Drive Local Traffic to Your Business With Google My Business Posts

Google My Business listings are one of the most effective ways for businesses to be discovered and engaged with on Google. We’ve marketed thousands of clients nationwide from apartment communities, senior living communities, auto dealerships, hotels and hospitals, and have seen first-hand how effective GMB listings are for local businesses.

Across a sample of 409 clients, we found that 28% of their website sessions came from GMB listings. These listings don’t only deliver more traffic than the typical organic search listings, they also deliver higher quality traffic. Website sessions coming from Google My Business listings convert 29% more than the average traffic source.

Google gives businesses plenty of opportunities to promote their company and improve their Google Business profile, but most local businesses don’t take advantage of them or don’t know they exist. In this blog post, we’ll explain how Google determines which listing to show to searchers, how you can use GMB posts to drive local search traffic to your website, and how you can use GMB to convert searchers into leads.

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DOOH and Why You Should Be Investing in It

Innovation. That’s not the word most marketers think of when they hear “Out-of-Home Marketing”. Those old billboards and in-window flyers may seem outdated, and hard to scale. Now, what if I told you that Out-of-Home Marketing has an expected growth rate of 12.6% and can be used to reach your audience in new ways. Welcome to the world of DOOH.

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Are Marketers Getting Too Personal?

personalized marketing

Personalization is becoming a buzzword in the marketing industry. As organizations gain greater access to data collection and marketing automation tools, they naturally turn towards hyper-targeted marketing strategies in an attempt to better connect with their customers.

For many marketers, this unparalleled access to customer information and targeting tools feels like the dawn of the golden age of marketing, but there are consumers on the other side of the exchange who are left feeling differently. Facebook’s move towards a “clear history” feature and encrypted messaging are a sign of the recent pushback the general public has shown towards personalized marketing.

Smarter HQ (a marketing automation platform that works with large national retail and travel brands) found that while 72% of consumers only engage with marketing messages tailored to their interests, 63% of consumers stop buying from brands whose personalization experiences appear to be creepy.

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Google Ads Now Tracks Store Visits

Google store visits

If you own or operate a location-based business, you’ve likely dreamed of the day you can attribute marketing dollars to real-life foot traffic. Google started working on making this dream a reality in 2014, but the feature only rolled out to a limited group of high traffic companies. Over the last few months, Google started making a larger feature roll out to small businesses and enterprises. Advertisers can now track the campaigns, keywords, and devices that lead to store visits in Google’s ad platform. Up until this point, advertisers have been able to attribute ad campaign success in Google Ads through website traffic, website events, online purchases, and phone calls. While these metrics do a great job of measuring the intent of searchers to visit a location, store visits allow businesses to see how this online intent actually translates to foot traffic.

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Should I use AMP to Improve My Google Ranking?

AMP Pages to Improve Google Ranking

If you aren’t keeping up with mobile optimization trends, you won’t rank as well in search engines or ad platforms. You’ve likely heard by now that Google penalizes site designs that aren’t responsive to mobile. As a result, many companies have adapted their websites in the last few years to become mobile responsive. But what many companies don’t realize is a mobile-first experience has come to mean more than, “does it work on mobile?”. What mobile first really means is, “does your site work better on mobile?”. In an attempt to stay ahead of the mobile movement, some companies have gone as far as restructuring their site to prioritize mobile page speeds above all else. What are these companies doing to beat out their competition? “AMP”ing their landing pages. What is AMP? How is it giving companies a competitive advantage? Should my company be using it? Don’t worry, we cover the answers to these questions and more in this article.

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Is mobile usage killing the internet cookie?

With the rapid increase of mobile device usage, there is quickly becoming a shift in how digital advertising is being conducted. Digital advertising has been strongly reliant on “internet cookies” in the past, but the future seems to hold a different path for the industry.

History of the Internet Cookie

Going back before the inception of digital advertising, a Netscape programmer named Lou Montulli created the “internet cookie” as a way to track user selections in a virtual shopping cart. Since 1994, these cookies have evolved to become an intricate and crucial system for advertisers to track users’ desktop browsing activity.

Current State of Internet Cookies

With the average American now spending roughly 4.7 hours per day on a mobile device, there is a looming threat that cookies’ long reign over the internet is coming to an end. A recent marketing survey revealed that 60% of marketers expect that they will not rely on third-party tracking cookies in the next two years.

What’s Wrong with Cookies?

Until recently, internet cookies have been the industry-leading way of tracking user’s overall web activity. However, cookies are becoming less effective as they track browsers, not people. This used to work in the old state of the internet as people all logged in on the single-family desktop to do their browsing. Things are quite different these days as most people switch back and forth between multiple connected devices, ultimately making cookies ineffective.

