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Managing Productive Remote Sales Teams

Managing Productive Remote Sales Teams
Managing Productive Remote Sales Teams

Whether you are transitioning to a full-time remote sales model or it’s your usual mode of operation, you soon realize that the change is more complex than merely handing out laptops. A new set of systems, strategies, tools, and expectations are in play when managing productive remote sales teams.

How you set up your remote sales team has a profound effect on personal productivity, the efficiency of the entire sales team, and the revenue of the whole business. (No pressure!)

Your Remote Sales Team CAN Be More Productive at Home

If you’re worried, know that there is a reason to hold out hope that this is a good thing. It is possible your new remote sales teams may actually thrive with new, more productive, and less costly sales systems in place.

In fact, you might never go back to the office desk sales model. Many studies have shown that remote workers are just as, if not more, productive than in-office teams:

  • 77% of remote employees say they’re more productive when working from home. – CoSo Cloud
  • A report by Aon Consulting showed that some organizations have seen productivity gains of up to 43% after adopting virtual teams. -HBR
  • A study of 80 global software teams indicated that remote teams can outperform those that share an office (if well-managed). -HBR
  • If they could, 99% of people would choose to work remotely, at least part-time, for the rest of their careers. – Buffer

Whether you have already switched to remote sales or being forced to sell remotely due to the pandemic restrictions, we’ve got tips on how to make your remote sales team more productive.

3 Best Practices for Managing Productive Remote Sales Teams

According to HubSpot’s 2019 Remote Work Report, communication with co-workers, feelings of loneliness, and overworking are challenges that remote workers face daily. Managing a remote sales team can be overwhelming, but these tips and best practices will help you set a foundation for success.

1. Set Goals, Organize Meetings, and Stay Motivated

As you develop your remote sales team, you will need to set clear goals from the start. With goals in place, you can keep salespeople on track while working remotely and ensure that the activities you have in place support your sales goals.

You will know what to expect from your remote sales efforts, and members of the sales team will know what you expect from them.

2. Organize weekly sales pipeline meetings

Setting weekly or biweekly sales pipeline review meetings with your remote sales team have several advantages:

  • You can align on the next steps that should be taken with prospects.
  • You can run through the pipeline and make sure it’s all up to date by changing the stage or removing prospects that are no longer relevant.
  • Any pipeline or prospect issues can be identified and discussed.
  • Team members can share what’s been done since the last meeting and what’s on deck.

These meetings create transparency, foster accountability, and significantly increase communication within the team – three things that significantly impact the success of remote sales teams.

3. Create a Virtual Culture Where Team Members Can Connect

When working remotely, your sales team can easily miss the face to face connection with the rest of the team. To help alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation, introduce ways to encourage informal chats withing your team’s remote communication tools.

The first step is creating channels of communication, specifically for engagement between team members. Plan a daily or weekly recurring video call around lunch or at some dedicated point of the day, where you can chat about things that are not related to work.

An Opportunity to Create a Better System

The current business climate is putting added pressure on sales teams to generate revenue in a whole new way. However, you should see this as an opportunity to roll out new, more productive systems that keep your business going.

A productive remote sales team needs the right leadership, software tools, and processes in place to reach sales goals. There will be plenty of challenges while transitioning to strictly remote sales such as communication, social opportunities, and loneliness/isolation. But providing clear goals, practical tools, and frequent communication ensures your team is more productive wherever they are working.

Starting to Build Links? Two Things to Do First

Things to Do First When Building Links
Things to Do First When Building Links

Link building is the process of getting other websites to link back to your website. These backlinks let search engines know that other sites find your information useful and trustworthy. Basically, backlinks mean other websites believe your website content is worth sharing and provides value to their readers.

The trust that is implied with a simple backlink is a small but powerful indicator to search engines that they can trust your website as well. Search engines crawl pages to analyze content and website structure, including backlinks, so they can decide if a page is of sufficient quality to be ranked high for relevant keywords.

National and global websites need high authority domains to link back to their website – the more, the better. But local businesses benefit more from local link building done with the intention to show search engines their relevance for specific localities.

To compete in local search, small businesses will find an easier path to ranking and a higher return on their investment using local SEO tactics. With a smaller pool of competitors in your local area, you can rank faster and gain increased visibility for your business by getting in the local 3-pack. The local 3-pack and the top of search engine results pages are where local customers focus their attention when looking to visit and buy from businesses in their area.

