Why Discoverability Matters
Let’s first look at why discoverability is so important. First, 46% of all Google searches are for local information. That’s people searching for where to eat, where to workout, got to yoga, what stores have certain products they’re looking for, medical information, legal information, etc. People look for those things within their local city or neighborhood, so those searches have what we call “local intent.”
Furthermore, 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else. This is so important to understand because people today are researching every business so much more than in the past because it’s so easy. They have an entire computer system on their phone sitting in their pocket. They can read reviews about products and services, reviews about businesses, comparisons, etc. It makes for a more informed consumer, but also, for business owners, it means doing a better job of making sure:
1 – That you’re discoverable in the places online where your customers are searching, and
2 – That you’re providing the information those consumers are looking for and need to make the informed, buying decision that they’re looking to make.
Remember, the location of your customers while searching significantly impacts the search results they see. In order to ensure you are in those results, you need to first understand what kind of local marketing strategy is best for your business.
What Type of Local Are You?
There are two categories of local businesses: hyper-local, or neighborhood-local, and wide-local, or metro-local. Let’s look at each of them separately.
These are the businesses that harvest the majority of their customers out of neighborhoods. It’s very convenience-based, so your customers tend to be within a five-mile radius.
The types of businesses that fit into this category are things like gyms and fitness, yoga, restaurants, and superstores like Walmart, Publix, and Target because they have so many different locations throughout a city. It also includes convenience stores like Wawa and Circle K, and even retail, as people tend to shop at stores that are closer to their homes unless it’s a specialty item.
These businesses tend to be far more specialized and therefore pull customers from a larger area. Their customers usually fall within a 30-mile radius and are willing to drive 20, 30, even 45 minutes.
These are businesses like medical, legal, insurance, financial, home services, etc. People are willing to cross town to go to a good doctor, and home service specialties, like AC repair and plumbing, will service customers far from where they’re based. Auto dealerships will pull customers from an even more expansive radius beyond 30 miles. These businesses are often very relationship-focused as well.
How does it affect your marketing?
As a marketer, whether you’re hyper-local or wide-local impacts the marketing strategy we will run for you. Now is the time to take a serious inventory of your website, your content, and your marketing strategy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people are online even more.
Increasing Discoverability for Hyper-Local Businesses
A lot of discoverability for hyper-local businesses is going to be done in the map listings on Google maps, Apple maps, and websites like Yelp. So showing up in organic search or using SEO services to boost your visibility in organic searches will help with discoverability in maps.
An organic social media strategy is also important. It’s easy for a neighborhood business to gain followers from within their neighborhood. A solid, consistent strategy for Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest will increase discoverability.
It’s extremely important that hyper-local businesses collect emails and email their customers on a consistent basis – at least once a month. It’s a great way to establish regular online interaction with your local community.
Increasing Discoverability for Wide-Local Businesses
Again, map listings are extremely important as is local SEO. But these businesses need to take a little different, more wide-ranging SEO strategy. Remember, your customers’ search results will be impacted by proximity to your business so it’s very important that you optimize your website for local searches and expand your local service area pages on your website to help with local SEO and ranking in the map listings.
Paid search is extremely important for these businesses because they’re not going to organically rank for every keyword phrase on Google. So for the keyword phrases that you really need exposure on, you should look into running Google ads. It’s extremely cost-effective and because you are a local business, there is a high probability you will make a sale from the customers who click on your ad.
Organic social media is important here as well, but these businesses should also look into running paid social ads. For example, ads that educate or give offers to the local community. This really helps expand your reach within the local area, finding new customers, and staying in touch with those you’ve interacted with before.
We also recommend email marketing once or twice a month.
Check Your Discoverability
It’s time to quickly check your business’s discoverability. You’re going to do two searches. You can use your computer or your phones.
First, search your business (or brand) name and see what comes up. Next, search for your main product/service. For both searched, consider the following questions:
- Does your company appear in the search results?
- Do your competitors appear in the search results? Are they ranked higher than you?
- Is your business information correct – your name, address, phone number, hours of operation? It’s very important that Google has these up-to-date or your customers could be calling the wrong number or showing up at the wrong address.
- What are your reviews? Furthermore, have you responded to them? You should be thanking the people who left a positive review and for those who left a negative review, acknowledging and addressing their issues and inviting them back for a better experience.
The answers to the above will help dictate the exact strategy that you need to have moving forward. Maybe you need to better optimize your website. You might need to share a little more on the social media channels. Or you might need to start running ads to combat multiple competitors that show in your local area for exactly what you do.