How to bring your local business to the next level with digital marketing
Relevancy is a huge part of marketing today. For most brick and mortar businesses, localization is a key element of relevancy. After all, your business depends on people in your area being aware of you and able to find you.
I have worked with many such businesses and always get the same questions: "Why am I not converting?" "Why customers not showing up?"
Whether you are a diner, a car dealership, a coffee shop, a dentist or a marketer, simply adding your business to the local directory will not cut it. You need to think bigger!
Here are 7 key tips for marketing your local business online:
1. There is no one-size-fits-all approach
The approach you take depends on the results you want to see, and how quickly you want or need to see them.
For example, building SEO establishes long term visibility, typically with higher conversions, but takes commitment and time before you see results. SEM, on the other hand, delivers results only for your period of investment, but the results are more immediate.
2. Think mobile
Most mobile search results are location based. If you are serious about attracting people into your business, you cannot ignore mobility. When someone is on the go, looking for a good lunch spot, they're not going to go home to check their computer. They're going to whip out their smartphone! A responsive, easy to navigate, mobile-friendly site is an absolute must.
Additionally, Google factors mobile-friendliness into their search rankings, so a mobile-friendly site can also improve your overall search rankings.
Check if your site is mobile friendly here:
3. Think holistically
When setting up your physical business, you look at the whole picture. You don't just need to get people in the door, you need to create an experience for them once they're inside! You consider decor, product placement and accessibility, lighting, music, staffing and more.
You need to take a similar approach to the digital side of your business. You need to concentrate on both the post-click phase as well as the pre-click phase, and ensure it's aligned with the big picture. Once someone clicks on your ad or search listing, what happens next? Pay attention to the landing pages, messaging, visitor paths, site flow and ease of navigation.
4. Think local in your messaging
Your messaging - the words, phrases and sentences you use on your site - has a big impact on your search results. Be sure to work your location into your messaging.
For example, if you are a Montreal-based photographer specializing in headshots, use phrases like "Montreal headshots", "Montreal headshot photographer" and "headshot photography Montreal" on your site. More generic phrases like "headshot photographer" are too broad, difficult to rank for and don't capitalize on your location.
5. Think first impressions
For most businesses, brick and mortar storefronts are no longer a customer's first impression. People today go online to find virtually everything. Your website is now your first impression. And just as in real life, first impressions are everything on the internet.
Be ready for your customers' arrival. Just as you keep your physical store looking its best, make sure your website is giving off the right impression.
6. Think education
Thanks to the internet, customers today are more educated about products, services and, most significantly, your competitors, than they have ever been before.
Choose to see this as a positive thing and use it to your advantage. Be the one who is educating them. Drive value in best possible ways by providing tips, news and ideas relevant to your brand, product and target market.
When you are seen as a source of knowledge, you are seen as an expert.
7. Don't always think budget
A low budget is not an issue. Inaction is an issue. The most important thing is to start somewhere and measure results. Even a small investment will give you something to analyze and optimize, so that you can continue to improve results and drive more business.
For local businesses to thrive, online marketing is a must. Searching online is now the number one way people find the products, services and businesses they're looking for. You need to make sure they're finding you and they're getting the best possible experience when they do.
Inspired by years of marketing local businesses and The Ultimate Guide to Local Business Marketing Book - By Entrepreneur
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