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Local Marketing Software 2020: A Complete Guide

What is Local Marketing?

Local Marketing is a marketing method that focuses on marketing strategy and implementation on one or more target audiences physically located within small geographical areas, the audience in each such area being treated as a separate marketing target. It is also popularly known as Neighborhood Marketing.

In Local Marketing, promotional messages are created and published to cater specifically to a local audience, and not to a mass market. The crux in Local Marketing is how well the marketer can ‘know’ the locality, its people, and their needs and wants. Messaging is apt to highlight, explicitly or subtly, that the business is “from the neighborhood”, implying that this makes it better placed for value delivery to its audience, as also appealing to people’s sense of belongingness. A common enough example of Local Marketing would be a local restaurant’s menu leaflets inserted into household letterboxes or included in the daily newspaper run.

Local Marketing is deployed through email, SMS, localized search, and other online ads, leaflets, and advertisements in neighborhood newspapers. Presence in local events, sponsorships, coupons, purchasing local outdoor ad space, and festive offers are also favored local marketing methods.

Single store owners and individual outlets of small business chains typically employ local marketing techniques to boost their sales. Franchised businesses associated with big brands also make use of this technique to attract local audiences. They employ this form of marketing to not only attract and acquire new customers but also to drive repeat sales at regular intervals.

Local Marketing tactics must - and usually do - vary from neighborhood to neighborhood even for the same business, based on socio-economic factors, demographic footprints, and purchasing power.

Building local pages at scale can be a painful task. It's hard to strike the right mix of on-topic content, expertise, and location.

R J

Russ Jones

Search Scientist Moz

While it is relatively easy for single-store owners to personalize relationships in a limited geography, it is challenging for big brands with large footprints and a centralized command to maintain their brand image and yet localize messaging for consumers in keeping with the geo-social specifics. It is hardly possible to create such detailed publicity material and engage in content publishing if attempted manually. To overcome this limitation, Local Marketing Software is used to automate the whole process.

Small businesses operating in limited geography find it challenging to compete against big brands’ deep pockets and seemingly endless resources or to even branch out to other locations for higher revenue. Survival for such businesses hinges on the effective use of Local Marketing to create and disseminate appropriate messaging to attract new customers. The aim is to nudge and guide the local target audience to conversion as customers. Thereafter, delivering customer satisfaction becomes the key to enjoying further sales, including cross-selling and/or upselling.

“U.S. businesses of all sizes are expected to spend $154.6 billion on local advertising in 2020” - Research firm BIA/Kelsey, in a report on US Advertising Forecast for 2019:

Benefits of Local Marketing Software

Local marketing software enables marketers to design campaigns even without skills or knowledge in graphic design or digital marketing. It empowers them to create mails, email campaigns, print collaterals, social media campaigns, and to develop landing pages for their local traffic.

Similarly, big brands can benefit by creating templates for local users, which improves efficiency and reduces costs. The whole campaign can be controlled and managed from the corporate office. With the use of analytics, they can generate reports to monitor the performance of the campaigns. Using templates, they maintain consistency in the quality of the campaign material by allowing the addition of local flavors while still not diluting the brand message.

Accurate and automated listing distribution, better landing page development, and optimization - all can lead to improved search engine rankings.

Benefits of Local Marketing Software

Using specialized software for local marketing allows for a closer, more nuanced campaigns at much higher cost-effectiveness. Merging this with search utility parameters helps in real-time promotion with rapidly evolving “near me/you” suggestions.

Who are the Users of Local Marketing Software?

End users can be categorized into three broad segments, viz., local marketers - brick and mortar businesses that every neighborhood has in a town or city, big businesses with branches in local geography such as Woolworth, and big brands with a countrywide or even international footprint like Starbucks.

It can be used as a tool by pretty much every industry vertical that has business interests in the retail segment to reach out to hyperlocal to target customers.

Key Features of Local Marketing Software

Local Marketing Software help automate the tasks to be accomplished for local marketing. As a business tool, the software is often an enabler and not just an efficiency enhancer for local marketing. Typical components are the following:

Listing Management

Any successful campaign depends on the ease of availability of clean, accurate, and consistent data for listing. The key to drive high rankings in search engines - which will ensure that online searchers find you faster - is to be able to supply as much information as possible in the form of a name, brand, product description, categories, pricing band, payment mode, coupons, special offers, images of products, operating hours of the store, services provided, etc. This is enabled through Listing Management.

Listing Distribution

Such listings are to be shared with search engines, relevant online directories, social media platforms. Listing Distribution enables this.

