A big challenge for local businesses is contending with large, out-of-state companies with large, out-of-state marketing budgets. It’s easy to fall behind in Google listings or find yourself buried underneath ads from your large competitors. Although local businesses may not have as large of a marketing budget as their out-of-state competitors, they do have one big advantage. Simply being local gives them an edge over non-local competitors.
Local businesses are often highly sought after for a few reasons. Many consumers enjoy investing in their community, and that includes using local businesses as much as possible. It’s much easier to trust a business that has been operating locally because they have far more accountability than a company that’s never set foot in your town. Local businesses also have local knowledge and expertise that improves a customer’s experience.
Although local businesses already have a built-in advantage over out-of-state competition, many owners aren’t capitalizing on it. If you’re a local business owner, there are a few things that you can do to increase conversion rates on your website and bring in more leads.
List a Local Phone Number Prominently on Your Website.
Your phone number should always be prominently listed on your website. At any point, a prospective customer should be able to see a number on your website and call. On mobile, it’s crucial to have a “Click to Call” button floating on the screen. The easier it is to call you, the more calls you will receive.
Displaying your phone number not only makes it easier to call you, but also demonstrates that you are indeed a local business. With this in mind, it’s important for your area code to be the local area code.
Consumers seeking local expertise will shy away from out-of-state or 1(800) numbers. They want to speak to someone with specific knowledge of the area, and a non-local number casts doubt on regional authority.
Let’s use the example of cash home buying in the Treasure Valley. This is a highly competitive business, with both local and out-of-state businesses competing for properties. Selling a home is an emotional transaction, and many sellers prefer to have that transaction with a local buyer. Displaying the (208) area code in this case gives the local business a leg-up immediately from out-of-state competition that will be more difficult to trust.
Your Branding Needs to Appear Local.
Your brand is your identity. It is the first impression consumers have of your business. If you’re local, your branding must reflect that in order to set yourself apart from non-local competition. There are two major aspects to branding: logos and online reviews.
Your logo shouldn’t be generic. Generic looks big and national; you want your brand to look specialized and local. Try to include something easily recognizable to your local consumers within the design of your logo. For example, Action Home Buyers in Boise, Idaho uses the Idaho state shape in their logo (along with prominently displaying a local 208 phone number and using local photos). Check out their website (https://webuyboisehomes.com) to see these examples. The idea here is that you want a logo that differentiates you from your out of area competitors.
Create Specific Pages for Local Cities
The content on your website is a great opportunity to showcase your local knowledge and experience. Create local pages on your website with content specific to cities that you service. The content you put on these pages demonstrates your local knowledge and expertise to both Google’s algorithm and your prospective customers. These pages, along with the rest of your website, should feature local photos. For example, Carlon Heating & Air in based out of Nampa, Idaho, but they serve all of the surrounding cities in the Treasure Valley (Eagle, Meridian, Boise, Caldwell, etc.). So they have created multiple local service area pages for each of those individual cities. Most large, out-of-state competitors only use stock photos, which feel impersonal and staged. By using local photos, you make a subconscious connection will a potential customer, helping to increase your conversion rates.
The three practices above can massively increase conversion rates for local businesses. Local businesses do have an advantage over out-of-state competitors, but you must showcase the fact that you are local to your potential customers, otherwise you risk losing them to you out of state competitors.