Another issue with the internet cookie is the fact that they do not work within mobile apps – which is where the majority of mobile traffic happens. In addition to not working with mobile apps, cookies are now on the defensive against browsers, like Apple’s Safari, who have essentially banned third-party cookies from their platforms altogether.

The New Direction for Digital Advertising

The constant changes regarding how consumers obtain their information has forced the hands of digital advertisers everywhere into finding new ways to identify and track their traffic. This comes in the form of “identity-based” tracking. For example, Facebook lets their users utilize their Facebook credentials to log onto other sites and apps. This allows them to track user mobile sessions across multiple platforms and serve up personalized ads accordingly.

Another example of this new style of tracking can be found on Apple devices. Apple assigns a unique identifier for advertisers, or IDFA, to every iOS user. After this identifier is applied, it allows Apple to attribute activity to a single person across the entire Apple community.

We’ve gone beyond the cookie with our Defined Audience Targeting. Rather than focus just on cookies, we match offline data sources with someone’s mobile ID and online persona. We are able to filter down to the IP address of the person’s house and target them without the use of cookies.

While it’s true the cookie is dying, it’s not going away anytime soon. And new tactics are being developed to make sure we can still get your message in front of the customers you want to reach most.

All of this information goes to show that as long as there are products to sell, advertisers will find a way to track and attribute the traffic.


4 Ways Small Businesses Can Be Competitive Using Google Shopping

Google Shopping AdsDo you use Google Shopping to sell your products or do you think your business is too small to compete with larger businesses that have bigger budgets? With careful planning and execution, using Product Listing Ads within Google Shopping can be a very effective digital advertising platform. Here are four strategies for your smaller e-commerce business to find success.

  1. Focus on your niche

What makes you unique? Why would someone buy from you? Your uniqueness adds value and will make your ads stand out to online shoppers. Focus your campaigns on new, niche, or unknown brands – different products that aren’t sold by big box retailers or Amazon. This exclusivity helps separate you from your competition. Selling unique products means there’s less competition to appear in Google Shopping for relevant searches.

  1. Segment your campaigns

Segmenting your campaigns correctly will help you deliver ads to the most relevant, ready-to-buy audiences. Focus on capturing high-converting traffic by making sure your ads appear to high-conversion queries. By segmenting your campaigns into the type of queries that receive high, medium and low conversion rates you can set bid amounts that correlate to the user’s intent. Bid more for high-converting queries and less for generic searches.

  1. Leverage location-based targeting

Target location to make sure your ads are reaching shoppers who are most likely to purchase your products. Are consumers in certain areas more likely to be interested in what you are selling? Depending on what your goals are, you can bid higher for your ads to show in very specific areas. If you sell gas fireplaces with all the bells and whistles, you may decide to bid more for ads shown in high-income areas with colder climates where buyers have a budget for your custom fireplaces.

  1. Use RLSA lists

Most consumers who click on a Product Listing Ad are usually close to making a purchase decision. Pairing your ads with RLSA (remarketing lists for search ads) allows you to bid more for ads that will be shown to people who have already visited your site or made a previous purchase. Consumers who have existing knowledge of your business are more likely to make a purchase.

The key to making a sale is delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. We can help you create and execute a multi-faceted advertising campaign that puts your products in front of interested buyers. Contact us today!

 


How Can Data Drive Local Campaigns?

Data Driven MarketingRelevant, effective digital ad campaigns are data-driven. Implementing a data-first strategy is key to ensuring return on investment on local campaigns. A recent report by SweetIQ shared the importance of using data to learn about who your consumers are, how they found you, and the products they’re interested in. What sort of data should you gather from different platforms including Google My Business, Facebook, Foursquare, and Bing to successfully execute your marketing strategy?

Google My Business: Google handles about 3.5 billion searches per day. With so much search activity, Google provides a wealth of information. You can discover how consumers are finding your business (local listings, paid, or organic search) and what location-specific action or conversions consumers are completing. Knowing insights on a per-location basis allows you to develop highly targeted marketing campaigns.

 

Data to gather and analyze: conversion clicks against in-store visits to assess which stores are drawing customers in, which listings are gaining the most views

Facebook: Facebook users spend an average of 40 minutes on Facebook per day, making it a prime place to advertise. Your Facebook ads need to be engaging, relevant, and accurately targeted to reach your audience. Facebook’s competitive landscape makes evaluating your analytics even more important. Understanding demographics and ad engagement are critical for successful local marketing.

Data to gather and analyze: audience demographics, post reach, shares, visits to page, and audience response.

Bing: Google may garner the most attention, but don’t neglect this search engine. Bing captures over 30 percent of the US search market and its users are ready to spend money (stat: ). Your competitors may be discounting the value of this platform, which means you can occupy a greater space for less ad spend.

