6-7 MIN READ.
We’ve put together a few tips for local businesses in this online marketing guide to help your business!
Many local small business owners see the internet as a bit of a daunting prospect. They see large businesses using it to gain more market share and take business away from them. Even if they were successful in a local digital marketing campaign; how do you ensure you don’t receive leads from the other side of the country that you can’t cope with? You might think “how to advertise my business locally?”. Online marketing for local business won’t change a business’ fortune. But, a well implemented local digital marketing plan will help your business find new clients.
- Local Digital Marketing
- Your Website & Content
- Optimisation for Local Search
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising
- Social Media
- Customer Reviews and Referrals
- Finally, Get your face out there!
Local Digital Marketing
While you can pay a lot for local digital marketing through paid adverts; many online marketing techniques for local business will only cost your time. Or, you can contact a pro to do it for you.
Your Website & Content
It’s always a good idea to have a dedicated business website. All of your other marketing efforts point to it. Imagine your website as your front door and all your other online marketing efforts as signposts towards it. If you’re currently using an FB page instead of a business website, you might want to stop here and read our post “Facebook Page Vs. Business Website”.
A good web design should be simple and give the user what they came to your site for. It could be to read about your products and services, find contact details to visit or call or sell your products online. It’s also often good to include [customer reviews and referrals] to assure potential new clients that you’re a reputable business that does a good job.
Most small businesses have very knowledgeable owners and employees. Don’t keep your knowledge a secret, share it! You don’t need to give away trade secrets. By creating interesting and relevant content you can increase awareness and the sales of your business. Starting a blog is a great way to start. Create it, share it on [social media] and even be found by potential clients on search engines. Thinking about what your target audience will find interesting and engaging can be difficult. Try to think about what questions clients ask you on a daily basis and answer them. Or even ask your clients what they would like to know more about.
Optimisation for Local Search
This can be a tough one as a lot of SEO (search engine optimisation) has an effect on a larger scale. But in most cases, you won’t have the budget of a big company so your efforts are more likely to be recognised in local searches. A good place to start is to create or claim your Google places listing and complete/verify the information in the listing. This will allow your business to come up in the map local searches and give you some prominence locally. Having consistent and correct citations in lots of directories is great for local SEO. We’ve put together some advice and a list of the best UK business directories for SEO here.
You should also target keywords. You’ll need a keyword research tool for this. 5 big tools are compared here. If you’re new to keyword research, don’t just opt for the term with the most search volume! Make sure the term is relevant to your page and not too difficult to compete for. Easier keywords to compete for are generally long-tail keywords. This can often be a phrase of 3 or more words. You can choose one primary keyword and a couple of secondary keywords. Keywords need to be included in you url, your metadata, your main header and in the first paragraph of your content. It is also important to have good keyword density; 1-3 % of your body text should be keywords. Don’t have more as it could look “spammy” to users and search engines and have a negative effect.
TIP: If you want to compete locally it’s a good idea to only perform your keyword research in your local area. Users in your area may use different words or phrases to find what they want. We prefer KW Finder as you can research by nation, region or city.
Also make sure your website works, it’s reasonably quick (check out Google Insights & GTmetrix for speed scores) and it ticks the basic SEO boxes. As basic SEO check we use the free Chrome Plugin, SEO Quake which returns a pass/fail on some basic tests. It’s really easy to use;
- Install the SEO Quake plugin in Google Chrome
- Visit your website in Google Chrome
- Click the Orange & Green “SQ” Icon at the top right
- Click “Diagnosis”
We’ll be writing some posts about page speed and SEO in the future and will update this post with some links. We offer services to help rectify page speed & SEO issues so please contact us to help.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
You can spend a lot of money very quickly with PPC but it can be very useful to get to the top of search engine results pages. By setting your adverts to display locally you can focus on the clients you want to see your adverts. Options for your PPC campaigns are extensive. And you may need to change the settings of your campaign to get the most out of it. Using settings such as location, device & demographic you can tailor ads for your target audience.
Let’s say you operate a car recovery business. You could create an advert just for mobiles that search for “car recovery near me” within a 50-mile radius. You’re most likely only targeting the people that want your service there and then so there’s a high chance they click on your ad and get in touch!
Social Media is great for small and especially B2C businesses. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest allow you to promote your business to your network. If you’re selling ice creams, taking a photo of a cone in your new flavour on a warm day is likely to get a lot of hits and grow your network. Many B2B’s on the other hand often struggle with social media and their network rarely grows further than employees or friends and family. It’s important in these cases to keep special offers or sales to a minimum. Share your interesting blog articles, pictures of what you are up to or use competitions to encourage likes and shares. Those likes could one-day turn into sales!
Customer Reviews & Referrals
When you do a good job ensure everyone else knows about it. Encourage or incentivise your clients to tell their friends and the world just how good you are. A good referral is worth its weight in gold so you may want to offer your customer a small discount for introducing a friend. You could also ask or incentivise your client to write a review online. This will build trust with clients you haven’t even met yet. It’s a good idea to manage your reviews. Try and direct customers to sites you wish to build a collection of reviews on, sites such as Google My Business, Trustpilot or Facebook.
IMPORTANT: If you get a genuine bad review, answer it in a thoughtful and helpful way. Most reasonable people understand mistakes happen. But it’s how you deal with those mistakes, that makes you trustworthy. Treat bad reviews as an opportunity to show just how much you care!
Finally, Get Your Face Out There!
Although the internet has changed the world we live in; it isn’t the be all and end all. Being a familiar face in your local community is sure to help your business. People like to deal with people. By joining local business groups or regular networking meetings you’ll get to talk to other people similar to you. Make friends and get people talking about you and what you do. It’s also great for a business to give back to the community through sponsorships or volunteering. You’ll do wonders for yours and your business’ local image and prominence.
Thanks for reading and we hope you’ve found the information in this post useful.
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