But, before you start your link building campaigns, there are two things you should do:

Get Your Local Citations Before You Start Link Building

Citations are online mentions of your business on local business directories, on websites and apps, and on social platforms and networks. Building your business’s local citations and correcting the information where you are currently listed will help you get started link building.

Citations are useful because they offer the ability to place your NAP more places online and usually let you put a link back to your website, which gives you more backlinks from established local sources. Getting your citations listed and consistent will also get you in the habit of getting your business online in as many places as possible.

Local niche citations in industry-specific directories are important ranking factors because they identify for Google the industry in which you operate, and thus, increase your chances of popping up in their search results when somebody conducts a niche-related query.

Search for local online directories by using queries such as “city+business listing” or “city+business directory.” Or try “city+industry listing” or “city+industry directory” to find niche-specific local listings.

To be clear, citations and link building are not the same thing, but they have a lot in common. Both appear on third-party sites, work as online references for your business, and can affect your ranking. But where citations must include your name, address, and phone number, backlinks don’t require your NAP to work for your business. Also, a link must be clickable and redirect users to your website, whereas citations don’t have to link back to help rank your business.

Create the Content Local Websites Want to Link To

Your local business website must include webpages with content worth linking to. This could be your homepage, but it’s more relevant and more effective when there are unique resources such as blog posts or tools that local businesses would want to share with their website users.

If you have website content that is link-worthy already, you’re ready to go. But most will need to create resources explicitly designed to earn backlinks. When you start with something of value to link to that people find useful and want to share, link building gets a whole lot simpler.

With super useful information on your website, there is an opportunity to get natural editorial links. These are the best because you didn’t have to put in the effort of researching, contacting, and asking for links. But most backlinks will come from manual outreach link building. That means contacting website owners and bloggers and asking them to link to your website (because of that super useful information you have).

Rank Higher in Search with Local Link Building

When it comes down to optimizing your website to rank high for search engines, backlinks can be the difference between ranking somewhere on page one or two and ranking in the number one spot. Make an effort to gain backlinks for a local business so you can rank higher in search and expose your business to new customers.

Link Building is Hard – But Still Necessary

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Link Building is Hard, But Still Necessary
Link Building is Hard But Still Necessary

Link building is hard when you look at the time and resources required to get quality backlinks. As far as SEO tactics go, link building is one of the trickier activities to be successful at. You either need epic content that naturally attracts links, or you need a detailed and proactive outreach program that consistently requests backlinks.

Small and local businesses rarely have the benefit of employing an in-house SEO or content creator to handle the heavy lifting of running effective link building campaigns. If you’re doing it yourself, you must ensure the time you do devote to building links is spent on activities that work for your business, in your niche, in your market.

Link Building is Hard, but Backlinks are Worth It

Backlinks are hyperlinks on a third-party website that direct users to your “back” website through a clickable link. These links are significant factors in where your website ranks in search engine results, whether you’re a local retailer or local service provider.

Link building is part of a comprehensive SEO plan that includes building online citations with consistent NAP (name, address, and phone number), earning backlinks, and creating hyperlocal content consumers in your area want to read, and other websites want to link to.

When you can combine all these ingredients, you create an established, geo-targeted, online presence that is easily recognized by search engines as a good result for local search results pages on relevant queries.

How is Local Link Building Different than Traditional Link Building?

Local link building differs from traditional link building only in where you want to concentrate your efforts. When someone searches with a keyword that shows local intent (i.e., Dallas dentist) that locator signals Google to use a separate algorithm to deliver the most relevant results according to the search user’s location.

With local searches, the geolocation of backlinks is more important than the authority of the source. That means that a dentist who has a backlink from the local chamber of commerce article he got published and the “Best of Dallas” participants list on the local news website has more powerful backlinks than a dentist who has a backlink from a Forbes.com expert panel.

As far as local search is concerned, those local references back to the website mean that area organizations respect a specific business, and they can be trusted as a good result for local search users.

Beat Competitors in Local Search with Link Building

Search engines crawl pages to analyze and add website content (including backlinks, aka inbound links, from external websites) to their indexes so they can decide if a page is of sufficient quality to be ranked high for relevant keywords.

National and global websites need high authority domains to link back to their website – the more, the better. But local businesses benefit more from local link building done with the intention to show search engines their relevance for specific localities.

