Why Local Digital Marketing is a Must in New York

New York: Patchwork of 330 Neighborhoods

I've lived in New York City for over 20 years. One of the reasons that I love this city is its diversity. All these amazing unique blends of culture, class, ideologies, religions, it is extremely hard to replicate. I have yet to find a city that does. There are a number of cities that are world capitals that are as large or larger, but none quite has the cultural diversity that New York does.

This city is not perfect. Someone once told me that how you experience NYC is directly proportional to the amount of money you make. For the most part, I believe that is true. But, I also believe it is a place where you can still find opportunity to grow. The creative energy comes from this vibrant mixture of people is why this city has made it through crisis after crisis.

The biggest challenge small businesses or any size business for that matter is how to standout. New York is a crowded and noisy place, so you have to find a niche where you can play and can own. It usually starts with your neighborhood, and you have 330 from which to choose.

Local Digital Marketing is Price of Entry

It is important for any local business to engage in local digital marketing. Digital marketing has grown from a method of attracting more business to a means to attract and not to lose business to competition.

Target Customers Search Before They Buy

Some businesses think that they only need digital advertising if their business is large or is more regional or national in scope. It is a mistake that puts them at a competitive disadvantage. They are at a disadvantage because roughly 8 of 10 customers search before they buy. 

A brand that is not part of that search is not likely to be considered, even if they are the best solution or product. Potential customers simply are not aware they exist. 

More importantly, customers want to find solutions that are near to where they are. No one wants to travel out of their way to get what they need. The search term “_____ near me” has quadrupled over the past 5 years in google searches.

Near Me Google Trends Chart
Source Google Trends

Customers Don’t Want to Wait

Another interesting trend that builds on the one above is that your target audience are not only looking for solutions near them but also available now.

The search term “_____ near me now” has tripled in the past 5 years. So, if you are a local bakery that sells cakes and offers discounts late in the day, being visible during a search at 3 pm for “cakes near me now” would be valuable. Plus, you can also sweeten the offer by making sure your discount is clearly visible online to potential local customers.

Mobile Searchers are Ready to Buy, Now

This builds on my prior points. If someone is searching for “cakes near me now” is probably looking to purchase one. In fact, Google reported in one of their studies that 90% of mobile searchers made a purchase. 

Therefore, a local business, I would argue, is in the best position to meet that searcher's needs because they have a local market solution to their problem and are available now. The only thing left is to ensure that that search is aware that the business exists.

Why Local Digital Marketing Is Key No Matter What Your Size

  1. 80% of your customers are searching for a solution that you can provide
  2. A growing percentage of them are looking for quick and easy solution, which a nearby business that is open can provide
  3. 9 out of 10 of those mobile searchers are ready to buy, now. They just need to know you exist.

Why Digital Marketing is Important in New York?

One of the major challenges for new businesses in New York  is the sheer volume of people and advertising noise. Local digital marketing, when used effectively, can help you get noticed.

  1. Local digital marketing in New York is about being visible, at the right time, and at the right place.
  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 is so much easier to get what you need when it's a short walk from where you are.

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 New York for your small business, here are the things to keep in mind.

  1. Find a firm that knows your area. If your small business is marketing in New York or the surrounding area, you'll want help from someone who understands the lay of the land, and the daily flow. In New York, you may choose to start smaller with a borough or a neighborhood.
  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 be less intimidating, 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 New York

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 New York 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 regions/towns you service, for example “seo services manhattan”, or “seo service brooklyn”.

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 New York. 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 New York City Chamber of Commerce or Manhattan Chamber of Commerce 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 that you will score points on relevance.

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

If you want the full city, you can see our Small Business Marketing in New York.