You may be wondering; how do I advertise my small business locally? Digital marketing has evolved into a robust marketing technique that is helping businesses to leverage the most out of their marketing efforts. While global or online-only businesses are setting up examples for their competitors to be consistent throughout the digital marketing strategy, local businesses are still struggling with traditional marketing techniques.
To promote their business among local customers, small business owners have to adopt a digital approach to reach their audience and that too in a smarter way to benefit from digital marketing in a limited budget.
Online Marketing Tips for Local & Small Businesses
Here is a collection of some “must-follow” local digital marketing tips from a myself a small business marketing consultant. These strategies can help local businesses to target specifically the local groups of customers.
1. Emphasize on mobile compatibility
Mobile compatibility is one of the most significant local digital marketing strategies that small business owners must consider. Most of the customers use their mobile phones to access information about relevant businesses. Make your website design responsive to ensure that it works better on mobile phones. This allows your customers to go through your website on any device at their own comfort level.
2. Google My Business Listing
Google My Business provides local businesses with a great opportunity to improve their online visibility. Get your business listed on Google My Business so that your audience can find you easily on Google in its search results. Optimize the listing to place your website in the top 3 results triggered by Google as a customer searches for a similar business.
3. Perform local SEO
Local search engine optimization (SEO) is an important tool for local businesses. It helps them to connect with local customers who are interested in your business. They normally prefer nearby places in their searches. Therefore you need to optimize your website to give them the necessary information about your business like location, service hours, and contact details.
4. Engaging website design
Your website speaks a lot about your business. It is the destination where you want your audience to land when they find you online. It is the perfectly designed website that makes them decide to make a purchase or switch to another option. Make sure that your website design and development is easy to navigate and include elements that can improve customer experience.
5. Improve your social media presence
Social media marketing is ranked among top local digital marketing tips. Use your social media accounts to connect with your audience. Utilize your account to post relevant content so that your audience can benefit from your products. This might include photos of your product, videos on product usage, and latest updates and offers.
6. Select the appropriate channel
Being active on all the social media platforms would not fit for small business owners. Rather, you should focus on the one that aligns with your audience preference. Gain insights about the online presence of your audience and then decide which social media platform could help to connect with them and increase your sales. For business offering B2C services, Facebook and Instagram work the best, while for B2B ones LinkedIn and Twitter could be a better option.
7. Localize your content
Adding relevant content to your website increases customer engagement especially for local businesses as it allows the audience to know more about their products. Relevant content here means the content that is suitable for local customers keeping in mind their needs and demands. Blogs, eBooks, informative articles, videos, to name a few are some forms of content marketing that can help your customers to resonate with your business.
8. Focus on targeted keywords
Target those keywords that are likely to be used by your local customers. For example, they normally use keywords followed by the phrase “near me” or “in (city name)”. Focus your keyword search on this type of phrases so that it aligns with what your customers actually seek. You will find a lot of options for keywords in the generated questions that drop down while searching.
9. Encourage customer reviews
Among various local digital marketing ideas, customer reviews help you to refine your products and services. Apart from this, it forms the basis of a customer’s decision to make a purchase. While positive reviews increase customer engagement, you need to work on negative reviews. Try to figure out the problem and solve it. As far as positive ones are concerned you can post them on social media to encourage more customers to buy your products.
10. Use PPC ads
It has been found that about half of the conversion rates for local businesses are the result of PPC advertising. PPC ads allow you to target those customers who are actually interested in your products. You just have to focus on the right keywords and set the amount that you are going to pay for each click. Since these ads appear at the top of the search engines results page, it increases the chances of more people finding you online.
11. Think different from competitors
Local businesses find it hard to stay ahead in the competition. One way out of this is to mark the differences between your business and the competitors’ and then lead through them. Search for your competitors and note the important aspects of their service like delivery, quality, speed, price, etc. You cannot create a much larger difference but still, you can improve on these points to highlight your terms of service.
12. Work on webpage load time
Being a small business owner, you cannot leverage the benefits like those of big firms yet you can stay competitive by working on the basics of your website. Loading time is an important matter of concern while optimizing it. No one opts to wait for a slow-loading page. Fast loading time is the basic requirement of customers when they click on a website. More than 3 seconds of loading time leads to high bounce rates.
