It’s something we’ve been claiming for a while now: a strong local digital presence is critical to national brand success.
It’s about time the industry catches on. The proof is out there. Our State of Local Marketing Report states that 76% of local affiliates use websites, but 46% find them difficult to manage. And the growing importance of near-me moments is becoming more and more relevant. According to an eMarketer report, 80% of US internet users prefer to turn to a search engine to find or look up information about local businesses. This means that we now live in a world where people trust what they find online more than family and friends. Is your brand ready for it?
We understand managing local websites across a distributed network of dealers, agents and franchisees can be daunting. Here are three reasons local affiliates need a solid website presence.
1. Customers are searching for (and trusting) local
Being there when your customers are searching for your products or service is paramount to success. That means showing up at the top of search results with accurate, useful information at the exact moment the local consumer is searching for your business. With 63 percent of consumers using websites to find or engage with a business, if you’re not showing up, you’re missing an important audience: an audience that’s ready to buy. As competition is fierce and consumers increasingly trust websites that appear at the top of search results, taking the right steps, like adjustments to local SEO, to climb to the top of search results is worth it.
2. Connect with the customer through local content
Connecting with your audience is more than just showing up in search, it’s having the right content on your pages. Having information that is relevant to your audience is crucial. In fact, 89 percent of consumers report that website personalization resulted increased revenue. Having a distributed network of local websites makes it hard to keep them personalized to their local communities, but failing to do so effectively could cost you. Not only does strong content help relate to your audience, it also helps you climb to the top of search with SEO. Knowing that content is actually the most important Google ranking factor, updating that local content should be a top priority when looking to make adjustments to your business partners’ websites.
3. The importance of mobile-friendliness is skyrocketing
It’s no longer effective to just have a website. With 94 percent of people with smartphones searching for local information on their phones in the US, not thinking mobile-friendly is detrimental. What does it mean to be mobile-friendly? Making sure your visitors have a seamless experience with large call-to-actions, page responsiveness and mobile-speed on each of your sites. According to Google, people are five times more likely to leave a site if it’s not mobile friendly, meaning a loss in conversions and profit. Another benefit of having mobile-friendly sites? Your website is even more likely to climb to the top of search results. As more and more local consumers turn to their phones for ‘near-me’ searches, don’t lose the business to your competition that have mobile-friendly sites.
As Google says: the world is changing from a ‘who does it best?’ to a ‘who does it best now?’ mentality. With that comes the growing importance to be there when your consumers are looking. Having a mobile-friendly, content-focused and accurate local website will give your affiliates the edge on their competition and will help them reach the local customer when they’re ready to buy.
Interested in learning how Brandmuscle can help manage and optimize your local websites? Learn about LocationBuilder and request a demo today!
Amanda Knauer is the Digital Content Marketing Associate at Brandmuscle where she manages the blog, social media and other pieces of content marketing for the company. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.