According to research by MomentFeed, a local marketing automation platform, only 15% of customers touch a corporate website or general social page while researching brick-and-mortar locations. The majority of the time, customers use social profiles or listing sites to get the information they need.
It’s well-known that online research plays a critical role in the customer journey towards offline purchases. MomentFeed’s research, though, demonstrates how truly influential the tech giants’ online spaces have become.
Their 2017 report, State of the Mobile Customer Experience For Multi-Location Brands, reveals some interesting information about the mobile customer:
- Mobile influences 56% of all offline sales
- Over 80% of consumers’ time is spent on the tech giants’ apps: Facebook, Google, Apple, Yelp, and Bing
- Local listing and social pages of multi-location brands had 5X the impact of general brand pages
- Their conclusion: “…85% of total consumer engagement is happening on local pages – NOT on your master brand profiles and official corporate website.”
MomentFeed claims this is a reversal of the trend from 2 years prior.
How Multi-Location Brands, Local Businesses, and SMBs Can Benefit from this Information
Originally, I came across this data in the MarTech Today report, Enterprise Local Marketing Automation Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide.
Using this data in conjunction with other relevant marketing research, the authors suggests a 5-step process for effective local marketing:
- Listing management. As recent trends make clear, local listings – on sites such as Facebook, Google Maps, Yelp, or Manta – are the most important online stepping stones for the researching customer. The MarTech report also points out that these listings help improve SEO.
- Local SEO. Current, localized data will ensure that local branches get indexed properly by the search engines and customers find what they’re looking for.
- Local landing pages. These can be the “hub” for local SEO and marketing efforts, serving as a stepping stone to bring the customer into the brand’s physical location.
- Reputation management. Since major listing sites, such as Yelp and Google, serve up reviews, it’s vital to manage and maintain positive ratings. The report cites data from BrightLocal, which says that good reviews help 74% of consumers trust a brand more, while 90% form an opinion of a brand based on less than 10 reviews.
- Paid search and social. In 2016, Google unrolled “Promoted Pins,” map-based ads that allow brands to influence customer who find their brands via the Google Maps app, adding yet another tool that allows local marketers to reach the mobile customer.
These 5 steps form an excellent, comprehensive local marketing approach for multi-location brands, but also – in my opinion – for any brick-and-mortar business, including SMBs and local businesses.