In the never-ending quest to grow revenue, businesses have deployed a wide variety of strategies to find and attract new customers. From sponsoring Little League teams and advertising in community newspapers, to billboards and TV and radio ads - and everything in between.
But it is impossible to ignore the fact that nearly 90% of all customers use the internet (be it local search, social media or review sites) to find and research local businesses. So we would like to share 5 ways managing your brand online will help you.
1. It builds visibility and authority in each of your local markets
76% of shoppers using a local search site will visit a business within the next 24 hours and 95% of searchers will find the store they need without ever having to scroll past the first page of results. This means that when it comes to generating new customers, you want your online listings to live in those top ranks of the local search results.
Building visibility and authority within your local markets means that your location stands out above the rest of your competitors. Visibility can be defined by how many different keywords you rank well for (how often you will show up on page 1 when someone searches for your product/service) whereas authority can be determined by how well you rank in comparison to your local competitors.
The most influential factor that determines how visible your listings are in the search rankings is your listing accuracy. You need to ensure that your business name, address, phone number (NAP), website and store hours are accurate and consistent across all your locations. Listing accuracy and consistency shows both search engines and searchers that your business is up to date and trustworthy, thus leading to higher rankings, greater visibility and more potential customers.
In addition to ensuring listing accuracy, local brand management helps to boost visibility and authority through online reputation management. Your online reputation, such as customer photos and reviews, has a direct impact on the authority you hold in each of your local markets. Likewise, the photos people see and the reviews they read will determine how they perceive your brand and whether or not they decide to visit your store.
Earning visibility and authority is the foundation to creating an exceptional online presence so that when customers do search for, find and research your brand online, what they discover will provide all the reassurance they need to know that your store is worth visiting.
2. Shows that you listen to and engage with your customers
A large aspect of local brand management is actively responding to your customers' reviews and social comments. When a potential customer views your business page, either on a social media platform or a local search and review site, one of the first things they gravitate towards are your reviews and comments. People want to read what previous customers have had to say about your business and their experience, and to take that one step further, they want to see how you engage with the people who have taken the time to leave you feedback.
A business that actively and appropriately responds to both positive and negative reviews sends a much different message than the business that maybe responds to one or two reviews here and there. The former shows that they are listening to their customers, care about their feedback and are willing the make any necessary changes, whereas the latter sends a message of being unaware or disinterested.
If you were the customer, which business would you choose?
3. Creates localized content and promotions
Local search, review sites and even social media platforms are all moving to enhance their local capabilities. They are both expanding (and simplifying) the capabilities to promote unique content that is specific to each store location. A local brand management strategy ensures that all your store location pages are active and up to date with their own content.
One example of how businesses can use localized content is Google Posts. Google Posts gives businesses the opportunity to advertise daily specials, promote upcoming events at their store, connect with customers directly from their listings and more. On the social side of things, businesses have tools like Facebook Places and most recently, SnapMaps. Facebook Places has given chains and multi-location businesses the ability to set up individual store pages for each of their locations. These pages can be used to share unique posts, repost user photos taken at a specific location, and collect store specific reviews.
Keeping your location pages up to date with current events, fresh posts and relevant store promotions shows potential customers that that specific location is active and engaged online. When potential customers clicks-through to your social pages or Google listing and find promotions or events at that unique store, it feels much more relevant to them than when a store only posts generic content or doesn’t post at all.
4. Uses the power of customer testimonials
84% of people trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation. Today’s customers put an unwavering amount of trust in their online peers. The reviews and stories they read online help to shape their perceptions of brands and alleviate any uncertainty that they may have when contemplating which business to try for the first time.
Sharing customer testimonials or promoting some of your best reviews on your social pages and website is a great way to show how you have provided customers with great experiences. When customers can read these experiences, directly from the words of past customers, it goes a long way towards improving their perceptions of your brand and convincing them visit your store.
5. Uses customer feedback to make improvements
Increasing the likelihood that a customer can find you online and showing them that you provide a great experience is the key to local organic lead generation, but being able to listen to previous customers and make real improvements is a part of local brand management that can’t be ignored.
Customer feedback is one of the most valuable assets that a business possesses in terms of learning how to make real business improvements. Knowing exactly which location a customer visited, what they want to see changed and how their experience could have been better is valuable insight, that when put to use, can positively influence a business's reputation and ultimately lead to more customers.
The trouble that many businesses face today however, is that they don’t have the ability to access and track this customer feedback in a way that provides actionable data and results. They are able to monitor their reviews and respond to the negative feedback, but when you’re looking at a list of over 1,000 reviews across 50 different stores, it’s difficult to identify any real trends.
A company may have received 10 reviews, all for the same restaurant, complaining about “Cold Food”, but when these complaints are separated by 50 other reviews each, for 50 different locations, it can be hard to establish that there is a trending problem with cold food at the same location. Having the ability to bypass this big data problem and understand meaningful trends is what gives businesses the ability to make real changes that their customers want to see.
Sentiment Analysis helps business to mine meaningful data and trends out of thousands of reviews. In short, sentiment analysis breaks down each review into key topics, it then uses the sentiment of the words surrounding that topic to label it as positive, negative or neutral. This type of in depth analysis is exactly what companies need in order to gain a deeper understanding and actionable data that will become the stimulus for positive change.
Maintaining a steady stream of new customers is essential for any retailer looking to be successful in their industry. While digital advertising, the promise of free Wi-Fi and branded Popsockets may help to build awareness or even secure a customer or two, Local Brand Management capitalizes on the hundreds to thousands of potential customers using local search every day.
Schedule a Free Demo to learn how we can help you with the tools necessary to expertly manage your local brand presence.