How to Boost Customer Loyalty with Local SEO
It is no longer news that customer acquisition costs 5x more when compared to retaining an old one. More so, a recent discovery by ScienceDirect has shown that becoming competitive in the local and foreign marketplace comes with a huge cost because consumers have more options conveniently at their disposal.
Not only that, they can instantly compare prices of products and services available through online retailers. They can easily get the groceries, find a good clothing store, connect with available handymen, or get any need satisfied with a simple online search on Google or other search engines. That makes it extremely difficult for consumers to stick to a particular brand.
Now more than ever, using local SEO should be the top priority of managers and digital marketers. They should be concerned with the increasing change in customers’ loyalty trends and think objectively on how to drive traffic and rank high in the local SERPs.
Therefore, we developed this short guide to help businesses achieve their short and long term goals in terms of customer retention, the right usage of local SEO to convert more prospects, and ultimately become more profitable in the long run. We also revealed the best-kept secrets to connecting with customers and how business owners can use social media to deliver more value.
Get Your Business Listed on the Google My Business Platform (GMB)
Though not popular like other Google pages, Google My Business (GMB) is an online business directory or local SEO tool with loads of benefits for both established and small businesses.
We all know Google as a search engine for general purposes, but it has become a big part of how users discover products and services in their area.
Google accounts for nearly 92% of search market share on the World Wide Web.
Can you imagine that over five billion searches are made each day through Google and that includes search results and maps query.
Additionally, an official report from Ad network Chitika stated that searches with “local intent” constitutes 43 percent of total Google search queries.
By adding your business to GMB, you will become visible on Google search and maps, upload videos, set and edit menus that are displayed on mobile and make posts with your business profile to promote offers, news, events, product updates and announcements.
Why not go ahead and take advantage of the GMB to boost your local presence?
As you consider enlisting your business on GMB, do the following to optimize your profile.
- Provide an extensive list of competencies and services you offer when filling out the fields on the GMB page
- Boost your competitiveness by adding high-quality pictures of your services or the products on your shelves.
- Your business hours must have to be correct. If it’s wrong, the search results will portray your business as closed when you’re still open for business.
Below is a pictorial illustration of how you can rank high by filling out all your information on the GMB platform.
The search term is ‘locksmith in Texas city’ and surprisingly, the company with the highest reviews is at the last spot. We compared the information provided by the first (arrow 2) and last (arrow 3) spots to identify the problem.
Apart from the GMB, there are several online directories out there that will help your local SEO endeavors. But you need to ensure that all the information is correct and consistent.
Update Your Information and Get Local Reviews from Top-Ranked Directories
Congratulations, if you’ve got your business approved on GMB, but that’s the starting point to an effective local SEO.
To use and get real-time reviews from the top-ranked directories such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, TripAdvisor, Better Business Bureau (BBB), you need to ensure that your information – name, address, and phone number (NAP) is consistent across board.
Leaving inconsistent information on those directories can negatively affect your ranking and make you lose potential customers to your competitors.
Take these steps to update your NAP – name, address, and phone numbers.
- Do not use a generic email service provider like Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, etc on your business domain or Google My Business listing.
- Your NAP info shouldn’t be placed as an image on your website. Though it could appear beautiful, images aren’t crawlable for search engines.
- Your main published business phone number should be your local area code
The accuracy and consistency of your business information on the directories will help the ranking.
You can see the importance and role of the top directories on the below search query for ‘beauty salon Las Vegas’. The top directory listings come immediately after the local pack results.
After updating your information and getting approved by the top directories, the next step is to go the extra mile to convince your customers to drop positive reviews.
Good reviews are like catalysts that help to increase trust and sales for online businesses. It will help your business stand out in search results as well as increase your CTR.
About 90 percent of respondents in a survey conducted by Dimensional Research, stated that they get influenced by positive reviews before making their buying decision.
Source – Moz 2018 local search engine ranking factors
Even on the local Search engine results pages (SERPs) positive reviews help businesses get top ranks for specific keywords as proven by the above pictogram from the Moz 2018 local search engine ranking factors survey.
The reviews accounted for 15% of the influential factors to rank local businesses. This is why reviews should be taken seriously by both small and established business owners.
Adopt Local On-Page Optimization of Your website
The competition for relevance in search engine results pages (SERPs) has become tensed up among businesses. Therefore, to make a mark in the marketplace, you need to consider optimizing your site for the local SERPs.
