Sponsored Content: Leveraging Connected Channels in Local Presence Management

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Social media marketing is not a silo. Neither is website management, pay-per-click advertising, or search engine optimization — particularly when it comes to the practice of local presence management.

This is the second in a series of articles, sponsored by Advice Local, laying out the steps that businesses and agencies can take to gain better control of their local presence online. The first article in the series focused on what local presence management actually means, and this article will focus on how all the pieces in the digital marketing puzzle fit together.

For business owners like Mark Estee, owner of a restaurant called Campo, in Reno, Nevada, it can all become too much. Rather than juggling a half dozen local marketing channels on his own, Estee has divided up the responsibilities between key employees and a digital marketing agency. Individual employees are assigned unique tasks, like posting photos on Instagram, replying to comments on review sites, and monitoring online visibility, while his agency generates new digital marketing content. Estee serves as the ringleader, making sure that the various strategies work together instead of competing against one another.

Below is an excerpt of the Baseline Report generated for Estee’s restaurant through Advice Local’s dashboard.

As you can see above, Campo’s overall visibility score is 56%. This score is significantly impacted by the lack of optimization or placement in directories. If fact, another portion of the report shows that Campo’s is only listed in 14 of the 42 directories checked and only 93% of those have consistent a NAP (name, address, phone number).

Estee’s personal experience cuts to the heart of local presence management. When individual strategies focus exclusively on one channel while ignoring others, it can undermine a business’s efforts to positively affect and cultivate a brand presence online. For small and medium-sized businesses, as well as multi-location companies, the goal with local presence management is to turn online traffic into real-world store visits. That means using consistent messaging across all digital channels, and consistently monitoring online information to watch for missing or outdated data.

Above we may have introduced you to a new term, NAP. NAP represents the name, address and phone number for a business. This NAP data is in great abundance all over the internet. And it’s imperative this information is accurate around the web.

Most of the time, NAP data is present along with the mention of a business online often referred to as a citation. While a citation can be just a mention of the business name, in the majority of cases it will also include the NAP along with the website address.

While it’s tempting to keep the management of social media profiles, website content, online reviews, directory listings, and map listings separate, it can waste budgets, as well as time. The duplication of efforts can be costly, particularly when a marketing team fails to realize that the strategies it’s using on one channel that could be negatively impacting its return on investment from another channel.

The greater a company’s budget, the higher the likelihood of that company having an integrated local presence management strategies. More than half (57%) of businesses surveyed by Street Fight in 2017 said they would increase their advertising and marketing budgets this year. The more a local merchant spent on marketing, the more likely he was to increase his advertising and marketing budget this year. Merchants indicated they need the most help implementing SEO (50%) and paid search (33%).

Another issue keeping businesses from utilizing integrated strategies has to do with how rapidly the world of digital media is expanding. With new platforms being introduced each month and the media consumption habits of consumers expanding at warp speed, many brands are having a difficult time keeping up. Ninety-percent of consumers in the U.S. now have mobile phones, and the majority of Google searches take place on mobile devices, as desktop usage declines. Businesses can’t afford to dip their toes into one marketing channel without also diving into others.

Putting a holistic strategy in place requires the right tools, as well. Using a dashboard or platform that brings together data from different types of sources can reduce costs, especially for brick-and-mortar businesses with multiple locations. For example, a restaurant franchise with hundreds of local Facebook pages or Instagram accounts would benefit by coordinating its efforts in uploading fresh content across individual store pages. Coordinated efforts are particularly valuable when it comes to NAP (name, address, phone number) data, which requires consistency to prevent inaccurate directory listings.

By integrating website data with social campaign results, marketers suddenly have access to information such as who their biggest fans are and where they live. That demographic data can then be used to launch highly-targeted pay-per-click or local search advertising campaigns and improve in-store traffic. A brand that keeps its digital channels separate is missing out on the bigger picture and failing to capitalize on the true power of integrated marketing.

Directory listings are another area where this comes into play. Marketers could spend days, or even weeks, manually submitting information to get their brands listed in directory sources, search engines, data aggregators, and social sites. Or, they could work more strategically and utilize a scalable platform that automates the process by taking the information that’s been entered once and distributing accurate business information to the most important quality directories and sources to build citations. This ensures that targeted audiences are getting the information they need to interact with brands across all of the platforms.

At the heart of every local presence management strategy is cross-channel coordination. Now that we have covered the real meaning of local presence management and how to leverage connected channels, we will continue the discussion next week with more details on how Google, Apple, and Bing maps are driving desktop, mobile, and voice search. We will then finish off the series with  look at what it means to have a coordinated local presence management strategy.

If you would like to get your own behind-the-scenes tour of a local presence management solution, Advice Local’s team will guide you through the company’s comprehensive local presence management solution. Click here to request a demo.