In the past year, countless new possibilities and technologies have been added in the field of search, advertising, social media and e-commerce. This, in combination with the changing shopping behavior of consumers, provides endless new possibilities for local marketing. It has helped companies with multiple offices understand the relevance of local marketing. This is the tipping point. We have listed five local marketing trends that you should keep an eye on for the coming year.
1. Localized content
A trend that we really cannot ignore in 2021. Content localization is the process of adapting brand communications for specific markets, regions or locations. The same content for all markets or locations no longer meets the needs of the local consumer.
Any brand with multiple locations should localize the content across all channels so that customers feel more personally engaged. This is positive for the brand experience. Think of all forms of content on all possible channels: social media, e-mail, online and communication in the physical stores.
Creating large volumes of creative content that responds to current situations and that is adapted for local markets will be the challenge for 2021. Fortunately, with the right tools for marketing technology you can tackle this challenge and optimize your content production process.
2. There will also be a lot of online shopping locally
Of course, the shift from physical to online shopping has been going on for years. However, we should of course not ignore the major impact that the corona virus has had on our shopping behavior. The number of online purchases in the first half of 2020 alone was 22% grown compared to 2019. In addition, as a result of COVID-19 nearly one million people shopped online for the first time.
Web stores are no longer just for the big brands. Many small entrepreneurs have also invested in e-commerce in the past year. Thuiswinkel.org saw the number of webshop requests in the first quarter of 2020 double. And because all stores had to close at the end of 2020, it is expected that the number of web stores will increase significantly again.
Although we will hopefully be able to shop more physically in the course of 2021, the past year has brought about an acceleration in terms of online shopping. But what does this have to do with local marketing? The answer is simple: 69% of consumers indicate that they shop locally more often than in the previous year. Because these local stores are now also making the shift from offline to online, this means that there is more competition online. Locating the online marketing strategy of your brand is very important to stay ahead of this competition. We share four useful tips.
Tip 1. Create store pages on your website
Consumers also like to buy online from his or her ‘own’ store. Customers search online for information about their location. You will therefore not make it with just a store locator. It is important to give local offices their own page on your website.
What should be on this? In addition to standard information such as address and opening hours, you can place extensive information about the location on this page. Think of directions, information about the collections and the range, local promotions or events, reviews and, for example, a store impression or a photo of the store manager.
Tip 2. Have a strong local SEO strategy
Don’t underestimate how many people local web search: whopping 46% of the searches have a local intention. It is therefore no longer enough to just add some place names to landing pages. The local pages as described above will ensure that your local establishments are better found organically. Make sure that the content and keywords are also aimed at the specific location. The possibilities are endless:
- Explain how your business stands out from local competitors.
- Write about local clients or completed projects.
- Include local reviews or testimonials.
- Appoint memberships of local industry associations.
- Talk about local sponsorships or events this location participates in.
You also want to work on the so-called ‘snack pack’ results. This is the boxed area on the first results page when doing a local search in Google. This snack pack shows the three most relevant local business listings for the search. This brings us to probably the most important part of your local SEO strategy: claiming and setting you up Google My Business account.
Tip 3. Be flexible in shipping
More online shopping also means more packages. During the month of December we have already seen that the parcel deliverers could not cope with the crowds, which resulted in many delays. If you are a brand with multiple locations, you have the advantage of being present in multiple locations in the country or region, allowing you to deliver from the stores’ stock.
Think of a click & collect option, cooperation with local bicycle couriers or even personal delivery by the employees of the nearest branch (local home delivery). Flexible shipping grew enormously due to the lockdown at the end of 2020 and we expect this to become the standard in 2021 as well.
Tip 4. Personalize
Customers often miss the personal contact when shopping online. So personalize the service by, for example, adding a personal card to the order or, as described above, delivering it personally. This will bind customers to your store and increase the chance that they will shop with you again.
3. Be local on social: Instagram Checkout is coming!
Instagram has implemented major developments last year whereby the platform has developed even further as a shopping platform. So became Instagram Shopping possible for IGTV and Reels and made a bold choice by the shopping button in the home screen.
However, the biggest and most impactful development will take place in 2021: payment via Instagram. Currently you can only use Instagram Shopping if you have your own website to link the product to. So that will change. With Instagram Checkout you can now immediately buy the products that accounts offer in shopping. Without leaving the Instagram app.
This is not only a solution for small shops or so-called Instagram companies. Instagram Checkout also offers many possibilities for brands with multiple locations. Many of these brands are already fully engaged in local marketing by letting their branches manage their own Instagram accounts. With Instagram Checkout, these branches can now boost their sales by selling products themselves on Instagram.
How does Instagram Checkout work?
All you need to do is link your professional Instagram account to your Facebook page and start a Facebook Store there. Here you can keep track of the catalog, your stock and orders. Instagram ensures that the online ordering environment and payment options are arranged, and even sends your customers order and shipping notifications. Easy right?
Do you want to get started with local marketing on social media? So keep an eye on Instagram. Instagram Checkout is currently being tested in the United States. This is expected to be rolled out in other countries in the course of 2021. In the meantime, your local branches can get started with their own accounts and create a shop on Facebook.
4. Local campaigns to attract customers to your physical store
As mentioned before, 46% of the searches have a local intent. Given this large share, it is only logical that local advertisements are also becoming increasingly important. At the end of 2020, Google has already implemented a few nice updates that make local advertising even better possible. This trend is expected to continue in 2021.
We wrote before an extensive article on local campaigns, but put two recent updates in a row for you:
Local Services Ads
In addition to local advertisements for products, it is also possible to use advertisements for services. From the advertisement you can contact the provider directly by email or telephone. In America you can also book appointments directly online. Something that will hopefully also be rolled out in Europe in 2021.
‘Buy Online, Pick-up in Store’, also known as BOPIS, grew 250% in the last 12 months. A trend that will continue in the coming year. Thanks to a ‘Nearby’ filter, Local Store Cards with local stock information and other relevant store information and additional attributes for Local Inventory Ads (LIA) such as ‘pick up today’, you have enough tools to convince people to visit your physical store come.
5. Localized Programmatic Advertising
Reach the right people at the right time with display ads in the right format on the right device thanks to data and technology. In short, that is true local programmatic advertising comes down to. For example, target people who are within a certain radius of your store (location proximity) with a nice discount code.
Localized programmatic should no longer be missing from the local strategy of brands with multiple locations in 2021. It not only increases your local brand awareness, but also ensures a better return on your investments.
By using dynamic ads, you automatically create thousands of ad variations that are perfectly tailored to the phase in the customer journey, target group segmentation or location. This ensures an optimal advertising experience for each user, which benefits your ROAS.
The possibilities are endless. Personalize your ad with local address information, opening hours and location-specific image text. Or, for example, use local weather conditions to make your content locally relevant.
You don’t have to be smal te be local.
In short, local marketing should not be missing from your marketing strategy for 2021! And remember: You don’t have to be small to be local. The key to success in local marketing is a strong and recognizable brand that feels local and personal at the same time. In this way you bind the consumer to your location and your brand.
Hopefully we have helped and inspired you with these trends to get started (even more) with local marketing.
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