Local SEO

Proper Listing Management with optimized location data will maximize the benefit derived from Search Engine Optimization.

Key Features of Local Marketing Software

Local Landing Pages

Local Landing Pages are the first touchpoint for consumers, where they access relevant and detailed local information. The pages get localized for each consumer by requiring location data, usually, the names of the city and the state.

Other components of Local Marketing Software are used thus:

  • Optimize the local content for Mobile and Social Media platform
  • Reputation Management module to constantly encourage customers to rate and review.
  • Social Media Management for regular social media postings, market surveys, and social media campaigns

Modules

An ideal Local Marketing Software Suite would include all or any of the following Modules:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Web Presence
  • Display Advertising
  • Online Market Analytics
  • Lead Conversion
  • Communication Management modules for Email and Chat
  • Social Media Management Module
  • Reputation Management module for rating and review management
  • Ability to store catalogs
  • Online maps and GPS System
  • Mobile Optimization
  • Reports and Dashboard

Google is the biggest house on the local block; Google comprises both risk and tremendous opportunity for local businesses and their marketers.

M E

Miriam Ellis

Solas Web Design

All these modules deployed together or in parts in a phased manner depending upon the business needs can completely revolutionize the way one does Local Marketing.

While the above-mentioned components would form the basis of software adoption by individual store owners, the big brands do it a little differently for their own locations or franchisee locations. They do not allow the franchisee locations to create their own localized content on the whole, for fear of diluting the brand message. The software provides them with templates to localize their messaging for individual markets. Brands enable their franchisee partners with such templates to align localized messaging with brand messaging. They also provide content management tools to store and organize text, pictures, animations, videos, and creative content.

This software acts as an enabler for the local marketer to run print advertisements, digital signage, digital marketing campaigns. It assists users to prepare reports for particular needs, customized workflows, and scheduling features. The scheduling feature helps the local marketer to sequence and schedule their posts on several social media platforms.

Artificial Intelligence in Local Marketing Software

Recent and ongoing advances in Artificial Intelligence will be reflected in Local Marketing applications as well and will be seen to play significant roles in further ‘humanizing’ their working. For example, such tools are likely to mainstream the inclusion of voice optimization. Use of Virtual Assistants like Alexa, Cortana, Siri through voice command has led to major growth in the voice activation space. Consumers will soon use voice prompts to engage in searches rather than typing them and hence it is just a matter of time that the software stack will have to undergo changes to adapt voice optimization to recognize all kinds of local languages, dialects, pronunciations, and phonetics in order to come up with best search results.

The local algorithm has always been based on relevance, prominence, and proximity.

M B

Mary Bowling

Renowned local SEO Expert

Some of the emerging trends in the Local Marketing segment include Google My Business which is emerging as a testbed for organizations wanting to get initiated into this space. Facebook recommendations are being taken seriously and this has a direct influence on the buying process. With the continuing increase in the density of mobile phones, it is imperative to have content optimized for mobile phones. Accuracy of locations is also a key parameter. Expect to see soon how specialized software enables the expert management of all these and more in local marketing.

Buyers Guide - Guide to Choose Right Local Marketing Software

The first thing to do before deciding on buying a Local Marketing Software, it has to be said, is to firm up the local business strategy and identify the goals to be achieved. Once that is done, it is important to set up key performance indicators to measure them. This will drive the buying process and help decide which modules/ features would be instrumental in achieving the desired goals.

It always helps to seek a product demonstration to get a good sense of the performance of the system. It does not only give you a firsthand experience that would help you incorporate it into your goal plans, but also helps you assess more accurately if it would serve your intended purpose in achieving these goals.

Major factors that need to be considered to choose the right-fit software

Size of the Business

The store can be local or hyperlocal or can be part of a larger chain. The choice of software varies depending on the size of the business. Some of the Local Marketing Software are specialized for SMB - like ThriveHive and ReachLocal. In the case of larger chains, it is important to assess whether their existing marketing automation and SEO tools support local marketing. Workflow and permissions mechanism must ensure smooth working between corporate and local offices

Point Products or All-in-one Platform

The Local Marketing strategy involves multiple things - localized website, local SEO, mobile-friendly sites, local listing, and many more. There are several point products that specialize in specific areas like local SEO or local listings. Products like BrightLocal focus on local SEO, MatchCraft Advantage is specialized in local SEM. On the other hand, all-in-one platforms like ReachLocal and ThriveHive provide a host of capabilities. Depending on your marketing strategy, you can choose either set of best of breed point products or all-in-one platforms.

Localization

Since Local Marketing is all about local businesses, it is important that the software provides extensive localization support around language, currency, local directory listing.

