The inbound marketing funnel is a great tool that helps us marketers define where each lead is in the decision making process, and treat them accordingly. Are they ready to buy, are they still not sure what you do, or are they total strangers? Most of these stages get a lot of attention with content offers and resources that help them decide what to purchase, and when. You are hoping to acquire new business, after all, so it makes sense to put a lot of emphasis on these pre-purchase stages of the inbound marketing funnel.
One stage of the inbound marketing funnel we’ve noticed is often neglected, though, is the “Promoter” stage.
This is the stage after a lead becomes a client. They’ve purchased your product, they’re satisfied with your service, so now you’re done with them, right?
It’s actually very important to any inbound marketing strategy that you continue to nurture those customers long after you’ve made a sale. Loyal customers are more willing to purchase from you again, they’re 5 times less expensive to keep around, and most important to this particular blog, they can help boost your local search results ranking.
Loyal customers are important to any business because they help boost local search results, and can influence new potential clients to convert.
Before we get into the “how,” let’s refresh on why we care so much about local search:
Why is Local Search Important?
If your business relies, in any way, on customers you meet face-to-face, then local search is important to you. Think about the last time you looked for a donut shop, a mechanic, or anything else you wanted, like, right now.
Did you search, “delicious donuts near me” or “quality mechanic in my area”? Chances are you did. And the shops and garages that Google gave you as top results were probably the first you looked at.
Local search results are important if you’re looking to drive people in your area to your business.
The higher your local search ranking, the more people in your area will be exposed to you. It doesn’t matter what you do — whether you’re a manufacturer, a home developer, or a commercial construction company — if you do projects in specific locations, then local search results are important to your business.
Now, this isn’t the first time we’ve talked about local search results. There are a lot of factors that affect your local search ranking, and we’ve discussed most of them in previous blogs. What we haven’t discussed is how customer loyalty can boost your local search results.
Customer Loyalty = Quality Local Search Results
Loyal customers are the bread and butter of most companies. Even if you’re in an industry like housing development, where people rarely purchase multiple homes, your loyal customers are the ones who can spread the word about what great work you do. There’s a reason HubSpot’s inbound marketing funnel calls them “Promoters.”
Here are just a few ways loyal customers can seriously boost your local search result ranking:
Social Media Boosts
As people expand the way they’re using social media, there are more and more opportunities for local brands to boost local visibility. If you’re on Facebook at all, you’ve probably seen people asking for recommendations for photographers, wedding venues, restaurants, etc. in their area. If you have local customers who were really impressed with the work you did, you might just make it on one of those “recommended for your area” lists.
And can we just say that those recommended lists will seriously boost your visibility?
People are more likely to trust recommendations from people they know — it’s essentially a virtual version of word-of-mouth. Combine that with the fact that most of those recommendations see massive engagement from Facebook’s interconnected network of friends and groups, and your customers who use Facebook can do you a lot of good in the local search result department.
The Google 3-Pack
Recently, Google cut their local search results display down from 7 top results to just 3. While that caused quite the hubbub, the ultimate goal for most companies with a local presence is the same — to make it into the 3-Pack.
Let’s go back to our donuts example. Say you’re looking for donuts in Grand Haven. Type that into the Google search bar, and this is what you get:
You’ll notice that the top three results have an overwhelming number of reviews. While just 23 for one, 273 and 155 for the other two, respectively. Considering that donuts aren’t all that hard to find in West Michigan, these companies can certainly attribute their placement in the Google 3-Pack, at least in part, to their loyal customers who’ve taken the time to write a really kind review and post it to Google.
The Moral of the Story?
It’s increasingly more important for companies in every industry to follow the inbound marketing cycle through all the way to the end. While it’s great to put out wonderful content for new visitors to your site, and encourage potential leads to convert, you also need to focus adequate attention on your existing customers, because they are one of your greatest assets, and an integral part of your company’s local search performance.
It’s also good to remember that today’s consumers look beyond just Google for local recommendations. If you have loyal customers you know are impressed with your work, remind them that a little shoutout on social media can go a long way.
Finally, don’t forget about those loyal customers. There’s a reason so many successful companies have a newsletter, offer special discounts, and send out promotions to clients who have been loyal — it’s a great way to show your appreciation, and keep those loyal customers around.
In the end, inbound marketing is all about being helpful to anyone who interacts with your company, and always leaving a good impression. If you’re interested in learning more about inbound marketing, and how it can grow your business in 2019, let’s chat!