Going Local: A Marketing How-To Guide for National Brands WITH Local Web Worksheet


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This comprehensive eBook (now with mobile insights) is available to marketers who want to take their national brand to the next level–the local level.

Download this resource to learn:
-How to Implement Local Websites
-How to Execute Mobile Strategies
-How to Optimize Local Online Listings for Your National Brand
-How to Enable PPC with and Through Your Local Affiliates
-How to Turn National Brands Local with Social Media

Tools included to help you get started:
-The Local Web Test
-Local Listings Cheat Sheet
-Checklist: 6 Steps for Local PPC
-Social Media Planning Tool

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Going Local: A Marketing How-To Guide for National Brands WITH Local Web Worksheet

  1. 1. WE BELIEVE inthepoweroflocalmarketing.Andsincethemajorityofbudgetsare spentwithinjustafewmilesofthehome,nationalbrandsseizingthis opportunity are poised to reach consumers when it matters most— at the last stage of the purchase cycle. Withthisinmind,wehavecreatedacomprehensivehow-toguidefor marketers who want to take their national brands to the next level— the local level.
  2. 2. 1: HOW TO IMPLEMENT LOCAL WEBSITES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Types of Local Websites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Steps for Implementing Local Websites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Local Web Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2: HOW TO EXECUTE MOBILE STRATEGIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Tactics for Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3: HOW TO OPTIMIZE LOCAL ONLINE LISTINGS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Tips for Optimization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Local Listings Cheat Sheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4: HOW TO ENABLE LOCAL PPC WITH & THROUGH YOUR LOCAL AFFILIATES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Key Components for Local PPC Campaigns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Checklist: 6 Steps For Local PPC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5: HOW TO TURN NATIONAL BRANDS LOCAL WITH SOCIAL MEDIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Platforms to Consider . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Social Media Planning Tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 8 9 10 12 15 19 23 24 25 27 31 32 34 38
  3. 3. 4 According to Gartner’s Top 10 Marketing Processes for 2012, “By 2015, companies that focus on integrated processes for local marketing enablement will increase revenue by 15-20%.” Seeing this ever-growing revenue opportunity, national brands are making dramatic changes in their local marketing activities. In answer to this demand, we teamed up with highly specialized marketing experts to present a four-part webinar series aimed at helping national brands take their messages to local markets. The following eBook is a compilation of the insights, data, and tools presented during the series. This eBook will first examine the various elements of the Local Web, why it’s crucial to have a local online presence, and how to begin implementing local strategies. Then, learn how to optimize and manage local online listings for thousands of affiliates. (Affiliates are the local entities responsible for the sales and/or marketing of your product or service [resellers, dealers, distributors, franchisees, etc.]. This is the face of your brand at the local level.) Next, read about pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and how to develop ad groups and keywords that really work. Lastly, gain an understanding of how to scale to the local level with social media. FACT: By 2015, companies that focus on integrated processes for local marketing enablement will increase revenue by 15-20%. Source: Gartner’s Top 10 Marketing Processes for 2012
  4. 4. 5 Implement Local Websites HowTo: 1
  5. 5. 6 Why Local Websites Increase National Presence With 85% of purchases happening within 15 miles of consumers’ homes or places of work,1 it’s imperative that a national brand have a local, online presence. Local websites are the first step. They ensure search engines direct customers to the right place at the right time; they make sure local reseller messages are consistent with national campaigns; and they guarantee customers aren’t routed to the competition. (In section 5 of this eBook, we will discuss social media, another integral part of the LocalWeb.)Mostimportantly,howdoesabrandsetupandmanagelocal websites when you have thousands of affiliates in hundreds of cities? The Local Web First, it’s important to become acquainted with the Local Web, the integrated ecosystem of online channels that drive local online marketing (e.g. social media, mobile, local search, etc.). Local websites serveasthecenterpieceoftheLocalWeb(figure 1) andalllocalmarketing activities. However, many local websites are not up to date and may even feature a competitor’s products—a less-than-ideal situation for a national brand that has invested substantial dollars into its messaging. “Local websites allow local affiliates and dealers to participate in sophisticated marketing campaigns,theyenablebrandstomanagetheir brand elements and close the local marketing loop, and provide local marketing analytics. What more could a national brand want?” Susan Tormollen Director of Marketing, Balihoo, Inc. Implement Local Websites HowTo: Implement Local Websites HowTo:
