Local Marketing for Small Businesses
Local marketing is critical to the success of any small business. There are many local businesses opening their doors for the first time. Opening a local business is no small undertaking, and most people don’t realize what goes into it. So, whether you’re a new or established business, don’t overlook the power of local marketing techniques.
Here’s an example, a lawyer was bringing in over $1,000,000 a year in business, is now bringing in around $600,000 a year. Now, you don’t have to be a mathematician to see that is a huge drop and he has the same overhead so it essentially wiped out his profits. It’s not uncommon for established local businesses to find themselves in this or a similar situation.
Search Engines are the New Yellow Pages
How many of us who remember the big Yellow Pages book that were delivered to us? These days if you need a plumber, a dentist or a roofer, or anyone else you go to a search engine such as Google. There are other search engines, but for this post I will focus on Google, because it is the dominant search engine.
As you read this post, your prospects are searching on Google for a business that does what you do. These are people in your local geographic area who need help with a problem you can solve and they need that help NOW! These are people that have already made a decision they need what you sell and are actively searching, finding and calling you. This is a high-quality lead. The only higher quality lead is a personal referral. That’s where Local Business Marketing comes in to play.
Local marketing is a strategy that businesses can use to reach potential customers that live within a certain distance of their business’s location. Businesses can utilize this strategy when they want to target customers in a nearby neighborhood, city, etc. Yet, many small businesses overlook local marketing. They get caught up trying the strategies of Fortune 500 companies. Following the marketing strategies of the big players is great in theory. But unless you can compete with those HUGE marketing budgets, you’re not likely to see the same levels of success.
Customers today want the same things customers wanted a generation ago. They’re looking for products or services to solve their problems and want personalized service. These are things many small businesses excel at and that set them apart from their larger competitors. Realizing that and taking advantage of it on a local level can be a smart strategic move for many brands. The problem is many small business owners aren’t capitalizing on the potential there is in the local market. The key is you want to spend money the smart way, on things that drive results.
Here are strategies you can use right now with the digital tools at your fingertips to start creating a local buzz for your business.
Being on top of your local SEO strategy is the first place you want to start. Local SEO is important because it helps people find your business website online. This is key for local businesses that want to appear on the first page of search engines like Google. A lot of people (your target customers, in fact) type in their location plus a keyword when they do a search. Typically the top three sites in the red box are going to get virtually all of the clicks. To give your business the best chance of being in this box, you’ll need to optimize your site for SEO.
Get Found on Other Local Marketing Sites
Beyond your website, you also want to make sure your business is being highlighted in other places online. This does two positive things. First, it increases the chances of your small business grabbing a potential customer. Second, it helps improve your search engine rankings. For local businesses, there are a few places to advertise your business online to jump on right away.
The first two places you want to start is to claim your business on Google My Business and Bing Places for Business. Both of these are vital directories and can help you get started running local ads online. Having a presence on local business listing and review sites like Yelp and Manta are important local marketing strategies, as well. Make sure you sign your business up for as many of those as you can. Don’t forget to also search for local directories as well ike your chamber of commerce.
*Include your name, address, and phone number on every directory and website, so people know how to contact your company once they find you online and make sure you spell them the same way everywhere your business appears.*
Social media might be hot right now, but email marketing has shown a much better return on investment, higher lead generation, and more buying power than social. A good email marketing strategy offers many benefits for a small business by:
- Building a list of prospective customers
- Allowing for customer connections on a regular basis through newsletters or email automation series
- Enabling offers through special coupons, discounts, and events
- Providing a way to give personalized service and attention
Each of these features can keep your business top of mind with your customers, provide excellent service, and build trust. Someone who trusts a brand is far more likely to buy from them AND become a loyal customer.
Direct Mail Promotions
Local marketing is not just limited to digital strategies. The art of direct mail marketing has been around for quite some time and is still a valuable tool to get your brand in front of potential customers. Creating promotions, discounts, etc for direct mail recipients can be an inexpensive way to get some local residents through your doors.
If you’re not exactly sure where to send your mail, you can use USPS’s Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) tool. It allows you to enter a central location and view the mailing routes that are normally taken in that area.
When you select a route, you are able to view how many total delivery addresses there are, as well as the total price to send mail to those addresses.
Sponsor Community Events
Sponsoring local community events and organizations is not only a simple way to earn some brand recognition, but it’s also a great way for potential customers to put a face to your business’s name. Find out when your local area holds community events and contact the organization that is in charge of coordinating the event. See what requirements there are to register a booth for your company. Once you register, figure out how you want to attract new customers.
Conclusion on Local Marketing
The bottom line is that including Local Marketing or Local SEO is critical to rounding out your marketing plan. It gives your business an edge . . . a foot in the door to Page 1 on Google and other search engines. It’s not easy to outrank larger businesses that do what you do, however with Local SEO your business at least has a chance.
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