to your customers. Include an image to grab the searcher’s attention. Just be sure to test it out and make sure it is sized appropriately when it comes up in Maps or your business’ Knowledge Panel in desktop and mobile view. 

More Digital Marketing Essentials

These preliminary steps for Google My Business can help start your business off on the right track when trying to reach local consumers through online search. But, here are some other essentials to reach consumers that are ready to buy via online search.

  • An optimal small business website should include your complete contact information on every page of your website. This information should be in text format and not displayed as an image. Embed a Google Map of your business on your site. If possible use a descriptive title tag using keywords, location, and phone number to your business. Also consider a blog that uses keywords with fresh content, an essential factor in search engine optimization.
  • Create an email list to track and reach often overlooked consumers. By sending regular emails—as monthly newsletters or weekly promotions—you are able to show customers that you are responsive. And that builds brand loyalty. 
  • With nearly 70% of searches done on mobile devices, Google ranks mobile-friendly sites higher than those that are not mobile-optimized. You can start by removing unnecessary content and using Google’s mobile-friendly test. There are also several programs to utilize in order to improve page loading time. You can also test your website’s overall speed and receive a free report on improvements. 
  • Backlinks – links from other sites to yours are another key strategy to give your website more authority within Google’s analysis. Create backlinks by being
    • featured in online directories
    • getting reviews
    • hosting events
    • submitting press releases
    • participating in forums
  • By 2020, about half of all searches will be done by voice. Optimize for voice searches by including full sentences phrased in a natural conversational format as opposed to using only single keywords.  

Word of Mouth vs. Digital Advertising

Many small businesses believe that word of mouth is the best way to advertise their goods or services. However, a strong digital presence can capture the consumer that is ready to buy now. Many small businesses are consumed with their day-to-day operations. They feel overwhelmed when dealing with the in’s and out’s of their business’ online presence. Often, web development, optimization, and analytics seem foreign to someone not familiar with digital technology. The good news is that a well-trained professional can guide you through the process of digitally connecting to your local customers.

How Sinuate Media Helps Reach Local Consumers Through Online Search

Along with experienced marketing strategy, Sinuate Media provides a trifecta of Web Design & Development services. This includes content development, graphic design, and technical skills. We assist in the setup and development of your business’ website as well as maintain it. Concurrently, our digitally focused public relations team assists in building your brand, launching new products, and executing a creative plan to generate maximum media coverage. Sinuate Media creates a 6-Point Social Media Strategic Marketing Plan to build your brand and maximize results for your business. Plus, we offer 30+ marketing training workshops to help you and your team better understand marketing technologies and strategies.

Ready to get started? Contact us today.