Small businesses can often feel lost amid the online giants. While it’s obvious that there’s no way to compete with their marketing budget, there are strategies that can enhance your online presence and reputation to build success.
Local online marketing can bring in customers and boost sales, but you have to think differently than if you were a nationwide corporation with multiple locations.
Here are 9 ways to market your small business locally.
1. Use Google My Business
This free listing lets you connect with customers through Google search and maps. If you’re not using this resource, you’re missing out. It gives you the opportunity to get your information to local consumers who are looking for your product or service. Make sure to add pictures, hours and parking information to help people find you. Interact with reviews to give potential customers confidence in your customer service.
2. Establish an online presence.
Google My Business is a great place to start, but you should make sure to have a website and be on social media. Pick two or three platforms where your customers live and focus on those sites instead of trying to be on every social media site. Make sure your business is listed in online directories, Angie’s List, the BBB and any industry site.
3. Participate in your community.
Network with other businesses through the Chamber of Commerce and community events.
You can introduce yourself to others without feeling you’re giving a sales pitch. You can build relationships to offer guest posts on other blogs to build backlinks to your site, boosting SEO in the process.
4. Network online.
Establish yourself as an expert in groups that are relevant to your industry. Don’t come out and promote your business at first. Answer questions using your knowledge. As you get more known on a site, you can direct people to your website. Make sure to follow the rules on whatever site you’re on. Don’t get accused of spam.
5. Use SEO strategies.
Local internet marketing relies on search engine optimization (SEO) to organize information. Search engines catalog information on your site through keywords, locations, tag lines and key phrases. Your online presence must include good SEO strategies that increase your visibility in searches. Connect with a marketing firm that can help you boost your SEO.
6. Use analytical tools.
Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have analytics built into their system that can be accessed for free or very low rates. Use these tools to tell you what is working and what isn’t. You may be able to identify the best time of day to share information, where you’re getting web traffic and much, much more.
7. Try Targeted Ads
Designate a portion of your small business marketing budget toward ads on social media or Google to learn more about your customers. Put up two versions of the same ad targeted to the same demographics to see which one generates more traffic. Use targeted ads to direct traffic to your site for special sales.
8. Partner with local influencers.
Local celebrities who have a large online following can really boost your business. Give a donation to a non-profit they work with to get publicity. Have an event where you invite someone popular to your business. Get the word out on social media. Share with a local news station. You may reach a broader audience locally and gain some customers.
9. Share your community pride.
Talk about your participation in local events on your blog and on social media. Discuss local issues. It will have the same effect as partnering with local influencers. Comment on local news stories about your activities pertaining to the issue. When community leaders come into your business, grab a picture and post it online, if they’re willing.
Online marketing isn’t just for large corporations. You can be a leader in SEO in your local market by taking the time to build your online presence and network within your community.
We want to hear from you.
What are some ways you’ve marketed your local business? What worked? What didn’t? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more smart local business advice delivered right to your inbox.