However, before getting started, you need to optimize your website for mobile visitors.
A research by the folks at BrightLocal showed that 61% of mobile users are more likely to contact a local business with a mobile site.
Will you let such an opportunity pass-by? Of course, the answer is NO!
Run a quick test with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool, just like the one below.
Then, proceed with local on-page optimization of your website. But the process isn’t as easy as it sounds.
You will have to:
- Develop keyword-optimized content
- Improve the overall readability of your websites’ content and ensure it is relevant to a searcher’s query
- Create unique title tags based on the keywords
- Optimize headings and subheadings with keywords
- Improve navigation and indexing
- Evaluate and increase your page load speed to reduce bounce rates
When local on-page optimization is done right, your website will become more user friendly, and easier to be ranked on search engines. It will help you spark engagement among locals, sustain their confidence in your business, and inspire brand loyalty.
You’re never limited when it comes to local on-page optimization. If you want to take it to the next level, then check out this guild on how you can rank in multiple cities by SEMrush.
Incorporate Local SEO Link Building Strategy
Focusing on building locally relevant links back to your website is beneficial for both customer retention and acquisition.
Local SEO link building plays an important role in helping small and medium-sized businesses to top their geo-targeted keywords.
It is highly recommended that smart digital marketers should integrate local link building into their SEO strategy because it helps get relevant local traffic while building brand recognition and authority.
So what are the fastest and cheapest ways to get local links?
The fact is that there are numerous local link building tactics out there. However, beginners should invest more time in understanding link building concepts. We suggest that this beginner’s guide to SEO and link building will be of great help.
Below are some tested-and-trusted recommendations that will help boost your efforts.
- Communicate with other business owners and request online mentions
- Create a local resource page and ask for a link in return for including other businesses.
- Use guest posting strategy on other authority sites in your local market.
- Acquire a high authority, ‘.edu’ link for your business through alumni links
- Contact top local review sites, and request to be listed
- Analyze your competitor’s backlinks, and set a target to beat them
- Write an ebook that offers a valuable solution to a specific pain point of your target audience
- Get enlisted in your industry specific directories
Ways to Build Brand Loyalty through Social Media
Your aim as a business owner should be to aggressively cultivate loyal social media followers.
This is because social media has evolved to become an integral part of the modern-day marketing strategy – neglecting the influence of social media on customer loyalty and business growth will be at your peril!
Then, how do you achieve brand loyalty as well as gain more active, engaged, and loyal followers on different social media platforms?
Let’s give you the nuances of each social platform and how to keep your followers loyal to your brand.
No doubt, your Facebook page can be considered as a small business site when properly optimized. But some business owners see it as an opportunity to constantly write sales pitches to promote their products or services.
Such a perception or approach will scare away both old and potential customers. Instead, you should consider Facebook as a platform for user/customer engagement and an avenue to build trust in your brand.
For starters, page setup and customization is the first step to using the platform as a tool for local SEO. The next step is to create a group on Facebook and WhatsApp that educates or provides solutions to problems in your niche, then integrate the group with your page.
Thereafter, you have to customize Google Maps on your page. This will make it easier for local customers to find you.
The above images illustrate our point. It will be easier for a nearby customer in search of a relaxation spot to locate Radisson Blu hotel than the Kana Cafe in Dubai Silicon Oasis.
Other brilliant moves that will help your business sustain customer loyalty and build trust is to curate local customer reviews, enable Facebooks’ “Services” tab, and develop quality articles that link to your blog or website.
Though the impact of ‘Instagram’ has not been determined in terms of SEO, the platform has been adjudged as the “new home for smart brands”. Its growth has been tremendous over the years – And it is estimated that 75.3% of businesses in the U.S are using Instagram in 2020 for engagement and marketing.
The platform has allowed smart business owners to drive engagement by creating captivating visuals that convert followers to customers.
So how can you boost customer loyalty as well as make Instagram your new sales channel?
Leverage on the Instagram Advanced Business Profile Features
If you have a personal Instagram account, it’s good you make the switch. The benefits of having a business profile are enormous and you shouldn’t miss it for no reason. Some of them are:
- Advanced Instagram Insights
- Instagram Shopping and checkout
- Auto publishing
- Promoted posts
- Instagram ads
- Contact options and action button
- Branded content approval
- Links on Instagram stories and much more
Make the switch from personal to a business profile and experience an engagement boost with other added perks!