The sweet spot is when backlinks are both relevant and local to prove to search engines that your business is the best result for local search queries. The added benefit of local backlinks is the increased online exposure for your business and the opportunity to broaden your online audience in the local market.

Local Link Building is Necessary for Local Businesses

While the landscape of local SEO is continually evolving, one thing that has remained a constant is the importance of backlinks in ranking your website on search engines. For a business to thrive, they need to win the competition for online visibility. And nowhere is a business more visible to people with intent to buy then at the top of Google search results pages.

Link building is a crucial component of any digital marketing local and small businesses invest in to attract new customers. Be intentional in the time and resources committed to link building, knowing that your efforts will be rewarded over time.

SEO and Online Marketing for Local Businesses

SEO & Online Marketing for Local Businesses
SEO & Online Marketing for Local Businesses

Online marketing strategies for local businesses are specifically engineered to get your business in front of and attract local customers. To do that, the first and most important factor for growing your business with local online marketing is to master local SEO and ensure your website is ranking high organically in search results for your area and type of business.

Local Businesses Need Local SEO

SEO is the practice of optimizing your online properties and content to rank high in search engine results for queries that are relevant for your business ensures people in your area know that you are close and available to supply the services and products they want right now.

When your business relies on local customers to thrive, you need to focus on proven search engine optimization tactics that put your business at the top of local search results and map results. Maps puts your business in front of shoppers on the go when people are in your geographic area.  These local searches are performed by customers looking to make a purchase soon, most of them the same day.

If you run a local business, then you’ll want to know these statistics:

  • 72% of consumers who perform a local search visit a store within 5 miles of their current location. – Wordstream
  • 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps. – Go-Globe
  • 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase. – SearchEngineLand

Search engines and search engine users knowing exactly where you are located, being able to see customer reviews, and easily being able to find all the ways to get in touch with you is vital to beating out the competition in your area.

Why Your Business May Be Falling in Local Search Results

Have you seen your business listing drop down in local search rankings?

Local search marketing has dozens of ranking factors and can be so complex; it’s near impossible to tell why your business listing has fallen in search engine results at first glance.

But some key questions can shed light on where the problem lies. And once you’ve determined where problems lie, you can get to work on getting back on top and outranking competitors.

1. Has Google done an update that affects local ranking?

Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms, and they claim to do this to deliver search results that are as relevant and useful as possible. Dozens of updates can happen in any given month, and they usually won’t affect hard-earned rankings. But sometimes they’ll throw out a change or uncover a bug that needs fixing, and your ranking falls because you didn’t know.

2. Have you violated Google’s guidelines?

Use Google Webmaster Tools (go to Search Traffic and select Manual Actions) and Google Analytics (look for drastic changes in search engine traffic) to check if Google has penalized your website.

To avoid falling in rankings, or worse suspensions, you should make sure new web pages or other online content (such as reviews or business listings) aren’t spammy or misleading by Google standards.

3. Do you routinely update your Google My Business Listings?

Sometimes competitors are passing you in local search rankings because they are simply putting in more effort. Your competitors want the top spot, so don’t slack on keeping your Google My Business listing fresh with new content like reviews and photos, as well as updating hours and services as they change.

Consider Outsourcing Your Local SEO and Online Marketing

The desired result of your investment in SEO is that everyone in your area sees your business at the top of page one of search engine results or map search results when they are looking right now to purchase the type of services or products you provide.

Outsourcing your SEO simply means you are engaging a contractor or agency to manage your website’s on-page and off-page search engine optimization. SEO services could include activities such as the creation and execution of SEO strategies, Google My Business listing optimization, content marketing, link building, local SEO, and web design.

The same way a business would contract out maintenance of the landscaping or the janitorial services of their office, you can contract out the setup and continued maintenance of your businesses search engine optimization needs.

If you don’t have the time or lack the know-how, consider retaining the services of someone who specializes in SEO (search engine optimization) and has the expertise to deliver routine results and continuous quality traffic to your website at a low cost.

Should You Add Paid Advertising to Your Marketing Mix

Should You Add Paid Advertising
Should You Add Paid Advertising To Your Local Online Marketing

For local businesses, there is no shortage of potential media placements across both online and offline marketing channels. But realistically, most local businesses want to appear prominently where the vast majority of their consumers spend the greatest amount of time—online.

