How to Use Local Digital Marketing to Win in Albany

Max Tiller, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Albany: Capital District Stands Apart as from the Upstate Cities

If you have ever traveled of lived in upstate New York, you'll notice the distinct differences in major upstate cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany. Albany as the state capital has a very different economic base that the other major regions.

Albany's economy has centered around the government, healthcare, and educations to some degree. Lately, this has diversified into high tech due to governmental incentives. Therefore, Albany has be relatively immune to the economic shocks that shook the economies of the other more industrial upstate cities. It has never been subject to the same turmoil as the others.

This doesn't mean the the Capital District doesn't face its own sets of challenges. It simply means it has never had to go through a reinvention or rebranding, which makes it unique among the its upstate sister cities.

Digital Marketing Works Best When Localized

For building a digital marketing strategy for your local business, it may differ greatly from what you’ve been used to in the past. Local digital marketing works best when it helps local customers find what, when, and how to get what they need quickly.

“Near Me, Now”

Google trends is an invaluable tool when looking at changes in real-time and over time. This graph is an example of how consumer behavior has changed. As you can see, the interest in location, ‘near me’ has jumped 4 fold in google searches over the past 5 years.

Near me Google Trends Chart

However, “near me” alone is not enough. 

  <script type="text/javascript" src="https://ssl.gstatic.com/trends_nrtr/2431_RC04/embed_loader.js"></script>  <script type="text/javascript">    trends.embed.renderExploreWidget("TIMESERIES", {"comparisonItem":[{"keyword":"near me now","geo":"US","time":"today 5-y"}],"category":0,"property":""}, {"exploreQuery":"date=today%205-y&geo=US&q=near%20me%20now","guestPath":"https://trends.google.com:443/trends/embed/"});  </script>

There has been a 3-fold increase in the desire to find solutions that are not only ‘near me’ but also, ‘near me, now’. Your target audience is looking for solutions that are readily available. Potential customers do not want to wait. 

This trend makes it not only important to have your name, address, phone number, and products/services listed, but also your hours of operation. If you just solved for ‘near me’, with the common advice of consistent name, address, and phone, you would have missed those that were looking to see if you were open now. 

Maybe a consumer would dig deeper to find your hours, but more likely, he or she would just go to the next listing. 

Easy to Reach You

Having multiple contact methods is another way to make it simple for the local searcher to reach you. Having a listing with multiple options makes it easy for the consumer to choose how they wish to interact. Email and phone are reliable standbys, but newer methods like chatbots and texting are also a way to extend your service differentiation before the sale.

If Target Customers Are Searching on Mobile, They are Ready to Buy.

This is a somewhat dated study from Google (2017), but the data are still relevant even if the numbers may have changed. 

In their study, they found that 7 out of 10 mobile searchers purchased something in store after researching it on their phone. For example, if you are a restaurant owner, these data suggest that 70% of your customers probably read your menu, reviews, etc. before they even stepped foot in your place.

This same study showed that over 90% of those who searched for a solution on their phone followed through with a purchase. This is a powerful signal of purchase intent. Therefore, you want your small business to show up when that decision is being made. 

Pictures Really Do Say a Thousand Words :

According to Search Engine Journal, there is a positive correlation between images and views on Google My Business Pages. They state that “Having more images in a Google My Business listing correlates positively with receiving more views.”

Why You Should Leverage Local Digital Marketing

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you that the benefits of local digital marketing are worth your attention.  

  1. “Near Me, Now”: Consumers are looking for solutions in their local market that can solve their needs immediately.
  2. Those searchers are ready to buy. All you need to do is to show them how.
  3. Images increase the likelihood of making that ultimate step.

Why Digital Marketing is Important in Albany?

With many businesses make the investment to deliver goods and services digitally to copy with COVID restrictions, many face the question of what to do with that part of the business as things return to "normal" as more and more people are vaccinated. For those who decide to build on the digital base that they created, digital marketing is critical.

