Marketing for Local Business: Are You Making These Mistakes?

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

If local businesses want to see an ROI with their marketing efforts, they’ll need to transform their current techniques. Here are some tips.

Many local businesses shell out thousands a month for marketing, even though their efforts don’t bring any return on investment. That’s just one of the many marketing mistakes that small, local companies make all too often.

The marketers for these companies are usually either inexperienced with marketing techniques, or they’re immersed in the old marketing ways and unaware that their tactics need to change.

However, if local businesses want to see an ROI with their marketing efforts, they’ll need to transform their current techniques.

Related Article: 5 Things Entrepreneurs Should Know About Sales and Marketing Today

1. Treating Marketing as an Expense

Marketing is an investment, not an expense, but too many local industries view it as just that. They shell out a certain amount of money every month to check “marketing” off their to-do list, and then don’t keep their eyes peeled for the ROI.

In fact, many small, local businesses with this viewpoint don’t understand exactly which marketing techniques work. This is particularly true for local healthcare businesses. According Referral MD, local health businesses showed a shocking lack of knowledge in the marketing field. One dental practice was spending $3,500 a month on television and radio ads with absolutely nothing to show for it. None of their increased clientele came as a result of their expensive advertisements.

It’s extremely important to recognize that marketing is only a necessary expense if businesses are receiving a return on investment that exceeds, or will exceed very soon, the amount spent. It’s an investment that requires specialized attention and continual fine-tuning to deliver the necessary results.

2. Leaving Out the Blog

A blog is one of the most important aspects of making your website visible to customers and referring them to your business, especially when you’re locally owned. HubSpot shows that businesses with a blog have 55 percent more customers than businesses that don’t. Despite the importance of blogs for branding, nearly half of all local websites don’t have one.

Furthermore, 85 percent of consumers use search-related material, such as blogs, to find local businesses. Doesn’t it follow that if they find the information on your company blog, they’ll likely go to your local business for their goods or services?  

Creating a blog isn’t that difficult, but it does take some dedication. Once you work with your hosting site to create a blog section on your website, supply it with relevant, and up-to-date news and informational articles related to your niche.

If you need an idea of how this is done successfully, check out UrologyWeb.com. The marketers on this website blog often and they focus on topics that are related to the urology field. This kind of information is one of the best resources medical professionals can provide to attract patient attention, and if this relevant blogging tactic is mimicked in other local businesses, it can help to boost consumer attention there as well.

Related Article: Why the Company Blog is More Important Than You Think

3. Sticking with Tactics That No Longer Work

Local businesses are particularly guilty of using marketing strategies that were once successful, but no longer work. Similarly, it’s not uncommon for local enterprises to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.

The hard truth is that if you don’t see any results within the first month or two of a marketing strategy, it’s most likely not going to be a successful one. The marketing field is not stagnant. It is continually evolving, and business owners who want to run a productive organization will recognize that their marketing strategy needs to continually evolve in order to keep up. If your current strategy is still not working, it’s time to get up to date on marketing trends and try something else. 

4. Confusing Activity with Results

When you’re focusing on advertising and marketing your business online, it’s easy to get caught up in the quantity of your work. Your rankings and page views may be high, but that doesn’t translate to helping your business if you aren’t getting more customers out of this arrangement.

This is classified as activity, not results. Results are when people actively seek your specific goods or services for the right reasons after experiencing your marketing. It’s about capturing the interest of consumers and turning them into customers who will continually return for your services.

This isn’t to say that online activity isn’t good. It can be very good, but only if it’s helping your cause. The kind of activity you want should attract your specific audience in a way that finds you loyal customers who are willing to make referrals. If your current marketing strategy isn’t doing that for you, it’s time to figure out what’s working to drive the SEO and what’s not working to drive the customers. 

5. Ignoring Technological Marketing Advancements

Though most businesses are great at keeping up with the latest developments in their industries, too many simply ignore the latest technological advancements which, if applied, can do wonders for creating marketing that converts long-term customers. 

To demonstrate this concept, Fathom collected studies revolving around local healthcare marketing.  About a third of all patients use technology for medical research and/or to book appointments; ninety percent of all adults ages 18-24 said that they would trust medical information shared on social media; and more than half of patients said that they would feel more valued as a patient if a practice contacted them via digital health communications.

Despite these telling statistics, only 26 percent of medical practices participate in social media, and a vast majority don’t have a website or fail to maintain their website. Nor do they embrace the technology that is so useful for productive marketing.

This is a costly mistake for any local business. Those who want to adopt effective marketing tactics for a successful business must recognize the importance of technological advancements and embrace the change in traditional marketing strategies. Today, social media, email marketing, online ads, mobile responsive web design, and an up-to-date website are some of the most important marketing tactics a business can use.

For a successful marketing campaign, it’s time to do away with traditional marketing techniques that aren’t doing your practice any good, and switch to the updated tactics that connect more businesses with local customers than ever before.

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