  6. 6. 7 What Are Local Websites? Local websites are co-branded, geographic-specific sites that communicate brand-approved messaging and provide important local information such as location, store hours, products carried, and phone numbers. They allow national brands and affiliates to be found at the local search level and ensure that search engines direct people to the right place at the right time. figure 1 Implement Local Websites HowTo: Implement Local Websites HowTo:
  7. 7. 8 Promotional Sites • Used by brands to communicate new offers or products • Foundinorganicsearchesineachrelevantcity City Sites • Entirely run by national brand, focused on corporate identity • All brand locations in a particular city listed in one place • Found in organic search listings for a specific city Co-branded Affiliate Sites • Built for each agent, distributor, or dealer • Partner/affiliate location shows up in local searches Types of Local Websites Implement Local Websites HowTo: Appropriate for: companies looking to expand brand presence in individual markets Appropriate for: companies who want to promote national promotions at the local level Appropriate for: companies with dealer locator on national site, companies with co-op marketing programs
  8. 8. 9 Develop a strategy. Understand why you’re creating these sites and how they fit into your broader brand strategy. • Know your stakeholders and your customers. What are your local affiliates’ objectives and how do they sell your products? How do your customers buy? • Decide which processes to integrate with your current infrastructure. Will you use automation, manual systems, or a combination of both?* • Determine whether content will be static or updated frequently and if national brand will own content or if you require affiliate participation. Define your parameters for success. • Establish how the performance of each objective will be measured. Will phone calls or electronic leads be counted? • Then, decide which performance levels constitute success. Gather local data. • This includes dealer addresses, phone numbers, products carried, etc. • The more you can automate due to good data, the better. Create local website templates. • Understand your content strategy. Will it be static or frequently updated? Managed by the national brand? Updated by affiliates? The answers to these questions will affect design and programming. • The design should lead users to convert, making it easy for them to buy via user-friendly online forms and locatable maps and phone numbers. Encourage affiliate personalization. Though optional, this often improves results, even if each local dealer is simply given the ability to update store hours or upload an image of their location. 1 2 3 4 5 5 STEPS FOR IMPLEMENTING LOCAL WEBSITES *Note: Localwebsitescanbedevelopedandmanagedmanually;however,forbestresults,mostnationalbrandschoosetouseLocalMarketingAutomation.Companiesthatautomate localwebsitesdrivetoplinegrowthandmarketshare.Thissophisticatedsolutionactuallysimplifiesmarketingprocessesforlocalresellersandgivesthemtheopportunitytoengagewith thenationalbrand.Mostimportantly,anationalbrandisabletocontrolmessagingandtrackandmeasurelocalROI.Tolearnmore,downloadtheLocalMarketingAutomationwhitepaper. Implement Local Websites HowTo:
  9. 9. 10 Search Results Total “Your Brand”Owns or Influence %“Your Brand”Owns Paid Opportunities Local Listings Organic Listing BRAND NAME SEARCH + Large market (BOSTON, MA) PRODUCT CATEGORY SEARCH + LARGE MARKET (BOSTON, MA) PRODUCT CATEGORY SEARCH + MID MARKET (AUSTIN, TX) PRODUCT CATEGORY SEARCH + SMALL MARKET (BOISE, ID) SearchResults Total “YourBrand”OwnsorInfluence %“YourBrand”Owns Paid Opportunities Local Listings Organic Listing Search Results Total “Your Brand”Owns or Influence %“Your Brand”Owns Paid Opportunities Local Listings Organic Listing Total Search Real Estate Total Search Real Estate Search Results Total “Your Brand”Owns or Influence %“Your Brand”Owns Paid Opportunities Local Listings Organic Listing YOUR BRAND: YOUR PRODUCT CATEGORY: BRAND NAME SEARCH: The Local Web: How does Your Brand Perform? To help national marketers identify their online, local market strength, we have created The Local Web Test, a simple exercise intended to demonstrate how well a national brand is represented locally. (figure 2) For detailed instructions on how to complete this worksheet, see pages 5-10 of the Local Websites for National Brands white paper. Total Search Real Estate Total Search Real Estate THE LOCAL WEB TEST: figure 2 Implement Local Websites HowTo:
  10. 10. 11 How did you score? By now, you should have completed the Local Web Test. If your brand didn’t appear in local search results, don’t be discouraged. Oftentimes, even well-known national brands have little presence on the local level. However, a low score means that quick action is necessary. “With microsites, everything is measurable. Through tagging and analytics, we know exactly how we’re performing and what we need to improve. The possible outcomes for these sites are nearly limitless… however, it’s critical to have a clear strategy in order to measure your success and allow the sites to deliver your chosen results.” Zac Monahan Director of Professional Services, Balihoo, Inc. Resources • Local Websites: Driving Sales Growth for National Brands • 5 Tips for Successfully Implementing Local Websites • Local Marketing Automation Implement Local Websites HowTo:
