Local Marketing Essentials For Small Business Saturday

Walk into the local clothing boutique, chocolatier, furniture shop or toy store to find a unique one-of-a kind item. Small, local businesses are known for these types of specialty items and handmade goods. The businesses are so important to communities that American Express spearheaded a day to celebrate them.

Small and medium-sized (SMB) businesses planning to participate in the Nov. 28, 2015 event should consider also serving the more affluent shopper. Some 26.7% of Small Business Saturday shoppers have household incomes of more than $100,000 annually, according to AudienceSCAN, which published a white paper containing data from an annual survey of more than 14,000 consumers. It also offers insight on income brackets, social media use rates, and the most popular charities and philanthropic organizations.

AudienceSCAN's findings suggest Small Business Saturday Shoppers are 55% more likely than the average shopper to take action after seeing ads on mobile apps or text-message ads in the past month. About one-third regularly use their smartphones to look up local business information, hours and/or locations.

One in five Small Business Saturday Shoppers in the past year purchased and used a daily deal voucher for a business they had not shopped at previously.

This group also is 59% more likely than average U.S. adults to participate in a local Restaurant Week in the next 12 months.

Abid Chaudhry, industry strategy and insights at BIA/Kelsey, estimates that local advertising spend will reach $51.7 billion in 2015 across all media channels, and expects that to rise 1.4% to $52.4 billion in 2016. He provides feedback for companies looking to participate in Small Business Saturday.

Define Your Goals and Desired Outcomes

With all the different ways to market your local business online, it's important to have your goals and desired outcomes clearly defined ahead of time.  You’ll want to prepare your promotion strategy around the 3 W’s: who your target audience is, what you will be offering them, and where they will be searching for your product or service online. Once you have that defined, create a set of creative messages that are designed to drive traffic to your business -- things like exclusive offers or time- or traffic-based incentives (‘first 100 customers get a free widget with every purchase!’).  Having your audience, incentives and online channels clearly laid out will help you focus your marketing efforts and maximize your marketing ROI. 

Make Your Business Data Actionable

Consumers are using their mobile devices more than ever while engaging in local search and shopping. Research from Google shows that nearly half of all searches taking place on mobile devices have local intent, so it's critical ensure the business is visible and findable on the small screen, wherever your customers are.  Be sure you have your Web site mobile-optimized -- not only responsive and viewable, but content and message-optimized.  Mobile-friendly elements like location finders, contact information and easy-access incentives should be prioritized.   

Make Your Business Data Accessible 

If consumers don’t click through to your Web site, they are likely to find your business information via online directories like YP and Yelp.  It's important to have a data management strategy in place to make sure your business information is aggregated and syndicated across major listings providers, with consistent, accurate content about who you are, your products or services, where you’re located and how to reach you. You’d be surprised how often bad listing data prevents consumers from using a local business!

Combine Search and Location Based Advertising 

Consumers aren’t just searching for local business information through search engines. Social media has evolved to become a major source for local search, with over 46% of consumers relying on their social networks when considering a purchase decision. It's important for search marketers to know how to best take advantage of a combined search plus social marketing strategy. One of the best ways to do this is to utilize geo-targeting capabilities to drive device- and location-specific messages during a consumer’s purchase journey. Tools like Facebook’s local awareness ads or Google AdWord location targeting can work together to have your business be front and center wherever a consumer might be looking for you. 

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