The Internet is full of people willing to tell you how to leverage globalisation and advertising to create niches giving you a global reach, but for the vast majority of businesses, their customers are more local and time-bound.
With banner blindness growing and voice searches increasing, marketing and sales will become more "hyperlocal", so it’s time to optimise your marketing to capture the fastest-growing search term - “near me” which are growing by over 250% each year.
What's driving the growth
The general model of marketing suggests that people will identify a need, spend time researching for a solution and then make a choice from a set of product and supplier options.
However, consumers are becoming less patient and more impetuous. We know what we want and we want it now, and, as we’re searching on our mobiles, we want it here!
Time has become a factor in decision making, and consumers are willing to pay a little more and travel to collect goods, rather than pay for shipping and wait for delivery, which has lead to the growth of “click to collect” delivery option, as people become more time-constrained. Therefore distance to the product has become more relevant.
This is obviously true for restaurants and events, where the opportunity exists now, as people make snap decisions to eat out or find a different pub or club when out.
Marketers are now talking about “micro-moments”, opportunities that exist now, but won’t be repeated, so you need to structure your marketing to capture them.
How does this work?
Whether you’re on your phone or desktop, your ISP needs to know where you are, so records your general location, unless you tell it not too, and most people don’t.
When you conduct a local search, for example, “ restaurants near me”, Google prioritises results close to your location and will rank these higher than the more general results. In addition, Google gives the user the option to view locations on a map, making results easier to navigate to.
Your webpages and site need to be optimised to catch this traffic. If you have a physical location, you need to make sure this is reflected on Google maps. If you’re servicing a specific area, your SEO needs to reflect this.
So how do you go about making your site Local Friendly?
There are lots of obvious ways that you can tag your location, from simply tagging your location on Google maps and setting up a Google MyBusiness Profile to including location-specific code in your Header which will be categorised by search engines to recognise your location.
Obviously, as location-based searches are most relevant to mobile users, making sure your site is mobile friendly is a must.
But, like all websites, optimising the content is by far the most effective tool to make your site hyperlocal.
This means making sure your content is relevant to the area you are targeting and the people who're living there. Make sure you link to local businesses and reference local events and example. Include local pictures rather than generic stock images, as these are instantly recognisable to local searchers, and familiarity breeds comfort!
See past the organic. Hyperlocal as a brand value
If Estate Agency is all about "location, location, location", then having a reputation for being the leading agent in that location is obviously going to position you strongly with prospective buyers and sellers.
Castle Estate Agents espouses the Keller Williams touchpoint culture which emphasis nurturing relationships with a discrete audience who are likely to either be in the market for a home in the future or be in a position to influence other potential buyers and sellers.
With a large database of contacts, the company make extensive use of targeted, engaging email content to both keep contact and reinforce the company's positioning for professionalism and local knowledge within specific geographical regions.
Castle segments its audience based on geographical interest and sends regular emails that provide relevant local content to residents, whether it's showcasing new or popular restaurants, highlighting upcoming events or discussing matters of local importance such as major planning approvals or infrastructural work.
Buying or selling homes isn't mentioned once. It's all focussed on what's relevant to the audience at a hyperlocal level.
And it's paid off considerably.
Open rates have more than doubled across the board ( trebled where video content is used!) and unsubscribe rates are non-existent, so the base is growing rapidly and more engaged than before.
This success has migrated down the funnel as well, with listings up more than 55% since the campaign began and an increase in referral business
Location is going to be one of the most important criteria for customer-facing businesses over the next few years, as consumers seek the fastest need fulfilment, so optimising your presence for hyperlocal searches will position your business as the supplier of choice for the local minded consumer.