That means you should consider adding paid online advertising to your marketing mix. According to a recent State of Digital report:

  • Social is expected to command 40% of the ad market by 2022
  • 63% of digital spend goes to the duopoly of Facebook and Google
  • 12% of digital spend goes to the next five top publishers (Amazon, Microsoft, Oath, Twitter, Snap)

Local Business Can Use Online Display Advertising

One common form of paid advertising is online display advertising. These ads can be highly targeted based on the demographics, zip code and interests of your target customer.

Whereas paid search such as Google Ads pay-per-click ads appear on search engine results pages, online display ads appear on the websites your target market visits. Retargeting lets your advertising follow users of your website or ads around the internet when they are on other websites. Statistics point to 40% of small businesses planning to use paid online advertising, according to Statista.

Pay-Per-Click Ads Let You Control Your Budget for Better ROI

When looking to get people on the phone and visiting your location, many local businesses use PPC (pay-per-click) tools like Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Google and Facebook work for all business types in general, and local businesses in particular, because of their unparalleled access to data. With that data, they provide a number of highly targeted marketing solutions.

TrendStatistics reports that roughly 80% of all companies focus on Google AdWords for PPC. Google gets 3.5 billion searches a day, and with Google Ads, the main benefit is you pay to appear at the top of search engine queries and map results.

That’s prime real estate for any local marketing campaign that has the power to increase website visits, calls, and store visits while generating leads. Add Google Ads with Google Local Service Ads (where you appear at the top of search and pay per lead), and it’s clear why Google is one of the top local advertising publishers.

Facebook is another leader in paid online advertising for local businesses, with a Nanigans study showing retailers advertising locally on Facebook, seeing an average ROI of 152%.

In particular, businesses that advertise on Facebook love it because Facebook allows local advertisers to get very granular on how far they can drill down their ad targeting.

Some of the features of Facebook include:

  • Specific advertising objectives —Custom tailor your ads to hit the right people whether you’re looking to increase awareness or drive conversions.
  • Audiences — Target very specific groups of people based on demographics or use custom or lookalike audiences which is a favorite for local advertisers. You can even target broadly and let Facebook find the right audience for your ads.
  • Ad Formats — With a half dozen formats to choose from—including carousels, video, images, and stories—you can easily find a style that works for you and your customers.
  • Placements — Like Google, Facebook has many places to show your ads. Control where your ads are seen, whether it’s on Facebook, in Facebook Messenger inboxes, on Instagram, or the Audience Network.

If you make Google and Facebook the foundation for your local paid online marketing efforts, you can be secure in the knowledge that the majority of your time, effort, and budget is going toward the channels that will deliver the greatest bang for your buck. From there, you can judiciously fill in the gaps with whatever additional channels make the most sense for your business and your community.

Local Businesses Don’t Have to DIY Paid Online Advertising

Even with quick results, paid online advertising can prove to be a testing ground, especially for people not familiar with PPC management. But with the ability to get hyper-local with ad targeting, many local businesses believe paid online advertising is worth the effort and costs.

Keep in mind that the effectiveness of your PPC campaign relies heavily on seamless user flow, your budget, keywords, and a few other factors. If you want more eyes on your business, then paid online advertising will get you the results you are looking for.

Facebook Messenger Marketing is More Than Just Ads

Digital marketing gives small and local businesses the ability to connect with their ideal audience in ways we never imagined. With Facebook Messenger marketing, you can put your ad into inboxes or chat with new and future customers directly – more effectively and at less cost than other digital marketing ads.

Marketing in Messenger makes acquiring customers easier by providing a way to directly communicate with people where they are already having conversations all the time. When you know where your customers hang out online, you know where you should be marketing your business.

Communicate with Customers Where They Hang Out Online

Facebook messenger has a massive reach across the United States and worldwide. If you’re interested in seeing a higher level of engagement and like the idea of having AI robots doing the heavy lifting to grow your audience, then Facebook Messenger is where you want to market your business.

In just the United States, the Facebook Messenger app is downloaded millions of times MONTHLY. And one Aimia report showed 31% of consumers say they are using social media channels to browse for new items to purchase.

When you consider that 67% of people indicated that they have made a purchase after seeing a social media ad (The Manifest’s 2019 Consumer Social Media Survey), it seems a no-brainer to get in on the action.

