For those thinking about local business marketing, social media and mobile optimization might not be the first strategies that come to mind, as they're often associated with large corporations.
But marketers who don't think about mobile-first connections may be missing out on an effective way to grow a customer base and build loyalty, according to recent research from Facebook.
Why Customers Choose Local
A Facebook-commissioned survey of 6,000 local businesses and 10,000 people in the U.S., Canada and several European countries discovered that, contrary to reports that online retailers are making brick-and-mortars obsolete, most people want to support local business.
On average, people spend between 40 and 55 percent of their monthly budgets on local products and services. Some 87 percent reported that they buy local because of trust and security factors, and 85 percent said it's more convenient to shop at stores in their region.
As such, trust, security and convenience are value propositions that local businesses should seek to highlight via digital media, including websites and social pages.
Digging deeper, customers said buying local means they can more easily return items (52 percent), test and get a feel for products before buying (50 percent) and experience a more personal customer journey (40 percent). Not having to wait for shipping (51 percent) and access to help and advice (38 percent) were also reasons why people still love mom-and-pop shops.
How Businesses Can Use Mobile to Connect With Customers
While local business is thriving, the fact remains that people are still doing their purchasing research online. This means that businesses who don't at least maintain a social presence might have to solely rely on foot traffic.
Two in three survey respondents said they visit the page of a local business on Facebook at least once per week, and eight in 10 said they use their smartphone to interact with local businesses.
Studies of consumer behavior time and again show that people search for information as they're shopping, so ensuring your social pages have complete and accurate information — such as business hours, addresses, phone numbers and other key details — is just the first step. Additionally, local mobile advertising can send hyper-targeted messages to your customers as they research products or services, boosting your visibility substantially.
Of businesses surveyed, 48 percent said they've started optimizing their marketing efforts for mobile, and 40 percent said mobile optimization is integral for a successful future plan.
To ensure your local business marketing stays competitive and is on point with current trends, work with an expert team who can give you the perspective and expertise you need to see serious ROI.