Moving Towards Local Store Marketing And Advertising For National Companies

National companies have been struggling with a significant change to branding, marketing, and advertising over the past few years. Search engines, the mobile industry, and consumers are looking for businesses, products, and services in their area using local search. This puts the need for digital branding, marketing, and advertising to the store, office, franchise, or building level.

National companies are not particularly enthusiastic about pushing their branding, marketing, and advertising to the local level due to budgets and the level of work required to manage these activities at the local level. In some cases, their ad agencies are avoiding the topic, and in other cases the company’s staff is more focused on advertising and less involved with organic marketing.

The reality is Google displays the Google Carousel of local results very prominently at the top of the search results before advertisers. The map of local business listings with the corresponding locations appear along with the customer ratings and reviews with yellow stars that stand out to any local consumer. Google Carousel is making the local consumer decision-making process much easier.

Local Store Marketing Factors for Consideration

  • Map listings should be actively managed. Passively watching them does not result in visibility.
  • Securing map listings through PIN code verification will help avoid potential hijackings. Using a bulk upload into an account has proven to not have the same level of security.
  • Marketing materials can be managed on a per location basis.
  • Manage Customer Ratings and Reviews. Responding to all reviews and having a program to solicit new reviews is imperative to stay competitive.
  • Using local social media marketing will be more meaningful to local consumers.

Local Marketing Process vs. Data Feed Syndication Tasks

If you’re looking for methods to improve your local store placements in Google’s results, there are many factors that go into the marketing process. National companies have been focused on using data feeds through syndication services to push their local store information out to the Internet at large. While this is an admirable starting point, it is exactly that–a starting point.

Ask the following questions about your marketing process and you may find why the data feeds are not effective to get the local store to show-up in the local search results at Google.

  • Have you run a keyword + city ranking report for each location? Do these listings show up in the organic search results? This report alone will show how effective the data feeds really are for marketing.
  • Have you PIN code verified each individual location at the top 10 consumer used search engines and websites? Not only to avoid hijackings, but to have the ability to manage the marketing materials and information within the listings.
  • Are you actively managing the customer ratings and reviews or just passively waiting for a negative review to show up? Keep in mind, even if you are in an industry where you cannot solicit for ratings and reviews, that does not mean the local consumers aren’t posting their feedback.
  • Are you using local store landing pages on your corporate website? Do these landing pages use structured data classification?
  • Are you using social community business pages at Google+ and Facebook for each location?

Top Local Marketing Activities To Be Found Locally

Unlike advertising, marketing is a process that takes time to build and, in most cases, requires labor to follow through on the process. You find a starting point and continue to manage the activities based on results. You can then modify these activities as changes occur in the industry, competitors become more competitive, and/or your business changes.

Some of the activities you will start with include:

  • PIN code verify listing
  • Update the local store information
  • Verify the syntax of the address for consistent use
  • Confirm business description, categories, map markers, etc.
  • Confirm the citations and how they appear to the Internet industry
  • Manage Customer Ratings & Reviews, including responding to what has been posted
  • Check for duplicate listings
  • Check for stores that are closed
  • Use Google Local Map on your website
  • Use local social media marketing business pages
  • Engage in Google Adwords Express for hyper local advertising
  • …and, yes, we do need to make sure the data feed syndication is part of this process

The Overall Status of Local Store Marketing

With the Internet industry, the mobile industry, and local consumers using the results in desktop and mobile searches, insuring local store information is accurate is only the beginning. Getting these stores to show up in the search results requires a strategic marketing program for each location. Once the store shows up in the search results there are three additional elements of importance:

  1. Each store has current marketing materials in their listings (not only in the corporate website’s landing page).
  2. Insure your customer ratings and reviews are compelling for a local consumer to want to shop at your store.
  3. Each store’s social media marketing should support local consumer awareness and engagement.

While the traditional yellow pages may no longer be effective, the budget that was once allocated towards these books is now having to be reconsidered (even if partially) for local store marketing and advertising.

By Melih Oztalay SEO Tips.

Foursquare Goes All In With Personalized Local Search

Today, Foursquare unveiled a new look, new logo, and most importantly they announced a new feature that will be a core focus of their business going forward – personalized local search.

Local search, as we know it today, doesn’t “get” its users, Foursquare contends. With that being the case, we all get similar results when conducting a local search in our area.

Fourquare asks: “Why should two very different people get the same recommendations when they visit Paris? Or the same list of places when they’re looking for a bar?”

In a couple weeks that’s about to change, as Foursquare is set to roll out a brand new version that is all about its users. Tell Foursquare what you like, and it will match you up with a local establishment that suits your taste.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Anyone who still uses Foursquare to check in will need to download Swarm to keep checking in. Starting tomorrow (July 24), all Foursquare checkins will be moved to its new app, Swarm. All friends, photos, and check-in history will appear automatically in Swarm.

If you use both Swarm and Foursquare, they are said to work seamlessly together.

The Foursquare logo is changing from the check-in checkmark to something representing the new Foursquare.

We designed it to be a mix of map pin and superhero emblem. We’ve always thought of Foursquare as giving you superpowers to explore your city, and our new logo reflects that vision. It’s coming soon to a homescreen near you.

Personalized Local Search

When you open the new Foursquare app, no two people will have the same experience. The app will be 100% customized to your tastes after getting to know you.

When you add tastes, follow experts, or even just walk around for a few days, the app will start to understand the kinds of places you like to visit. Your check-in history up to this point will be used to help shape your recommendations when the new version of the app launches, the company says.