Do More with Facebook Messenger Marketing Than Just Inbox Ads

The easiest way to promote your business on Facebook Messenger is running ads that show up in people’s Messenger inbox. But Facebook Messenger gives you several other marketing opportunities that you can use to promote your business, enhance the customer experience, and acquire new customers.

When you use Messenger for marketing, you can create interactive stories that increase engagement with people who have shown interest in your business. You can also provide customer support manually or by creating chatbot question and answer sequences that mimic conversation by answering frequently asked questions.

Messenger also lets you customize product or service suggestions and deliver downloadable content like lead magnets or catalogs. To keep current customers engaged and happy, you can even book appointments, send event reminders, or send purchase and shipping confirmations.

While the ability to put ads inside people’s Messenger inbox should be considered a digital marketing superpower, you also have the ability to send messaging sequences and create full sales funnels to gather leads, woo prospects, and convert users into customers.

You can do all of this on a platform that provides a higher click-through rate than email marketing. You can expect unseen results when marketing in Facebook Messenger because unlike the multiple email boxes people have that are overflowing with spam, junk, and ads that Messenger inbox they use every day stays junk-free and your marketing attempts will stand out.

Get the Conversation Started and Monitor Your Results

Facebook reports that more than 1 in 2 people said they’re more likely to shop with a business they can message, and 67% of people expect to message businesses more in the next two years.

Facebook Messenger marketing allows you to get personal and communicate with people where they are comfortable chatting and building relationships already. Marketing in this space could be a game-changer for your business but before you start any new marketing campaign, you’ll want to have a plan in place that will help you meet your goals.

You’ll want to test out different ways to engage people in messenger, so you can see what works and what doesn’t. Then track how your campaigns are performing using the two places to view the metrics: Ads Manager and Messaging Insights.

You can see new connections, who blocked a messaging connection, and the average cost for each new conversation in Ads Manager. Messaging Insights shows you the same information (except for cost), and also gives you response rate and time.

Reach More People with Facebook Messenger Marketing

Knowing what marketing goal your working towards, exactly who you want to talk to, and why they should talk to you allows you to create a Messenger marketing plan that gets results.

Small and local businesses can dig into a Facebook Audience Insights to learn more about the demographics and preferences of everyone on Facebook, but more importantly, get detailed information about the people who have connected with your Facebook page.

With this information, marketers for businesses big and small are using Messenger to drive awareness and build a presence on Facebook that encourages people to chat with and browse products and services from businesses they know.

Facebook Messenger Ads for Small and Local Businesses

The ability to target people who are actually interested in your product and located in your vicinity is a huge advantage for local businesses who use Facebook Messenger to promote their business.

Facebook Messenger gives you a direct way to persuasively market to a highly targeted audience in their personal digital space where they are communicating every day. Messaging through apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp is becoming the most popular way for people to communicate with people and businesses they know.

Small and Local Businesses Can Reach More Customers with Messenger Ads

There are over 1.3 billion Facebook Messenger users globally, and that number is expected to grow to 2.4 billion users by 2021. And more than 20 billion messages are going back and forth between businesses and users monthly.

Those are some impressive numbers, but you’re a small business, and all these billions and millions don’t matter too much to you, right? Well, let’s get into some more specific stats that will have you looking at Facebook Messenger Marketing differently:

  • 67% of people indicated that they have made a purchase after seeing a social media ad (The Manifest’s 2019 Consumer Social Media Survey)
  • 31% of consumers say they are using social media channels to browse for new items to purchase. (Aimia)
  • Facebook accounts for 50% of total social referrals and 64% of total social revenue. (Business Insider)
  • 84% of millennials say user-generated content from strangers has at least some influence on what they buy. (Gartner)

Small and local businesses can get in on this action by digging into Facebook Audience Insights to learn more about the demographics and preferences of everyone on Facebook, but more importantly, get detailed information about the people who have connected with your Facebook page to create highly targeted Messenger Ad campaigns that are hard to ignore.

Put Your Business in Messenger Inboxes

The easiest way to promote your business on Facebook Messenger is running ads that show up in people’s Messenger inbox. What’s awesome about Messenger ads is they capture such detailed information about people who chat with your business. Chatbots give you a ton of data you can monitor and analyze because once you get someone talking, Facebook gives you information such as name, photo, gender, location, and messaging permissions.

