Branding is something we normally associate with large international businesses like Starbucks, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. But, on a local level, small businesses can benefit from introducing branding to their marketing efforts too, as it will help to boost their page rank and profile.
The mistake that’s most commonly made by local businesses is trying to compete with national brands on their level. Trying to keep up with these brands when it comes to prices or selections will put a local business at an immediate disadvantage. Instead, as a local business, you should be playing to your strengths, which are trustworthiness, personalized services and the quality of your product / services. These are all things that consumers are seeking from a local brand, which is why your branding should focus on these key elements.
Your location is also another fantastic asset. Physical locations matter because when consumers are searching for places they can get their shopping done nearby, they want something that’s within a convenient distance to them. Statistics indicate that 82% of consumers used their local businesses last year and 98% expect to increase or continue shopping locally in the future.
Being Consistent with Your Brand
When you consider graphics and images and all of your other design aspects, it makes sense that your branding should be consistent. From the colors you use to the font you have in your logo, everything helps to create a brand image that consumers can recognize quickly and easily. Being consistent in your marketing efforts also helps to strength each of the campaigns you are doing, building your brand value with each piece you create.
Search engine optimization (SEO) also requires consistency, especially when it comes to how your business is being identified when it’s being crawled. If the citations of your business (the references other people make to your business) are consistent, this is going to help Google recognize your business. And if you can keep this exact, that’s even better. For example, don’t abbreviate certain parts of your address on your website and not in others (e.g. Texas or TX) as this creates inconsistencies.
It’s also important to make sure that none of the information on your site is outdated, also that no services are listed that you don’t provide anymore and that you don’t have phone numbers on your site that aren’t listed in Google My Business.
Building Your Brand and Boosting Your Local Reputation
You need to get people talking about your business so Google can hear all of this chatter because this is how you’ll build your brand. Here are some easy ways you can boost your rankings for local searches:
Look at Local Publications
It matters who’s talking about you and even though getting publications like Forbes to talk about you may be difficult, it’s much easier to get reputable local sources to talk about your business. Every city and town has a number of these local publications, so look for the ones that are considered to be the best and target them as well as other industry-specific websites that you may be able to get mentioned on.
According to a recent survey, 67% of customers are impacted by reviews they have read, which is why it’s important to utilize positive reviews for your local business. It is also important that these reviews are coming from reputable websites, so try to get your customers to review you on Yellow Pages, TripAdvisor, Google and so on, as this will create good signals for Google.
Unfortunately, bad reviews do matter, which is why you’ll need to manage these as well as you can. There are tools like Chatmeter that help you to monitor reviews from popular websites so you can jump straight onto ones that might not be too flattering for your business. The way you respond to these negative reviews can be just as important as getting a positive review.
Engage with Your Customers
You need to communicate effectively with your customers both in person and online as this is one of the things that will add to your likeability, personal approach and trustworthiness. And because consumers are spending even more time on social media than ever before, it’s important that you’re striking up conversations on these platforms as well.
Engaging your customers on these channels will lead to more check-ins, likes, followers and fans, and when these build up in volume, this sends all of the right signals to Google. It shows that you’re liked by your customers and that you’re a good match for others who are searching for products / services that are similar to what you offer.