Digital Marketing Guide for Small and Local Businesses
If you are looking at ways to expand your small or local business in 2001 without expensive TV spots or widespread brand recognition, how do you bring in new customers? What can you use for marketing your small business without breaking the bank?
There are several tried-and-true tricks to marketing for local businesses. Read on to discover how you can bring in new customers and drive up your bottom line in 2001.
Build a Strong Website
One of the first things you need to do when you’re creating a marketing strategy for your local business is to build a strong website. Your website will be the centre of your entire marketing strategy. It will be the place you direct customers back to and the spot where you can reel them in and make the sale.
Make sure your website is both beautiful and functional, and it should align with your branding. A well planned site structure is essential for its success now and in the future. When planning your site structure keep the information in categories and well organised. This will help visitors navigate to the information they are looking for and for search engines to understand what you site is about. Customers shouldn’t have to hunt for the page they need.
You need to make sure your content and site is quick to load. A slow loading websiteIt’s will not do well in the search results and you visitors will leave before you show them what you offer. Keeping your site up to date is essential with your business announces new sales, products, and other news.
Market Through Search Engines
When you’re trying to bring in more customers, one of the best places you can do this is through a search engine. Each year, Google processes an average of 1.2 trillion searches – that’s more than 40,000 searches every single second. If you can turn even a tiny portion of those searches into customers, your business will be thriving.
Search engine marketing can not be ignored in this day and age; it is your shop front of your businesses. It is where you want to invest and done well will bring a great return on your investment. You can drive targeted audiences to your businesses site and with well designed content and call to actions. Like call now, contact us, or join our email list for regular updates. You can collect leads, build relations and brand awareness and increase your sales.
When designing and developing your website it is important to make sure you do your research and understand what your business wants to achieve in the short term and the long term. You need to understand your target audience and carry out keyword research to find what they are typing in the search engines to find your services or products. Once you have your list of keywords for all your pages. You can optimise your web pages for these keywords and phrases. This is called on-page SEO. This will put your company in front of your target audience when they are looking for what you offer.
Optimising your websites pages and content is the easiest and cheapest way to send new targeted customers to your business for free, daily. SEO is one of the most cost effective ways to consistently send new target visits to your business.
You first need to understand who your target customers are. Then carry out some keyword research to find what your target audience is searching for online to find your type of business services or products. You can then create great pages and content to engage and convert your target audience more on this below.
On Page Optimisation
Once you have built a list of keywords and phrases for each page you can optimise these pages for these keywords. Let the search engines and your target audience know what your page is about. On-page SEO is essential to getting great results with your SEO strategy.
It will give you the best chance of ranking highly without unnecessary added cost and time consuming Off page SEO and link building.
Off page SEO
Off page SEO is the signals that help search engines know what your page is about and that it is a good and trusted resource to add to the search results. The most important is high quality backlinks from relevant sites and blogs back to your site and content. When you have high authority web pages pointing back to your content and pages it is like a vote from a trusted site that your site is also trusted and the anchor text (ie: words that are linked) that are used to point back to your site helps Google know what your content is about. All helping your SEO and site authority and boosting your search engine rankings.
Local Search Engine Optimisation
If your business offers its services or products in a specific area it is essential to optimise your site’s content and keywords for these areas. Nearly half of Google’s searches are for people searching for local information about local businesses within a given area. By adding your local areas to your keywords and phrases. It will let Google know when to add you to the search results and let searchers know you are a local business driving your target audience to your site and content. You can read more about Local SEO services here.
Or read our guide on local SEO for small businesses.
Claim Your Google Business Profile
One of the best ways to take advantage of Local SEO is to claim your free Google my business page.This will give you free exposure. It will allow you to collect reviews from your clients and have the opportunity to get to the top of page one in the local search results.
To take full advantage of this powerful marketing resource you need to make sure your Google Business Profile is up to date. When customers Google your business, this profile is what pops up at the top of the page. It will contain your website, phone number, and address, along with displaying any ratings you may have.
Keeping your GBP profile updated will make it easier for customers to find and keep in touch with you. It can also have an impact on your Local SEO since Google will rank businesses with accurate contact information more highly. Check-in on your GBP, set one up if you don’t have one, and update it any time your information changes.
