It’s no secret that digital marketing is becoming increasingly important for businesses, and with the worst of the pandemic behind us, customers will be back in stores doing most of their holiday shopping for the first time since 2019.
So how do business owners use online channels to find local customers and get them in-store to shop? Keep reading to find out and start planning your holiday marketing strategy today!
How Can I Find Local Customers Online?
1. Build Your Digital Storefront
Each day, millions of people use search engines like Google to find products and services, and your job is to ensure your business is showing up at the top of their search results. How do you do that? Through strong search engine business listings like Google Business Profile!
In addition to making sure your listings on Google Maps and Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business, are up-to-date with store hours, positive customer reviews, and photos, you should optimize your website content by using location-specific terms to target local customers searching for these keyphrases.
2. Expand Your Social Media Presence
Whether you’re trying to grow your online business or boost in-person sales, social media marketing is still a crucial aspect of your digital marketing strategy. The following tips will help you connect with local audiences and expand your brand awareness at the very least:
- Create business accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- Add your social media info to your website, business cards, and all other print marketing materials
- Share useful information related to your products or services with a link to your website in every post
- Engage with online communities in your local area
3. Showcase Your Local Inventory
Use Pointy from Google to list your available inventory in your Google Business Profile for free. This will allow your products to appear in non-paid local search results across various Google surfaces, including Google Shopping. Highlighting in-stock inventory enables local customers who see your products to call to reserve an item for pick up and use Google Maps to navigate to your location.
Google business listings also allow businesses to highlight available options, such as in-store or curbside pickup, and store-specific discounts and promotions. This is a huge benefit for customers who might be finishing up last-minute holiday shopping or simply looking to avoid shipping delays.
4. Grow Omnichannel Sales
Google reported that “In the U.S., searches for ‘local gift shops near me’ have increased 440% in just the past month as people switch between online and offline shopping.” A customer may perform an online search for a product and then decide to pick it up in-store, doubling down on the importance of an omnichannel retail experience by highlighting the ways consumers are blending their online and in-store shopping habits.
This approach helps business owners find local customers who may not have known about their brand before, but it also increases the possibility of the customer making additional purchases once they’re physically in the store. For this reason, streamlining your customer experience and providing behind-the-scenes customer service to make their shopping experience as seamless as possible should be at the top of your to-do list.
5. Grow In-Store Sales
Launch local search ad campaigns through Google to drive traffic to your brick-and-mortar storefront. The following are a few ways business owners can use search engines to reach local customers and get them offline and in their stores:
- Promote store locations to shoppers via Google Maps
- Encourage in-store shopping by highlighting sales through Google Business Profile
- Highlight in-stock products that are available for immediate via a local product feed
Searches for “now near me” have more than tripled in volume over the past year according to Google, further emphasizing the importance of targeting local customers and optimizing your content to fit their needs so that they spend their hard-earned money at your local business this holiday season.
How Do You Target Local Customers?
In addition to your digital marketing efforts, the following are a few additional tried and true marketing strategies for targeting local customers and growing your business no matter what time of the year it is:
- Leverage out-of-home advertising
- Plan local events
- Establish partnerships with local organizations and other local businesses
- Get involved in your community
Establishing a name for yourself in and around your community is a great way to boost brand awareness and reach local customers. During the holiday season, consider hosting a holiday market with other local businesses to significantly expand your customer base.
Bonus points if you can hire someone with a Santa suit to incentivize parents to come out with their kids and share photos from your event!
Partner with Houston’s Local Marketing Experts—Versa Creative
Ready to find local customers but not ready to manage your own digital marketing efforts? A full-service, data-driven agency like Versa Creative can help you reach the local audience most likely to shop in your store so you can focus on the other aspects of growing your business, like keeping up with increased product demands once your place is established in the local business scene.
What are you waiting for? Contact our team of experts and let us help you break through the noise and reach local customers ahead of the holiday season!