Hello Neighbor: Marketing Your Business Locally Online

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Local business marketing is important to grow your venture, so here are 6 strategies to help break down local marketing online.

Your business is likely your lifeblood. It’s important to take it seriously both online and offline. Today more so than ever before, not having an online presence (or a visible or positive one) could break your business.

It’s important to take it seriously both online and offline. Today more so than ever before, not having an online presence (or a visible or positive one) could break your business.

We want to help you make it. How do you market your local business? Let’s walk through some strategies for local marketing success.

Related Article: 5 SEO Predictions for 2015

Strategy 1: Local SEO

Local businesses need to consider the importance of local SEO so that people who don’t know them can actually find them. Be mindful that local SEO is not the same as general SEO, which usually relates to having good content, descriptive titles, helpful keywords and well-structured URLs (in its most basic definition).

Local SEO requires a lot more. Fortunately, Local SEO Checklist will make it easy for you to see at a glance what is required to be a local SEO superstar.

Local SEO Checklist

Image via Local SEO Checklist

The critical components of local SEO boil down to NAP = name, address and phone. Make sure your business citations are correct and accurate across every single site you’re listed on, including your own. You also need to consider Schema, which gives important information to search engine crawlers (but not your visitors).

Strategy 2: Review Management

Local businesses also can live or die based on their online reviews. Make sure to be present across all types of review directories. Tools like Synup and Yext can help you determine if you're present or not.

yext online presence

Image via Yext

Review management doesn’t stop there. Having a presence means nothing if no one reviews you. Encourage reviews, whether through a signature in your emails, a direct newsletter, a request via social media, a QR code, postcards or right when you’re face-to-face with the customer.

Make sure to respond to reviews, especially the negative ones, so that people learn about you as a company. Being reactive (versus ignoring the complaints) shows that you as a company care about making your company be perceived in a positive light. Of course, make sure there are more positive than negative reviews no matter where you look.

Related Article: Reinventing Performance Management: A Deloitte Case Study

Strategy 3: Content & Community Marketing

Build great content to your website. Each page describing your service offering should have at least 500 words so that search engines find you.

You can also create ongoing content that shows you are a thought leader in the space. If you’re a painter, talk about how someone would discover how to match the paint on their wall to a brand being sold in the store. If you’re an exterminator, send a newsletter about bugs that are expected during the summer season. 

People value your knowledge and are naturally compelled to learn through search engine results (not to mention, the word of mouth potential that's also generated).

Don’t limit your marketing to creating on site content. Promote that within the communities you’re active on. This could be Facebook, Twitter or even local bulletin board groups if permitted. Community marketing, when not self-promotional, puts you at the top of mind.

Related Article: Why No One Likes You On Facebook

Strategy 4: Facebook Check-In Offers

If you want to encourage foot traffic, take advantage of Facebook Check-In Offers. These are for Facebook pages with at least 50 Likes. You can do lots of fun things with offers, such as offer 50 percent off if someone claims it online and heads to your store. You can upload an image, add a title and control the number of redemptions.

Check-in offers create loyalty and are simple to redeem.

Strategy 5: Groupon Deals

Groupon is a great way to get a rush of traffic to your business. The idea behind Groupon is simple: offer something super cheap (33-75 percent off) and all of the sudden, the flow of people come in.

The hope is that you will make many repeat customers.

That’s the hope. While it does help get the word out, it’s not a very sustainable strategy. Worse, most people using Groupon are doing it specifically because they want to get a cheap deal. If you’re a florist offering 15 percent off the flowers, you may get a boost in customers during the window of your promotion, but in all likelihood, that buyer is going to be at another florist taking advantage of their Groupon deal the next time.

Groupon Discount

Image via Groupon

If you’re willing to take the risk knowing that you may convert just a handful of recurring visitors after already slashing your profits substantially, it’s a worthwhile cause. Perhaps your company’s offering is unique. Perhaps your product is so amazing that people would definitely come back. You’re the best judge of that.

Strategy 6: Google AdWords Pay Per Call Advertising

Just last month, Google announced that of its 100+ billion monthly worldwide searches, more searches are happening over mobile than they are on a desktop. When people are searching you online on their phones, it makes sense to connect them with a call center rather than giving them a lead form to fill out that you’ll act upon later.

Customers want you now, so take advantage of their immediate desire.

Pay Per Call is one of the most cost-effective marketing tactics, giving you a 100 percent connection rate with consumers since they’re opting in to speak to you. They convert better than lead forms too.

Many other types of marketing strategies exist for local businesses. The few I provided today will inspire you to think differently about how you can put your company on the map, build awareness and grow your customer base.

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