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Digital Strategies to Engage Local Customers and Streamline the Buying Process in a Remote Society

George Kocher
George Kocher
Founder and CEO at Brand North

Local business is continuously getting more competitive, which means getting noticed can be more difficult, especially in a society where most consumers aren't interacting with businesses in person.

If you are looking to grow your local business and get more customers, you will need to consider expanding your company's reach. There are multiple ways to make this happen, including learning how to market your company better. Expanding a business is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, know-how and a good product or service, but there are time tested techniques that still work even in the current climate. 

Provide quality work.

if you don't provide quality service to your customers, it's hard to make any strategy work over a long period of time. When you provide a quality service for your customers, they provide you with free word-of-mouth marketing when they recommend you to their family members, friends and inner circle.

On the flip side, if you do not provide quality work, word-of-mouth marketing is not favorable for your business. Just remember, if you do good work and no one sees it, you won't grow the way you need to. The best known usually beats the best.

Make your website extremely informational.

If you write really good content for your website that helps consumers and answers questions, you can reframe that content on multiple other channels. A killer of poor marketing campaigns is a bad website with bad information. This is the first impression you make with potential customers. Don't show them a website that was built in the early to mid-2000s. You want to wow them with graphics, pictures and an elegant, easy-to-navigate design, but the most important thing is for your website to answer questions

A strong website allows your customers to self-select, set expectations and qualify them prior to interacting with your company. Answering questions on your website instills trust and informs potential consumers about your policies. FAQ sections accomplish this and are hugely important as consumers interact from afar.

How do you make a good FAQs section?    

Record the phone calls that your sales rep or customer service representatives receive from customers. All of the questions that your reps answer and outline during an in-person, over-the-phone interaction should be listed on your website.

Don't be bashful: Talk about prices, warranties, manufacturing, return policies, anything that you can think of. You want this information to be clear. Having this information on your product or service readily available is an asset, not something that deters customers. 

Ensure your website is optimized.

A strong website does only so much if it's not properly optimized for search engines. There must be target keywords placed strategically throughout the content, which should be fresh, original content you or your expert marketing team creates. Never publish content from other websites; this will only flag your website and push it further down the search engine results.

One way to ensure your site is optimized is to create guides or compilations that help consumers to make a decision. We found an office furniture store that did a great compilation of the best cubicles from 2020, and it helps business owners make a decision based on what type of space they have. This is a good place to start.

Build a brand that separates you from the competition.

Your brand should separate your company from the competition in your town, county or state. This can be done with custom logos, catchy advertising slogans and business cards that all work together.

When you build a website or redesign your current one, you need to do the same with all of your letterhead, business cards, uniforms and social media accounts: The logo and design need to be uniform across the board so as not to confuse your customers.

Publish high-quality photos of your projects.

Every project you complete should not be closed until you take high-quality photos of the work you performed. These photos can be used on your website in blog posts, on testimonial pages and in press releases. If you plan to run ads in local newspapers, on Facebook, or on Instagram, you can use these photos to showcase the superior work you provide to customers.

Pay-per-click advertising works.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be effective – if it is done the right way. If you choose the right search terms or keywords, a PPC campaign can drive a lot of traffic to your website, leading to new leads every single day. 

Build relationships with multiple influencers.

Networking can be invaluable for your business. However, this doesn’t just involve shaking a few hands and handing out your business cards. Really get to know the local influencers that can recommend you. Take a few out to lunch or dinner one day, even a phone call to check-in goes a long way. 

Direct mail is still effective.

Direct mailers are a worthy investment and still very effective. This can be a do-it-yourself venture, or you can use a marketing company to build a list of contacts, design the flyers and distribute them to the contacts on the list. Direct mail can reach thousands of people within your service area for very little cost.

Use social media often.

Social media is a free tool that can put your company's logo, phone number, website and other information in front of thousands of people. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are great places to advertise your business. It costs nothing to open an account on any of these social media platforms, but you can still purchase targeted advertising to reach tens of thousands of potential customers in your region. This is similar to the information we spoke about on your website. Make it informative and useful and answer questions. Posting just to post doesn't work anymore. If people don't care about what you are saying, they won't take action from it. 

Use some of those high-quality photos mentioned earlier in your social media posts. Be sure to join neighborhood groups on Facebook as your personal account or your business page. This allows you to further interact and reach more people without spending much money. Try to post at least one time per day on your social media accounts. Do not post too often as this could hurt your business.

Create an email marketing campaign.

Start collecting emails on your website. You should never ignore or forget your past customers. They helped get your business off the ground and running by being your first customers and spreading the word to family and friends. Any customer you encounter should be added to your email list. You can also secure additional emails by adding a landing page on a Facebook ad. 

Take these emails and build an email marketing campaign. Send emails to this list anywhere between once per week or twice per month. Do not simply send an email to send an email. Make sure the information you share is fresh and relevant to your contact list. It can include photos of a recent project, a major announcement about the expansion of your business, news of receiving an award, etc.

Promote your business using customer testimonials.

Customer testimonials make it easy to promote your business. When a customer sends you an email praising your work, publish it on the testimonial page of your website and share it on your social media page.

Respond to reviews left on your Facebook page, Google My Business page or Yelp page. Even if it isn't a good review, respond to the customer professionally and with a proposed solution to their problem. A survey conducted in 2016 by Bright Local found that people trust reviews found online as much as they trust recommendations made by family and friends.

No matter how many trucks, vans or cars are in the fleet of your business, advertise on them. It doesn't cost you a dime aside from having the ad designed and then wrapped onto your vehicles. You won't have to pay for space on the vehicles since you own them already. The wrap should include your business logo, phone number, email address, license number if applicable and any other important information that customers will need.

Recycle content to make videos.

Don't overcomplicate this. The videos don't need to be perfect; you can even buy a cheap stand and use your phone to film. You can do employee interviews and talk about your product or service or film the team. It just has to be real and answer questions. Customers still like to see samples and examples. Doing this through video gives you awareness, and it makes you look professional. 

Image Credit: Ridofranz / Getty Images
George Kocher
George Kocher
business.com Member
George Kocher is a data driven leader with experience building and managing high performance sales and marketing teams. After graduating from Cornell University, George worked as an Analyst at Barclays Capital and VP of Business Development for Lakeview Health, a portfolio company of The Riverside Company. He currently serves as the Founder and CEO of Brand North, a digital marketing and growth consulting agency that focuses on applying sophisticated marketing strategies and technical solutions to local and national businesses. George has a proven track record of success in leading teams and an ability to find overlooked opportunities. As a former Division 1 wrestler, George is still an avid health and wellness enthusiast, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fan, and marathoner. In addition to caring about his own health, George is a mental health advocate and enjoys volunteering.