Messenger ads work just like Facebook ads by automatically placing ads where they are most likely to drive results at the lowest possible cost. You can even use the same ads for Messenger that you’ve already created for Facebook and Instagram marketing campaigns.

People see your ads in the Messenger app Chats tab, and when they tap on it, they are sent to call-to-action within Messenger that takes them to the destination you chose when you created the ad. So, you could send them to a chat conversation with your business on messenger, but you could also send them to a website or app.

Sponsored Messenger ads can be sent directly to people’s Messenger inbox but ONLY if it is someone who has chatted with your business on Messenger before. This makes retargeting easy and highly effective.

What’s important is that you have a clear purpose for asking to start a conversation, you make the whole process easy and helpful for the user, and your ads are visually appealing. People are reading less and skimming more, so create “can’t pass this up” calls to action and give them a reason to click. Auto-play videos are especially effective for engagement, so if you can swing a short video for your Messenger ads, you should.

Facebook Messenger Marketing

While most marketing channels are one-way communication, Facebook Messenger marketing allows you to get personal and communicate with people in a way they are already using.

Facebook reports that more than 1 in 2 people said they’re more likely to shop with a business they can message, and 67% of people expect to message businesses more in the next 2 years. Chatting is already the preferred method of communication with friends and family for app users in the United States. Messenger marketing is experiencing rapid growth and your business can benefit when you join the conversation.

Whether you want to acquire new customers, retain valuable customers, or win back old customers, Messenger Marketing gets your business in front of more of the people that matter to you.

 

 

 

The Future of Near Me Searches for Local SEO

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The Future of “Near Me” Searches for Local SEO

As search technology evolves, consumers are quick to adopt new and faster ways to research and locate the products and services they want to buy. Local and “near me” searches expose your business to new customers looking to make purchases in the immediate future – usually within the day.

According to 2019 data from Think with Google, 83% of U.S. shoppers who visited a store in the last week say they used online search before going into a store. Additionally, the same report showed that “where to buy” + “near me” mobile queries have grown by over 200% in the past two years and mobile searches for “on-sale” + “near me” have grown by over 250% year-over-year in the last two years.

The Fast and Steady Growth of Digital Assistants and Voice Search

Digital assistants and voice search have turned our devices into magic wands. But instead of saying abracadabra, you just have to say, “Hey Google,” or “Alexa,” or “Hey Siri,” to find anything you want.

Forecast from U.K.-based Juniper Research estimates that 8 billion digital voice assistants will be in use by 2023, up from 2.5 billion assistants at the end of 2018. Most of those voice assistants will be on Android and iOS smartphones, where Google Assistant and Siri are ready to help – hands-free.

2018 research by Strategy Analytics estimated that in 2019, around 50 percent of smartphones will have a virtual assistant that can be controlled by chat or voice, and by 2023, availability on smartphones is expected to increase to 90 percent.

BrightLocal reports that 76% of smart speaker users perform local voice searches at least weekly, and 46% of users perform voice searches to look for information on local businesses daily.

Local SEO has always been and will continue to be about ensuring your business shows ups where consumers are looking for a way to get the quality products and services they want in the area they are in.

The exponential growth in voice search demonstrates the need to optimize for voice-based commands that include phrases such as “near me” and “open now.” Optimize content for long-tail keywords that answer the questions that are likely to be spoken, make your phone number and address easily accessible, and keep your Google My Business listing updated and complete.

Where you are now competing for real estate on page one, and the top three spots in organic results, the rise of voice search means competition is for the one and only “best” answer for spoken responses. Local businesses that optimize their SEO for voice search will have the advantage in the future of Near Me searches.

In-Store Search Users Aren’t Shopping Competitors

You probably assume that customers on their phone using search engines in-store are looking for nearby or online competitors selling the same things at a lower price. But that is not always what is happening.

According to Google, “While comparison shopping does happen, most in-store shoppers are actually searching online for more information about your store, brand, or the products you offer. In-store shoppers are 4X more likely to search on Google for the retail brand of the store they’re currently in compared to the next highest competitor, and there are 6X more Google searches for the retailer than for “amazon.”

Anticipating and delivering on in-store search needs helps you seal the deal and get the sale. Win search moments by setting up your online presence to provide fast and meaningful assistance to people using search while at your location. Look at the online customer journey for your industry so you can build an in-store search strategy that provides the content that customers are looking for.

