How to Use Local Digital Marketing to Stand out in Brooklyn

Laya Gerlock from Philippines, CC BY 2.0 Creative Commons License, via Wikimedia Commons

Brooklyn: Bigger than Manhattan & Full of Surprises

Full disclosure, I've lived in Manhattan for the past 20 or so years. And, yes, I've been guilty of having the look of going into shock at the suggestion of crossing the river. I admit it. But, that changed once I did. The Brooklyn I found was so much different. It is hard to condense it into one entity.

Brooklyn is clearly a mosaic of different neighborhoods, cultures, and creeds. 4 out of every 10 Brooklynites are foreign born. It is really amazing when you think about it. So many cultures that are stitched together to form a fabric that is vibrant and growing.

So much of Brooklyn has gentrified over my time in New York City, that it feels like it has been in a state of flux forever. As it is with most of New York, it probably will be as long as it exists.

Why Web Design Matters in Brooklyn?

Great web design is important no matter where you are located. However, in densely populated areas like Brooklyn, where mobile usage is high. These best practices are highly important especially

  1. The best web design firms understand what makes Brooklyn stand out and can communicate effectively with the community.
  2. Mobile is important because customers are looking for solutions that are near to where they are. Leaving the neighborhood is not convenient.
  3. Superior mobile UX lets customers know you have exactly what they want or need.

How to Use Local Digital Marketing to Stand Out

Being online is a necessity for any business large or small. Otherwise, you will lose out on a large and growing market segment. Local digital marketing is the key to standing out, especially for local businesses, who don’t have the budget to compete with national brands.

If you want to increase your business chances of being successful, it is worth the investment in time to learn how local digital marketing can help. 

“Near me”, the Most Powerful Words in Local Search

“Near me”, these are the most important terms in local search and digital presence. Those two simple words can mean so much in terms of traffic. In fact, interest in those two paltry words has quadrupled in the past 5 years of google searches.

"Near me" Google Trends Chart
Source Google Trends

Besides those two brief words, I would like to add the element of time. Potential customers that are looking to fill a need immediately or within 24 hours. 

According to Google, near me now has almost doubled in the past two years. They also report a nearly tenfold increase in the growth of mobile searches for ‘near me today/tonight’. Finally, Google cited a two-fold increase in ‘near me open now’.

These factors go into why local digital marketing is critical for small businesses. You have increasing demand for local results that can satisfy the local customer’s needs in a very narrow window of time. If your online presence is weak, that demand is likely going to your competition.

Target Customers are Doing Their Homework

According to a study by GE Capital, 81% of shoppers research their product online before purchasing. This is up two points, from 79%, versus last year. You will want to make sure that you can be found when customers are looking for solutions. If your business is not visible, then you missed the sale.

Mobile Search is Strong Signal of Purchase Intent

According to a study by Google,

“People rely on their phones to help make the best decisions at the moment of purchase. In fact, 70% of smartphone owners who bought something in a store first turned to their devices for information relevant to that purchase. And when people search on mobile, it leads to action: 92% of those who searched on their phone made a related purchase.”

Therefore, having a strong local presence is key to attracting a target audience willing to buy. 

Case for Local Digital Marketing

The case for local digital marketing is solid. 

  1. Consumers are looking for businesses in their local market to solve their needs, but also, if they are open when they need them.
  2. Consumers research purchases on-line. If you are not there, you cannot be in the consideration set.
  3. When they search locally on mobile, they are ready to buy.

Why Digital Marketing is Important in Brooklyn?

All that diversity creates a unique targeting challenge. Who is the right target to pick? Should I segment by neighborhood, income, ethnicity? It can be a very difficult choice. Luckily, there are digital marketing tools that can help. Social listening tools can help find out who is talking about what and give us some insight into who is most interested in what we do. Plus, once you define that target, digital marketing provides a level of specificity that no other media can match.

  1. Local digital marketing in Brooklyn is about targeting. Who are the right people to reach?
  2. Once you identify the target, it is important to raise awareness among them that your business exists. 
  3. Local digital marketing lets your target the right customers when they are nearby. It's so much easier to get what you need when it's around the block.

How to Leverage Local Digital Marketing 

There are three key tools you can use to maximize the effectiveness of your local digital marketing.

Google My Business (GMB)

80% of all searches in the US are on Google. When you search “_____ near me”, you will be shown what is called the Google Local Pack on your search engine results page (SERP). The Google Local Pack looks something like this:

Google automatically returns the top 3 ranked businesses, which are restaurants in this example. If you click on one of these businesses, you will automatically be shown its GMB page. GMB is a free resource that is easily accessible to any business owner. The process is simple. First, you have to go to the GMB page

To start, you would click the Manage now button in the upper right hand corner of the page.  You will then have to choose “Add a Business”, which will take you to this screen.

