When you have a local clothing store, you will need to make sure that you’re utilizing all of your marketing tools and strategies to find your audience(s), wherever they may be. This includes local SEO, or search engine optimization, that will help you build a solid reputation and get your brand noticed in as many places as possible online.
We know what you’re thinking—you’ve already got a website and you created social media profiles—aren’t you done? As a matter of fact, you’re really just getting started. These are good steps, mind you, but it’s a long process that involves a dynamic strategy, and it will continuously need tweaking and monitoring.
The good news is that even though it involves time and effort, you don’t have to spend a small fortune like you might have done in the past to get a good marketing campaign. If you’re willing to put in the work, there are plenty of ways you can increase the leads that you get from organic local search.
Your first move? Do an audit of your current online existence.
You aren’t reinventing the wheel here—there’s no reason to scrap all your content and start over. In fact, with local SEO, a few tweaks will often go a lot further than you realize. Take the time to audit your website for local optimization, keywords, and authority. Make sure that you are showcasing everything for the search engines so that they’ll give you the ranking that you deserve.
Then, check out your off-page optimization. Off-page refers to anything but your website. This could be on forums, directory listings, social media pages, review sites, and anywhere else your business is listed online. If your clothing store is just getting started with online reputation building, you may not have as many existing places to check, but you want to be thorough no matter how many you have so that you get a complete look at where you stand and what needs to happen to improve your local optimization efforts.
*Bonus tip: If you’ve got some pocket change to spare for marketing and you don’t really feel comfortable doing the SEO audit yourself, you can hire someone to do it for you and provide you with exact guidelines on what to change, what to optimize, and what to get rid of if you want to rank highly in the search results.
Google is a big part of search engine rankings—it’s the leading site for ranking and for Internet searches alike, and it is usually in charge of creating the best practices or guidelines for search engine optimization and increasing search rankings. As such, you have to make sure that you’re doing what you can to appease Google. That includes claiming and completing your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business).
Make sure that you complete all the sections of this profile, use the tags and categories to mix in keywords where you can, and use Google’s own completion success monitor to get to 100% completion, or as close as you can.
Of course, none of the rest of these efforts will be successful on their own. You’ll also need to perform keyword research for local keywords. There’s more to local optimization than just tacking a city or region onto the end of a keyword. You have to know what’s popular, what people are searching for, and how to best optimize your content to increase your rankings.
For one example, you might not realize that people searching for local clothing stores and other local businesses are using “near me” as much as 200% more than ever before. When you do your research, you’ll know which keywords are going to help you optimize your presence effectively.
Social media is a must-have. Of course, it’s never just enough to have profiles and leave it at that. You need to engage on social media, with followers and other businesses alike. You should utilize these channels for relationship building as much as marketing, if not more so. Share information because it’s valuable or because your followers will appreciate it, not just for the sake of shameless self-promotion. You’ll quickly see how companies that only use their social media to promote their business are suffering in the local rankings and the social networks alike, as well as why you need to avoid doing the same.
The majority of local searches happen from mobile devices. Therefore, if your clothing store website isn’t optimized for mobile browsers, you’re not going to get the rankings that you deserve. Worse yet, when people realize it’s difficult to navigate your site because it isn’t designed for mobile, they’re going to find somewhere else to shop—online and in-person.
Use simple navigation and drop-down menus, and utilize responsive web design that will provide consistency across devices. Google even has a great resource for creating a mobile-friendly website.
It’s about accessibility, simplicity, and quick answers. Don’t load the page with a lot of bloated images or content that cause it to load slowly or not transition between pages well. There is even a tool from Google to help you check just how mobile-friendly your site is known as the Mobile Friendly Test.
Now that you’re optimizing your online presence and building a local SEO strategy for your clothing store, you need to make sure that you have the systems in place to handle all the new leads, starting with a 24/7 answering service, to ensure that you never miss a single opportunity. When you partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, you’ll get that along with lead intake, appointment scheduling, and even assistance with outreach campaigns.