Local digital marketing for small businesses
Local marketing deals with marketing activities that target an audience within the same geographical location, such as a city or region, of a business.
When a small business gets started in a local area its main focus is often on how to get new customers through the door. The majority of new small businesses may believe that since they offer a good product or service, they can rely on word-of-mouth and occasionally print ads to bring local customers through their doors. This may work for a few weeks or months but there is a better and easier way to reach their target audience.
Since the marketing budget for local businesses can be limited, the best way to target local customers who would be interested in their products or services is through digital marketing. We have heard from many small business owners who come up with different reasons to avoid digital marketing, but change is inevitable, and in the end, they have to accept that their potential customers prefer to go online to find a new local business that can meet their needs.
If your small business wants to increase revenue and scale your business locally, it simply can’t do without the cost-effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns.
How local businesses benefit from digital marketing
Using digital marketing for any product or service has now become a crucial part of a local business’s growth strategy. The Internet has provided plenty of opportunities for local businesses to greatly benefit. With the help of digital marketing, it has proven to make a huge influence on the way potential customers decide on visiting a local business. According to statistics, 78% of consumers use the internet to find information about local businesses more than once a week.
Traditional marketing channels, like direct mail and newspapers, don’t always provide a great return on investment for local businesses. However, digital marketing allows you to get in front of your target audience by establishing a presence where they are searching at online. When you improve all aspects of your online presence, it can help you increase your chances of receiving more local customers.
Here are some of the benefits that your local business will obtain:
- Higher and faster market penetration for new businesses
- Reach more local customers who may not have known of your services
- Increase acquisition and retention of your business
- Improve your local business’ competitive edge
- Receive valuable insights into your targeted audience’s behavior
6 digital marketing strategies for local businesses
1. Local SEO
Out of the many marketing tactics you can use, implementing a local SEO strategy should be the highest priority that your local business should focus on. Every day there is plenty of local customers conducting “business + city” or “businesses + near me” searches on Google more than ever, i.e “hairdressers in Liverpool” or “plumber near me”. If you skip executing a local SEO strategy, you are missing out on the primary channel of how customers discover local businesses in the digital age.
Statistics have shown that 46% of Google searches seek local recommendations. It’s important to make sure your online presence is optimized based on local searches. A smart way to appear locally is to use Google My Business, it’s free and effective in optimizing local searches. Also, make sure your NAP profile (name, address, and phone number) is correct on all platforms and online directories that your target audience uses.
Local SEO is a cost-effective way to increase your brand awareness and earn loyal customers who may have never found out about your local business. In today’s environment, your local business can’t continue to grow without an online presence, which isn’t effective without the right local SEO strategy.
2. Web design
For local businesses, it’s crucial to have a responsive and customer-centric website if you want to have online success. Your website will likely be a potential customer’s first impression of your local business before they decide to walk through your doors. More than 75% of consumers admit to making judgments on a business’s credibility based on its website design. Your website helps potential customers to get a good idea of who you are, as well as get an idea of the overall experience that they can expect from your local business.
What is even better is that you don’t need to spend a ton of money to create a website that appeals to your targeted audience. The advancement of technology has made it affordable for you to receive a well-built, optimized website designed by a professional. It should usually come with a package that includes everything that’s necessary to draw in potential customers and help you convert them into paying customers.
3. Content marketing and Social media
Content marketing is one of the most effective methods available for any business to connect, engage, and build trust with its customers. Creating valuable content can help boost your SEO rankings, attract and retain loyal customers, and increase your brand’s overall value. Statistics have shown that 70% of people prefer to learn about products through content rather than traditional marketing.
Content marketing is an integral part of growing your online presence. It’s imperative that you come up with detailed and fascinating articles and videos that get to the bottom of your target audience’s search terms and interests. You can engage your audience by having a social media strategy that humanizes and creates a story around your brand. When you do this consistently, you’ll gain a reputation as a valuable resource in your local market and an expert in your industry.
Remember, nowadays, it’s all about telling a story to market your products and services.
4. Pay-per-click (PPC) and Retargeting ads
In addition to getting organic traffic through Local SEO, it can be smart to also invest in PPC to get more visitors to your website through Google Ads and Facebook Ads. PPC is a great way to get more customers if you want fast results. Statistics show that visitors who come to your website through an ad are more likely to convert than organic traffic. Be sure to use the right keywords and targeting criteria to reach the appropriate audience. Also, with Local Service Ads by Google, you can advertise your local business on Google and receive verified phone calls directly from potential customers.
Since your target audience may take time before converting, using retargeting ads will enable you to reach out to potential clients who have interacted with your company but didn’t convert. The data that you have collected will allow you to re-engage with them by showing tailored ads that meet their criteria to get them to take a specific action with your company.
5. Customer reviews
We can all agree that word-of-mouth is an effective way to acquire new customers, but the downside is that the potential customer only gets one review of your products or services. Many local businesses state that they don’t need to focus on local marketing because they get by with referrals. However, they are overlooking the fact that services like Google My Business and other online review sites have made customers used to reading many reviews before deciding to make a purchase.
Research has shown that about 77% of customers regularly read reviews when browsing for local businesses. Reviews not only have the power to influence a potential customer’s decision but can also strengthen your credibility. Ask your customers to submit reviews about your business and make sure to follow up on constructive ones. Being open and transparent with your local customer base is a great way to develop a trusting relationship.
6. Email marketing and SMS
Email marketing is a highly effective digital marketing strategy based on sending newsletters to develop relationships with prospects and customers. Effective newsletters can convert prospects into customers and turn one-time buyers into loyal fans. Email marketing is probably the most reliable channel for maintaining communication between your local business and customers. It also has the best ROI which averages $44 in return for every $1 spent.
When you complement it with SMS since the majority of people actively use their mobile phones, both channels will allow you to keep in touch with your target audience and show them you value their loyalty and business. It also allows you to gain new customers through attractive promotions such as gift cards, personalized content, events, and other relevant offers.