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4 Steps to a Local Search and Web Presence

August 8, 2012 By Shane Vaughan
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Local marketing is a challenge for many national marketers because they don't know where they stand at the local level in the first place. Most national companies have performance metrics for measuring national marketing efforts, but that last mile of marketing—at the local level, where most consumers actually purchase—is hard to track. As a result, many national brands lack a clear vision for developing a performance-based local marketing strategy.

This lack of insight into local marketing presence and performance means many national brands are losing out on revenue opportunities, especially if their product or service is sold through local affiliates, dealers, brokers or agents.

Most consumers today first go online to research products and comparison shop. When they're ready to buy, they'll localize their research efforts both online and by telephone to find a place in their neighborhood where they can make the purchase. If your prospective customer can't find you at this final stage of the purchasing process, then you're losing the sale.

So how do you determine your brand's local marketing Web presence? A local Web test helps you determine the percentage of "real estate" your brand and product categories own or strongly influence on page one of the search engine results pages (SERPs) when using a local geographic modifier. The higher the percentage, the better your brand is performing.

This best illustrated by an example: the USPS will be the brand, "overnight document delivery" the product category and Google the search engine. The city we'll search in is Boston. Here's how it works:

  • Brand Name Search Results for USPS: When searching simply by USPS, they own 100 percent of the search results page. No surprise there.
  • Brand Name + City Search for USPS, Boston: When a geographic modifier is added, USPS owns most of the real estate, but not all.
  • Product Category + City Search for "Overnight Document Delivery," Boston: When searching by the product category and market, all of USPS's competitors show up, including FedEx, Mailboxes, Etc. and UPS. Even the paid opportunities are ads for competitors. USPS is nowhere to be found on page one.

This test was also performed for "Overnight Document Delivery" in other, smaller markets, with the same results. USPS clearly has some work to do with its local marketing presence in this product category.

 
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