Casting a Winning Net: How to Convert Local Search Marketing to Walk-in Business

Targeting local search traffic with the right keywords and SEO tools is only half the battle retailers, restaurants, and other physical businesses face. All the online traffic in the world isn't going to do you any good if your revenue relies upon walk-in business. In fact, increasing online traffic without increasing conversions is going to cost you money, because you'll be paying for SEO and bandwidth without a return on your investment.

According to a 2013 AT&T business poll, around 2/3 of all small businesses are increasing or maintaining spending budgets for digital marketing. Here are some tips to turn those investments into walk-in business.

Keep Content Rich and Fresh

Boring or outdated pages get a pass from most Internet users. There are thousands of pages to see and likely dozens of businesses competing in your geographic area. Give users something to see, or they'll browse right on through to another page. Dynamic content includes:

  • Updated posts that are interesting, useful, and engaging
  • Videos that reflect your brand, are related to your niche, or introduce your products
  • Accurate, visually pleasing photographs of your products

It's easy to take photos and create written content with the tools available today. If you don't have resources for professional video, ask vendors about opportunities to collaborate. Some vendors may have how-to or product videos you can use on your site.

Make it Worth the Consumer's Time

People are busy, and those who browsing via mobile devices are already on the go. Make it worth their time to stop by your shop by offering special deals. Change up deals to increase return business instead of only offering something like a first-time-customer discount. Try something fun, like a hidden image on your site. A clothing boutique could publish a different image every Thursday, hiding it on one of the mobile site pages. Customers who bring in a mobile device and show they've found the image might receive ten percent off.

Don't Be Afraid of Reviews

According to Search Engine Land, 72 percent of individuals trust the information and recommendations in online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation. Encourage customers to leave reviews on your site or via sites like Google Places and Yelp. Link to outside review sources from your site; don't ignore reviews because you're afraid someone might leave a negative comment one day. Most people scan reviews for an overall impression. If most comments are positive, they'll ignore the one negative reviewer; a few positive reviews could help someone decide to visit your restaurant instead of one down the street.

Local search marketing has two major components. First, you must use the right combination of keywords and SEO to drive users to your site. Once viewers are on your pages, though, you have to do some work to convert them to actual business.