  1. Local digital marketing in Albany is about targeting - do you stay local or use your digital platform to expand
  2. If you decide to retain an ecommerce arm, it is important to raise awareness, conversion, and repeat. 
  3. Local digital marketing lets your target the right customers when they are nearby for a brick and mortar purchase or at home for an ecommerce purchase.

Using Targeted Local Digital Marketing to Win

There are several ways to use targeted local digital marketing to win in [location]. We cannot cover them all here, but we can review some of the most common.

Ensure an Superior Mobile Experience 

A superior mobile experience is based on the fundamental elements of good graphic design principles.  By following good graphic design principles can make your site easy to read, navigate, and understand. 

Key Elements of Good Graphic Design

The first element is the grid layout. The most common grid patterns used in web design are Manuscript, Column and Hierarchical.

Before the days of responsive sites, hierarchical web design was in vogue. However, owing to the need to create seamless experiences between different devices, the trend has shifted to the column design.

The column design is a layout divided into a fixed number of columns. The columns set the scale for the page. The row sizes set the grid dimensions. Using a grid pattern helps maintain legibility and proportionality much simpler.

The next major element is color. There has been a lot of study on colors and their effects on moods. Much of the data has been inconclusive and highly sensitive to surroundings and context. 

Luckily, we do not have to cover all these details in order to build a great design. Adobe has a very useful tool that can help you find the right mix of colors that work well together. 

Font type is more an aesthetic choice. However, font size should be greater than 12 points to ensure legibility.

Lastly, we have images. Original graphics tend to be much more successful than stock images. Sites with original graphics tend to perform better than those without. 

Good Graphic Design Can Help User Find What They Need Quickly

Nearly 80% of all users said the most important function of a website is to make it  “Easy to Find What I Want”. This was almost 8x as important as the next items.

Google My Business (GMB)

Since mobile searchers are 90% likely to purchase something relevant to their search. You need to be found in mobile and local search. 

The best way to do that is to set up or claim your GMB page. Nearly 8 out of every 10 searches in the US are done on Google. Therefore, it makes logical sense to use their default platform. As this example shows, a mobile search of  “restaurants near me” yielded this search engine results page (SERP). 

You quickly notice the block with the map. This is called the Google Local 3 pack.

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 relatively easy, and if you would like more information, you can read the GMB FAQ page for a more step by step guide.

Local Listings

Finally, we come to local listings. One time in the not so distant past, these listings used to be free. However, now, there are listing aggregators that charge a fee. You can still get pretty far using the free listings, however it is a very time consuming and labor intensive process. 

The reason we care about local listings is that consistency in NAP (name, address, phone) is a key legitimacy signal for Google. If you want one of those coveted local 3 pack spots, you will want to send as many of these signals as possible. 

Other places to look are your local digital news sources, reviews, chambers of commerce listings, local awards, e.g. Top 10 Restaurants in _____. All of these listings add credibility and further enhance your legitimacy ranking. 

In Summary

I hope that we convinced you why local digital marketing is important no matter the size of your business.  In order to be successful in using digital marketing to help your business, we hope that you keep these three things in mind:

  1. Invest the time in creating a superior mobile experience. Leverage the design guideline to help ensure that the information that your user is seeking is easy to find and consume.
  2. Claim or set up your GMB page. Make sure that it is current and has imagery that helps sell your brand.
  3. 90% of mobile searchers are ready to make a purchase, so you want to do all that you can to make sure you are listed in the Google 3 pack.

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 Albany for your small business, here are the some to keep in mind.

  1. Find a firm that knows your area. If your small business is marketing in Albany, you'll want help from someone who understands how Albany works. The best marketing firms understand what makes Albany 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 has more resources and can do more things. A smaller firm, on the other hand, can feel like a neighbor in Albany 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 Albany

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 Albany 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 Troy”.

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 locations are in or near Albany. 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. Please see the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce or Albany.com for listings that might pertain to you. 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 Albany can be a crucial way to get your company noticed online.

If you are interested in what more we do, check out Small Business Marketing in Albany.