  12. 12. 13 WHY MOBILE? People are more connected than ever, and from more locations than ever. Mobile is quickly becoming a typical consumer’s primary digital engagement channel. Gartner predicts that mobile web access will surpass traditional PC access by 2013.2 And a recent study revealed that between January 2011 and January 2012, mobile access to the Internet doubled.3 And consumers are forming opinions about brands based on their ability to access information online via their mobile devices. Consider the following: Visitors to local websites are closer to the point of purchase, and the urgency among mobile users is even higher, meaning that if consumers don’t find your brand at exactly the right time, they will find your competition. Consumers expect a consistent online experience, regardless of the device they’re using. About 25% of social and mobile users are dissatisfied because of incorrect business information.5 50% of people said that even if they like a business... 79% of people who don’t like what they find on one website will continue looking on other sites.4 61%of users said that if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away on a mobile site, they’d quickly move on to another site.4 ...they will use them less often if the website isn’t mobile-friendly.4
  13. 13. 14 MOBILE SITES MOBILE SEARCH QR CODES EMAIL SMS APPS PAY-PER-CLICK DEVELOP A STRATEGY 1. Carefully investigate mobile options, weighing their relevance to the industry. As with any new technology, quick adoption isn’t always the best course of action, as the novelty of many trends eventually wears off. 2. Consider the mobile behaviors of the target audience. Are they more likely to be researching your products and services while idle, or are they typically in need of more urgent information? 3. Look closely at industry, demographic, and preferred devices amongst consumers. For instance, opting for mobile websites may be a more appropriate course of action versus developing a mobile app, depending on the circumstances.
  14. 14. 15 7 Tactics for Success 1. Mobile Websites. For national brands with local affiliates, mobile-optimized websites are an extension of the overall web strategy and they serve as the foundation of a solid mobile strategy. Brands should consider building these to be consistent with the online identity portrayed in their traditional websites. The two primary types of mobile-optimized websites: those that utilize responsive web design and mobile-specific sites. See a side-by-side comparison here.
  15. 15. 16 2. Mobile SEARCH. An effective mobile search strategy often follows the same guidelines as an effective online search strategy. When searching for information online, users are most likely to click on the highest ranking results, making it critical that your company information–and that of your affiliates–appears high on the search engine results page (SERP). (According to a recent study, 96% of all clicks appear on page one of SERPs.6 ) Since a mobile device’s small screen contains fewer results on a SERP, brands should consider an aggressive approach. This includes optimizing your site for mobile keywords, and being diligent in managing local business listings (to learn how to effectively do this, check out our Local Listings Cheat Sheet). Also, to improve a site’s SEO ranking, brands must provide an optimum user experience–an easy-to-navigate site rich with original content that interests and engages viewers. 3. Mobile-specific PPC. Due to the urgency of most mobile searches and the brevity of search terms used, brands should develop a mobile PPC strategy that is independent from a desktop strategy, one that utilizes different keywords and a different bid strategy. Due to decreased online real estate on the mobile SERP, a brand should be prepared to set higher budgets to account for more valuable keywords. This will increase the likelihood that your brand information will come out on top–literally. Lastly, don’t forget to include call extensions. Consumers searching for local businesses are often ready to make a phone call, especially if searching via a mobile device. 61%of smartphone users search for local information on-the-go with their devices.7
  16. 16. 17 4. Utilize Apps. There are more than 1.5 million mobile applications (apps) available for Android and Apple devices.8 To increase revenue and drive loyalty, brands should consider three types of mobile apps: location-based, gamification, and photo sharing. Whether a national brand chooses to develop its own app or creates profile(s) on an existing app, this form of mobile marketing presents a mega-opportunity. 5. QR Codes. A “Quick Response Code” is a type of matrix barcode used most recently in consumer advertising. Smartphone users first install an app that can read such codes. When scanned from any variety of marketing collateral, a QR code is then quickly converted to a URL (often a company’s branded website). Brands must carefully assess whether or not this niche of mobile marketing is beneficial to its bottom line, by considering its target demographic, if their audience is inclined to embrace this technology, the scalability of such a campaign, and how to track success and calculate ROI. QR codes can be a powerful tool to encourage engagement. This technology’s “cool” factor may be appealing, as it involves marrying traditional marketing strategies with digital. But, as with most new technologies, quick adoption is not always the best course of action.
