The Importance of Local SEO in Omnichannel Marketing
The overlap between online and offline channels is more prominent than ever in today’s marketing landscape. We connect to the internet regularly through smartphones and wearable technology. But, there’s a resurgence of tangible, physical communication. Think record players and vintage clothing, a trend towards old-school authenticity.
Marketers are left somewhere in the middle, making an omnichannel approach crucial for any growth strategy. Here’s how you can use local SEO to service every channel, boosting your sales at every turn.
[Read more: How to Measure and Track SEO Success]
WHAT IS OMNICHANNEL MARKETING?
By definition, omnichannel marketing is a cross-channel content strategy. It involves using all possible channels and touchpoints to build better relationships with your consumers. Whether it’s traditional methods like outdoor advertising, point-of-sale, and radio or digital media and online experiences, you’re communicating on every level.
Setting your business apart from its competitors ultimately comes down to sales. Your product or service needs to find your customers just when it’s needed most. How do you do that? By incorporating an omnichannel marketing strategy.
65% of consumers start a task on their smartphone but finish it on another device. What does this mean? That your overarching brand presence is more important than the individual channel it features on. What gives a brand power is consistency across every single platform. Wherever consumers interact with your brand, they need to recognize it, walking away with the same feeling.
WHAT IS LOCAL SEO?
Local SEO refers to a Search Engine Optimization strategy that improves your online visibility in local search results on Google. Any business with a physical location or service particular to a geographical area can benefit from local SEO. An easy check is to search for any important keywords related to your business. If a map with three listings underneath it appears, you should be incorporating local SEO.
Google uses various processes to rank the thousands of sites on the Search Engine Results Page in seconds. The algorithm checks several things before displaying the sites that best suit your search query. Focusing your attention on your SEO will boost your relevancy, optimizing your visibility and prominence online.
Local SEO takes this a step further by including a proximity factor. In other words, Google takes your location into account before serving you information. It’s no use giving you the address for Max’s Bagels if it’s in a different state. Until recently, search was limited to desktop computers. With the global adoption of smartphones, it’s become even more critical.
SEOs ROLE IN OMNICHANNEL MARKETING
In the last decade, SEO has surged in the world of digital marketing. Not because it wasn’t relevant before, but because people finally understand its value. SEO is a long-term play. It’s not something you can put into place overnight, reaping the rewards from day one. You’ll continually have to work on it, but the results will be well worth the effort.
Think about today’s consumer. They’re overwhelmed by messaging. Wherever they look, there’s marketing, and most of our consumers have started to block out the noise. These days it takes 6 – 8 touches before a consumer converts. Another reason for the omnichannel approach most brands have adopted.
Remember, of all the activities a user performs before making a purchase, search sits firmly at the top of the list. 81% of people perform an online search before making a large purchase, and 75% of people never scroll past the first page results. It’s a pretty clear case for omnichannel SEO.
WHEN DID IT ALL CHANGE?
In 2013 Google re-engineered its algorithm. The emphasis shifted from keywords to user-intent, focusing on the meaning behind the search term. As a user, this was a significant shift. As a marketer, it shook up the ranking system completely.
Your site now needed to match a user’s intent to rank for a term, matching their expectation. If your search listing had a more compelling title or call-to-action, your chance of getting clicked improved exponentially. But it doesn’t end there. Once the viewer lands on your site page, Google continues to monitor their actions. If they bounce and choose another site, you are less relevant.
Suddenly your page content becomes just as important as your SEO. Marketers have to ensure that their page is engaging and easy to use, reducing that bounce rate wherever possible.
This simple example highlights why you can’t do SEO on it’s own. It’s a fundamental pillar to bring customers to your site, but you’ve got to ensure it’s worth staying there. Having an omnichannel marketing approach creates this kind of thinking, understanding how your various touchpoints feed into each other. Your SEO manager, web developer, content manager, and paid media specialist all need to align on what they’re doing. Working channel by channel is better than nothing, but you’re never going to reach your full potential without an all-encompassing approach.
3 WAYS TRADITIONAL OFFLINE STRATEGIES CAN INTEGRATE ONLINE
1. Expand Your Brick And Mortar Business By Selling Online
Having a presence online is crucial, no matter the size of your business. Whether you’re a store, office, or restaurant, incorporating local SEO is one of the best ways to help people find you. Your website or social media pages are what direct people to your business. Make sure they’re up to date, and the information is correct. More importantly, add your business address to Google.
Once you’ve got your online presence in place, why not make some extra money selling online. Depending on your offering, this may be relatively simple to set up. You can package and sell your products. Write an ebook about your services, or set up a seminar. The options are endless, allowing you to generate conversions through various channels. You need to keep up with the times and make sure you’re not wasting money on marketing that falls flat. According to GetVoIP, 59% of people prefer brands that respond to customer complaints on social media. This means companies should invest in a good plan for how their company will be responsive or else risk losing customers who don’t want them anymore.
2. Leverage The Power Of Content Marketing
Content marketing is an excellent tactic for your business. It includes blog posts, social media, videos, reports, podcasts, or webinars. If you manage an offline business, look for ways to release content online, driving your website traffic.