Data to gather and analyze: user demographics, volume of impressions

Foursquare: Foursquare has 50+ million active monthly users and over 2 million businesses are listed on the app. You can gather insight into local search behavior and capture traffic of users who are looking for something quick and local. Leverage data to launch location-based campaigns and market to nearby consumers with special incentives and offers.

Data to gather and analyze: total and average check-ins per each location, number of new vs returning visitors, busiest hours, and demographics


Want to Improve Your Local Search Ranking? Focus on Mobile.

Mobile SearchWhen consumers search for local options on mobile, they usually have an immediate need and want quick answers, close to where they are. Optimizing for local search is important, but if you aren’t optimizing for mobile, you may miss out on your best source of local traffic. Many of those local searches come with a high purchase intent, making local mobile searches an incredibly important opportunity for your business. How can you structure your paid search campaigns to make sure your ads are appearing for local shoppers who want what you’re selling?

Use shorter phrases and keywords

Mobile users use short phrases and fewer keywords than desktop users. Go after short, concise phrases and keywords that your audience will be typing into their phones. For paid search ads, you can find mobile-specific keyword information by checking the Search Terms report in Google AdWords. This list will give you the searches people entered that triggered your ads.

Keep it local

Local searchers will be more likely to respond to ads from businesses that appear to be close to them. Clearly, state your city in your title and content to confirm that you are a local business. Break out your paid search campaigns according to the location to ensure that the location a potential customer is searching for shows up in your content. When searchers know you’re just down the street, your ad will be much more relevant to their query.

Use mobile ad extensions

Ad extensions can boost your ads by providing additional information to searchers. Experiment with different extensions and see which ones are the most effective. For mobile search, consider the following extensions:

  • Location extensions: Location extensions shows your address and lets searchers know just how local you are.
  • Call Extensions: If people often contact your business before they come in, you can eliminate a step for them by making the click on your ad lead to a call or text.
  • Sitelinks: Sitelink extensions let you focus on some of your site specifics that make your business stand out, like driving directions, special promotions, or a “contact us” page.

Test Local Search Ads on Google Maps

Local Search Ads or Promoted Pins increase the accessibility and visibility of your business for local searches by putting your ad right on Google’s Map. You can use this ad to feature promotions, incentives, and allow potential customers to search your real-time inventory before they head to your store.

Implement the right mix

Successful mobile advertising needs to be the right combination of keywords to fit Google’s algorithm paired with a great user experience to engage customers. When you create the right mix of keywords and relevant content, your message will reach your ready-to-buy audience. If you’re interested in learning more about mobile advertising contact us today. 


Get Local: 5 Tips to Reach Your Nearby Audience

Local Reputation ManagementAs mobile usage continues to grow, consumers are conducting more searches with local intent. In the past two years, Google saw a 2x increase in “near me” and “nearby” searches, with 80 percent of those searches occurring on mobile devices. Google refers to these geographic-specific searches as “I-Want-to-Go moments.” Google wants to better serve users by personalizing their results and delivering relevant information based on their exact location.

 

Hyperlocal targeting, or advertising to customers based upon their location, has the potential to connect your business with active buyers. How you optimize your content can make the difference between showing up at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) or getting lost in the mix. Incorporate these five tips in your online strategy to establish your brand within the local market and drive traffic to your business.

 

  1. Adopt a mobile-first mindset

Make sure your business has a mobile-first mindset, including a mobile-friendly site design. Prominently feature contact information and include click-to-call or text buttons. The easier you make it for the mobile user to gather information, the more traffic you’ll generate.

 

  1. Complete your Google My Business profile

Every element added into your Google My Business page can provide important signals to assist with local ranking. Fill out every field relevant to your business and include high-quality images and other indicators that show a user a glimpse of your business.

 

  1. Get More Reviews

One of the biggest indicators of a successful business is positive reviews. Businesses with great ratings will always beat out those with mediocre or average reviews. Not sure where you stand on local performance? Take a look at our free local business listing snapshot report. We pull in all the data from our reviews and local listings and tell you where you’re doing great, and where you need some help.

 

  1. Include any schema data markup on your pages

Provide Google with as much information as possible about your business by incorporating schema data markup (for each location) on your applicable website pages. Using schema data markup, you can precisely define various business attributes, including business type, hours, address, phone number and more. By clearly telling Google what information is being presented on your page, you make it easier for your business to appear for relevant search queries.

 

  1. Monitor progress

Once you begin to optimize your content for hyperlocal targeting, track your keyword rankings at the local level. The closer you can get to your exact business location, the more accurate your information will be. Use this kind of data to gain insight to guide your strategy as you plan for the future.