  17. 17. 18 7. SMS. Roughly half of Americans still don’t own smartphones, but they can be reached through more basic programs, like text messages, also referred to as SMS (Short Message Service). Feature phones (e.g. flip phones) are still available at retail outlets, and consumers are still buying–and using–these devices. According to Mike Short, honorary president of the Mobile Data Association (MDA), “SMS remains the most inclusive data delivery and interactive tool on the planet today.” Therefore, marketers must be inclusive when designing mobile programs. Is Your Brand Up to the Challenge? The mobile era has arrived. Make sure your brand isn’t left behind. Regardless of which of the aforementioned methods are used, a mobile strategy should always be merely an extension of an existing online presence. Maintaining brand consistency means a superior user experience and, ultimately, a higher conversion rate. And an added benefit of investigating how consumers are engaging with their products via mobile? Brands glean insights into how to improve other aspects of their marketing strategies. 6. Email Marketing. In a sampling of 807 million emails, a recent study revealed that, in the first six months of 2012, 36% of emails sent were opened on a mobile device, a 32% increase over the second half of 2011.9 To ensure a seamless mobile email experience, a brand should ensure that emails are readable and accessible, by using a combination of text and images. The header shouldalsobesmallerthanthatinanormalemail.Don’tforgettoincludebrandinformation, including location (if applicable) and a contact phone number that enables “click to call” functionality. SMS remains the most inclusive data delivery and interactive tool on the planet today. - MIKE SHORT, President of the Mobile Data Association
  19. 19. 20 Why Local Online Listings Help Your Brand be Found 97% of consumers search for local businesses online10 and 90% of Internet searches result in offline brick and mortar purchases.11 Therefore, it’s vital that national brands ensure high rankings in local search results. Examine the following findings from a recent local search usage study7 : Local Search Trends for 2012 Local search continues to grow rapidly • 144% local search growth since 2007. Tablets & mobile are shaping local search & buying behavior • 64% of tablet users search for local business information at least once a week. Social & daily deals are emerging as methods for local business information • The use of social networking sites for local business searches has jumped 67% since 2010 and 35% of individuals that primarily use social networks for local search are now doing so on a daily basis. Local listings are the most relevant & trusted results for consumers • About 60% of local business searchers don’t believe paid results to be as relevant or trustworthy as local results. 49% of local searches are conducted without a specific business in mind. Ratings & reviews lack complete content • 61% consider ratings and reviews an important factor in selecting a business, however only 29% actually use them in the purchase process. Local searches have shifted from business name to category • 2012 was the first year when the majority of local searches on portal sites shifted from specific business searches (using just the business name) to non-specific business searches (using categories or keywords) when looking for business information. Therefore, businesses need to develop more robust content. “It’s a good time to be involved in this space. We’re seeing that Google, for instance, is placing more weight on local listings. They’re also assuming local intent for some searches: Based on my IP address, my search often yields local results, regardless ofwhetherIincludedageographicmodifier.” Matt Long Director of Digital Strategy, Balihoo, Inc.
  20. 20. 21 Showing Up Local affiliates must appear on the search engine results page (SERP) (figure 3). The SERP consists of: • paid ads (also called sponsored links, located across the top and at the right) • maps and places results • natural and organic results All of these must be utilized, particularly because consumers consider local and organic results more relevant and trustworthy. Citations (or local listings that mention your business information) are also a great way to enhance organic ranking. Consistent data acrossallInternetsitesisparamounttohigherrankings. It’s not enough for local affiliates to simply appear on the SERP, however. They must stand out from their competitors. One easy way to do this is with online reviews (figure 3). The presence of these reviews— even more than the reviews themselves— provides unique local content that increases both organic ranking and click-through rate. PAID ADS MAPS & PLACES RESULTS NATURAL & ORGANIC RESULTS figure 3
  21. 21. 22 Selection So which search engines, directories and review sites matter? Start with Google, the center of the citation ecosystem. (Note: As information is constantly changing, visit our blog to stay current.) From there, a complicated network of data providers and local listings sites connect (figure 4). Having multiple listings on additional sites is ideal, but managing these listings individually can be time-consuming and risky. This is where data aggregators— companiessuchasLocalezeandInfogroup— come in. These ensure consistency across multiple listings, even when contact information changes. Consumers using the sites can then find the national brand and its local affiliate with ease. The cumulative effect is that the ranking in Google’s results is higher. The Local Search Ecosystem ACTIVE FEED (VERIFIED) ACTIVE FEED (SPECULATIVE) PASSIVE FEED Legend © 2009-2012 GetListed.org, Inc. and David Mihm, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be used without permission. All logos are the intellectual property of the companies described. figure 4
