Many small, local businesses neglect to spend much effort (or advertising dollars) online. This is mostly due to the fact that the Internet is crowded, and typically dominated, by large, national brands.
But what small, local businesses fail to realize is they are not competing with these giants and can easily dominate their local market by incorporating the following 7 digital marketing strategies.
Have a Mobile Friendly Website
While every sized business should have a mobile-friendly website, it’s particularly important for local businesses. Your prospective customers might find you when they’re out and about and do a search on their phone or other mobile device. If your site isn’t optimized, these prospects will have a hard time interacting with it. And, because Google’s mobile algorithm won’t necessarily show non-mobile-friendly websites in a mobile search, prospects may not even see your site to begin with.
Optimize for Local Search
It goes without saying that if you want local customers to find you, you have got to have a robust search strategy. Make sure your website not only includes information about your products or service, but also your location. It won’t do your restaurant much good if people in other states can find you but no one in your local community can. Make sure you include keywords that specify your location. You’re not just a diner serving breakfast all day, you’re a diner serving breakfast all day in Youngstown, Ohio.
Have a Great Looking Website
As I just mentioned, many customers are going to find you during a quick search on their mobile device. When people search for information on a desktop, they tend to care more about the information they are looking for (how to get rid of ants, how to pay down debt, how to build a new deck) than how the website looks. But this isn’t the case with mobile searchers. These people will only give you seconds to see if you are the establishment where they want to eat, shop, or get their oil changed. Since you only have a few seconds, your website needs to look great and be easy to navigate. In other words, make sure it is professionally designed.
Use Social Media to Target Your Local Area
By now you know social media is a great way to extend your brand’s reach, but for small, local businesses, the key is to extend that reach in the right direction. When using sites like Facebook to advertise, be sure your campaigns target relevant customers in your immediate area. Leverage the targeting capabilities within these social networks to maximize your budget and your campaigns.
Claim and Optimize Your Local Listings
Sites like Google, Yelp, and the online Yellow Pages also provide customers information and reviews about your company. It’s really important that you claim these listings so you can control and optimize the information they contain.
Use Apps to Target Hyper-Local Customers
There’s local targeting and then there’s hyper-local targeting. Mobile apps now allow local business owners to target prospects who are in close proximity to their business. Why not use an app like Foursquare to send alerts about a sale or offers to customers who are shopping nearby?
Pay Attention to What Works
If you’ve been advertising for any length of time you already know some things work and some things don’t. You’ve got to really monitor your campaigns and pay attention to your results so you can refine strategies and keywords as necessary. Look for what’s driving the most measurable results – those conversions like emails, phone calls, walk-ins and actual sales. Whatever is actually driving customers to your business – do more of that and cut out whatever gave you no results.
You may be small, and you may be local, but to your immediate community, the products and services you provide may be hugely appreciated. Don’t be intimidated by big brands. Use these 7 digital strategies to dominate your local market.