Feature Set

It is important to assess the features of the software and its proven abilities in the market before making buying decisions. Features like local SEO, mobile-friendly, localized websites, local SEM, community management, social media support, reviews and reputation management are some of the critical abilities to assess. Optimization of content to mobile and social media platforms is an important feature. The software should support a flexible and reliable reporting structure.

Ease of Use

This is imperative for all the software that need to cater to SMB. It should have simple install, deploy models. It should also be easy to use without extensive technical support and also easy to customize. Users should be able to create content either through templates or through self-designs with minimal effort.

Integrations

The product should support the necessary integrations. Specifically, if you choose point products, then they should integrate with other eco-system applications like CRM and automation tools.

Cloud or On-Premise

Before buying the software, it is important that the local marketer - or her organization - decides whether they want to use this tool as an off-the-shelf product, implemented on-premise, or as a hosted service, implemented as a cloud-based solution. Small and medium enterprises may elect to go the cloud-based model route, while large enterprises are likely to opt for the on-premise model. The cloud-based model would be subscription-based, at a monthly fee, and frees the subscription holders from worrying about necessary hardware, maintenance, management skills, etc. On the other hand, if the on-premise model is chosen, then, more than anything else, it would require that the organization has the wherewithal to acquire and maintain the right kind of skillsets in-house to make the implementation a success.

More broadly, when shopping for Local Marketing Automation, seek answers to these questions: Is onboarding to this platform going to help you create better Segmentation of your customer base? Will you be able to choose and use the best Media platform to reach out to your customer base? Will it ease the process of creating Messaging to your target customers and help them to generate more revenue? Lastly, is there a Measurement tool to evaluate marketing campaigns and rate the results?

ROI of Local Marketing Software

Individual stores and big brands would differ in the yardsticks they use to measure ROI, and hence, there is no single formula to arrive at a number. But as a general principle, ROI would be measured by cost savings and an increase in revenue due to the implementation and use of the software. In order to quantify these two variables, several parameters relevant to each business can be considered in combination. Below are some parameters that can be considered:

  • Time and Wages of the Design Team
  • Local Marketer Costs
  • Agency fee for the distribution
  • Storage fee
  • Time taken to deploy and run a campaign
  • Increased asset creation – creating multiple and localized messaging out of one design template
  • Spike in Online Conversions
  • Better response rates
  • Customer Reach
  • Better margins at same value points
  • Repeat purchases
  • Upsell and Cross-sell opportunities
  • Asset Utilization
  • Asset Performance – Tracking and monitoring of the campaigns
  • User Behaviour Pattern- Frequency of login, interest in campaigns, location, time, etc
  • Campaign Status – Feedback mechanism

Local Marketing Software

Store Locator Platforms Icon

Store Locator Platforms

4.68
★★★★★
★★★★★

Storemapper | Store Locator Platforms

Store Locator Widgets Icon

Store Locator Widgets

4.57
★★★★★
★★★★★

Store Locator Software - StoreLocatorWidgets.com

Vivial Marketing Platform Icon

Vivial Marketing Platform

4.52
★★★★★
★★★★★

Vivial Marketing Platform | power of custom content with the reach of social media and the immediacy of text messaging

Synup Icon

Synup

4.50
★★★★★
★★★★★

Synup: Unlock the power of local marketing

BrightLocal Icon

BrightLocal

4.44
★★★★★
★★★★★

BrightLocal: Local SEO Tools, Citation Building & Reputation ...

uberall Icon

uberall

4.42
★★★★★
★★★★★

Uberall: Location Marketing cloud

Brandify Icon

Brandify

4.42
★★★★★
★★★★★

Brandify | The Single Enterprise Answer to Local

Nearest! Icon

Nearest!

4.37
★★★★★
★★★★★

Get more out of your Location Data! - nearest.place

Moz Local Icon

Moz Local

4.37
★★★★★
★★★★★

Moz - SEO Software, Tools & Resources for Smarter Marketing

Yext Platform Icon

Yext Platform

4.34
★★★★★
★★★★★

Yext | The Digital Knowledge Management Platform

Rio SEO Icon

Rio SEO

4.32
★★★★★
★★★★★

Rio SEO: Digital Local Marketing Platform for Enterprise Brands

Whitespark Local Citation Finder Icon

Whitespark Local Citation Finder

4.32
★★★★★
★★★★★

Local Citation Finder - Find & Track Hundreds of Citations - Whitespark

MomentFeed MCX Platform Icon

MomentFeed MCX Platform

4.30
★★★★★
★★★★★

MomentFeed MCX Platform | Drive More In-Store Sales With Mobile Marketing

dbaPlatform Icon

dbaPlatform

4.29
★★★★★
★★★★★

Business Listing Automation for Google Maps - dbaPlatform

Neustar Localeze Icon

Neustar Localeze

4.08
★★★★★
★★★★★

Local Search Business Services | Neustar Localeze

SIM partners Velocity Icon

SIM partners Velocity

4.05
★★★★★
★★★★★

SIM partners Velocity | Increase and measure conversions across all digital channels

