Local Learnings from Miami: Three Ways Local Businesses Can Break Through
The way people discover local businesses today is more varied than ever. Some do a quick search on their desktop or laptop to get the nuts and bolts they need. Others rely on customer reviews and other pertinent information they find in trusted apps on their mobile phones – especially when they’re on the go. And there are those who still enjoy exploring new storefronts and being greeted by a friendly “hello” as they stroll down the street.
This “zigzagging” customer journey – where we’re seeing people jump from device to device, platform to platform, and between the online and offline worlds more than ever before as they search for local products and services – makes it harder for local businesses to pinpoint where and how potential customers are searching for them as well as what they need to do in order to convert those prospects into actual customers once that purchase journey has started. Add to that the oftentimes daunting “learning curve” associated with adopting ever-evolving technologies, new cloud-based services, and other tools that can help small businesses run more effectively – and business owners can easily find themselves becoming overwhelmed by just trying to keep up.
The challenge of driving new quality leads, figuring out new ways to increase awareness around products and services, and using marketing to reach the right consumers at the right time in their purchase journey is constantly top of mind for local business owners today. But they struggle with how to actually go about doing it. That’s why YP℠ has always been committed to empowering business owners with the best tools, knowledge, and resources to break through the day-to-day challenges they face in running their businesses.
Over and over again, one of the biggest hurdles local business owners have told us they’ve had to overcome is how to make digital marketing work hard for their businesses. So we thought, “why not take our local marketing expertise on the road?” And that’s exactly what we did with the YP Local Breakthrough Summit, which kicked off this week in Miami.
We brought together business owners from across South Florida to teach them how to take their small businesses to the next level. We shared important information – local market insights, recent research, tips from the marketing experts at YP, and industry best practices from other leaders in search, mobile, and social, including the likes of Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Verve – and created a space where business owners could connect, share stories, and learn from one another.
Among the topics discussed, these three themes rose to the surface:
Mobile Rules. Small businesses must embrace mobile technology to reach new customers and retain existing customers. Based on a recent study by Buzzboard on behalf of YP (see infographic below), only 46% of local Miami businesses are mobile-friendly. As smartphone use goes up, the need for businesses to be mobile-ready becomes more critical than ever – as mobile is quickly becoming the way businesses are not only creating a first impression with potential customers, but also how they are nurturing more personal, long-term relationships with existing customers as well. Not to mention, smartphone use has also opened up a myriad of opportunities to better understand who your target customers are, where they’ve shopped in the past, and where they may go to make future purchases. This information is key to success in mobile marketing.
Search Strategy. Consumers rely heavily on search engines to research local goods and services. For this reason, search engine marketing (SEM) continues to be a powerful lead generation tool for local businesses. SEM is just as much an art as it is a science. That’s why you need a solid game plan to ensure your search strategy achieves your business goals. First, you need to be crystal clear about what you are promoting and who you are targeting. This will help determine where your ads appear and also how they appear (in terms of copy, imagery, call-to-action, etc.). Second, you need to make sure that once consumers click through to your site, you’ve clearly presented them with the information they need to take an action that gets them one step closer to making a purchase.
Social Etiquette. Social media is all about connecting and engaging with your target audience. The content you create should motivate your customers to action, such as an exclusive promotional offer or a sneak peak at an upcoming product launch. Keep in mind that each social media channel operates a bit differently and may not necessarily be the right fit for your business. Whichever channels you choose, you will need to maintain them on a daily basis – whether it’s creating an on-going cadence of interesting and informative content, responding to customer service inquiries, asking for product feedback, or even simply using it as a forum for building community. So start small and stay focused to ensure you don’t end up biting off more than you can chew.
This is just a snippet of what we covered during our four-hour Local Breakthrough Summit in Miami. We will continue to share more “Local Learnings” insights as the Local Breakthrough Summit rolls into other cities across the country in the coming months. Also, be sure to download our Miami Digiscape infographic to learn more about local business trends in the South Florida area.
In the meantime, follow the conversation in social media using the hashtags #ypbreakthrough and #unleashlocal, take a peek at pics from the events, and be sure to check out the Local Doer blog for a ton of useful advice on how to help your businesses grow. Feel free to visit YP Marketing Solutions to learn more.
Categorized in: SMB Solutions