If you have no idea what your customers are looking for before they arrive and once they reach your location – ASK THEM. Whether it’s product reviews, coupons, or things to do while waiting on services, part of your “near me” strategy should include what happens when they are still on search engines after arriving at your store.

Optimize Now for the Future of Near Me Searches

The expectation of finding precisely what you want, exactly when you want it using a search engine is growing. In fact, unless a person turns off the GPS option, Google search assumes local businesses relevant to search queries are useful links for both organic and paid spots on search engine results pages.

Make sure you’re showing up in moments of intent throughout the purchase journey and giving customers the answers they are looking for. The future of “near me” search means increased visibility and more customers for businesses that know how to rank in search engines for local consumers.

Near Me Search – How Local Businesses Are Found Online

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Near Me Search – How Local Businesses Are Found Online

Mobile devices are expected to influence $1.4 trillion in local sales by 2021, according to a Forrester research report. As more and more Americans rely on their smartphones to find local services and products, “near me” searches have become default functions for both search engines and the people using them.

Think about how you use your phone when you are heading out, or on the road, ready to make a purchase. Whether it’s a burger or you need a dry cleaner who doesn’t strip the buttons off of your shirt, Google is ready with suggestions on where to solve your hunger or button problems. And the search engine will gladly list them from best to worst, near to far, to make it easy for you.

Near Me Search – How Local Businesses Are Found

If you want customers near you to find your business first, local SEO (search engine optimization) is critical for exposing your business to new audiences. With the staggering growth of “near me” searches and other local intent searches on mobile devices, every business that wants more local customers should be optimizing their online presence for the way consumers now find new products and services.

According to Think with Google, 76% of local mobile searches for something nearby result in a same-day in-store visit, and 26% of those visits result in a purchase. Adding “near me” to an online search demonstrates an intent to take immediate action on search results. Are you using “near me” search strategies to ensure your business is showing up when people are ready to buy?

Optimizing for Near Me Searches

Optimizing your business’s online presence for “near me” searches requires paying close attention to the location identifiers, service/product listings, and categories so search engines like Google know precisely where you are located and exactly what you provide to your customers. Because all search engines want to give the best results first, not only does proximity to the searcher matter, but customer reviews will influence how you rank when there are multiple choices within close proximity to one another.

Local SEO Best Practices for Near Me Searches

To ensure you are showing up in search results when your next customer is online looking for what you are selling and ready to get in the car (or on the phone for an order), local businesses will want to follow these local SEO best practices:

1. Optimize Google My Business – Claim and fill out your GMB accounts completely – paying special attention to your address and pin location on Maps, categories, and services sections. Continuously add photos, update holiday hours, monitor reviews, and answer questions.

2. Gather (and Respond to) Reviews – Have a process in place that requests reviews from your happiest customers, monitor Google and other review sites, and respond to both positive and negative reviews professionally and compassionately.

3. NAP on Website & Business Listings – Wrong, missing, inconsistent, or incomplete business name, address, and phone numbers (NAP) on business listings and website pages confuse search engines, and they won’t provide confusing results to search engine users. Consistent and complete NAP are rewarded with higher rankings in near me searches.

4. Location Identifiers on Image and Meta Tags – Geotagging your images and metadata ensure your website contains the local identifiers that tell search engines your content is relevant and should appear for local queries.

5. Mobile-Friendly, Fast-Loading Website – How fast your site loads and how user-friendly it is on mobile devices are huge ranking factors in Google search. Fix slow-loading pages and ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

6. Local Backlinks (from Chambers, Associations, Directories) – Building local backlinks reinforces your business’s relevance in the community. Strategies include creating content local authorities want to link to, sponsoring local organizations, creating resources with a local focus, and hosting community events.

7. Written Text Driving Directions (with major cross streets) – Contact pages for each of your locations should include driving directions from well-known landmarks and list the names of the areas, neighborhoods, and cities you serve. The services and products you provide in written list are also helpful information that should be written in your website text and NOT displayed in PDF or image formats.

Near Me Search Has Redefined How Consumers Shop

We are drowning in data that lets us know where, when, and how people are using search engines to make purchasing decisions. Today search engine users expect search technology to guess their intent and find the places they can get the stuff they need.

Since “near me” is a popular phrase that shows up in search engine queries across all categories as people look for the closest options for activities, services, and stores, NOW is the time to use local SEO to earn new customers.

