The goal of any local business owner is to gain local customers and get foot traffic through the door. If this sounds like you, then you have probably searched for effective local marketing strategies. And hoping to find some strategies for your business, you are now reading this article, which is great. You are in the right place.
This article will provide you with a well rounded marketing mix within which there are multiple strategies that you can shape to your business model and needs. Nevertheless, I am here to tell you that you need to be where consumers look for information. You need to be online.
1. Improve Your Local SEO
Local SEO should be at the center of your local marketing strategy. Unfortunately, improving your local SEO can mean many things, such as improving the clickthrough rate of your listings and/or webpages, improving your local search ranking, owning your branded search, or increasing the ranking of your local listings.
With that being said, all local SEO efforts are geared toward one thing: increasing your online visibility. In the context of local SEO, that means optimizing your online presence for local searches wherein the searcher specifies a geographic area. That geographic area could be “near me”, a city, an address, or a zip code.
Nevertheless, you want to show up for the (local) searches that are relevant to your business and location. In other words, you want to show up for the searches that include a product or service that you offer and your geographic area.
With that being said, there are steps that you can take that will help you accomplish all of the above because, in most cases, the improvement of one aspect results in the improvement of others.
2. Claim, Verify, & Build Out Your Local Business Listings
You want to build out your business listings for many reasons. For one, you want to place yourself in as many places on the web as possible. By doing so, you’ll increase your reach. In turn, you will increase the likelihood of someone coming across your business while researching businesses that can fulfill a need that he or she has.
Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Your Google My Business listing is the single most important aspect of your local marketing strategy. Not only will your Google Business Profile be the first thing that a consumer sees when searching for your business on mobile, Google Chrome accounts for 45% of all web searches. Therefore, it is best practice to provide Google with as much structured data about your business as possible.
3. Build Your Online Reputation
Aside from building out your business listings, building your online reputation is an effective way of improving your local SEO. Online directories and search engines alike use your online reviews as a ranking signal. In addition, your potential customers want to see your online reviews.
Therefore, by having more verified online reviews, you will get in front of more potential customers and show them that you are a credible business that they should visit.
With this goal in mind, you should’t hope that your customers will leave a review on your Yelp, Google, or Facebook page. They won’t. Trust me.
You need to ask them for reviews. Do so during a visit, on your receipt, or through an automated review platform.
4. Build A Website
Sure. Having business listings is great and will undoubtedly increase your reach. However, you’ll also want a website that consumers can visit, regardless of them seeing your business listing or not. Reasons include:
- Validating the legitimacy and credibility of your business
- Offering additional information & photos to individuals who require more research before making a purchasing decision
- Increasing the amount of customers that contact/purchase from your business
- Improve your SEO
Optimize Your Landing Pages For Conversions
Once you have built your site, you should optimize your landing pages for conversions. A landing page is a page where a visitor to your website lands from an external source, whether that be a business listing/social media page, email, text message, etc.
Nevertheless, it is crucial that you place calls-to-action on your site so that visitors to your site actually convert (whatever that may mean to you). A conversion for you may be a call, an online order, a quote request, or a direction request.
If none these apply to you, then, at the very least, you should optimize your website for positive site performance. You can then look for a positive trend in your sales performance and compare that trend to the trend of your site performance.
5. Run A Hyper Local Facebook Ad
Facebook CAN be great local marketing strategy for your businesses. However, a lot of the success weighs on how well you target your local customer base. Implementing practices, such as hyper-localized targeting, demographic analysis, and look-alike audiences are crucial for small businesses like you.
Depending on your local area and the competition for the consumer profile of your potential customers, you may experience more or less competition than other businesses. Therefore, success on Facebook is highly relative.
However, Facebook’s advertising platform is great for highly localized campaigns, wherein you target local customers who have shown interest in offers from local businesses in your area of operation.
Our Facebook Ads offer a reach and frequency guarantee, which are designed to increase brand awareness for small businesses. When paired with the advanced targeting capabilities of Facebook, our campaigns produce stellar results for local businesses.
You can also run Facebook Offer Ads, which generate a redeemable offer to local customers. They can either redeem the offer in-store or on your website. However, Offer Ads are great because you can track offer redemptions, which allows you to calculate the ROI of your campaign.
6. Run A Google Ad
Google Search Ads are better suited for some businesses whose services are often needed immediately, such as home, auto, health, and emergency services provider. The reason Google Search Ads are better suited for these types of businesses than Facebook is because a Google Search Ad will place your business’ website or listing in front of a potential customer directly when they search for a product or search that you offer (deeming Google Ads the proper categorization as a direct response channel).
With that being said, Google Ads are a great way to be placed in some of the first search results of SERP that you would not otherwise be able to occupy. As a result, you’ll gain the brand recognition of users who may not have ever found out about your business otherwise.
7. Text Your Customers
Whether you are trying to entice customers to visit your business or increase the engagement of your current customers, a text message marketing program is perfect for a local business like yours. Find peace of mind in knowing that your potential and current customers will see your message. In addition, 75% of millennials state that they prefer to receive surveys and promotions via text, making text message marketing a no-brainer for your local business.
8. Offline Yet Effective Local Marketing Strategies
Host a local event. Hand out flyers. Post signage in high foot traffic areas.
Although these strategies are different than the other local marketing strategies on this list, they are still effective marketing strategies. However, make no mistake. All of the digital marketing channels in this article can help increase the effectiveness of your offline efforts and vice versa.
It is important at this point to explain that anything you do online should be integrated with your offline efforts. Promote your text message marketing program, social media pages, and website on all of your signage. If you are hosting a local event, promote it online or send out a text message about it.
The sky is the limit.