Wow, Chelsea. What can I say, Chelsea was a mecca when I first moved here in the late 90s. A little gay boy escaping from the Midwest to find a place he could belong. Chelsea was that for awhile. But, Chelsea, true to its nature changed.
If you look at the history of Chelsea, it's a testament to change. In the 1960-70s, the neighborhood fell on hard time. From the late 1970s to early 2000s, it was the center LGBTQ life in New York. As acceptance grew of LGBTQ community, the need for a ghetto lessened. Chelsea's heart migrated a bit west of 8th avenue when the Highline was opened in late 2010s. It's now dotted with luxury housing, and many flock to the little garden space in the middle of the city.
The marketing challenge with Chelsea is the same with most of Manhattan is the constant flux. The ebb and flow as neighborhood evolve and change.
In a changing neighborhood, mobile responsiveness and speed are both key to letting both new and old customer know where you are and what you do.
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.
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.
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.
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.
According to Best Designs, original graphics are the most successful.
“Original graphics make up 40% of all successful visual content that accomplishes marketing goals, but 43% of marketers struggle with the consistent production of captivating visuals.”
Since we are communicating one message, the artwork that supports it must work very hard to support the message. This is where local market know-how can really help. Original photos and images of your business in Chelsea interacting with your neighborhood can add value.
It also helps with when your calls to action focus on local events in and around Chelsea or at your business location.
Every email, no matter how trivial, should have a call to action. This is where all the hard work above pays off. If we omit one, we just wasted resources that could have been spent more cost effectively.
We cover email list building in great detail in our post on small business email marketing. Again, we will just hit the highlights here as it pertains to Chelsea. Every neighborhood has summer fairs. While these were severely impacted by COVID, in our post COVID world they should roar back with a vengeance. It would be smart to see if you could piggy-back off one or more of them.
Incentives, deals, free trials, and samples are all great options when developing your calls to action. See if you can partner with your neighbors to create a shared promotion. This way one shopper in Chelsea has two or more places to visit while out in the neighborhood.
In a changing neighborhood, , the first decision you need to make is deciding on your target. With influx of new people and the shift in business heart, it's more important than ever to be seen and stand out. Your old customers may have left, but now, it is time to find someone new.
There are three key tools you can use to maximize the effectiveness of your local digital marketing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to being successful in digital marketing in [location], there are three things I hope you remember.
See more about Small Business Marketing in Chelsea. If you are more interest in the borough, you can see our Small Business Marketing in Manhattan. If you want the full city, you can see our Small Business Marketing in NYC.
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:
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 Chelsea 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.
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 areas are near Chelsea. 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 Manhattan Chamber of Commerce or Neighborhood Associations. Any local listing helps.
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 Chelsea 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