THE CHANNEL MARKETER’S ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO
INTRODUCTION It’s no secret that we rely heavily on technology. We use it to read the news, play games, and find new places to spend money. When we want to find a new frozen yogurt shop or mechanic, what do we do? We search for it online and pay more attention to whatever we see first. Most often, what catches our eye first is wherever we can get what we’re searching for the quickest. As a marketer who sells a brand through local businesses, you want to catch consumers’ eyes first and let them know you’re right around the corner.
Digital marketing isn’t easy, but it’s even trickier in the channel marketing world. You have to build your brand, but your local partners have to keep up their own businesses. You know what messaging works for your brand, but your local partners know their markets better than you do. How do you navigate these challenges? You do it by reading this guide, which tells you all about the specific marketing tactics you need to digitally promote your brand and your local partners. After reading this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of what it takes to capture customers’ attention with relevant, co-branded messaging that drives them to the nearest place to find your brand.
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CONTENTS Directory Listings.................................................................................................... 3 Reputation Management......................................................................................... 6 Local Paid Search.................................................................................................. 9 Dynamic Local Display.......................................................................................... 12 Video Advertising.................................................................................................. 14 Local Websites..................................................................................................... 16 Data Match Retargeting........................................................................................ 18 Marketing Concierge Service................................................................................ 20 Distributed Marketing Platform.............................................................................. 22 Conclusion........................................................................................................... 25
DIRECTORY LISTINGS When you’re looking online for a new neighborhood restaurant, painting service or cleaning company, there’s a good chance that you’ll see search results from sites like Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Angie’s List. All of these results are directory listings. These listings play a critical role in how your brand appears in online search results. Generally speaking, the more listings that a business has, the higher it will rank on the results pages. Businesses can have two types of directory listings. A basic directory listing contains the bare bones of what prospective customers need to know about a business: name, address, phone number, and website. This information is helpful, but it doesn’t give customers a full picture of the business. That’s where enhanced directory listings come in. An enhanced directory listing includes all of the basic facts plus operating hours, services, payment options, photos, and videos.
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WHY ARE DIRECTORY LISTINGS IMPORTANT? People are looking for local business information at all hours of the day. This means that your information needs to be not only updated at all times, but available across multiple platforms. Why? The information that consumers seek slightly varies on desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones.
When searching on a computer or tablet…
When searching on a smartphone…
of people search for store business hours.1
look for directions to a local store.1
search for a local store address.1
of people seek product availability at a local store.1 look for business hours.1 38% try to find a local store address.1
Speaking of mobile devices, it’s important to note that smartphones are increasingly becoming the go-to device for localized searches. • 94% of smartphone users have used their device to find a nearby business or service.2 • 65% follow up their searches by visiting the local businesses they find.2 • 57% use their phones to search for information at least once a week (and 25% do so every day).2
Consumers heavily depend on directory sites to find business information. Considering the following statistics from an Infogroup® survey, a bad listing can have dire consequences for a business. • 77% of people are unlikely to give a business a second chance if they find incorrect information about it.3 • 68% of people will take their business elsewhere if they see a missing or inaccurate listing.3 • 52% of people have visited a permanently closed business because of inaccurate directory information.3
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WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A DIRECTORY LISTINGS PROGRAM? A good directory listings program will keep your channel partners’ business listings clean and consistent across as many channels as possible. These channels aren’t just online directories. They’re mobile apps, search engines, social media sites, and GPS devices. A top-tier program will do this through a process called local syndication. Local syndication involves submitting enhanced business data to the top four data aggregators. These data aggregators then push that information to multiple directories, including Google, Bing, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and AT&T. Here’s a graphic that illustrates how this syndication works.
Your program should be one that continually monitors business data and updates it at least once a month. This ensures that the search engines get the right information about your local partners’ businesses. It also increases the chances of the business listings appearing higher in local search results. Consumers don’t take kindly to inaccurate listings, so you need a program that refreshes business data as often as possible. Another aspect of a good program is that it provides you and your partners with comprehensive reporting. You all should get reports at least once every quarter. As a brand marketer, you should see reports that show which of your partners are enrolled and how up-to-date their listings are with the different directories. Your partners’ reports should show them the verification status of their listing with each directory (e.g. whether their listing is updated, in progress to be updated, or needs more information). With this reporting, you can see if the program is truly making it easier for people to find the local businesses that sell your brand.