One of the best and scariest developments for small businesses in recent years has been the advent of online reviews. On the one hand, now you can see from your customers what you’re doing right and what you can improve on. But a few negative reviews can also scare away a lot of business.
For better or for worse, you need to keep an eye on your online reviews, making sure to respond to each of them. When you get a positive review, thank the customer for taking the time to write it and for trusting your business. When you get negative reviews, respond to them quickly, offering to make the problem right and asking for further feedback about how you can do better in future.
Get Your Business Listed on Citation Platforms
Local citations are believed to be a big part in local SEO especially for your google my business page. By adding you correct and consistent company and information (NAPs) Name, address and phone number to these citation platforms it tells google you are a trusted company and your information is up to date. Building trust with the search engines.
Many people will turn to these directories when they’re looking for a new option to try in a particular area. Only having your business on the list can bring in customers, as well as increasing local awareness of your business.
Look for local and industry-specific directories, and see what’s involved in getting listed. In the case of local directories, you may have to ask for your business to be included in the next publication. Some larger or industry-specific directories may require you to pay a fee to get added to the listing.
We offer citation building services adding companies’ information to the top and trusted citation sites.
Keep Your company’s digital information upto date
You also need to make sure your Data about stay as up to date as possible and consistent throughout the internet. This is essential to local SEO as google will lose trust if there is conflicting information online.
It is also important that your customers can find you. If you information is wrong online they may give up and look elsewhere.
Search Engine Ads
Consider running ads through Google, Yahoo, and Bing using high-volume keyword searches related to your business. Most of these ads are “pay per click,” which means you’ll pay a small fee each time someone clicks on your advertised link. You’ll only have a few lines to win over potential customers, so be sure you perfect the copy on those ads.
Create Strong Content Marketing
As we touched on above. The subject of creating strong content for your audience; this is a strategy you need to be using across all your marketing platforms. In today’s world of digital advertising and information, people want to feel like you care about them, not just their money. They want to get real value from your content, and hard sells will turn off more customers than it brings in.
The best way to do this is to create great content and the easiest and cheapest way to do this is to write blog posts and articles that answer the questions your target audiences are searching for online. Write helpful and engaging content that your target audiences will find valuable. This will help build authority with the search engines and your visitors.
Every piece of well researched and written blog post will add keywords you can be found for online by your target audience. Bring in new customers to your business for years to come.
Keep Your Content Current
Doing this research at the start of your marketing process is terrific, but markets change, and your business will evolve. You need to make sure you’re keeping up to date on the latest both in overall marketing trends and with your customers’ specific needs. Then you’ll need to evaluate your marketing strategy and make sure it’s still effective.
Market Through Social Media
You can share all your blog posts and content on social media. Giving you new content to post and get shared. Giving you the chance to get introduced to audiences.
On social media, repost articles and photos that will appeal to your customer base, both in content and in style. Include informative pieces in your emails, and engage with your customers on a personal basis at your brick-and-mortar stores.
Of course, social media marketing can’t be ignored today and it shouldn’t be. Nearly 70 per cent of adults are on Facebook, and another 37 per cent use Instagram. A larger portion of your customer base is gathered on these sites than almost any other, making it ideal for marketing to them.
Make sure you maintain an active social media presence on your chosen social channels the more the better This can be time consuming so if you can’t do it well on all the channels choose your channels and concentrate on these. Some relevant platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc.).
Follow posting recommendations, and try to create quality content that will have real value for your followers, rather than only sales pitches. You may also want to run ads through social media, where campaigns are affordable and can reach vast portions of the population.
Use Email Marketing
We’ve mentioned emails a few times already, and for a good reason – email marketing behind SEO is one of the essential tools you have available to you. With social media marketing, you’re throwing messages into a void and hoping they land in front of an interested customer. But email marketing allows you to speak directly to an audience that’s already invested in your business.
When you have good search engine optimisation and content marketing strategy it can be easy to build a strong email list with good email capture call to actions. You can build a free download where you collect an email address. Or just a sign up to our email list call to action. Not to mention you customers.