Take advantage of User-generated content (UGC) on Instagram
User-generated content (UGC) is a term used to describe different types of content created by users with a unique hashtag to spread the buzz around your product. UGC is created by your customers or users of your product in the form of videos, images, reviews, or text.
Nothing boosts a brand’s credibility than UGC – because the hashtags are shared in the users’ social media accounts, website, and other marketing channels.
The above image is an example of a UGC campaign by BurtsBees. They used it to boost followers’ trust in their brand.
According to Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report, 92 percent of consumers testify to trusting reviews from friends or people they know.
Even known brands are not left out of using UGC to drive trust and customer loyalty.
Amazing, about 1.8 Million followers used the hashtag! The multiplicity effect will be unimaginable.
Don’t think this is only for known brands, the UGC has been very effective for small and medium scale businesses as well.
Twitter is a platform that allows businesses to make an indelible impact on the minds of their potential customers. Though some business owners are yet to harness the social power of this platform in taking their businesses to the next level.
The first step is to understand that the most important thing on Twitter is to be responsive to the needs of your customers. Then set measurable goals with a detailed plan of action as suggested by sprout social in their 2nd quarter social media analysis
Other tips that will help your business gain more followers as well as improve customer loyalty include:
Be authentic and consistent with your brand voice – ensure that your tweets give value, entertain, or to educate the audience.
Use Twitter hashtags and trends to drive engagement – please don’t overuse hashtags. If you do, the system may consider your business as spam. Moderation is the key.
Identify the Right Time to Post
A data research from Buffer using 4.8 Million Tweets identifies that the highest volume of tweets occurs between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., peaking between noon and 1:00 p.m.
Monitor and Measure Results over Time
Gain Business Insight with the use of Tweet analytics.
This is a built-in data-tracking platform that allows you to analyze your Tweet to gain insights about impressions and engagements. It is a tool you can use to monitor the number of
Retweets, replies, favorites, follows, link clicks and embedded media clicks each Tweet received.
Make Your Content Irresistible
No matter the platform, top-quality content generates shares, likes, comments, and click-throughs – and that should be the target of every business. The success of your social media campaign depends largely on the kind of content you share.
The study from linguistic analysis company Acrolinx shows that “a mere 31% of brands worldwide earned a passing grade for the effectiveness of their website content—a score of 72 or higher on a scale of 0-100”
This signifies that most business owners disregard the quality of their online content.
Therefore, it is critical to improve the content on your web page and social media handles for engagement and proven results.
Every article should be rich, informative, and engaging by nurturing the relationship between your brand and her audience. Do not use free images, rather invest in high-resolution stock images and videos to boost engagement and interaction with your customers.
Apart from keeping your audience engaged, you can use infographics, screenshots, graphs, and visual aids to encourage them to take action on your posts.
When you have striking and memorable content, your customers become emotionally attached to the brand and you can achieve higher click through rates on your social media.
Pro Tip: One of the most effective methods of connecting with your followers is through email. That said, if it’s possible to offer your social media followers and/or website visitors something for free to join your email list, it’s highly recommended.
For instance, you could make a short online course that delivers significant value to your audience and request that they opt-in to your email list to get it.
Once they’re in, you can then connect with them personally and continue to stay top of mind for the next time they need the product or services you offer.
Introduce a Rewards Or Loyalty Program
When it comes to achieving customer loyalty with local SEO, creating a loyalty program is only second to delivering value.
It is a marketing strategy that deepens engagement and can help you grow your business even faster than anyone can imagine.
Once in a while, give your loyal customers something to cheer – offer discounts, loyalty cards, or coupons to consistent customers, give them extra perks, and see how easily you will earn their loyalty.
With the ever-increasing competition in the marketplace, there is every reason to make brand loyalty your priority. A Koyne Marketing study shows that ‘existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and they spend 31% more than new customers’. Furthermore, it’s proven that there is a 60-70% chance of selling to existing customers, compared to a 5-20% chance for new customers.
So, having a budget for boosting customer loyalty with local SEO and going the extra mile to keep them coming back is a good investment.
Remember, that building brand loyalty is never static but a dynamic process. You have to determine what engages and motivates your audience. Over time, you may need to evaluate your entire online marketing and social media strategy, identify the loopholes, and get every aspect fortified.
But be patient, it takes commitment, sacrifice, and consistency to hit the mark before ripping the rewards of customer loyalty.