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You might have heard the saying, “All politics is local.” It has been said so frequently that it’s almost become a cliché – but the thing about clichés is that they always contain a kernel of truth.

When it comes to promoting and growing a small business, you might say that all marketing is local. As search algorithms and analytics become increasingly sophisticated, the potential to track and hyper-target your company’s marketing efforts to the people most likely to frequent your business is huge.

With that in mind, here are five local marketing statistics that are affecting your business right now.

Customers Want to Read Your Emails on Mobile Devices

According to SmallBizTrends, 60% of all consumers say that email is their preferred method for receiving information from their favorite companies and brands. That makes email one of the most effective marketing methods around in spite of the fact that it’s not really new or trendy.

On a related note, the number of people opening emails on their mobile devices has increased 180% in the past three years, with close to 40% of all internet users now doing it. In fact, by 2018 the estimates are that 80% of all users will read their emails on mobile devices by 2018.

What that means is that, starting now, you should be optimizing every email you send for mobile users. Nobody wants to have to squint to read your content or scroll horizontally to read a sentence. Local business can benefit from having an email list, but only if they use it in a way that makes sense for their customers.

Customers Prefer Personalized Advertising to Generic Advertising

The next statistic is one that is hardly surprising given the way that digital marketing allows companies to hone in on their target audience’s preferences. 71% of all consumers say that they prefer marketing and advertising that has been tailored to their personal preferences. In other words, personalization is a must.

How can you make this statistic work for you? There are a few things to consider. First, you should take some time to analyze the performance of your current content to get an idea of what’s working and what’s not. Next, conduct a customer survey or two to learn what people want to receive from you. And third, give your customers a way to specify the kind of content they want to receive.

One way to accomplish that last item is to allow your followers to subscribe to targeted emails or newsletters. List segmentation has never been easier, and you’re far more likely to get a high return on your investment if you send emails only to those customers who want to receive them.

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Customers Want to Contact You on Social Media for Support

If you’ve been resisting the idea of integrating your social media accounts with customer service, it’s time to stop. Research shows that customers both want and expect to be able to receive customer service on social media. In fact, 32% of consumers expect to get a response to a customer service question within 30 minutes of asking, and fully 40% expect a response within an hour.

The key to meeting customer expectations in this regard is to have a dedicated customer service team to monitor your social media comments and messages. Facebook, for example, rewards businesses who respond quickly to comments and messages by displaying a trust icon on their home page.

If you lack the resources to have 24-hour customer service on social media, then you might consider posting customer service hours and information so people who message you know what to expect. That way, they’ll have a realistic idea of when you’ll be getting back to them.

Online Reviews Are the Key to Engaging Millennials

How much time and attention do you give to your online reviews and testimonials? If you’re not prioritizing them, then you’re missing out in a big way when it comes to engaging and attracting Millennials.

An AdWeek study from 2014 found that 93% of all Millennials rely on online consumer reviews, both from their social media contacts and from strangers, when they make purchasing decisions. Here’s what you can do to make sure that your reviews are helping and not hurting:

  • Claim your profile on all crowd review sites, including Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google My Business.
  • Respond to positive and negative reviews. Remember, every negative review represents an opportunity to demonstrate that you care about your customers.
  • Do what you can to encourage customers to leave reviews. For example, you can link to your business on crowd review sites or post excerpts and links to positive reviews on your site.

The more active and engaged you are with the people who review your business, the better off you’ll be.

Audience Relevance and Effective Storytelling Drive Engagement

The two things that are most likely to get people to click on a piece of content that you create or curate are relevance (58%) and effective storytelling (57%).

This statistic is hardly surprising, but a lot of local businesses forget about it when it comes to creating content. The content you post needs to be specifically geared to your target audience’s interests and concerns. It doesn’t have to be about your product or service per se, but it should be aimed at the things that drive people to buy from you.

Storytelling has always been an effective means of communication. If you can find a way to turn relevant content into a story, you’ll get far higher engagement (and ROI) than you would otherwise.

Social Media Is Catching up with Search Engines

In 2016, millions of people turned to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter when they wanted information.

You’re probably already using social media as part of your marketing strategy, but you may not realize just how important and influential it has become. The majority of consumers expect to be able to find and follow their favorite brands on social media.

You can increase your engagement by doing things like including images in your ads (more than 75% of an ad’s influence on Facebook is determined by the images used) and adding captioning to your videos since many users watch videos with the sound off.

 These statistics point to ways that local businesses can increase their influence and maximize the return on their marketing investment in the coming year.

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