If you have a local business, it’s important to engage in digital marketing that will attract more local clients. Keeping it simple in your approach to targeting and interacting with customers in your local area is a sure way to get the result that you want – more business. There are a great many digital marketing strategies that you can use to promote your business, but nailing down the strategies that can target people in your city should be a priority for your local business, and we’re going to show you how.
Google My Business Listing
How are new customers finding you? In today’s fast-paced, technology-based world, Google is the first place people look for anything. Setting up your Google My Business profile is free, and easy. This handy tool from Google’s suite of digital marketing goodies we highlighted here makes it easy for consumers to find you whenever they search for terms related to your business.
Your profile should contain basic information about your organization:
- Phone number
- Business hours
- Photos – that either you or your customers can add, used to give people a better understanding of how you operate.
In addition to your Google listing, your business may also have profiles set up on other platforms such as Yelp which you must claim and monitor so as to control the information that is out there about you. This is in your best interest and forms the basis of your online calling card.
Having a complete Google My Business listing (that is updated regularly) ensures that your page ranks higher on the Google search engine results page and, the higher you rank, the higher the chances of local customers finding out about your business.
2. About websites and optimization
Simply put, your website is the face of your company online. It’s a marketing brochure for your brand, the services you provide, what your company stands for and the types of clients you work with. In addition to this, be sure to highlight the most important aspects of your business such as contact details and location – this makes it easier for clients to contact you whenever they are ready.
With regards to website design, keep it simple! User experience, it should be noted, is king. A clean and simple website that is easy to navigate, contains pertinent information and resources for clients to explore on their own is also very important. Another important tip, invest in photography of your work. Where possible, avoid generic stock imagery and use images from real projects or services you’ve done in the past, especially if these were completed in the community you operate in. This shows site visitors that you’re real and that your company has a personality
Speaking of user experience, optimize, optimize, optimize! Ensure that your website works on all screen sizes, be it desktop, tablet or mobile. A responsive design in today’s digital climate is a must! You don’t want your potential clients to abandon your site and spend more time on your competitors’ because they can view it on their mobile. Google will penalize your website and rank you lower if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, so make sure that it is!
3. Monitor your online reputation
As we’ve already established, your website is your company’s online calling card. Client reviews – your online reputation – are one of the things that drive people to your website in the first place. Always encourage your clients to write your reviews after they’ve received your service. Not only does Google reward businesses who have multiple reviews with better rankings, but it can also help potential clients make the decision to hire you.
Similar to having photography that highlights your projects in the community you work in, the way you handle and respond to both positive and negative reviews shows people that you are human, and again forms part of the reasons people may decide to contact you. It has been found that 88% of consumers trust local businesses that have positive online reviews, so continuous reputation management is non-negotiable. Local and small businesses need to engage with their customers even after working with them, to show that they care and value their patronage.
Remember to regularly monitor and engage with your clients on the different review platforms your company has at its disposal, be it Facebook, Google or Yelp. Keep that human touch and protect your business from public backlash.
4. Be social
Businesses of any size should be using social media to connect with clients wherever they engage on the internet. Much like your GMB and Yelp listing, keep your different pages updated with all the necessary information people need to contact and engage with you, and most importantly, use it on a regular basis. You need to establish and keep an active presence on as many social media platforms as possible. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can be very helpful when marketing a company and its various services. Tips on how to write effective ads for different social media platforms can be found here, here, and here. If you have a local B2B company, you need to prioritize networks such as LinkedIn where you can build more awareness and connect with similar business owners and local consumers alike.
Above all, create interesting and original locally-focused content (including video) to both increase your visibility to prospective consumers and establish your business as a trusted voice in the community. As a general rule, identify the platforms that are giving you the most mileage in terms of engagement rates and use them to your advantage. This blog highlights our top pick for social media automatization that ensures you can continue to focus on other aspects of your business and not get overwhelmed by creating and sharing daily social media content.
Want to take your social media marketing strategy to a whole other level? Consider partnering with a local influencer who has a large social following. Depending on the nature of your business and your budget, you can pay them or offer them free stuff in lieu of cold, hard cash to promote your local business on one of their channels to tap into a new audience and increase your reach. As you may already know, today’s influencers have extremely high engagement rates with their followers, who trust their recommendations.
5. Take advantage of keywords
Whether you run a small or fairly large operation, your digital marketing strategy should include mandatory keyword research. So, where do you start? Using tools like Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Google Trends or simple search recommendations (when Google tries to help you complete a search) should also form part of your research as they allow you to find words relevant to your business. Once you’ve found those words, insert them into the pages of your website or blog posts – in the most organic way possible.
If you’re looking for new ways to promote your local business, these tips should form the foundation of your digital marketing strategy. Based on your business needs, take time to go through these tips and prioritize the ones that will give you the results you desire. Should you need additional guidance with your strategy formulation, feel free to contact us here at Soulpepper and we’ll be more than happy to help!