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This One Digital Marketing Trend Has Changed Everything

If you haven’t started thinking about hyperlocal marketing, you can be sure that your competitors have. Not sure what that means? Don’t worry: Today, we’re going to dive into the history behind hyperlocal marketing and give you some helpful tips to get you started on your path to local marketing dominance. 

What is Hyperlocal Marketing? 

Simply put, hyperlocal marketing is the process of targeting potential buyers in a hyper-specific geographic area, sometimes within an area as small as a few blocks. By gaining an in-depth understanding of their audience’s geographic spread, savvy digital marketers can tighten the scope of their marketing efforts, saving money and increasing the chances of bringing in new leads. 

Hyperlocal marketing usually focuses on local search: Think “restaurants near me,” “realtors in my area,” or “private schools near me.” These “near me” searches are the bread and butter of the hyperlocal marketing world, as the people inputting these queries into Google have already shown their intent through the text of their search. For example, someone searching “open houses near me” may not be an immediately viable lead, but they have a much higher chance of turning into a lead than someone searching for “real estate minnesota.” 

Why is Hyperlocal Marketing So Important? 

Ever since Google began taking a searcher’s location into account while displaying results, the way people search the internet has changed dramatically.

Take a look at this graphic: 

A screenshot demonstrating Google's recent embrace of location-sensitive search results.
Source: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2018/01/25/hyperlocal-marketing

You can see that while overall restaurant-related queries increased from January 2015 to June 2017, restaurant-related queries with ZIP codes included decreased markedly over the same time period.

Why? Google got smarter.

Searchers began to realize that Google was already factoring a user’s location into their search results, negating the need to include a specific location in a query that would otherwise necessitate it. Now, our searches are shorter, sprinkled with phrases like “near me” and “nearby” that rely on Google’s location data to present the correct information. In fact, between 2014 and 2015, total search volume for “near me” searches increased by 130%.

For digital marketers, this trend is a gold mine: Hyperlocal searchers are remarkably high-intent, and marketing to these searchers has shown to be an invaluable way to drive web (and foot) traffic.

4 Ways Real Estate Agents Can Take Advantage of Hyperlocal Marketing

1. Get specific with your audience research

Before you can take advantage of your ability to advertise to hyperlocal searchers, you have to understand precisely which group you’re looking to reach with your advertising. For example, let’s say you live in a suburb of a major city. Are you trying to attract anyone who lives in your suburb, or do you want to target young residents who live in your area’s most exclusive neighborhood? The options for targeting hyperlocal searchers are nearly endless, so it’s imperative to think through the types of audiences you want to capture. 

Beyond determining the geography of the area you want to target, you should put extra effort into building an audience persona for your perfect hyperlocal searcher. Include things like interests, level of education, access to transportation, and more when you put your persona together: The more detailed your profile is, the better. 

Beyond helping you in targeting your ads, an audience persona can lead you to create ads that are actually engaging for your target audience. 

2. Claim (and keep updating) your Google My Business Profile

Whether or not you spend time checking yourself out on Google, potential clients most certainly will. After all, 46% of all Google searches are people looking for local businesses or services, and 97% of people report searching for a local business using Google.

Simply put, a Google Business Profile is one of the most valuable tools available to most agents. Google Business Profiles showcase reviews of you and your business, your contact information, and details about your business. The real benefit of a Google Business Profile, though, is the ability to capture hyperlocal search traffic.

Still not convinced? A well-developed Google Business Profile can take your Google presence from this:

A screenshot of a blank Google SERP.
Source: https://seattleorganicseo.com/finding-google-business-profile-knowledge-graph/

…to this: 

A screenshot of a Google SERP with a claimed GMB profile.
Source: http://mikemunter.com/online-reputation-management-guide-real-estate-agents/

It’s important to remember that before you can set your profile up, Google needs to verify your business by confirming the address listed is accurate. This process involves a postcard mailing and could take up to two weeks, and then you can start editing and updating your profile.

Once you’ve set up your Google Business Profile, it’s important to keep your profile consistently updated with images, reviews, and any new information about your business. These frequent updates not only provide searchers with a more complete picture of your business, they help keep your profile at the top of Google’s hyperlocal search results.

3. Get familiar with Google Search Ads

Earlier in this article, we took a look at how Google Search has changed to reflect real-time location information in search results, but how exactly can you go about reaching those hyperlocal searchers?

It’s easy: Meet them on the search engine they’re already using.

Google Search ads are one of the most prominent types of advertising on the internet, appearing quite literally every time someone runs a query on Google. Search ads offer unique flexibility: With the ability to target ads by both keyword and location, these ads are the easiest way to expand your reach in your chosen hyperlocal farming area. 

A sample of some Google Search Ads and their placement on Google's SERP.
A sample of some Google Search Ads and their placement on Google’s SERP. Source: https://www.easyagentpro.com/blog/google-adwords-for-real-estate/

In case you’ve never run ads with Google before, Neil Patel has an excellent, comprehensive guide to walk you through the process of setting up your first set of Search Ads.

Whether you’re new to Google Ads or you’ve run more Search Ads than you can count, it’s imperative to focus on keywords if you want your ads to reach hyperlocal searchers. Remember that audience persona you set up earlier? Spend some time brainstorming a list of local queries they’d run based on the traits you gave them. It may seem frivolous, but by identifying what you consider to be likely searches, you can select keywords accordingly. 

When it comes to location targeting, try to keep things as tight as possible: Enter your chosen ZIP code, then select the smallest possible radius to ensure your ads are getting in front of the right audience. 

4. Produce hyperlocal content for your audience

We’ve talked at length about the benefits of producing high-quality blog content when it comes to boosting SEO, but your blog can also have a huge impact on your hyperlocal marketing efforts. 

Set aside some time to do some in-depth research on the area we’re looking to farm. There are countless resources to turn to for this type of research, but we recommend starting with Google Trends. Using Trends, you can see how interest in a certain word or phrase has waxed or waned over time in your area, allowing you to hone in on only the “hottest” topics.

A screenshot of the Google Trends homepage.
An example of what you can do with Google Trends. Source: https://www.blog.google/products/search/see-what-world-searching-updated-google-trends/

Once you’ve selected the topics you’re interested in using for content creation, it’s time to get writing! Be sure to follow our previously established best practices for SEO-optimized blogs and avoid keyword stuffing: Hyperlocal search is important, but attracting local leads isn’t worth damaging your site’s SEO.

FAQs:

What does “hyperlocal marketing” mean? 

Hyperlocal marketing is the process of targeting potential buyers in a hyper-specific geographic area.

How do you update your Google Business Profile? 

It’s easy! If you’re editing anything other than your business’s physical location, just sign in to Google My Business, click the “info” portion of the menu, update your information, and click “apply!” If you’re updating your address, you’ll have to go through the verification process again, which may take up to 2 weeks.

How do you get people to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile? 

You should reach out to satisfied clients and ask for a quick review. Make sure to emphasize that it will only take a few seconds of their time, and make sure to include a link to your Google Business Profile to expedite the process.

By The Disclosure
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