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REPUTATION MANAGEMENT Consumers talk -- and they do it a lot. If people have an extremely positive or extremely negative experience with your brand, you can guarantee that the rest of the Internet will hear about it. You can’t stop people from talking, but you can monitor what they say and respond accordingly. That’s what reputation management is all about.
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WHY IS REPUTATION MANAGEMENT IMPORTANT? If there is one thing that consumers use to learn about a local business, it’s an online review. Not only do they look for online reviews, but they also put great trust in them.
88% read online reviews to learn more about a local business (39% do so regularly).4
88% trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations.4
85% read up to 10 reviews about a business before they feel they can trust it.4
Given this, a reputation management program is a great tool to have in your local marketing arsenal. It lets you see what customers are saying about the local businesses that sell your product or service. Reputation management helps you gain an edge over your competition. The more positive reviews a company has, the more highly that consumers will think of it. If your local partners have favorable online reviews, this can have a halo effect on you. Why? Customers will associate your brand with the positive experience they had with your partner business. The increase in customers that comes because of positive reviews means more eyes on your product or service. A reputation management program is just as important for your partners. Most, if not all, of your channel partners are small business owners. This means they’re performing all their business roles -- accounting, human resources, operations, management -- by themselves. They don’t have time to look for what people are saying about them online. This program does the monitoring for them so they can focus on the day-to-day duties of running their business.
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WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A REPUTATION MANAGEMENT PROGRAM? Reputation management programs work by collecting a company’s reviews across hundreds of social media platforms and review sites like Google, Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, and Citysearch. The most positive reviews will then be published to other review sites. This increases the chances of prospective customers seeing four- and five-star reviews of your local partners’ businesses. Partners should then be able (and encouraged) to share these reviews on their own social media pages. The best reputation management program is one that gives small business owners an opportunity to respond to online reviews. Your partners should get an email every time someone reviews them so that they can respond quickly. This is especially critical for negative reviews. In fact, one negative review can cost a business 30 customers.5 An effective reputation management program will not only take the work of monitoring reviews off your partners, but it will also give them the chance to provide customers with a genuine, authentic response. Your reputation management program should also provide two types of reporting. Your partners’ reports should show the number of reviews they have, their average review rating (from one to five), the reviews’ overall sentiment, and the total number of visitors. It might also show some of the top reviews that they’ve received.
Whereas partners see their individual performance, your report should show you an overall summary of all businesses enrolled in the program. This summary should include the number, sources (i.e. websites), average rating, and sentiment of the reviews that all of your enrolled partners have received. It may also show the search terms with which consumers found your local partners on different review sites.
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LOCAL PAID SEARCH As the number of online searches for local products and services continues to rise, you have to make sure that your brand and the businesses that sell it are what consumers see first. A brand-approved local paid search program is the best way to increase your partnersâ€™ online visibility without interfering with your national PPC advertising program.
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WHY IS LOCAL PAID SEARCH IMPORTANT? Paid search programs are important because they put your local partners where consumers can see them in an online search. The graphic below shows the differences between where most advertisers pay to place their ads and where consumers click on ads. WHERE ADVERTISERS APPEAR
24% top 61% right
15% bottom WHERE CUSTOMERS CLICK
85% top 13% right
2% bottom A local paid search program gives your partners a greater guarantee that their ads will appear in the most popular locations on screen. It helps if these are targeted to each searcherâ€™s geographic location. Why? Consumers pay more attention to geotargeted online ads. In fact, they perform two times better than the industry average for non-targeted paid search campaigns.6
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WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A LOCAL PAID SEARCH PROGRAM? A local paid search program should take your national PPC ad copy and tag it with local partner information. This way, consumers see your brandâ€™s message and the nearest place to buy your product or service at the same time. How are locations tagged onto PPC copy? One way is with location extensions. Location extensions amend the ad copy with a nearby business address, phone number, and map marker. When people see a location extension on their mobile devices, they will see a link with directions.
Another way is through call extensions. With a call extension, consumers can call the closest local business that sells your brand with the push of a button. Your local paid search program should also provide enrolled partners with landing pages created on a subdomain of their existing website. This landing page will contain all of the pertinent business information and may have a web form through which partners can collect leads. Each of your partners should get a report that shows their local paid search program activity. It should show how their campaign keywords are performing. There should be a graph showing the keywords that generate the most clicks, as well as the impressions, clicks, and click-through rate (CTR) of each keyword. The report should also display the number of landing page views.