  22. 22. 23 Present complete, accurate, & consistent business listing descriptions. For example, when inputting data, the NAP (name, address, phone number) must be identical across listings so Google doesn’t identify each location as a separate business. Make a phone number available. Customers further down the purchase cycle prefer to use the phone versus online conversion mechanisms (email, web form, etc.) and business owners prefer to receive calls over web leads. The phone number should go directly to someone who can respond quickly and answer the consumer’s questions. Use a local URL. This reminds Google of your brand’s local presence and it drives traffic to your affiliates’ local websites. Remember, consumers convert more readily when the content is relevant and appropriate for someone who is ready to buy. Add Google’s custom categories TO your business Registration. They impact long-tail searches that consumers may use when searching for your product. Take advantage of enhanced listing options (in Google+). These include payment methods, images, hours of operation, and languages. While they may not increase your SERP ranking, they will increase the chance that someone will click through; differentiating your listing from that of your competitors. Management The process of managing local listings for thousands of affiliates may sound daunting, but it is becoming easier. Google’s bulk upload feature saves time and ensures consistency. This information can also be submitted to data aggregators. Most importantly, be patient. It often takes about three months to see the momentum build from your efforts. To get started, view our Local Listings Cheat Sheet (figure 5). 5 Tips for Optimization “You need to have consistent data on your brick-and-mortar locations in all the places consumers are looking today-including mobile, traditional search engines, social sites, review sites, navigational devices—that way, the signals on each will override any incorrect data that is out there on the web.” Ben Carman Business Development Director, Localeze 1 2 3 4 5
  23. 23. 24 Evaluation ToolS • getlisted.org has a free tool for evaluating a brand’s local listing strength on Google, Bing and other major local search engines. This site is also a great resource of educational reading materials for Local SEO. DATA AGGREGATORS • A leader in the Local Search industry, Localeze is a trusted business listings identity management provider. Localeze maintains direct, authorized relationships with local search platforms, national and regional brands, channel partners and local businesses. • Infogroup is a leading provider of local business listings and Points of Interest (POI) data for navigation, local search, and location-based service (LBS) applications. RESEARCH STUDIES & WHITE PAPERS • 2013 Local Search Usage Study – This study, conducted in partnership between Localeze and 15miles, and conducted by comScore, is a measurement of consumers’ search behaviors and how such behaviors affect media-usage trends. • Best Citation Sources by City - (getlisted.org and whitespark.ca) INFOGRAPHICS • The Local Search Ecosystem graphic produced by getlisted.org provides a visual overview of the major search engines, primary data providers & secondary portals that influence in Local Search results. BLOGs • blumenthals.com/blog • niftymarketing.com/blog • marketing.balihoo.com • ngsmarketing.com/blog Thought Leaders @niftymarketing @davidmihm @nyagoslav @calebdonegan Local Listings Cheat Sheet figure 5
  25. 25. 26 FACT: 20% of all online searches have local intent and this percentage jumps to 40% when searches are performed from smartphones. Source: Google Why Local PPC is So Important According to Google, 20% of all online searches have local intent and this percentage jumps to 40% when searches are performed from smartphones. National brands clearly can’t afford toignorethesubstantialincreaseinlocalsearchvolume.Therefore,theymustensuretheirlocal affiliates are implementing effective, targeted, local PPC campaigns that support the brand. Many national brands rely on local outlets to capture customers through paid search, but local affiliates are typically not sophisticated-enough online marketers to do so. And for brands that decide to implement paid search for their local affiliates, this means hundreds or even thousands of paid search accounts at the local level. So how do you create and manage PPC campaigns for thousands of local markets? Two Methods for Implementation As we move into the digital space, there exists a gap in local marketing: the marketing local affiliates should be doing and the marketing they’re actually doing. There are two methods that attempt to close that gap: The supported model. In this case, the national brand provides the education and directs the local affiliate to the tools to execute paid search on their own. The automated model. In this model, the national brand’s job is to identify the need and employ experts with the right tools. The affiliate simply has to cooperate. We believe this to be the more effective option.
