Local Promotions – Connecting Online/Mobile Search to Offline Conversion

Who doesn’t like a good deal? Recently we have reviewed tactics to help your business or brand stick out in a truly crowded market. Let’s face it: few media types stack competitors side-by-side like search and local search. Therefore you need tactics to leverage any potential difference that gets you the click, call, and sale.

I have observed that one much underutilized tactic is promotions at the local listing level. To put this month’s tactical discussion in proper perspective, let’s review at a high level the tactics that need to be in place before working on your local promotions:

Local promotions take many forms and there are numerous sites and apps that you can utilize to distribute. Today we focus on Google: its offering is free, it enables you to track online reference to offline (in-person) sale, and it’s easy to accomplish.

Start by navigating to your local business listing in the Google Places/Google+ dashboard and following the link on the top tab labeled “Offers.”

google-offers

Next is the opportunity to learn, create, or manage your local offers that will appear in your local listing and on your Google+ page. In the case below I had populated an offer as part of my research, so my next step is to “Add A New Offer.”

offers-entry

This prompts an entry screen where the merchant inputs company name, offer type (free or percentage discount), and what you are offering. Finally, you select from a portfolio of royalty-free photos to tailor your local promotion.

create

Next the offer is further tailored to the merchant’s specifications in the form of customizing the offer availability. Attributes include denoting whether the offer is for one-time purchasers, number of offers to allow before ending offer, and time duration to offer expiration.

create-2

And finally you have the ability to denote which locations (if you have multiple locations in your Google Places/Google+ account) the offer will be valid at and add any necessary legalese. Click “Publish My Offer” and…

create-3

Voilà! Your local offer is completed and scheduled for publication.

finshed-offer

While leveraging offers and coupons online is nothing new, I’m struck by the simplicity of Google’s offering. The reporting dashboard is simply denoting the number of times that the offer is saved and redeemed.

offer-dash

Why Bother?

One of the top items consumers are looking for when searching local are promotions and online discounts. In fact, the number of folks has doubled in two years from 10 percent to 20 percent of local searchers, according to the 15miles/Localeze Local Search Study conducted by comScore.

graph-lss

This fact coupled with the relative ease of completing the project make this undertaking a relative “no-brainer.” The benefits of this simple action are pretty sizable; first, it increases the optimization signals for your local business listing in the local search results. Second, the offer helps enable your listing to stand out in the consumer’s view compared to others without offers (the vast majority). Third, the merchant can begin to connect the dots of how effective their local business listing is by starting to observe offer saves and redemptions.

In summary, I’m surprised that I’m seeing fewer local businesses and brands take advantage of utilizing promotional offers attached to their local listings. As a result, this has created a probably short-lived opportunity to gain advantage over local competitors. Get started and remember to measure your results.

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