It's hard for local marketers to believe that it wasn't until March last year that our goals were completely turned upside down and we were forced to drastically change the way we view local marketing measurement and success for both channels and campaigns.
Soft skills like flexibility and the ability to turn in the blink of an eye became a non-negotiable requirement.
As a result, hard KPIs have had to change as customer expectations of brands require a lot of development effort.
Once a busy individual service, Curbside Pickup is no longer the unique value a brand offers, but an expected health and safety protocol for all consumers.
The same applies to contactless delivery.
What does this mean specifically for local marketing – and especially how do you measure success?
In this post, my colleague Lauren Abramson and I share best practices for measuring the success of your local marketing efforts amid a global pandemic and other unpredictable events.
Read on below
1. Look out for historically overlooked Google My Business metrics
In the face of the pandemic, neatly wrapped content calendars have been scraped off and recreated, keeping one theme in mind: how to keep customers informed and help them feel safe.
Regardless of the product or service offered, every industry was affected to some extent.
From temporary closings and hour changes to outdoor or indoor seating, all updates to business operations required the quick and effective dissemination of information to consumers.
Google Posts became an important tool for the quick exchange of information.
In addition to the post-type options that Google previously had available, a COVID-19 post option has been created that allows companies to share important safety and health information directly on the search engine results page (SERP).
As a result, the following data points from Google My Business were more important than ever to collect monthly or yearly:
- Search impressions / views.
- Website clicks.
- Call clicks.
Read on below
Before the pandemic, map views and driving directions were key success factors.
When government-ordered bans and closings took place, consumers switched to traditional search and embraced e-commerce options.
2. Focus on measuring all types of devices
Mobile is the way of the world, and the pandemic has only shifted its dominance.
Mobile benchmarks alone can't be your only focus, however.
We recommend brands focus on monthly desktop traffic analysis to identify immediate trends that can help identify current customer needs and expectations of your website.
3. Use referral traffic to measure customer loyalty
Website redirect traffic is not always a main KPI, but rather a secondary or supportive KPI, depending on the story that is being told about customer loyalty.
Given the changes in the way Apple Maps, Yelp, and other local sources provided brands with the ability to share COVID-19 details through brick and mortar retail, measurements of referral traffic and upticks from these platforms show how people are adding additional sources review facts to continuously verify the information.
It also shows the need for accurate information across the local ecosystem.
4. Focus on the performance of a holistic search strategy
Focusing on holistic search strategies has been important for some time.
Since Google has forced brands to own valuable search terms through ever-changing SERP layouts and integrations like hotel ad feeds, local search efforts should be viewed as a lump sum that is not mutually exclusive from their paid counterparts.
For example, adding a budget to local search ads or adding local inventory ads to lists can help your customers find what they're looking for more efficiently.
Measure your paid performance and add it to your overall search strategy if it turns out to be a beneficial endeavor.
Ultimately, a brand should want to be wherever its customers are, however they get there.
5. Measure customer sentiment in reviews
With the pandemic, there is a new level of customer feedback and some platforms like Yelp openly rely on customers for feedback on whether a company is following health and safety protocols.
Read on below
The ability to monitor and know how to respond to reviews during a crisis has become an even more important element of local strategy and success.
Understanding sentiment about a company or brand, customer satisfaction, average fluctuations in star rating, and taking customer concerns into account will all result in a positive sentiment.
In addition, how quickly and frequently internal teams respond to reviews and feedback has become an internal success metric.
6. Use Google Analytics to measure e-commerce performance
If you are in retail and haven't had ecommerce features before, now is the time to develop and run them flawlessly.
With the holiday season kicking off last October and ecommerce sales delaying shipping and creating logistical nightmares, it's critical for businesses to have a seamless ordering process with fast turnaround times to receive products and build positive brand association.
But in the face of the easing pandemic, how will it be possible to really understand how stationary development relates to the digital shelf?
Google Analytics offers a beta store visit report that brands can use to view their omnichannel performance.
Read on below
7. Stay up to date with popular search terms
Focused keywords also need a pivot.
As the search queries increased in 2020 (near me), the terms (pick-up at the roadside) and (transit) as well as newer terms such as (contactless delivery) also grew.
Are you currently following the trending keywords relevant to your industry?
If not, you may be missing out on the opportunity to convert high intent customers.
By reviewing key terms from GMB insights, companies can better understand which keywords should be optimized to continue reaching current and new customers.
Refining your local marketing strategy involves redesigning the KPIs and metrics that are most important to your business.
As unexpected as the COVID-19 pandemic was, it opened up new opportunities for businesses, including new social distancing services, and accelerated purchases of both mobile devices and desktops.
Metrics that used to be critical to determining your brand's local marketing success are now out of date.
It is important to stay tuned to recover from a largely turbulent event and prepare your company for a successful recovery and future.
Read on below