  26. 26. 27 Key Components for Local PPC Campaigns Once a national brand determines their method of implementation, then the actual campaigns can be structured and built. Building local PPC campaigns involves understanding what works at the national level and translating it into a program that can be easily executed by (or for) local affiliates. It also involves understanding the needs of your local affiliates. By carefully examining the following components, you should be on your way to executing a win-win program: PPC Order Form. Find out what your affiliates want to promote and how much they’d like to spend. Provide three options for varied budgets and varied geographic density. By providing fewer choices, potential for frustration is minimized. Modifications can be made later if necessary. Local PPC Template. When setting up the PPC template, predetermined attributes appliedtoeachorderformallowforthequickandeasylocalizationandlaunchofthesePPCcampaigns, so that you are rolling out hundreds or even thousands of independent search campaigns (figure 6). Keywords. First, consider “gold” keywords (the top performers at a national level) and apply geo-modification so as to have insight into a specific area. Also focus on branded keywords: both your brand as well as brands of your affiliates (if different). Set a Default Bid Strategy By Ad Group. Do this by using a national paid search campaign and add about 10 percent. These keywords are often slightly more expensive than at the national level, however, conversion rates are much higher and ROI is higher on local campaigns than national campaigns. “Understanding the verbiage our consumers are using at the local level to discuss our brand, our products, our local affiliates, is critical to long term local success. And whether we’re talking social, organic, or paid, they’re all integrated into the verbiage our consumers are using, and we as national brands and national search marketers have to be aware of that verbiage.” Shane Vaughan, CMO, Balihoo, Inc. Keywords Tracking Creative Bid Strategy Geo- Modification Landing Pages LOCAL PPC TEMPLATE Launch OPTIMIZE REPORTING AFFILIATES ORDER FORM figure 6
  27. 27. 28 Creative. Ensure the local program is consistent with the national program by modifying your top performing creative pieces. Each ad should contain city name and phone number to provide relevance. The phone number is important for two reasons: Local consumers still want to convert via the phone and using the phone number in creative means a significant number of conversions without incurring click costs. Local Relevance.Each landing page should include the business name with the phone number being the primary call-to-action (CTA) and digital conversion being the secondary CTA. Maps and directions should be the third. Phone Tracking. It’s important to include this feature on local websites in a way that doesn’t disrupt your local SEO. Consistent NAP is equally important, so don’t pollute that by using tracking numbers. Geo-modification.Use the business name, the location, and targeting. Apply consistent targeting within this local PPC template for all local search campaigns. We recommend a 5-10 mile radius and then modification from there later, if necessary (figure 7). PREFERENCE Consider this search term: Sony Big Screen TV Compare this search term: Sony Big Screen TV Boise, IDfigure 7
  28. 28. 29 Launch SMART When launching the campaign, local affiliate budgets may require the choice of just one search engine at first. If an affiliate begins consuming more inventory, they can move beyond that. Then, ensure the phone tracking is active and working. You’ll want to know the number of calls being driven to each affiliate’s paid search campaign, the length of those phone calls (this gives an indication of the value of the caller), and whether or not you want to record the calls (this gives local affiliates the ability to log in and see how their staff is fielding inbound leads and converting those leads into purchasers, therefore providing visibility into how their company works). Lastly, educate your affiliates as to what to expect: how they’ll receive leads (i.e. via tracking phone numbers), what they should do with them, how you’ll report to them, and how they’ll measure effectiveness. OPTiMIZE QUICKLY Whenmanaginghundredsorthousandsoflocalpaidsearchcampaigns,itsimplycan’tbedoneonaone-to-onebasis— a portfolio approach becomes necessary. Define three to five KPIs by which the performance of these accounts will be measured. By looking at hundreds or thousands of paid search accounts in aggregate, you’ll have a more significant set of data to make decisions. Your goal should be to identify high- and low-performing accounts, understand what’s driving their performance, and apply that knowledge when modifying the rest of the accounts. Reporting IS KEY There are two sets of reporting: Basic. Information goes to the affiliate and includes total spend, number of conversions, estimated related revenue, and the ROI. In essence, you’re telling them how the campaign is working and why they should or should not continue to invest in it. Brand. In this instance, look at aggregate performance against KPIs: Find the local affiliates that are not performing well and formulate a plan to fix those problems. Then, look at affiliate adoption. When executing a program, a 5 to 10 percent adoption rate is not enough. A 40 to 60 percent adoption range among your affiliates is preferred, as it will provide you with enough data to make good decisions. There are two sets of reporting: BASIC & BRAND LEVEL
  29. 29. 30 Benefits By ensuring your brand’s products can be found locally and by influencing that customer experience closer to the point of purchase, you will see many benefits: • Drive top-line growth and market share • Mindshare and goodwill with your local channel • Visibility and effectiveness of co-op dollars • Consolidated, consistent voice to the consumer • Alignment with national paid search Managing local PPC yourself means it doesn’t compete with your national PPC efforts. It also eliminates the risk of your brand bidding again your local affiliates and driving up the cost of the program for both of you. For a comprehensive list to get started, see Checklist: 6 Steps for Local PPC (figure 8).
