Why Local Digital Marketing is a Must in Philadelphia

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

Philadelphia: Largest Major City You Rarely Hear About

Philadelphia is an amazing city that often gets overshadowed by its noisy neighbors to the north (New York City) and the south (Washington DC). With New York City and Washington taking up the oxygen, Philly can get overlooked. That's a shame because Philadelphia has so much to offer.

Philadelphia is the sixth largest city in the US, and the second largest city on the East Coast. This is right. It is bigger than DC and Boston. Maybe it is part of its Quaker history, but Philly does blare its own horn as much as its sister cities on the coast.

There are 3 million jobs in Philadelphia. Many of which are highly skilled in industries such as medicine, technology, financial services, renewables, and many others. In fact, it's the 6th largest workforce in the nation.

With all this diversity, the marketing challenge most small businesses face is one of awareness.

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 Local Digital Marketing Matters in Philadelphia?

With so much choice packed into such a small area, the key to success in Philadelphia is standing out and being noticed. Local digital marketing can help you do just that. 

  1. Local digital marketing in Philadelphia is about differentiating and owning a small niche. Then, exploring how you might expand from it.
  2. Digital is important to raise awareness among both Philadelphia residents and those from the suburbs, who commute into the city daily. 
  3. It lets both Philadelphia and nearby towns and regions, such as the Main Line and New Jersey suburbs, etc. know you are nearby, open, and accessible.

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 Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia, you'll want help from someone who understands how Philadelphia works. The best marketing firms understand the differences among the regions, towns, and cities of Philadelphia
  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, 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 Philadelphia

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 Philadelphia 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 Center City”, or “seo service Chester County”.

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 the Philadelphia region. 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 Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce or JobStars 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 Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia and also in NJ.