As a small business owner, marketing to a great big audience can be pretty overwhelming. Where should I start? How much should my marketing budget be? Who am I going to market to?
It’s normal to want to hit the big time right away. But don’t forget that customers in your local area can be a lucrative target market. In fact, according to a recent study, 82% of consumers are patronising local businesses and are showing preference for local products and services over big brands.
The digital space is your best starting point. A recent study shows that 97% of consumers are looking up the Internet to find products and services within the area. Moreover, 73% of customers trust businesses with positive online reviews.
How can your customers find you online? Here are simple local marketing strategies you can start to promote your business and increase your customer base in your local area.
1. Claim your free Google listing
When people are searching for something, more often than not they start with Google. So we always recommend our clients—big or small—to set up their listing on Google via Google My Business. This will make it easy for your customers to find you when they search the web using terms related to your business.
Google My Business allows you to manage how your business will appear and perform in Google search engine. Your Google listing will include your business name, address, phone number, store hours, directions going to your store and a link to your website. We’ve created a step-by-step guide on how to claim your Google My Business page.
2. Start a blog
Your blog is not only the best place to tell your story, talk about your products and services, and share your insights. It can also help you increase your visibility in search engines. In your blog, you can explore different topics and aim for keywords your customers often use in searching for related businesses. A good SEO practice is to aim for topics that answer your target customers’ most common questions. The more content you produce, the more followers you get, the more website traffic you gain and the bigger your chances of converting leads.
Publishing blog post after blog post will also increase your chances of ranking higher in search engines. We recommend covering local topics, such as those about your hometown, tips, ideas, local stories, etc.
3. Get social
Social media platforms are the best avenue to promote and share your blogs. More so, social media sites offer the best opportunities to engage with your prospective customers and communicate with them on a more personal level. Your blog posts can be a great source of social media content, but for the most part, they won’t be enough. For small businesses, a social media content plan is necessary. When developing your content plan, be sure to think about your brand story as well as local news and happenings.
We know running a small business is already quite a handful and you probably don’t have much time to manage your social media channels. To help you not get too overwhelmed, here’s a list of no-cost social media management tools that can help you with your social media marketing efforts.
4. Run a local SEO campaign
We know how tough it is to rank in organic search results with so many businesses competing for the top spot. But there’s still Google’s magical “3-pack” that can give local businesses the leverage they need. Even if you’re a small business with limited resources, you can still rank in the local pack, which is the top three search results that appear at the top of the results page together with the Google map. This show the business name, address, contact details, operating hours, website, and ratings.
We’ve put together a simple formula to ace your local SEO strategies:
- Google My Business listing
- Using local keywords all throughout your web pages and blogs
- Reviews from customers
- Social media profiles containing addresses, contact details and business hours
If you want to optimise your business for local search, here’s the full blog.
5. Run online contests
Online contests are a great way to get your customers excited about your business. Your social media profiles are the best place to run your contests. Not only will it increase your engagement rate, but you will also acquire more user-generated content. For instance, you can ask your followers to post their photos and tag your profile. This can help you grow your social media following and increase your exposure online.
6. Submit your business info to directory sites
If you want to be found online, one of the best strategies is to submit your business info to directory sites. Research on online listings or local, city/town-specific directories relevant to your business. You can also verify your business information on Yelp. Make sure that all your info, such as store hours, contact numbers and addresses are correct.
7. Partner up
We know that as a business owner, you’d want to remain as competitive as possible. But in terms of content marketing, you have a lot to benefit from partnerships. You can partner with other local businesses and build off each other’s brands by writing guest blogs or sharing social media content. This will help you drive quality traffic to your website and increase your searchability in Google. At the same time, guest posting can also give your website more link juice as Google ranks websites with high-quality backlinks. In our blog, we shared some winning strategies in driving traffic through guest blogging.
What are the local marketing strategies are you using to promote your business? Share in the comments below.