Search marketing is increasingly becoming a valuable tool for businesses and organizations with a strong local focus. With the internet being an integral part of our daily lives, it is now common for consumers to look to Google or Bing (or another search engine) before turning to the big Yellow Pages book. New statistics reveal that marketers may have uncovered one of the keys to doing local successfully.

A MarketingSherpa survey reports that 81% of U.S. marketers with paid listings in local search results increase their visibility by adding a phone number, while 60% utilized keyword optimization and other traditional SEO methods. These findings are not all that surprising. But there are two more tactics local businesses are using with great success. According to the report, 48% optimize their listings by incorporating images, and 16% use coupons.

The Power of a Thousand Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but that value could be priceless when strategically applied to your PPC campaigns. Research conducted by local search marketing firm BrightLocal shows that 37% of Google users in the U.S. seeking out local businesses pay more attention to those that include images with their listings. 23% say they are more likely to contact those businesses. A good description may draw intrigue, but a compelling image is even better. For you, gaining more visibility in the local SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) could be as simple as adding a logo or another photo that represents your company.

The findings of MarketingSherpa and BrightLocal also highlight the importance of using images in your email campaigns. As an email marketer, you probably already know that consumers will very seldom buy into anything without being able to see it first. You may also know that the lack of visual aid in your campaigns could be the difference between engaging and boring. Just as with local PPC campaigns, images are most effective when used to draw just enough attention without taking away from the main point of your message.

Dare to Deal

Daily deal sites like Groupon have sparked a coupon frenzy online. Although the MarketingSherpa survey shows that only 16% of local businesses in the U.S. are utilizing coupons, other data and the trend itself indicates that this number may soon rise once more marketers start to realize the potential. According to eMarketer’s estimation, roughly 88.2 million consumers in the U.S. will use online coupons that can be redeemed both on and offline in 2011 alone.

Additionally, research conducted by price comparison service PriceGrabber reveals that consumers already prefer deals in the areas of food, shopping, entertainment and hospitality. This information could justify both local businesses and email marketers targeting these audiences with coupon offers.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. While marketing has evolved greatly in the last decade, consumers are still demonstrating the same desires: being able to visualize the brands they’re dealing with, and having the opportunity to save as they spend.


作者 Aidan Hiljeh

Aidan Hijleh is a freelance copywriter and serves as the Non-Profit Partnership Liaison for Benchmark Email.