Advice Local Icon

Advice Local

4.05
★★★★★
★★★★★

Local Listing Management Software & Solutions | Advice Local

Yodle Marketing Essentials Icon

Yodle Marketing Essentials

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

Website Design and Online Marketing for Small Business | Web.com

Devhub Icon

Devhub

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

DevHub | One Platform, Many Different Experiences

ASAPmaps Icon

ASAPmaps

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

ASAPmaps - Google My Business Management services

My Store Locator Plus Icon

My Store Locator Plus

3.97
★★★★★
★★★★★

Store Locator Plus® Directory and Map Builder

SweetIQ Icon

SweetIQ

3.94
★★★★★
★★★★★

SweetIQ | Local Marketing Hub

Ignite Placeable Solutions Icon

Ignite Placeable Solutions

3.92
★★★★★
★★★★★

Placeable | Ignite Technologies

TribeLocal Icon

TribeLocal

3.73
★★★★★
★★★★★

TribeLocal | Local SEO & Online Reputation Management Software

BirdEye Icon

BirdEye

4.79
★★★★★
★★★★★

BirdEye: Online Review Management | Customer Review Software

SE Ranking Icon

SE Ranking

4.72
★★★★★
★★★★★

SE Ranking: SEO analysis and promotion tools you need on-board

OneUp Icon

OneUp

4.63
★★★★★
★★★★★

oneupapp.io - OneUp: Schedule your Google My Business and social media ...

ReviewTrackers Icon

ReviewTrackers

4.57
★★★★★
★★★★★

ReviewTrackers | Measure the Customer Experience

Semrush Icon

Semrush

4.55
★★★★★
★★★★★

SEMrush - online visibility management and content marketing.

gShift Icon

gShift

4.54
★★★★★
★★★★★

gShift: Content, Influencer and SEO Platform Software

Vendasta Platform Icon

Vendasta Platform

4.40
★★★★★
★★★★★

Vendasta | The white-label platform for companies selling

UpCity Icon

UpCity

4.39
★★★★★
★★★★★

UpCity: Find Great Digital Marketing Service Providers

Brandmuscle Icon

Brandmuscle

4.37
★★★★★
★★★★★

BrandMuscle integrated local and channel marketin

Authoritylabs Icon

Authoritylabs

4.36
★★★★★
★★★★★

AuthorityLabs: SEO Software for Search Engine Ranking Reports

Chatmeter Platform Icon

Chatmeter Platform

4.33
★★★★★
★★★★★

Chatmeter Platform | Local listing, review, and social media management for the multi-location brand and agency

Reputation.com Icon

Reputation.com

4.31
★★★★★
★★★★★

Reputation.com | helps large multi-location businesses monitor and improve their reputation, and optimize customer experience – online and onsite

SproutLoud Icon

SproutLoud

4.26
★★★★★
★★★★★

SproutLoud: Through-Channel Marketing Automation Platform

RankRanger Icon

RankRanger

4.24
★★★★★
★★★★★

Rank Ranger: SEO Software for Marketing Professionals

LOCALACT Icon

LOCALACT

4.17
★★★★★
★★★★★

LOCALACT - Premier Local Digital Marketing Platform

Thryv Icon

Thryv

4.04
★★★★★
★★★★★

Thryv | platform that automates tasks and puts your customers at the center of your business

SinglePlatform Icon

SinglePlatform

4.04
★★★★★
★★★★★

SinglePlatform: Get Discovered To Get More Customers

Balihoo Icon

Balihoo

3.98
★★★★★
★★★★★

Balihoo - Location-Based Advertising Software for Enterprise Brands and ...

MarketSnare Icon

MarketSnare

3.92
★★★★★
★★★★★

MarketSnare: Multi-Location Marketing Platform & Localized Marketing ...

SEOprofiler Icon

SEOprofiler

3.88
★★★★★
★★★★★

SEOprofiler: full featured website promotion tool

Yahoo Small Business Icon

Yahoo Small Business

3.48
★★★★★
★★★★★

Yahoo! Small Business: Ecommerce Platforms, Web Hosting ...