Many traditional businesses fail to consider a content marketing strategy. Merely having a website or a Facebook page is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, but take it further with top-quality content. Credible content that engages your customers, building that brand love, gives you a massive advantage over any competitors in your area.
3. Create or Participate in Live Events
Whether you’re online or offline, it always helps to interact with people in a live setting. Spend some time on your public relations, branding yourself as an expert in your area. Talk at local community centers or sponsor events in the area to get your name out there. You want to spark a conversation with potential consumers, introducing them to your brand and showcasing the face behind your business. It’s a powerful way to create brand awareness and foster a loyal following.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH OMNICHANNEL SEO
Step 1: Situational Analysis
Spend some time understanding where you are. Use data from your SEO analysis to evaluate your customers, consider your competitors, and identify areas for growth. Rushing into tactics before understanding your starting point is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your business have an SEO strategy? If so, how good is it?
- Are you targeting the right audience?
- Does your strategy focus on growth?
- Are you easily found on Google’s mobile search results for business, critical keywords or geographic locations?
- How effective is your competitors’ strategy?
- How do you create a future-proof strategy? You don’t want to be vulnerable to algorithm updates.
- Does everyone in your team understand the importance of an SEO strategy?
To have a successful omnichannel marketing campaign, you need data. You must know your consumers, understanding how they experience your business at every touchpoint.
Here are some ways you can gather insights:
- Online surveys or reviews are an excellent way to gather feedback. Add a chatbot to your site, adjusting questions regularly.
- Incorporate a social listening tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social.
- Implement pixels so you can track where your buyer goes after they leave your channels. You can use this for remarketing ads or creating lookalike audiences for product recommendations.
- Create buying personas to segment your audiences. Having a clear understanding of their character traits allows you to optimize your communication.
Step 2: Objectives
Like any strategy, setting measurable goals and KPIs will help you assign budgets and resources effectively. It’s a fundamental component to prioritizing tasks for your new SEO omnichannel approach.
Start with the following:
- Look for an external SEO specialist to oversee your suggested process and objectives. You’ll need their digital expertise to convert your strategy into measurable goals.
- Set up your analytics, outsourcing it if necessary. You may need to make technical adjustments to your website, implementing new tracking tools. Collecting data, continually optimizing your tactics on every touchpoint is critical.
- Make sure everyone in your team has a clear idea of the new process. Spend some time explaining your goals, upskilling, and educating those in need. Everyone must be able to identify when you’re going off track.
Step 3: Strategy
Your objectives should drive your strategy. Make sure you identify your ideal customer, what they’re searching for online, and their location. A keyword analysis is going to help you identify your prospective customer’s intent. Understanding this allows you to create the information they want. Whether it’s live events, blog articles, or social media posts, you’ll be making what they’re searching for online.
Step 4: Pick Your Tactics
Your tactics will vary based on your overarching strategy, but you can look at the following:
- On-page technical SEO factors for your e-commerce website.
- Optimizing text and images on your product pages.
- Content creation to match visitor needs.
- Update website structure by topic and category, introducing more search terms.
- Introduce lead generation tactics like newsletter sign-ups, building up your automation systems.
- Use your organic search to build remarketing lists for paid media.
Take a look at tools like Google My Business to help boost your visibility with local audiences. It’ll help you craft a business profile, incorporate ways customers can reach you, and give you insights into how customers connect.
Once you’ve confirmed your tools and tactics, assign your budgets and resources. It’s a lot to take on, so you may need to delegate tasks to relevant team members. You can outsource some of your non-SEO-related tasks like content marketing to an agency but, don’t lose sight of your omnichannel approach—un-silo your departments. Encouraging a sense of ownership and collaboration for every channel is a shoo-in for success.
Step 5: Get Started
When you’re launching a new strategy, it’s important to remember to make people accountable. You would have assigned specific tasks during the tactics phase, ensuring you set deadlines for them.
Creating a project plan is one of the simplest ways to outline each touchpoint. Make sure it gives everyone a sense of the bigger picture, and remember to highlight your targets. Working towards a common goal is a great way to motivate your team.
Once your strategy is in motion, you can’t take your foot off the gas. It helps if you stay in control, measuring metrics and monitoring progress every step of the way. If you consistently measure, analyze, and improve, you’ll only see a better return on investment.
If you have the budget, it’s worth building a dashboard that displays your analytics—feeding all of your metrics into a central place. It can get a little complex, so you may need to invest in a structure. These days, data is everything, so it’s a worthy investment.
START YOUR OMNICHANNEL PERSONALIZATION JOURNEY
Don’t let today’s marketing landscape overwhelm you. While it may feel like you’re casting your net across too many channels, this fluid approach is a sure way to increase conversions. Ensure your local SEO is up to scratch because all your marketing efforts culminate in search results. Creating relevant content, engaging with your customers in different environments is how you stay top-of-mind.
Dallin Porter is a Communications Manager at Galactic Fed. A self-motivated and strategic professional with 7+ years, experience, and success working within the communications, marketing, and content management industries.
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