Try to send out a newsletter at least once a month, and ideally once a week. Include articles that your customer base will find interesting, updates from your business, information about upcoming sales or product launches, and special discounts and sale offers for subscribers. But do make sure you aren’t emailing so often that your messages become just another piece of junk mail.
Consider Affiliate Marketing
One of the most effective forms of marketing is word of mouth, but that can be hard to secure. Word of mouth marketing relies on bonds of trust – trust between you and your customers and trust between your customers and their friends and family. One great way to get the advantages of that trust with a wider (and more reliable) network is through affiliate marketing.
In affiliate marketing, a person who has a popular website or platform in your industry will advertise your product or service to their followers. Their endorsement can convince some of their followers that your business is worth the money. You pay a small fee to the affiliate marketer for every sale you make to a customer they referred.
Look into Influencer Marketing
A somewhat more modern spin on affiliate marketing is influencer marketing, a concept that has grown with the rise of social media. An influencer is a person who has a large, devoted social media following that extends far beyond their circle of personal acquaintances. And like affiliates, these influencers can give you the benefits of a personal endorsement to all their fans.
Unlike affiliate marketing, influencer marketing typically operates on a flat fee, though they may also want to offer discount codes to their followers. They will promote your product to their platform, which not only raises awareness of your business but also buys the benefits of that trust fans have in the influencer. Make sure you work with influencers who have a large following in your industry or among your target customer base.
Investigate Podcast Marketing
In the last few years, the podcast market has exploded and has become a very popular way for small- to mid-sized businesses to get the word out about their products or services. This advertising option has all the benefits of a traditional radio or television ad with the perks of an influencer endorsement. Podcast listeners often feel connected to the hosts of their favourite shows and may be more likely to take a chance on your business at their recommendation.
Look for a podcast within your industry or which has a large following among your target demographic. They will likely have set advertising fees that you may for a certain number of ads or amount of air time. You can provide an ad copy, but it is expected that the podcaster will embellish on this and add their own personal flair or recommendation.
Do Your Homework
Any time you’re tackling any of these marketing initiatives, it’s crucial that you do your homework first. You’ve heard us mention your “target customer” several times now – you should have a specific target customer demographic and profile as part of your marketing efforts. This profile should include information about your ideal customer’s age, gender, marital status, religious affiliation, education level, income bracket, and more.
Do some research in your industry and find out who spends the most money with your type of business. Sit down with your team and describe your ideal customer. Including as many of the specifics, we mentioned above as possible. Also, research what sort of marketing works best with this demographic, so you know how to tackle your branding and content.
Focus on Rich Visual Marketing
When we’re putting together marketing materials, it can be tempting to focus entirely on the text content. And while the wording is important, as the old saying goes, “A picture’s worth a thousand words.” And nowhere is that more true than with modern digital marketing.
These days, nearly all of your marketing efforts need to include some sort of picture, video, or other visual elements. Photos are far more eye-catching than a wall of text, and videos can be downright captivating. Make your content as beautiful as possible, and you’ll draw in far more customers.
Automate as Much as Possible
Keeping up with your marketing plan can get overwhelming at times, but it’s crucial to be consistent. Marketing automation can help you to check all the boxes you need to while making those marketing efforts more effective. You can also custom-tailor your marketing to specific customers based on their activity when you use marketing automation.
With marketing automation, you can set up emails to go out any time a customer abandons a shopping cart or goes longer than their average time between purchases. You can run advanced analytics and plan social media posts weeks or months in advance. You can also make sure every post makes it to each social media platform with the correct formatting without you having to do all that leg work yourself.
Learn Marketing for Local Businesses
Marketing for local businesses can feel like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Focus on all the resources you have at your disposal – search engines, social media, email lists, local directories, and more. Make sure you know your target customer, tailor content to them, and use marketing automation to keep your daily task list manageable.
If you’d like to improve your marketing for your local business, check out the rest of our site at SEOi. We make SEO simple, affordable, and accessible to all with our free SEO platform. Sign up for free today and start growing your business the smart way. If you liked our article and would like more you can sign up to our newsletter to get news and digital marketing advice, tips and special offers straight to your inbox.