Local Lead Generation Using Social Media

Local Lead Generation Using Social Media

Local businesses need to consistently bring in new customers to increase sales and grow their business, so it’s crucial to embrace new digital marketing strategies to generate sales. Local lead generation using social media puts your business in front of a highly targeted market so you can get to work winning new customers.

A lead is any person who indicates interest in your products or services, and they fuel your marketing efforts. There’s no one-size-fits-all local lead generation campaign, but when you figure out where your ideal customers hang out on social media, you can create a local lead generation plan that keeps your business top of mind when purchase time comes.

Local Lead Generation Using Social Media

Studies from HubSpot have shown that even with only six hours a week spent on social media, 66% of marketers found it brought new leads. Social media business accounts allow you to target ads to people within your local area based on criteria such as location, age, sex, interests, and much more.

Social media platforms also make it easy to guide your followers to take action, from the swipe up option on Instagram stories to Facebook bio links. While social media is usually used for top-of-the-funnel marketing, it can still be a helpful and low-cost source for lead generation when used strategically.

Facebook Lead Generation

With its hyper-targeting ad capabilities, Facebook is one of the best ways for local businesses to find potential customers in their area. With Facebook, it’s easy to grow your local audience and get more eyes on your offers.

Facebook Lead Ads lets you run an ad with a conversion objective and send anyone who clicks on the Lead Ad to a Facebook landing page where they can opt-in on your offer. People can simply tap your ad, and a form pops up already pre-populated with their Facebook contact information and ready to be sent directly to you. 

Facebook also lets you put a call-to-action button at the top of your Facebook Page, helping you send Facebook followers directly to your website. And you get the added bonus of the ability to run your lead ads across both Facebook and Instagram as long as your ads follow Instagram’s design requirements.

Instagram Lead Generation

Instagram states that at least 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one business profile each day. And, 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram. Where you can leverage all this traffic to meet your local lead generation needs is with geotagging.

Geotagging occurs when you tag your location in a social post. When you check-in at a location, you’re geotagging. You probably already ask your customers to check-in at your location if you’re using Instagram, but what most businesses are missing out on are the benefits of geotagging your own content.

With Instagram, you can geotag posts, stories, and hashtags. Adding your location makes it easier for people to find you, but it also helps your content show up in more searches.

According to Simply Measured, posts with a location tagged in it received 79% more engagement than those without any. Here’s how to do it:

  • Post: When creating an Instagram post, use the Add Location button.
  • Story: After you record or upload your story, you can click the square face, and the first button is Location.
  • Hashtags: Use city and industry-specific location hashtags to target your local and highly interested audience.

Twitter Lead Generation

The Twitter Business platform is where you can not only optimize how people subscribe to your business but how you engage with your Twitter audience.

Businesses with Twitter Business accounts can use a “subscribe to our newsletter” CTA button on their profiles, while also using URL cards, to make it easy for Twitter users to interact with their brands and increase the number of leads they generate from the platform.

According to Twitter, Twitter Business profile users increased their sales by 69% after customers started following them on Twitter.

These Twitter lead generation ads let you reach specific audiences through local geo-targeting with granular targeting by state, 200 metros, and 12k postal codes. You can also create a tailored audience list in three ways:

  • Using a list of email addresses or Twitter usernames
  • Collect a list of people that have recently visited your website with Twitter’s website tag
  • Reach people who have taken a specific action on your app

Once you’ve uploaded your list of contacts, you can choose to either include or exclude them from your campaign targeting, depending on your remarketing strategy.

LinkedIn Lead Generation

For B2B (business to business) lead generation, there is no better social media platform than LinkedIn. You can see professional demographic data to target the right people by job title, company, industry, seniority, and more.

Retarget website visitors, reach contacts, and build account-based marketing campaigns with Matched Audiences or a set of custom targeting options.

Create ads in the newsfeed, in messages, and on a desktop to capture leads and use sponsored content to promote company updates.

Using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms also removes the main barrier to online conversion: forms that have to be filled out manually by prospects.

When LinkedIn members click on your ad, their profile data automatically populates a form they can submit with one click. They’ll save time and effort. You’ll get more accurate and complete information about your leads.

Take advantage of these opportunities on social media for your business to collect leads by offering up value on the platforms and social networks where your ideal customers hang out.