Last year, U.S. e-commerce spending was $400 billion. Offline spending was $6 Trillion.
Despite the fact that offline spending is 15 times bigger than online, digital marketing has traditionally been focused almost exclusively on driving online sales.
However, that's changing fast with the avalanche of mobile devices. Increasingly, marketers are able to reach people with a local message based on where they are -- driving them to show up.
Here are five tactics marketers are doing to localize their digital campaigns today.
1. Location Extensions in SEM
Location extensions give search marketers the ability to associate a location with a search ad. This triggers a location's address, phone number, and a link to their business listing, to appear on a local query, as shown below for the query "refrigerator, orange N.J."
These have been around forever. They are effective and can show a lift when added to national campaigns. Increasingly, marketers are using location extensions in mobile search queries to make sure users find the nearest store when they are on the go -- even if they opt not to use the extensions in their web campaigns.
2. Location Display Ads on Mobile
Marketers are using local display ads on mobile to drive in-store visits. Networks like xAd allow marketers to define a geo-fence around desired regions to target and deliver local ads on mobile devices when users are in those regions. The creative can be tailored to show different local messages in different regions, or to dynamically overlay location info on the ad:
Many networks even allow marketers to track a "Store Visit Ratio" (SVR). Location-analytics firms like Placed allow marketers to extrapolate store visits driven from their mobile campaigns -- all on an opt-in basis.
3. Local Store Pages
As Matt Cutts said, it is a best practice for multi-branch brands to have a single page for each location that contains information about the branch. Increasingly, brands are doing this -- in many cases replacing or augmenting the store locator functionality on the front page of their dot-com site. The advantage of having local store pages separated from the traditional store locator functions is so they can be optimized to appear in organic search queries.
Dominos has executed this flawlessly at pizza.dominos.com. Based on where a user is, a store appears with a unique URL containing content about that location.
4. Business Listings in Local Search
In addition to Google, local directory properties like Yelp, YP, Yahoo Local and Bing enable marketers to deliver localized messages.
By showing information about a specific branch location for a local query, business listings sites allow marketers to deliver an inherently local message. At the bottom of the funnel, listings with rich local content like pictures, offers or biographies drive more than three times the traffic as those that just contain the bare geodata.
5. Local Social Pages
Most likely, brands have local pages for their locations on Facebook, even if they haven't set them up. Fortunately, Facebook gives brands a way to control their individual location pages with their Parent-Child functionality. Brands can associate local pages with their parent master account, disable posts, and take control of their local presence on Facebook. Content like the cover photo cascades down to child local pages, helping marketers keep their local message consistent with their national campaigns. This is shown here:
Facebook is increasingly important to any local marketing strategy. Since the launch of Graph Search, Facebook has captured as much as 13% of local search. As Instagram ads become available, and mobile makes up a large share of revenues from Twitter, marketers will drive foot traffic from localized ads on social networks when people are on the go.
To date, digital marketing has been primarily national and focused on driving e-commerce traffic. But the vast majority of commerce still occurs offline. The explosion of geo-aware devices is making it possible for marketers to drive offline sales with digital media.
We're still just at the beginning of the local marketing opportunity, but already marketers can effectively deliver a local message in digital channels like search, social, listings and display.