The internet gives any business access to a global market 24/7. But what if your customers are mostly local? How can you channel the gigantic interweb to your tiny spot of the globe?
From the simple to the sensational there is much you could and should be doing. A little bit of effort up front can go a very long way online. Here is our essential guide:
1. Google My Business
Google My Business is an essential starting point for most local businesses. It will get your business literally on the map – the one that comes up in the margin of local searches. It will also boost your results in general search. Getting listed by Google My Business costs nothing. You have to have a ‘real’ rather than virtual business, either with your own premises or where you travel to meet customers where they are. The more information you can list, like business profile information, opening hours and contact details the better Google will like your listing.
2. Local Reviews
Reviews are becoming ever more important to consumers. Recent research suggests almost 9 out of 10 consumers read online reviews and those aged under 35 trust them as much as personal recommendations. Most expect to read at least 10 reviews before they feel able to trust a local business.
There is also evidence that local reviews are an increasingly important factor in search rankings. So if you want to rank on page one in Google for your local business, make sure that you encourage and accept reviews. Remember 90% of people don’t look any further than page one of the search results, so there is almost no point in being there if you’re not prepared to make the effort to stand out. And of course if you have a review option, people will use it so, you have to deliver genuine excellence and great customer service. It forces you to be better and that can only be a good thing for your business.
You can add a Review facility to Google My Business and Facebook as well as using specialist sites like TrustPilot and TripAdviser.
3. Location-targeted advertising
Promoting an offer or event in a specific geographic area is something you can do quite easily with Facebook ads. You can also target on demographic information, like age and gender and lifestyle or hobbies.
Geofencing takes local advertising to a new level. Geofencing is where you target ads or alerts to appear when someone physically enters a particular radius. That could be a retail zone, shop, event or festival or even a competitor’s premises. You can set up Geofencing through your own App or via Google or social media. The article ‘Geofencing Marketing Guide For Facebook, Instagram, Google & Snapchat Advertising’ from Digital Logic says that when users of a business’ app opt-in to location services, then that business can use a geofence to send them push notifications.
4. Social media
You could spend your life in the social media rabbit hole. And as a hyper-local business it can sometimes be hard to see the impact or return. For too many businesses it is akin to the marketing adage of throwing mud at a wall; a lot of effort and a bit of a mess. Unless you take a thought-through and strategic approach, you are likely to achieve little more than wasted time.
Good strategies could include:
- Having a social media calendar. Plan in advance roughly what you are going to post and when. You could prepare content (images and text) well in advance and have it scheduled, with alerts to let you know if there are any comments. Reply to customer comments or questions quickly! And keep it simple by connecting your social media channels together so that each new post goes out on multiple channels with one click.
- Use local or event-based hashtags. This will easily expand the number of people who see each post. Do some research and find out all the best hashtags for your area and type of business, then include as many as you can in your posts.
- Customer ambassadors. Get your customers to do the work for you. You could offer a discount or offer to anyone who posts a photograph or positive comment about your business. It spreads the word to all their friends and it passes all the authenticity tests, which multiples the impact substantially.
Local internet marketing is accessible to any size of business. Take the time to develop a strategy, review it occasionally and watch and wait for your local internet marketing plans to make a world of difference to your local business.