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DYNAMIC LOCAL DISPLAY Banner ads are on nearly every website. How can you harness the power of their reach while targeting customers at the local level? Three words: Dynamic local display. Dynamic local display takes your brand’s banner ads and customizes them with your local partners’ contact information. This means that your audience sees a co-branded online ad and knows exactly where to go to find your product or service. If they’re not yet ready to buy, then they’ll remember your brand when the time comes.
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WHY IS DYNAMIC LOCAL DISPLAY IMPORTANT? Part of dynamic local displayâ€™s importance comes from the impact that display ads have on general search behavior. Although thereâ€™s variance by industry, display ads increase search queries of brand- and industry-related search terms by an average of 144%.7 General display ads are effective, but localized display ads work even better. Personalized ads have a CTR that is ten times higher than that of regular display ads.8
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A DYNAMIC LOCAL DISPLAY PROGRAM? In a dynamic local display program, your localized, brand-approved creative is targeted at consumers based on a variety of data. The ads can be geotargeted by ZIP code, DMA, state, or some other custom region. Audiences are also selected based on demographic, contextual, behavioral, and/or profile data. Once the targeting criteria are set, the ads are placed in top ad exchanges to take up premium local inventory on different websites. Depending on your brand and audience, they can appear on popular sites like Forbes, WebMD, iVillage, and Priceline. Dynamic local display reporting will give your partners a comprehensive summary of their online advertising activity. It will show not only the top sites on which their ads have appeared, but also the cumulative metrics for all placed creative. These metrics include impressions, clicks, and hovers.
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LOCAL VIDEO ADVERTISING We spend hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube every single day.9 Imagine how many online video ads we see just on YouTube. As a marketer that sells a brand through local businesses, you need to make sure that your online ads do more than just cut through the clutter. They need to make consumers remember how to find your brand. A local video advertising program does this by connecting it to a familiar nearby business. This, in turn, strengthens your brand with a wider audience.
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WHY IS LOCAL VIDEO ADVERTISING IMPORTANT? Online video advertising has become increasingly more popular because of two significant behavioral shifts. The first is what’s known as “multiscreening,” or using another device while watching traditional TV. Almost 80 percent of consumers use their smartphone, tablet, or computer while they watch TV.10 The other is the rise in digital video viewing, which people do right from their computers or through smart TVs that stream online content. One in three adults over the age of 18 owns either a smart TV or some other device that streams online video to their TVs.10 Of these people, 76 percent say that this viewing experience is just as good as or better than that of traditional TV.10 Personalized online video ads are more effective than non-personalized ads because they are more relevant to consumers. Because they are more relevant, they are also more memorable. One study found that personalized online video ads increase reported purchase intent by 37 percent, brand loyalty by 73 percent, and brand favorability by 100 percent.11
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A LOCAL VIDEO ADVERTISING PROGRAM? In a local video advertising program, your partners customize brand-approved video creative with their business information. This is how customers make the connection between your brand and a familiar business or location. The ads they see are served based on their IP address and GPS information. The ads will play before (pre-roll), during (midroll), or after (post-roll) the desired video content. Your partners should pay for the ad only when it has been watched completely. Your partners should see reporting that displays comprehensive metrics about their online video advertising performance. These should include the number of impressions, views, and clicks generated from one campaign. If you are using call tracking within your program, then partners should also see the number of calls resulting from the video advertising campaign.
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LOCAL WEBSITES Imagine visiting your favorite clothing brand’s website and seeing a pair of pants you really want. You want to know if you can find the pants at a location that’s three miles away from you, but you can’t find this anywhere on the website. Frustrating, isn’t it? This is where a local website comes in. Local websites are the key to giving customers the information they need to make business with your channel partners and your brand as smooth as possible.
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WHY ARE LOCAL WEBSITES IMPORTANT? Local websites are important because localized marketing communication is important. Localized communication typically generates a response rate that is 18% greater than that for national communication.12 Consumers want messages that are relevant, and when they see these messages, theyâ€™re much more likely to pay attention. This is the purpose that local websites serve.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A LOCAL WEBSITES PROGRAM? A local websites program should allow you to create a branded website template for your partners to customize with their local business information. This means that you can control the design, navigation, and layout to keep your brand and legal elements intact. At the same time, your partners can add videos, photos, team biographies, and even their own blogs. This website should be responsive so that customers can see them on any device. You should also be able to maintain and update content on all of your websites at once. Your partners should be able to use these local websites to connect with prospective customers in as many ways as possible. The local websites should have a web form in which people can input their information to show interest. Your partners should also be able to track calls from their customers.