  30. 30. 31 Determine Approach Supported: Brand provides education and guidance to local affiliates, execution managed at local level. Pros: • Simple and low-cost for brand to implement • Little to no pushback from local affiliates Cons: • Typical low adoption at local level • Little brand control • No consolidated reporting Automated: Brand provides strategy, execution and reporting on behalf of local affiliates. Pros: • Adoption rates by local affiliates typically much higher • Better-performing campaigns • Ensured alignment with national PPC efforts • Aggregated reporting Cons: • May not be sufficient for the most sophisticated affiliates Define Objectives • Identify actions you expect local consumers to take • Define a value (revenue-based) for each consumer action • Define how to track each action • Identify key KPIs of campaign CHECKLIST: STEPS FOR LOCAL PPC 1 2 3 Develop the Campaign - Translate what works at national level into local program, taking into account local affiliates needs. • Create PPC Order Form with varied budget for geographic density • Use branded keywords that perform well nationally • Set default bid strategy by ad group, add 10% to national PPC campaign • Ensure local creative is consistent with national program • Create local, contextually relevant landing pages • Include phone tracking (in a way that doesn’t disrupt local SEO) Launch - The Local PPC Template should be the generic version of a complete PPC campaign, then customized with locally relevant data. • Keywords/Ad Groups • Creative (ad copy) • Initial bid strategy • Initial geo-targeting default Optimize Campaigns • Manage campaigns in a portfolio model using KPIs • Identify low-performing campaigns based on KPIs, modifying as necessary Report Simplify and automate standard monthly reporting to affiliates, including: • Total spend • Total conversions/estimated revenue • ROI Monthly brand-level aggregated reporting should include: • Performance against KPIs • Named low-performing accounts and action-plan for modifications • Affiliate adoption 6 figure 8
  31. 31. 32 TURN NATIONAL Brands Local WITH SOcial Media HowTo:
  32. 32. 33 Why a Local Social Media Presence is So Important According to a recent CMO Council study, 23% of brand marketers are developing social media strategies, but are still struggling to execute.12 However, when brands decide to engage in social media, it’s essential to incorporate a local strategy that complements their national one. But when you’re working with thousands of local affiliates, how do you scale to the local level with social media? Corporate vs. Local Local social media pages are often more effective than their corporate counterparts. According to a recent comScore study, 15 percent of consumers use social networking sites to search for local businesses. Local pages are often more relevant, personal, more trustworthy. They also allow a national brand to tailor a message to a local demographic, which can be much different than a national message. Note: There may be times when local pages are not appropriate or are more difficult to implement. This may be the case in highly regulated industries for or brands requiring a great deal of messaging control. Networks So which social media networks are most important for national brands? We recommend those found on page 34, based on a combination of user base or potential user base in addition to their increased use by consumers as search tools for finding local businesses. FACT: 15% of consumers use social networking sites to search for local businesses. Source: ComScore
  33. 33. 34 Platform & Benefit Facebook. With a user base set to top one billion in 2012, this platform boasts engagement at an average of six to seven hours a month per user. Among local searchers, 91 percent say they use Facebook to find local businesses online.7 Benefit: sheer volume of users Twitter. With 140 million users, Twitter provides a great way for your local affiliates to comment quickly on current events and to link to news articles or product reviews. Benefit: quick hits LinkedIn. If your local affiliates are selling B2B products or services, this network is ideal when targeting professional networks. Benefit: B2B Google+. While its 90 million users are a fraction of Facebook’s, the SEO benefits associated with Google+ mean that this network should be a part of the social media strategy as well as the SEO strategy. Benefit: SEO Additional platforms to consider, depending on your customer base, include YouTube, Foursquare, and Pinterest. Note: There may be some overlap among users of these platforms. However, a user’s mindsetmaydiffer,dependingonwhichplatformisbeingused.Messagingshouldbetailored to fit the demographic and tone of the network, so as to prevent redundancy. For instance a national brand’s message regarding a new product offering might be very casual on Facebook or Pinterest, while it may be more business-oriented and professional on LinkedIn.
  34. 34. 35 Content Strategy Local affiliates must be actively involved, because consumer expectations for engagement are high. Therefore, local efforts should complement—rather than compete with— national efforts. We recommend a 60/40 mix of local vs. national content (figure 9). More important than the ratio itself is that the local affiliates be more involved than the national brands. National content may preview new product launches as well as national contests and sweepstakes; local affiliates can focus on local events, provide staff information, and incorporate customer testimonials. National Content • New product launches • National contests or sweepstakes • Sponsorships Local content • Local promotions • Commentary on local events • Staff info • Customer testimonials “Being an expert in social [media] and bringingittoalocalizedlevelispartplatform, part policy. You should understand how your affiliates or your different divisions and locations are going to use social [media].” Jason Weaver CEO, Shoutlet figure 9 60% 40%
  35. 35. Tools It’s often difficult for a national brand to relinquishcontrolandinvitelocalengagement. Software may help, as it can insert some review and approval steps into the process for affiliate-provided content. National brands can set rules and provide support without creating a complete bottleneck. With the abundance of social tools available, brands contemplating whether to go it alone or enlist the help of software should answer the following questions: • Are you a large national brand or a cooperative of small, independent businesses? • Are you looking to solve a very specific problem with social or are you looking for something that will help you with broad coverage? • Are you in a highly regulated industry? The following graphic from Altimeter Group study (figure 10) may help you decide what specific tools and features will be a good fit. figure 10 Source: Altimeter Group Report, “A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation”
  36. 36. 37 Is Your Brand Ready? For brands to monitor and manage social media at the local level, the right platforms must be in place. Make sure you’re prepared to invest in educating your local affiliates about monitoring response, content generation, appropriate interaction, measurement, available networks, and tools you may be using. Local affiliates need your guidance and support. They may need to be trained on: • the networks themselves • best practices for each network • software you may have introduced to help facilitate efforts There are books, online resources, and training firms available to help, but the best way to educate affiliates is to expose them to the channels. Have them create accounts—or help them do it—and encourage them to engage passively. Request that they follow your national feed to begin understanding the process (how to compose tweets, how shortened URLs work, how to retweet, etc.). You may want to identify a group of affiliates that are already actively engaging via social media and create a pilot group for your brand, enlisting their help when establishing a strategy and taking your program to local markets. This increases the chances for success of a larger roll-out. To get started, view our Social Media Planning Tool (figure 11).
