By Carla Turchetti
Geotargeting is a marketing strategy that aims to put your small business in front of an audience in a specific geographical location. If you're in the auto detailing business, anyone with a car is a potential customer. But by geotargeting, you focus on how to get new customers that are close enough for you to do the work. And that often means crafting special discounts and deals tailored specifically for them. How do you maximize the power of regionally relevant deals and make sure they reach your intended customers?
What Is Geotagging?
Geotagging is a specific form of geographical targeting that adds information about location to websites, photographs, videos and even QR codes. Webmasters add metadata about latitude and longitude into a website's html code. Pictures taken with smartphone cameras have that location information built in. That makes it more likely that a search engine will pair a user in a location with a business that has the same location embedded in its content. NetLZ Consulting reports on its blog that using geotags is an effective way for a small business to make sure it pops up in search engine results. "The benefit to adding geotags properly is that when someone from the area starts a search for a painting contractor the search engine will see that my site is close in proximity and therefore, it is considered more relevant to the search," the NetLZ blog says. "Geo metatags do have an influence on a site’s ranking."
How to Utilize Geotagging in Daily Deals
Daily deals are one way in which you can use geotagging to your advantage— by crafting a deal that can be promoted to customers in a certain area, and also found via search. Deals companies are careful to promote and deliver special offers to potential customers who are located near the business. That way, the half-price zumba lessons in Portland don't show up in an email inbox in Richmond.
"For retail stores and small local businesses, every customer matters," says Flynn Zaiger, CEO of Online Optimism, a digital marketing agency. "So it's important to reach out to those customers around you."Zaiger advises small businesses to take advantage of localized sites that are already in place, and provide a unique coupon for each site. That makes it easier to track which sites are sending customers to you. Zaiger recommends Yelp, Yahoo Local, Groupon, Localeze and Amazon Deals as places for a business owner to investigate a geotargeted daily deal campaign.
Scott Benson, senior SEO manager for Vocus, says a small business owner doesn't necessarily have to go the big sites for a geotargeted deal campaign. "Geotagging and daily deals are a perfect combination for small businesses to compete with the likes of Living Social, Groupon and even Yelp," Benson says. "They're all competing for click-through traffic from organized search listings. He uses the information at schema.org to structure html tags, like geotags, so that they are recognized by search engines.
So does Shelly Fagin, a legal Internet marketing consultant. It's a site, Fagin says, "built in collaboration between Google, Bing and Yahoo to create a more uniform, structured data markup scheme. Before there were so many different types of schemas available, it was very confusing and not all the search engines supported them." Fagin says small business owners looking to embrace daily deals can find on schema.org markups for products, offers, and even local business. In the code for a daily deal Benson says he would include:
- The location of the business
- The geographical coordinates of the business
- An image of the deal
- Reviews for the business
- A phone number
- The duration of the coupon
Each of those pieces of information is designed to make the deal more visible in searches for computer users who are located nearby. And Fagin says if your small business offers its own daily deal on your website, you should always run that deal on the same page, so that search engines know where it can be found. "Unless they are a major website, new pages won't get found and indexed for several days and by then the deal will be over," Fagin says.
While the digital world may seem like an impossibly large universe, geotargeting makes it easier for you to connect with potential customers who are in your own neighborhood and offer them the special deal that leads them straight to your small business.