LOCALIZED COMMUNICATION TYPICALLY GENERATES A RESPONSE RATE THAT IS 18% GREATER THAN THAT FOR NATIONAL COMMUNICATION.12
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DATA MATCH RETARGETING Itâ€™s no secret that we live in a multichannel world. Consumers see millions of marketing messages each day through email, TV, social media, direct mail, and more. Integrated marketing is all about presenting consumers with consistent messages through different channels. This is what helps your brand stick in their minds. One way you can do that and involve your local partners is through data match retargeting. Data match retargeting allows you to match customer data points to send them marketing messages offline and online so that they are more likely to remember your brand and where to find it.
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WHY IS DATA MATCH RETARGETING IMPORTANT? The importance of data match retargeting lies in one simple truth: The more often consumers see your message, the more likely they are to remember it. A Google study once found that viewing an ad on multiple screens increased brand recall from 50 percent to 74 percent.13 The same study found that consumers’ opinions of a brand were more positive when they saw the brand’s ad more than once. These facts show the positive impact that data match retargeting can have on your brand and those who sell it.
DATA MATCH RETARGETING ALLOWS YOU TO MATCH CUSTOMER DATA POINTS TO SEND THEM MARKETING MESSAGES OFFLINE AND ONLINE SO THAT THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO REMEMBER YOUR BRAND AND WHERE TO FIND IT.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A DATA MATCH RETARGETING PROGRAM? Data match retargeting works by taking customer data (e.g. postal addresses, email addresses) from your CRM system and matching it to online cookies. Customers whose offline and online data match up will not only receive direct mail pieces, but they’ll also see online banner ads with both your brand’s message and the information for the closest local business that sells it. Prospective customers will see these ads before and after they receive direct mail. These banner ads lead to a landing page where prospective customers can find out more information or submit a contact request.
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Sample Co Team
MARKETING ® CONCIERGE Your local partners are busy running their small businesses. They probably don’t have time to figure out which digital marketing services will best fit their needs. They also don’t have the same marketing knowledge that you have. How do your partners figure out how digital marketing works with limited time and expertise? The answer is a Marketing Concierge® program, which is a custom-tailored service that helps your partners strategically develop and execute local marketing plans. The program also includes one-on-one guidance from a local marketing coordinator (LMC). Once you choose the different digital tactics to offer your partners, you can then create full digital marketing programs for them.
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WHY IS MARKETING CONCIERGE® IMPORTANT? A Marketing Concierge program is critical for your partners to understand and be more involved with their local marketing. This is especially true for those who prefer a do-itfor-me (DIFM) or do-it-with-me (DIWM) approach to local marketing. Because they’re working with an expert like an LMC, they’re comfortable spending more on advertising. In fact, small business owners who prefer these approaches spend $32,935 per year on advertising, which is more than two times greater than the $13,654 that do-it-yourself local marketers spend each year.14
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A MARKETING CONCIERGE® PROGRAM? A Marketing Concierge program gives your partners expert guidance in the form of the dedicated LMC. The LMC will consult your partners on their local marketing strategy based not just on the digital tactics that you’re offering, but also on their market dynamics and business goals. S/he will also be available for your partners at every step of their digital marketing journey. This means the LMC is a committed business partner that will see your partners to marketing success.
WHAT IS AN LMC?
LMC stands for Local Marketing Coordinator and is the dedicated representative that will guide your affiliates through the process of selecting the right programs.
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DISTRIBUTED MARKETING PLATFORM All of these digital marketing tactics are great, but what happens once you decide to use them? How do you make it as easy as possible for your partners to take advantage of all this? The solution is a distributed marketing platform, which is your comprehensive hub for all of your local marketing needs. A distributed marketing platform has everything you need to automate, scale and measure your channel marketing efforts.
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WHY IS A DISTRIBUTED MARKETING PLATFORM IMPORTANT? A distributed marketing platform is important for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to):
Greater marketing efficiency:
It needs to be easy to promote new offers and products without taking tons of time or paperwork to get everything ready. Because all of your marketing tactics are in one central platform, your speed-to-market increases significantly.
Some marketers try to create a local marketing system by bringing different platforms together. Each of these is expensive on its own, so when they don’t work together, it costs you more to try to fix them. With a distributed marketing platform, you have everything you need in one place. Because it also makes your marketing more efficient, a distributed marketing platform ends up saving you money.
