Digital marketing for local businesses is quite different from marketing for a national or global company. Sure, at BCI Media we use most of the same channels, but we use them in a slightly different way. That’s because local businesses tend to target local customers. Since your brick and mortar is down the street from your audience, it can be easy to presume digital marketing isn’t necessary. Many local businesses make the mistake of believing they only need to use digital marketing if they do business beyond their immediate community. However, these days, consumers search online before making most purchases. In fact, more than 46% of all Google searches are local. That said, there are specific areas of digital marketing that are important to include in a local strategy. After all, you want to focus your budget and efforts on strategies that target those in your town or city. Here are five ways to grow your local business utilizing digital marketing.
Google My Business
The first tool in your local digital marketing toolbox should be creating a Google My Business (GMB) account. This free account from Google will help your business become visible on Google searches. Your GMB account allows your target audience to find your business when they search with keywords such as tailor shop near me, bakery, plumber etc. The key to a successful GMB is to provide accurate and up-to-date information so that potential customers can contact your shop or visit your website with just one click.
The next digital tool you should focus on is Facebook, not only a Facebook page, but also Facebook advertising. Facebook pages are the perfect opportunity to connect with your local audience on a personal level to show the human side of your company. In today’s market, up to 71% of consumers prefer to work with brands that align with their own values. Facebook is an excellent platform to showcase your company values. As for Facebook ads, with Facebook’s sophisticated targeting capabilities, ads can be served directly to local customers. The low advertising rates making it possible to yield substantial results for as little as a dollar a day.
SEO is one of those things that is often misunderstood, or overlooked by local businesses. Many business owners tend to have the “If I build it, they will come” mentality about websites. But, there are millions of websites on the internet, making yours quite literally one in a sea of millions. Without at least some attention to SEO, the traffic, local or otherwise, may not materialize. Engaging on social media through Facebook or other platforms certainly helps, but to bolster your business’s internet presence it’s necessary to optimize your website. At the very least that requires ensuring your website has proper meta descriptions, alt tags and titles. The other critical component of SEO is content, you should have quality content that refreshes often. A regularly maintained blog page is the best way to implement a flow of fresh content.
This type of marketing involves storytelling, as well as the creation and sharing online material such as the blogs we just mentioned. This content is not intended to explicitly promote your brand. Its purpose is to stimulate interest in your products or services by expanding the conversation. In simpler terms, it’s the practice of using your blog posts as marketing tools. That’s right, those blogs you wrote to help boost your SEO can also be used to market your business. When creating blog content, for the best results, select topics that answer your target customer’s problems and questions. This is also a great place to address frequently asked questions in depth.
Finally, email marketing is a great way to keep your existing customers coming back. Email can be a very personal way of reaching your target customers. They can be tailored to customer actions, so that every communication is relevant to their interest. You can cover topics like changes in your company, local events or request feedback from your customers. The topic list is virtually endless, and with 2.5 billion users, email isn’t going anywhere. If you need to grow your email list, consider placing a sign-up sheet next to your registers, or add a form to your website.
Digital Marketing is an Ever-Changing Field
User expectation and behavior on digital platforms are in a near-constant state of change. An outdated digital marketing strategy means wasted time and money. If you need help modernizing your digital marketing strategy, the experts at BCI Media are here to help. Contact us today! From social media marketing to SEO, web design and paid search advertising we do it all.