We’ve all heard those legendary small business stories—once holding just pennies in their pockets, a local leader makes millions building up their brand. They might have made it look easy, but launching a thriving brick-and-mortar business takes hard work, a little luck, and a smart online strategy.
Successful local brands need more than traditional business and marketing skills. To stand out and grow, it’s important to take advantage of today’s leading-edge ideas to elevate brand awareness. This includes the usage of local SEO, connecting with your community, and managing a positive online reputation and presence.
With these tools, plus a healthy dose of perseverance, you’ll be on your way to a winning local business strategy.
What is a Local Brand?
A local brand is closely and intentionally tied to its community. Even if you’re a multi-location business or part of a larger franchise, local brands proudly dig their roots into wherever each individual store calls home. Whether you run a restaurant that’s famously served your city for 50 years, or a buzzing Starbucks location in your hometown, the address is a huge part of your identity.
However, neither Starbucks nor that incredible burger joint downtown was built overnight or by accident. Local leaders must create a story, a product, and a culture—plus integrate new technologies and local SEO strategies—that people will recognize as their own for years to come.
Why Have Local Partnerships in Your Community?
It’s one thing to call yourself a local business. It’s another to live it. By creating tight-knit partnerships with community members, you’ll prove that you’re interested in more than just money.
Local partnerships involve possibilities like sponsoring a little league team, joining your city’s business association, or developing a support system alongside other local businesses both within and outside of your industry. It’s essentially a way to show that you care about your community.
Additionally, when two or more local names come together, they create something bigger than themselves. It not only gives your current customers more reasons to stay loyal. It provides promotional opportunities to new clientele while showing off the human side of your organization.
Should I Invest in Local SEO?
This answer is easy—YES! Gone are the days of the Yellow Pages. Now, everyone uses their mobile devices and desktop computers to zero in on their business of choice. In 2020, 93% of consumers say that they used the internet to find a local business. Which businesses pop up to the top—or even better, land on Google’s coveted Map Pack or 3-pack—is all about your search engine optimization, or SEO, strategy.
No matter your size, industry, or location, every company needs to invest in SEO. For local businesses specifically, the emphasis needs to be first on getting found, and then on quickly gaining the user’s trust.
Be sure that you have a complete, up-to-date listing on every platform possible, but especially Google My Business (GMB), Yelp, and Facebook. It’s a relatively simple task that often results in higher foot traffic and revenue.
Why Control Your Online Reputation
After getting found on the internet, people then have to believe in what you’re offering. Today, users increasingly trust online customer reviews and ratings when making a buying decision. This is especially critical for smaller local businesses. This Harvard Business Review study found that a single additional star on Yelp can increase revenue at a local shop by 5-9%!
Trust is also built by the business owners themselves kindly responding to each and every review (yes, even the bad ones). Think of review responses as a tool to amplify your brand’s genuine voice.
Imagine the impression that users will get if a business owner takes the time to express thanks for a five-star review—or writes an apology and offers a free sandwich to a disgruntled patron who left a one-star review. Even just scrolling past these interactions gives off a positive feeling.
Even better? One study shows that 33% of reviewers will change a bad review into a good one after a business responds to their complaint. Many have even turned around to become loyal customers.
Why Do Local Relationships and SEO Matter?
Prioritizing human connections and a positive online reputation offers business owners priceless insights into the customer experience. You’ll better understand what’s working, what’s not, and how to improve. It also leads to greater trust and lifelong loyalty—something every successful company desires.
By launching an SEO strategy, you’re giving yourself and your team one more way to ensure that you’re exceeding these goals. From valuable market intelligence to increased revenue to cementing a lifelong place in your own community, you’ll set yourself up for lasting local business success.
Want to see how your own local business shows up online compared to the competition? Try our free instant brand audit now and get an inside look at how easy, or difficult, it is for people to find your company on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other platforms.