The past year has changed a lot for the marketing industry. Countless new possibilities and technologies have been added in search, advertising, social media, and e-commerce. This, in combination with the changed shopping behavior of consumers, opens up endless new possibilities for local marketing. It also has made nationwide companies with multiple locations see the enormous relevance of local marketing. We, therefore, expect 2021 to be a tipping point. To make sure you know what is going on, we listed 5 local marketing trends to keep an eye on for the coming year.
1. Localised content
A trend that we can no longer ignore in 2021. Content localization is the process of adapting brand messages for specific markets, regions, or locations. Using the same content for all markets or places no longer meets the demands of the local customer. Every multi-location brand should localize its content across all channels to ensure customers feel more personally addressed, enhancing the brand experience. Think of all forms of content on all possible channels: social media, email, digital, print, and communication in physical stores.
Creating large volumes of creative content that responds to current affairs and is adapted for local markets will be the challenge for 2021. Fortunately, with the right MarTech tools, you can tackle this challenge and optimize your content production process.
2. There will be a lot of local online shopping
Of course, the shift from physical to online shopping has been going on for years. However, we should not ignore the significant impact that corona had on our shopping behavior. The number of online purchases has grown by 22% in the first half of 2020 alone compared to 2019. Also, as a result of COVID-19, nearly one million people shopped online for the first time. Webshops are not just for big brands anymore, many small entrepreneurs have also invested in e-commerce in the past year. In the first quarter of 2020, the Dutch digital commerce network saw double webshop requests. And because stores had to close in significant parts of the western world at the end of 2020, the number of web stores is expected to increase significantly.
Although we will hopefully start shopping more physically in 2021, the past year has accelerated online shopping. But what does this have to do with local marketing? The answer is simple: 69% of consumers say they shop more locally than a year earlier. Because more local stores are now making the shift from offline to online, competition online increases. To stay ahead, localizing the online marketing strategy of your brand is crucial:
Create store pages on your website
Consumers like to buy online from their "own" store and search online for information about their location. You will therefore not make it with just a store locator. It is essential to give local branches their own page on your corporate website, so-called microsites. What should be on it? In addition to the standard information such as address and opening hours, you can place extensive details on this location's micro page such as directions, information about local inventory, local promotions or events, reviews, and imagery like store impressions and photos of the local staff.
Have a strong local SEO strategy
Don't underestimate how many people search locally on the web: no less than 46% of searches have a local intention. It is therefore no longer enough to just add some place names to landing pages. The local micro pages, as described above, will ensure that you increase the organic visibility of your local branches. Make sure your content and keywords are aimed at the specific location. The possibilities are endless:
- Tell how you differentiate from local competitors.
- Write about local customers or finished projects.
- Add local reviews or testimonials.
- Appoint memberships of local industry associations
- Talk about local sponsorships or local events you participate in.
You also want to work on your Google "snack pack" results. This is the boxed area that appears on the first results page when a local online search is made. It displays the top 3 local business listings most relevant to the search query. This brings us to probably the most critical part of your local SEO strategy: claiming and setting up your Google My Business account.
Flexibility in shipping
More online shopping also means more packages. We have already seen that the parcel deliverers could not cope with the crowds during the holiday shopping season, which resulted in many delays. Suppose you are a brand with multiple locations. In that case, you have the advantage of being present in various areas in the country or region, allowing you to deliver from the stores' stock. Think of click & collect option, cooperation with local bicycle couriers, or even personal delivery by the nearest branch employees (local home delivery). Flexible shipping grew tremendously due to COVID, and we expect this to become the standard in 2021.
Example of a Dutch store that delivers within 3 days by a local employee.
Customers often miss personal contact when shopping online. Make sure you personalize the experience by, for example, adding a personal card to the order or delivering it personally as described above. This will bind customers to your store and increase the chance that they will shop with you again, online or in the physical store.
3. Be local on social: Instagram Checkout is coming!
Instagram has implemented major developments last year in which the social media platform had developed even further as a shopping platform. Instagram Shopping became possible for IGTV and Reels, and they made a bold choice by placing the Shopping button on the Home screen. However, the biggest and most impactful development will take place in 2021: payment via Instagram. You can currently only use Instagram Shopping if you have your own website to link the product. With Instagram Checkout, you can immediately buy the products that accounts offer in shopping, without leaving the Instagram app.
Not only is this a solution for small shops or so-called Instagram companies, but Instagram Checkout also offers many possibilities for multi-location brands. Many of these brands are already fully engaged in local marketing by having their branches manage their own Instagram accounts. With Instagram Checkout, these branches can now boost their stores' sales by selling local inventory on Instagram.
How does Instagram Checkout work?
All you have to do is link your professional Instagram account to your Facebook page and start a Facebook Store there. Here you can keep track of the catalog, your stock, and orders. Instagram ensures that the online ordering environment and payment options are arranged, and even sends your customers order and shipping notifications. Easy right?
Do you want to get started with local marketing on social media? So keep an eye on Instagram. Instagram Checkout is currently being tested in the United States and is expected to roll out in other countries in the course of 2021. In the meantime, your local branches can already build a local community on their Instagram accounts and create a store on Facebook.
4. Local campaigns to attract customers to your physical store
As mentioned before, 46% of the searches have local intent. Given this large share, it is only logical that local advertisements are also becoming increasingly important. At the end of 2020, Google has already implemented a few nice updates that make local advertising even better possible. This trend is expected to continue in 2021.
We previously wrote an extensive article about local campaigns, but we have listed some recent updates for you:
Local Services Ads
In addition to local advertisements for products, it is also possible to use ads for services. These ads help consumers find local professionals. After seeing the ad, you can contact the provider directly by phone or mail. In America, you can also book appointments directly online, something that will hopefully also be rolled out in Europe in 2021.
"Buy Online, Pick-up in Store" also called BOPIS grew 250% in the last 12 months. A trend that we think will continue in the coming year. Thanks to a "Nearby" filter, Local Store Cards with local stock information and other relevant store information and additional attributes for Local Inventory Ads (LIA) such as "pick up today", you have enough tools to convince people to come to your physical store.
5. Localized Programmatic Advertising
Reach the right people at the right time with display ads in the proper format on the right device thanks to data and technology. In short, that is what local programmatic advertising means. For example, you can target people within a certain radius of your store (location proximity). You can give them a discount code for their next visit. Localized programmatic should no longer be missing in the local strategy of multi-location brands in 2021. It not only increases your local brand awareness but also ensures a better return on your investments.
Using dynamic ads, you automatically create thousands of ad variations that are perfectly tailored to the phase in the customer journey, target group segmentation, or location. This ensures an optimal advertising experience for each user, which benefits your ROAS.
The possibilities are endless. Personalize your ad with local address information, opening hours, and location-specific image text or, for example, use local weather conditions to make your content locally relevant.
In short: local marketing should not be missing in your marketing strategy for 2021! And remember: You don't have to be small to be local. The key to success in terms of local marketing is a strong and recognizable brand that feels local and personal at the same time. This will bind the consumer to your location and brand. Hopefully, we have been able to help and inspire you with these local marketing trends to get started (even more) with local marketing.
Let Marvia help. It is our mission to make brands more successful by activating their local marketing potential. We steer clear from overcomplicated software systems and confusing processes that take months to implement within an organization. Instead, we offer simple solutions with huge potential.
Local marketing made simple. Let’s get in touch!