Whether you own a brick-and-mortar shop or do your business entirely online, the local market’s support is vital to your business. In fact, for most companies, most of their business originates from the community where they live and work.
This is especially true for small businesses that rely on word of mouth to help them get a foothold in the market. Small businesses often lack the financial and technical resources to launch a multi-channel; marketing campaign that captures worldwide keywords. And that’s OK. In fact, grassroots, guerilla-style local marketing can produce significant results.
Think of it this way, instead of fighting against the billions of other websites out there, you can focus your marketing efforts on local performance. This makes it significantly easier to cut through the noise and reach your target audience. You can often rank higher faster by optimizing your digital marketing strategies around local search performance.
Don’t know how to get started? We’ve got you covered.
Tips to help get you started with local marketing:
1. Create a Website for Your Business
Even if you don’t do business directly online, a website is essential for any business operating today. It’s also a great way to attract local customers. You just need to spend a little time optimizing your page content with local search terms, names, etc. Or you can create a separate sub-page that explicitly targets your local area.
Your site doesn’t need to be fancy. Often, the simplest websites that present your information most straightforwardly are the ones that perform best. But you need to take some time to think about which direction you want to go. If your business is tailored solely to the local market, of course, your main content will reflect this. But if your business is open to all, you might still consider having a localized sub-page or mini-site designed to capture local searches.
2. Get Your Business Listed on Google
Once you have a website ready, you need to ensure you’re listed on Google. This is the de facto stopping place for most people’s online searches (it commands 92% of all search traffic). Setting up a Google “My Business Account” is a quick and easy way to ensure people find correct and accurate information about your business whenever they perform a search. It also helps your website’s search rankings. So you get a win-win.
83% of U.S. shoppers said they used online search before going into a store. 74% of in-store shoppers who searched online before going to the store to shop said they searched for something like the closest store near them, locations in stock near them, hours, directions, wait times, and contact information. If you’re not optimizing for local search, you will lose out to your competitors.
3. Verify and Update all Your Information
Hopefully, you are active on many listing and review sites like Yelp and others. But your information must be uniform across all these various listings. You don’t want one set of business hours on one website and a different set on another. Similarly, you need to ensure your address and phone numbers are consistent everywhere. Having inconsistent information online impacts your Google rankings and gives a bad impression to your target audience.
4. Work On Your Local SEO
You need to ensure that your search engine optimization is configured for local results and general results. This helps your search engine results page listing position (SERP) and helps your customers find you. You should work on your content marketing strategy to ensure it includes location-based keywords and other tactics to improve how your articles, photos, and other pertinent content ranks in SERPS. You should also try to build up a network of links from local newspapers and other authority sites and customer reviews to improve the local SEO for a business.
5. Use Social Media to Reach Customers
Today, businesses are expected to have a social media presence of some kind or another. Depending on your industry, that could mean one platform or everyone. Almost half the world is active on social media daily. These platforms present excellent opportunities for you to market yourself to customers and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. It’s often much cheaper and easier to get started on social media than traditional advertising methods. And when you target local results, it’s even easier to drill down to your specific audience. Another bonus of social media is that it’s highly trackable, so you don’t have to guess about what’s working for you or not.
6. Join and Participate in Local Business Groups
Even if you’re not selling your goods or services primarily to your local community, getting involved with local business groups is a key to success as a business. You get to know your community and other business owners, which can help you develop new strategies and technologies. Also, the more active you are in your local community, the more customers will take notice and trust you.
7. Offer Rewards and Incentives to Customers
Who doesn’t love getting something for free or being noticed for their loyalty? Customer loyalty programs are time-honored, proven ways to encourage customers to buy more and become repeat customers. Letting local customers know that you value their business goes a long way to establishing brand loyalty. You can also develop a grassroots word-of-mouth campaign by rewarding your existing customer base for any referrals.
8. Traditional Marketing Techniques Still Work
Though we strongly believe in digital marketing strategies, we’ll be the first to point out that you cannot ignore your traditional marketing strategies as well. You can have the most polished and search-optimized website and then fail to have a sign that attracts foot traffic or allows your customers to find your store. Traditional marketing techniques like flyers and banners are essential if you’re located in a central location like a walking part of town. Get out there, show your smiling face to folks, and let them know there are real, local faces behind the new business.
9. Become a Sponsor for Local Events
One of the best ways to prove you’re a valued member of the local community is by sponsoring or supporting local festivals, sporting events, and other community activities. You don’t just have to supply money. You can also donate your time, energy, and expertise to help out. People love knowing that companies are out there doing good in the world, particularly close to home. You shouldn’t do it only for the advertising and positive word of mouth…but that doesn’t hurt.
Go, Get Started in Local Marketing for your Small Business
These days it’s more vital than ever that you get active in your local community. Even if you’re in a smaller town or suburb, you can’t expect that people will just notice you because you’re there. There’s a lot of noise and information vying for attention.
Targeting your marketing at your local community is a cost-effective and straightforward way to cut through that noise.
We hope these nine suggestions can help you get started on the right path. They work great on their own but are most effective when you can use a combination of all. Many don’t require a significant financial investment but will require your time and energy. We understand that sometimes that’s even more precious than money. So, we’re here to help you out if you need someone to take any of these tasks off your hands for you.
Contact us if you have any questions or want to start marketing your small business to your local community.