Here, you enter your business’ name. If it is an existing business, you can claim that business. If it is not an existing business you can create one.  There are too many steps to cover in one post, but if you would like more information, you can read the GMB FAQ page for a more step by step guide.

Flawless Mobile Website Experience

Earlier we discussed that 80% of customers search online before they decide to make a purchase. Today over 50% of device use is mobile. Given 9 out 10 mobile searches lead to a sale, you want your potential customers to search for you on mobile.

The fastest way to lose that potential customer is to have a poorly designed mobile website experience. There are two areas that are a must if you want to succeed in providing a flawless mobile experience.

Page Speed

Bounce rates go up dramatically if a site takes longer than 3 seconds to load. It pays to run a speed test on your site. I recommend Google PageSpeed Insights. They are a tough grader, but it is better to know what great looks like, rather than to settle for mediocre.

If you find your site is working optimally, it is probably due to your web design, and more specifically your CMS. While I can’t cover all the details here, I wrote a post on the impact of CMS on Pagespeed that can help.

Website is not Truly Responsive

Many themes claim that they are responsive. However, a truly responsive site provides a seamless experience regardless of device. Few themes can actually deliver this type of experience without causing problems with page speed. 

To avoid a poor mobile experience, it is helpful to be aware of some of the built-in biases in web design. The most important is desktop design bias. Most developers design using a desktop. Unless the developer actively checks his or her work on a mobile screen setting, design errors can be introduced. 

This is why we always recommend that you design for mobile first if you are not doing a custom build. For a more in depth explanation of these issues and how to manage them, you can read my guest post on SMBCEO.

Local Search Advertising

Finally, local search advertising is something worth considering, as those mobile searchers are very valuable. The ideal path would be to rank highly enough on organic SEO that you would warrant a listing in the local pack. However, when that is not possible, paid search can still return a solid ROI if executed appropriately. 

In Summary

When it comes to being successful in digital marketing in [location], there are three things I hope you remember.

  1. Consumers are looking for businesses near them to solve their needs, make sure you are seen by them when they do.
  2. 90% of mobile searches end in purchases, so make sure that your site doesn’t hinder you.
  3. Ensure that you are visible on local listings like GMB and others that are relevant to your neighborhood.

If you need help with local digital marketing for your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Things to Remember…

If you're thinking about finding help in Brooklyn for your small business, here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Find a firm that knows your area. If your small business is marketing in Brooklyn, you'll want help from someone who understands how Brooklyn works. The best marketing firms understand what makes Brooklyn stand out  and can communicate with the community.
  2. Find a company you can trust. If you can't trust a business to have your best interests, you're already going to be left in the lurch. Make sure you have a guarantee that your business will be treated fairly by all parties.
  3. Get the size of help you need. A larger firm can provide more resources and can do more things. A smaller firm, on the other hand, can feel like a neighbor in Brooklyn, with the added benefit of one-on-one help from the best the company can offer.

How to Adapt Our Small Business SEO Tips for Brooklyn

Aside from all the general tips above, here are some specific actions you can take based on the three key elements of local search algorithms:

Proximity 

All of this assumes that you have completed your keyword research and developed your keyword list. If you have not, this section will be more effective once you do. Please see our previous post on digital marketing in Brooklyn and then come back.

Go through your keywords list and select those which are good descriptors of your business. If it were me, I would use something like “digital marketing agency”, “seo services”, for example. Then make a list of the neighborhoods you service, for example “seo services Jay Street”.

Now comes the harder part, that is frankly a bit tedious. For each combination, see if you can create a somewhat unique post that’s 500-1000 words for that keyword. For us, it is a post like this. I try to write a post that helps my potential clients learn something or do something they didn’t know they could. 

Prominence 

Now, this is the good part. If you do write quality posts for these keywords, you will be raising your prominence. Google knows that all these neighborhoods are in Brooklyn. So, for each good post you write, you help raise your prominence on a given topic in a given location.

Prominence is also helped by the basic techniques I mentioned earlier, such as being a part of local business groups, e.g. the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce or Brooklyn Business Association. Any local listing helps.

Relevance

This is why I like the blog technique because it hits all three key areas. If your keyword is a descriptor of what you do and the neighborhood is one you serve, it is highly likely that you will score points on relevance.

Finding the right SEO for your small business in a neighborhood like Brooklyn can be a crucial way to get your company noticed online.

These same tools would apply if you want to target local SEO in NYC

If you are more interest in the borough, you can see our Small Business Marketing in Brooklyn. If you want the full city, you can see our Small Business Marketing in NYC.