All of your partners are their own entities with diverse markets and unique business goals. This makes it tempting for them to take your product and put it in marketing creative that has none of your brand elements. With a distributed marketing platform, you’re able to control what your partners can and can’t customize, thereby maintaining a perfect co-branding balance.
As your network of local business partners grows, you’ll need to offer more marketing tactics to support that growth. A distributed marketing platform lets you add marketing services and assets seamlessly across your entire network to quickly equip all your partners to promote your brand.
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WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A DISTRIBUTED MARKETING PLATFORM? One of the most important aspects of an effective distributed marketing platform is that it’s easy to use. Your partners do a lot in their day-to-day lives as business owners, so they need something that makes marketing easy. If the platform is too complicated, your partners will become frustrated and disengaged. In turn, your brand loses the local support it needs to grow. Your distributed marketing platform should provide you and your partners with thorough reporting on your local marketing performance. You spend a lot of money on local marketing, so you should know how your partners are spending it. As a marketer, you will see aggregated reporting that summarizes your partners’ marketing activity. Your partners will see their own activity. The analytics will help you understand and make informed decisions about your marketing. If you offer co-marketing funds to your partners, you need a marketing platform that simplifies fund management. You might depend on claims and reimbursements to keep your co-op or MDF program running, but that requires a lot of documentation to maintain. It would be much easier if you could distribute your funds in real time and have immediate access to reporting that shows how your partners are spending their funds. That’s what a distributed marketing platform should allow you to do. Finally, your distributed marketing platform should be one that offers all of the digital marketing tactics mentioned in this guide. While you may decide that you need some and not others, your platform should offer these so that you can choose the ones that are right for you. You can then create digital marketing programs for your network, offer them at a low cost -- thanks to comarketing funds -- and give them guidance through a Marketing Concierge program. All of this will ultimately increase your partner engagement in building your brand and their business.
A DISTRIBUTED MARKETING PLATFORM HAS EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO AUTOMATE, SCALE AND MEASURE YOUR CHANNEL MARKETING EFFORTS.
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CONCLUSION As technology continues to assert greater importance in our lives, digital marketing will play a more prominent role in strengthening your brand. The tactics in this guide will equip you and your partners to attract customers looking for your product or service nearby. We’ve included a lot in this guide and know that you’ll pick and choose the right ones for your brand and your partners. Whether you decide to use reputation management, local websites, or data match retargeting (or all three!), you’ll need a distributed marketing platform that comes with a Marketing Concierge service to have the most effective local marketing possible. This will make it easier for customers to find your brand online and nearby. The easier it is for customers to find you, the better your chances of building customer relationships that last for a very long time.
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FOOTNOTES 1. http://think.storage.googleapis.com/docs/howadvertiserscanextendtheirrelevancewiths earch_ researchstudies. pdf 2. http://services.google.com/fh/files/misc/omp2013usen. pdf 3. http://www.infogroupdatalicensing.com/sites/default/files/resources/real_time_whitepaper.pdf 4. http://searchengineland.com/88consumerstrustonlinereviewsmuchpersonalrecommend ations195803 5. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238501 6. http://searchengineland.com/locationbasedgeotargetingboostspaidsearchadperforman ceimportancetrulylocaldatasearchmarketingdecisions213765 7. http://specificmedia.com/insights/research/whitepaper2/ 8. http://www.invesp.com/blog/onlineshoppingpersonalization/ 9. https://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html 10. http://www.iab.net/about_the_iab/recent_press_releases/press_release_archive/press_release/pr042015 11. http://www.emarketer.com/Article/PersonalizedOnlineVideoAdsBoostBranding/1008655 12. http://www.gleanster.com/report/buildingabusinesscaseforlocalizedmarketingautomation 13. http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/foradvertisingstudysaysmorescreensarebetter/?_r=0 14. http://www.biakelsey.com/ResearchandAnalysis/Infographics/1504DIWMDIFM%26AnnualSpendLCM18. asp#.VV3qAvlVikp ABOUT SPROUTLOUD: SproutLoud is a hyperlocal marketing platform that helps brands across dozens of verticals manage their marketing campaigns and programs with the local businesses that sell their products or services. The platform has four distinct strengths: providing the most robust co-op funds management tool on the market, automating the customization and distribution of local marketing activities, aggregating best-in-class marketing service partners, and delivering real-time business intelligence to the brand. SproutLoud is a privately held company and is headquartered in Sunrise, Florida.
Marketing Concierge ÂŽ is a registered trademark of SproutLoud Media Networks.
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