Building your small business to compete online can be challenging, as you will need to develop an online strategy to see results. A digital marketing strategy for a local business is much different than creating an online-only business with no local foot traffic.
With a local digital marketing strategy, your business will specifically target potential customers in your geographic area. Local businesses like; Restaurants, Architectural firms and other business that require in store purchases.
Local Digital Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
Include Local Address & Business Hours
You want to be found by local customers, so make sure your address and business hours are well spelled out on your site. Most people searching for local businesses will look for this information to contact local businesses in the same geographical area.
Have these in perspective for local listings:
- Hours of operation
- Phone number
Optimize Your Site for Local Search
In order to gain local customers through online strategies, you must build unique search strategy focusing on people searching for your services or products near you. A small business website needs to have information about services offered and products that match the targeted keywords people are searching for.
Keep your website design and linking clean. People searching for information can easily find what they are looking for on your website without frustration, as this will determine if they will want to do business with you or not.
Claim Your Local Listings & Optimize
Claim your small business on local directories. Google, Yahoo, Yelp, Manta and many more are all local business directories. Leverage your presence on them with content about your small business. After claiming your page, you will have full control over your basic listings profile. Find an example on how to claim your local listings.
Most local directories might charge a fee, so make sure you are monitoring to see which one will be of value to your small business.
Be Active On Social Media Channels
This may be an obvious local digital marketing tip as social media can also be a great tool for targeting potential customers online. But you have to actually engage people on those sites. That means you have to post regularly to stay top of mind.
Which social media channel should you focus on?
Make Use of Online Advertising
Online Advertising is an instant way to get your website found locally for targeted keywords. Use Google Adwords, Facebook ads, Twitter ads - to get the word out. Make sure to focus on targeting only local customer with specific keywords they might use to find your products or services.
Local Keywords only
The most important part of your small business digital strategy is finding the right keywords. Your keywords have to be relevant and consistent with your geographical targeted location.Targeting people in another city with your keywords will only drain your funds, so make sure you are targeting your niche market with relevant keywords.
Content Your Audience likes
To keep interaction on your social pages, you have to post content that resurrects with your audience. Make sure to always link back to useful sources that can further help your users with their problem. Content that helps others accomplish a task or understand how something works is gold for your audience.
Make Sure You Are Reachable
Small business need every bit of contact information they can lay hands on. Make it easy for your users to contact you without going through a circle. Include an email, phone number, social media pages and other communication methods to keep your customers coming. This also builds trust with potential customers, as they will know that it's easy to get in touch with your small business.
Have A Clear Call To Action
Your website is your small business front online. So you have to make it easy for people who visit your site to understand how they will do business with your company. What type of call-to-action works for your business?
- Learn more
- Call Now
- Buy Now
- Make an appointment
This are all effective call to actions for local small businesses. Your call to action will determine how the customer reacts to your site and what action they take after reviewing your services.
Most e-commerce sites will go with BUY NOW while an accounting firm might be better of with CALL NOW or MAKE AN APPOINTMENT.
Social Media Advertising with Local Targeting
Running ads on social media can be challenging. In order to focus on reaching local customers, you need make sure you're targeting relevant customers in your area. Social media advertising is not the same as search traffic as the people who find your products or services are people who have either liked something similar to your small business or other content that relates to your small business.
Most Targets near by;
- People near you
- People who liked your page
- People interested in specific topics
Use Your Signage
Start asking your customers to give your small business reviews and also provide signs of your business location on all collections of your social media pages. This can get you more visibility online and mobile, while encouraging new customers to do business with you now or in the future. Why it's important to use signage.
Search Engine Marketing - Targeted local Advertising
Search engine marketing can be very effective if you have a marketing budget. Use adverting platforms like Bing/Yahoo Ads, Adwords will give you options to target local customers searching for your product or services. Build a comprehensive local keyword strategy to target only people search close by your business.
Create content that resurrects with your audience, content like pictures and videos can help boost your social media strategy. Your multimedia content should align with your strategy and goals, including call to action for all postings on social media.
Your Landing Page
After people search and click on your ads, where do you take them? Are you going to use your main page? Different pages for products or services depending on your keywords?
After answering these questions, you can create a landing page for each campaign created for your website.
Use Apps To Target Mobile Customers
It's been a couple of years since we started using apps for everything in our daily lives. Now, mobile apps offer a way to target customers within their platforms. If you business has a mobile app, you can use it to send offers and discounts to local potential customers. You can also use web apps like Alignable to send out comprehensive offers.
You Need Mobile Friendly Website
Most people are on their smart phones these days, how will they find your local small business?
Customers who are looking for a car repair shop, store or other local businesses are likely to do a search on their smartphone or mobile device. If you don’t have a mobile website or your site is not mobile optimized, you might be missing out.
Update Site Information Regularly
When your local small business changes information like Address, hours of operation etc. You will need to make changes and provide the most up to date information. You want your local listings to be consistent across all directory channels as well as your website.
Track Online Reviews
Today, online reviews are becoming more vital for your local business online presence. Track and monitor your reviews constantly on sites like; Facebook, Google local, Yahoo local, Manta and others.
Measure Your Local Marketing Strategy
It's always good to track your local marketing strategy on a weekly bases. See if you need improvements and what to eliminate if not working as planned. Make a date every week to track your content and analyse performance.
Restructure Your Strategy Based on Results
As your campaigns receive more data, you'll have to start restructuring and optimizing for what works and focusing your funds towards that strategy. Conversions is the end result for every advertising or marketing campaign, so if your campaigns are not producing - research and update them.
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Divine Tumenta is an entrepreneur and professional digital marketing expert based in Los Angeles. He has worked in digital marketing for more than 8 years. He is currently founder and CEO of backlinkfy.com and a go to consultant for startups and small businesses in the USA.