“This is the beginning of the ‘personalized local search’ future we’ve been talking about since we started,” Foursquare explains that this couldn’t be done without its 50 million members.

The announcement states that the new Foursquare will be here “really soon”.

By Matt Southern SEO Tips.

Local Spanish Keywords: One Size Does Not Fit All

Everybody needs local SEO. And if your business is local and has the potential to attract Latino customers, then you REALLY need local SEO. Using the right local Spanish keywords, customized to the Spanish-speaking community in your area, could make a huge difference in your business.

Why?

Because if you are a baker selling cakes, and your local Spanish community has a majority of Colombians, you should advertise your delicious “ponqués”. But if your potential customers are Mexicans, then don´t forget to include the word “pastel”. Better yet, use both words in your local SEO.

Most Spanish-speaking Latinos understand most types of Spanish spoken in the world. An Argentinian can communicate easily with a Mexican, or a Puerto-Rican with a Bolivian. However, depending on the subject, they might need clarification on a few words. And there is no subject that requires more clarification than food items.

Check out this interesting figure that came out of a recent study on Hispanic shoppers: Grocery was the largest category for Hispanic consumption in the retail sector, nearing 80% of the total annual sales of $18 billion! This category includes fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, and meat. Fruits and vegetables are one of the areas where things need to be named properly for Spanish-speakers to understand what is that you are selling. Here are a few more examples:

Fruits Spanish Names

Confusing? Very. The list goes on and on: strawberries may be called frutillas or fresas; peaches might be melocotones or duraznos; corn is maíz, choclo, elote, or jojoto; grapefruit can be either pomelo or toronja.

There are many other areas like transportation (car: carro, coche, auto; bus: camioneta, guagua, autobús) or clothing (underwear: trusas, bragas; running shoes: tenis, zapatillas deportivas; skirt: falda, pollera) where differences are common as well.

True, not all Hispanics speak Spanish. In fact, Spanish-speaking Latinos are declining in the US. According to the Pew Research Center, the population growth is now being driven by the children and grandchildren of immigrants who prefer English.

Pew Research Center

Still, according to the 2007 American Community Survey of the US Census Bureau, 28% of the Hispanic households in the US were classified as speaking only Spanish, 22% spoke English exclusively, and the rest used Spanish to some extent. Spanish is still alive and well in many communities, and it´s extremely important for some companies to consider this when marketing to heavily Hispanic areas.

McDonald´s, for example, has an entity called the Language Advisory Council (which I happily coordinated since last year), just to make sure the the Spanish words we use in training manuals, and e-learnings for employees are correct. Our team conducts monthly surveys to determine for example if “syrup” should be translated as “jarabe” or “sirope”, or if a cloth should be “empapado” or “remojado” (soaked) in a cleaning solution.

Know The Demographics Of Your Zip Code

The Census Bureau provides a great tool to do some research regarding your zip code population. It’s the American Fact Finder Tool:

American Fact Finder1

Type your zip code, and you will get a screen with lots of useful information. Click the Hispanic or Latino by Type link to get an idea of the types of Latinos in your community.

American Fact Finder2

In this example Mexicans are the overwhelming majority. However, Latinos from El Salvador and Honduras are a prominent part of the community, too. Venezuelans and Argentinians are not that numerous.

American Fact Finder3

If your product is one of those that has multiple Spanish names, use SEO to your advantage.

Customize Your Spanish

Ideally, if you have a lot of potential local Latino customers you should create some Spanish content in your web page/blog talking about your products. At the very least, include some paragraphs that appeal to your demographics.

If you speak Spanish, it shouldn´t be too difficult to approach some of your clients from México, El Salvador, or Honduras, and ask their opinion or advice about which keywords will work best. That will be the best survey you can conduct.

If you don´t, then you can use any of the multiple services online to get your copy translated. However, be very clear about the type of Spanish that you need. Some good resources are:

  • ProZ: It allows you to ask quick questions to the translators community about specific words, and also you can hire translators.
  • Elance: It´s a great resource for quickly finding a translator with a specific background. Search for freelance translators adding the country you need them from. Elance has also a review system similar to eBay.

Make Sure You Are Reaching Your Mobile Hispanic Customers

Mobile is important for any business, but if your business is a brick and mortar one in a Latino area, the right Spanish SEO will drive customers to your door — for two reasons.

  1. Hispanics lead smartphone use in the US., according to Nielsen 72% of Latinos over 18 own smartphones. This is nearly 10 percentage points higher than the national average. Matt Cuts said at the SMX West conference last month: “By the end of 2014 we expect mobile searches to surpass desktop ones.”
  2. If you haven’t noticed, the map pack shows the results above the organic results when searching on mobile.

Map Pack

Quoting Greg Gifford, from Moz: “Showing up in the map pack or the Local Carousel is incredibly important when a business is trying to pull in customers from the immediate area.”

So if you put together all this information a picture emerges that may be interesting and lucrative for your business:

  • There is an important percentage of the Hispanic population that speaks Spanish.
  • Spanish speaking Latinos search in Spanish. Bilingual Hispanics may search in Spanish too.
  • Groceries and local retailers are a major spending source for Latinos.
  • Local searches on mobile are growing. Local SEO in Spanish will bring customers to your doors.
  • Know your local Hispanic population and cater to them.
  • Grab local Spanish clients with the right keywords for your business.

And remember, you don’t need to be an expert in Hispanic demographics or even speak Spanish to get some quality targeted Spanish words in your web page. You just have to find the right help.

By Lourdes Alcaniz SEO Tips.