  37. 37. 38 Listen & Learn – Monitor conversations, track brand mentions and identify influencers. • Find out what’s being said online about your brand and your competitors, who is saying it, and where the discussion is happening (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.). Listening tools include: Google Alerts, Google Blog Search, SocialMention and Twitter searches. • Find out if any of your brand affiliates are already engaging in social media. Who is doing it well? What is and isn’t working? Create a Plan – Define objectives, goals, strategies, and tactics. Map them to your target audience(s). Be sure your social media objectives support your corporate objectives. Objectives often fall into three categories: • Brand Awareness/Thought Leadership – e.g. Increase or improve brand awareness/product reputation; increase website traffic; increase search engine rankings. • Sales/Lead Generation – e.g. Increase leads; increase sales revenue; reduce customer acquisition costs. • Customer Support/Advocacy – e.g. Improve quality and timeliness of customer support; reduce support costs; build customer loyalty. Decide on Content Mix Social media programs are more successful for national brands when local affiliates are actively involved. To scale to the local level, brands must decide on the right mix of content and who will be responsible for it. • Content controlled by the brand might include new product launches, national contests/sweepstakes, and sponsorships. • Content controlled by affiliates could include local promotions, commentary on local events, staff information, and customer testimonials. • Brands can create a library of social media content to which local affiliates can subscribe to keep pages fresh. Create a Social Media Policy, Guidelines & A Training Program It’s important to create a social media policy and guidelines that affiliates and brand employees can refer to for direction. With the proper infrastructure and training, brands can more comfortably relinquish local marketing and advocacy activities to affiliates. Measure Determine which metrics will allow you to gauge the performance of your social media programs against your business objectives. For Twitter it might be the number of followers, downstream followers, or tweets. For Facebook, you might measure number of fans and profile information (demographics) on community members or referrals. SOCIAL MEDIA PLANNING TOOL 1 2 4 5 3 figure 11
  38. 38. 39 Takeaway When taking national strategies to local markets via online channels, we realize brands may need additional guidance. That’s why we are committed to helping execute powerful local marketing campaigns—via the power of Local Marketing Automation. For more information about the Balihoo Solution and how it can help your national brand, download our Local Marketing Automation white paper here. Endnotes 1 The Triangle Offense of Digital Direct Marketing, Brandmuscle and ExactTarget, 2010. 2 Gartner, 2010. 3 StatCounter, 2012. 4 What Users Want Most from Mobile Sites Today, Google/Sterling Research/SmithGeiger, 2012. 5 Bridging the Gap, From Search to Sales, TMP Directional Marketing/15miles, 2010. 6 Click Distribution and Percentages by SERP Rank, AgentSEO, 2010. 7 Local Search Usage Study, Localeze/15miles, 2012. 8 Google Ties Apple with 700,000 Android Apps, CNET, 2012. 9 First half of 2012 Mobile Email Opens Report, Knotice, 2012. 10 User View Wave VII, BIA Kelsey and ConStat, 2010. 11 Proprietary Research/comScore. 12 Variance in the Social Brand Experience, CMO Council, 2011. Resources For more information about why social media is so important and how it fits into the Local Web, download our white paper and its corresponding infographic here.
  39. 39. With Balihoo’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) Solution, national brand power meets local execution. Visit our website at balihoo.com for an online product demo or to schedule a free local marketing ROI consolation. 866-446-9914 sales@balihoo.com Balihoo.com @balihoo 404 South 8th Street Ste 300 Boise, ID 83702 2013 Balihoo, Inc. All rights reserved.