Owning a local business today can be rough. For starters, you have to compete with online retailers, which means building an online presence. This requires you to design a website and attract prospective customers to it.
If you're not local digital marketing savvy, you may not know how to achieve this. But this isn't an excuse to forgo using local online marketing.
In fact, if you use it right, you can get more foot traffic into your brick-and-mortar. With local digital marketing, you can put your business on the map, gain more visibility, and attract qualified leads.
And best of all, you can use free and low-cost methods to do so.
Here's a quick look at 20 ways you can use local online marketing to grow your small (or medium) business.
Ten Free Ways to Do Local Online Marketing
1. Start a Google My Business profile. Every local business should have a listing in Google's directory. When properly optimized, you can ensure your business shows up in the top three spots, which means more calls, website visits, and traffic for your company.
2. Get reviews from customers. Consumers today use Google to look for products and services from local businesses. But, what they may find in the process are online reviews. You can use this to your advantage by asking customers for a review after making a purchase. The more raving reviews, the better.
3. Own your social media. People spend countless hours each day on social media platforms. If you know where your audience likes to hang out, then make sure you have an active profile on those platforms. You can publish posts to start conversations, share knowledge, and offer sales on products.
4. Start blogging. It's simple to set up a blog using tools like WordPress. All you need is a content strategy that focuses on topics your audience cares about. Find their most pressing questions and answer them in your posts. Be sure your content is high-quality, consistent, and optimized for search engines.
5. Register with other local online directories. Google My Business is only one online directory. There are dozens of others you can register with as well, such as Yelp, Yahoo Local, and Bing. The more listings you have on different directories, the higher the chance your customers will find you.
6. Write guest blog posts for 3rd party sites. Not only will this help drive more traffic to your website—it'll also help to establish you as an authority. Showing off your expertise in guest articles is an excellent way to demonstrate your industry knowledge.
7. Use email marketing. Email marketing is a profound method for nurturing leads into sales. If you have a blog or downloadable freebies, such as guides and e-books, then you can use them to get email subscribers. Then create segments and series that educate and convert.
8. Publish videos on YouTube. YouTube is the child company of Google, and it just so happens to be the second most popular search engine. This makes it an excellent tool for getting attention for your local business. Use it to post product/service demonstrations, testimonials, and/or how-to videos.
9. Use on-page and off-page SEO. Building a website is great, but it won't do much if it's not optimized. You'll need structured data schema, as well as keyword-centered content to optimize your website. And it's critical to add to your metadata (descriptions, titles, and tags).
10. Contribute to forums and discussions. The internet is bursting with conversations, so join a few! You can answer questions in local groups relating to your industry; showcase your expertise and gain trust; and whenever relevant, include a link back to your website.
Ten Other Ways to Do Local Online Marketing
1. PPC ads. Pay-per-click campaigns are the quick way of getting more traffic to your website (and business). You can control how much you spend per day and experiment to see which ads perform the best.
2. Host an online webinar. Make sure you advertise it locally, so you attract your customer base. You can use event scheduling tools on social media to notify your followers of the event.
3. Offer a deal on Groupon. Shoppers are always looking for great deals. Groupon just so happens to be one of the most popular coupon sites. Others you may want to consider include Rakuten (formally Ebates) and Honey. Be prepared to offer 30% off and a percentage of sales.
4. Sponsor a podcast. These days, there's a podcast for everything. Find several in your niche to sponsor. Chances are, some folks in your area will hear your promotion and stop by to check out your product or service.
5. Create video ad campaigns. You don't have to rely solely on text-based ads to promote your local business. Video is the preferred form of content by most consumers. So consider creating video ads for YouTube and social media ad campaigns.
6. Pay for ad space on popular local websites. Is there a blog or website locals frequent? Then consider purchasing ad space to promote a sale or product launch. The prices vary, depending on the size of the ad and the position.
7. Manage your online reviews. It's not enough to solicit customers for reviews. After all, what if one (or more) of them leaves a negative review? This is where reputation management comes into play. Get the tools necessary to monitor and respond to reviews.
8. Optimize your site with hyper-local keywords. The keywords you select for your website and ad marketing should consist of hyper-local keywords. For instance, they should contain the name of the city and/or community you're targeting.
9. Create a Facebook group. Or a group on other platforms your customers use. Make the topic relevant, and ensure the group focuses on solving problems, sharing info, or providing other types of useful information.
10. Automated SEO. By now, you should understand the importance of SEO for your local marketing strategy. But as a business owner, you don't have a lot of time to put into optimization. With Automated SEO, you can easily claim or create your listings on 70+ online business directories. This way, you can be found everywhere, almost effortlessly.
Attract More Customers with Local Online Marketing
There are many ways you can go about improving your local marketing strategy. However, if you don't have the time to put in the work, there's another option.
You can use an automated SEO tool to streamline the process.
And while you're at it, dowload our free guide showing you five simple steps to improve your local SEO.