If you are a small business owner, you need to be utilizing local digital marketing. According to research, about 97% of all consumers use online media to shop for commodities. Additionally, people prefer to buy locally (versus a national big brand), if it’s possible.
Each local market is incredibly unique, allowing SBOs to tailor offerings and messages to specific groups of people in a powerful way. With the right marketing strategy in place, your small business will become more visible to local customers that need you.
If you aren’t quite sure where to start, we have a list of suggestions for you!
Reaching The Right People at The Right Time and Place
In her Small Business Trends “31 Tips for Local Digital Marketing” article, Annie Pilon gives a great checklist for small business owners to consider. We’ve summarized them in quick points below.
Have a mobile friendly site: If customers are looking for your local business, they will likely search on their phone, which means your site needs to look the part. If it’s not mobile friendly, people will head elsewhere.
Get optimized for local search: Include all the important keywords and phrases throughout your content (like products and services), so you can be easily found.
Embrace design: People will judge your business based on the website, so make it clean, informative, and easy-to-use.
Include the most important information: Make sure your address, hours, and directions are clearly stated on your site!
Be available: Put all your contact hubs – email, phone numbers, and social media accounts on your site so people can get in touch with what they need right away.
State your call to action: How do people do business with you? Can they stop by during normal hours or do they need to make an appointment? Spell out exactly how people can come to you for help.
Post away: If you are inactive on social media, potential customers may think you are an inactive business, too. Stay top-of-mind with frequent posts!
Never lose sight of your audience: You know your customers well enough to know what they need and/or like to see. Post helpful and relevant pieces of information that are related to your business, but not about making a sale.
Share multimedia: Videos and photos go the extra mile on social media, so use them when they are the appropriate message vehicles as much as possible.
Research social media advertising: Will local social media targeting help your business? If so, do it!
Utilize locally targeted search engine advertising: This is a great way to be visible in front of the customers you need.
Define locally optimized keywords: Based on your location and your business, use the right keywords in your digital marketing strategy.
Choose the right landing: Once people click on your ads, bring them to the right place on your website, whether it’s your home page or a products page.
Refine your strategy with feedback: If certain keywords or ads aren’t working based on the numbers, find new ones, and re-test. Find what works before you invest too much time/money in what doesn’t.
Retarget previous visitors: If someone was this close to making a purchase but didn’t, bring them back through advertising (known as remarketing) to convert these leads into customers.
Claim and optimize your listings: Take hold of those local listings on big sites and control the information to ensure accuracy.
Update your information: If you change anything (i.e. hours, location), make sure this is reflected in all your online spots!
Keep an eye on your reviews: Stay on top of any bad (or stunningly good) reviews about you out there, and take any next steps that are needed.
Respond to your critics: If someone had a horrible experience, address it starting with an apology, and make it right – use the same public forum your critic used so that everyone can see how you handled it.
Accept feedback: Even the toughest review can make your business better if you use it in a constructive way.
Look for common themes: Whether it’s the same good or bad things being said in reviews, take these very seriously and realize it’s either time to change or promote something great more prominently.
Share your concerns: Feedback should be shared with the entire team to help re-define business strategies, including your digital marketing campaign.
Think like a customer: If you and your employees think like your customers, chances are you will find your present-day strengths and weaknesses before other people do.
Ask customers for feedback: Tell your customers just how much you love and appreciate their glowing reviews and encourage them to post! (Remind them in follow-up confirmation emails after purchase or use in-store signs to direct them to the right online spot to share their experience!)
Tell people where to find you: Before your customers leave you, make sure they know where to find you online for the latest information and exciting promotions.
Target local customers with apps: Many mobile apps allow SBOs to target customers who are in close proximity to a business with actions such as sending a coupon. Location-based apps are great for this need.
Measure and tweak your marketing efforts: Keep your fingers firmly on the pulse, and never stop measuring and analyzing how your strategy is working. Over time, you will learn exactly what flops and what soars.
Do You Have Anything to Add?
If there is one more local digital marketing tip you think people need to know, we would love to discuss it here!
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