13. Promote through visuals
Content creation with visuals like videos adds up to your marketing arsenal. Videos directly convey what you want to tell your customers about your business. A study states that almost every customer seeks video content to know everything about a product. It has helped businesses to increase their sales with the help of engaging video content that they share with their audience.
14. Link Building Works
You can approach other local business owners like you to link your website in their blog. It can be as a favour in return of a guest post. Another option is to contact local bloggers who could add links to your website in their posts. When their followers will go through the post and if they are interested to shop for something similar, they would visit your website through those links. Link building improves your rank in search results.
15. Offers and discounts can be engaging
Give your customers discounts and offer coupons from time to time. Whether it is an occasion or some other day, giving a few percent’s off can attract more customers. You can share your offers through emails or social media stories. You can target some special products that are likely to be sold out on particular occasions. It can prove to be an effective idea among all the local digital marketing ideas.
16. Manage your online reputation
Like big and well-established businesses, small businesses do own a reputation and it is as important for them as it is for bigger ones. Even small business owners need to know what their audience thinks of their products and services. Keep yourself updated about comments on your social media posts and if you find something that is inconvenient for your brand reputation, fix it immediately.
17. Landing page for every campaign
Landing pages if used in the right way can stand among the top local digital marketing strategy. A landing page is one on which your customers arrive on after they click on your ads or your website. But it would sound boring if you choose a single landing page for all your campaigns. Be specific. Customize your landing pages highly relevant to a particular campaign. It gives a boost to conversion rates.
18. Specify your call to action
When customers visit your website and if they wish to make a purchase or consult for further guidance, they look for a medium to connect with you. Adding a call to action allows them to do so. Specify your audience how you will communicate with them. Make it clear for them if you want them to make a call or meet them personally. You can also leverage from call-only ads directly allowing a customer to call you on a click.
19. Make improvements when necessary
Being a local business owner, you need to be very careful with your marketing results. If your strategies are doing well then, it’s ok, but if they are not earning you anything worthy then you need to change them. Try using replacements that can drive more sales for you. Sticking to the same ineffective technique could cost you conversions at a great extent. It’s good if you are investing enough in your marketing efforts, but it is a waste if you gain nothing.
20. Retargeting helps
Some customers might fail to make a purchase at a particular time. It might be due to an improper connection or lack of information. Retarget them in your next campaign to remind them of their purchase or by promoting similar products through attractive offers. This would allow them to complete their purchase if they are still interested or could prompt them to look for other products.
21. Do not always rely on customers
Think like a customer when you test your website or a post on social media. Do not wait for a customer to place a negative review on your post. Ask your employees to do this. When you apply a customer-centric approach in your marketing, it will prevent negative reviews to a great extent. You would be able to rectify the flaws on your own before your customers notice them.
22. Use ad extensions
Ad extensions improve your online visibility. It is a part of PPC advertising that can be used in two different ways – Display location and promotion. While the display location feature allows you to direct your customer to your store, promotional extensions help you to place time-sensitive discounts and offers. Both of these techniques are highly effective if used in the right way.
23. Provide content guides
Instead of just selling, you can choose to be a little help to your customers. This can be done through content guides. Apart from creating blog posts and articles about your business, you can create guides for your audience on the topics that are not related to your business but to the local community of which you are a part. It is considered among the indirect but persuasive local digital marketing tips.
24. Store visibility on mobile
When you create mobile compatible ad campaigns you can benefit from something that is not possible for even bigger firms. Mention the approximate distance of your store from a particular location. Make use of Google Search console to get the most out this strategy, a creative one amid the most powerful local digital marketing strategies.
25. Stay Connected through emails
Keep your customers updated about regular offers, trends, new products through emails. You can also send them tips and tricks for their daily lives which somewhat relates to your business or services. Offer them subscriptions so that they can avail as much as they can from your products on a monthly or annual basis.
Geofencing is yet another technique as a part of local digital marketing ideas that your business can leverage from. With the help of geofencing, you can easily target the customers who come into the area where you do business. It shows notifications and relevant ads in their phones when they enter your location.
By now we should have answered the question. How do I advertise my small business locally?
Being a small business owner, you cannot invest much like big companies but you could definitely stand unique in the competition by applying these local digital marketing tips in your business to engage with local customers. If leveraged in the right way, these tips can prove to be a successful local digital marketing strategy for you.