Looking to improve your or your clients’ local business marketing results? While the Internet is chock full of marketing tips, many of them are geared towards regionless websites. Local marketing is a whole different ballgame in many aspects.
In this post, I’m going to lay out some simple (and occasionally not so simple) tips for improving the local business marketing of any type of business. Whether you’re working with clients or running a brick and mortar business, keep reading to learn how you can get more out of local marketing.
Make Your Local SEO Perfect
I won’t go into too much of the technical details because local SEO as a topic requires a post all to itself (like Ariel’s post about Local SEO!). But local SEO is an essential element of any local business marketing strategy.
Local search is incredibly powerful. 80% of consumers turn to search engines for local information. And perhaps even more importantly, 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone end up visiting a local store within a day. That’s a huge percentage. So if you or your clients are running any type of physical store, you definitely can’t afford to skimp on local search.
So, read some of our local search articles which I linked to and make sure you have a solid local SEO strategy in place.
Focus on Creating an Awesome, Quick-Loading Mobile Site
Tying in with my first point, you need an amazing mobile responsive website for local marketing. Responsive design is important for every site, of course. But it’s especially important for local marketing. Here’s why:
61% of consumers read reviews on mobile Internet (not mobile apps). From that statistic, we can infer that a large percentage of people are seeking out businesses on their mobile phone. Google’s own data backs that. They found that more than 50% of people seek out directions, store hours, and other information via mobile search.
So, to meet your potential customers where they are (mobile Internet browsers), you need to ensure that the mobile version of your site loads quickly and is easy to navigate.
Build an Email List
Email lists aren’t just for Internet brands, they’re also a huge asset for local business marketing. Newsletters can drive business by helping you notify customers about special offers or new products/services.
To build your list, consider offering your customers a discount for signing up or using a lead magnet (depending on your niche)
Nurture your list by never spamming and only sending out relevant, helpful emails.
Practice Craigslist Marketing
According to Alexa, Craigslist is one of the top hundred most trafficked websites in the world. But the really great thing about Craigslist is how it’s localized for individual markets. This makes Craigslist marketing a great local business marketing strategy.
Read Nathan’s linked post above for more details, but in general you want to refrain from spamming and focus on creating eye-catching headlines to pull potential customers into your listing. Then, use clear copy and a call-to-action to remove the “potential” qualifier and make them your active customers.
Knock Social Media Out of the Park
“Do social media” is a fairly common tip these days. But it’s not as easy as just opening up an account and posting your thoughts. Again, this is a topic that requires a few thousand words all to itself. I’ll hit the highlights and then link you to some helpful posts which cover social media in much more detail.
In general, you want to create content that interests your target customers. Then, you need to get your target customers to actually see that content. Because social networks are increasingly lessening the organic reach of posts, you may need to turn to social media advertising to really get your content seen.
Cross-Promote With Other Local Businesses
One of the great things about running a local business is the ability to develop deep relationships with other local business owners. Through these relationships, you can develop cross-promotion strategies where each of you promotes the other’s business. Assuming you’re not direct competitors, it’s a win-win situation.
Whether it’s something simple like a business card exchange or more complicated like direct referrals, cross-promotion is a great local business marketing strategy.
Join Local Business Organizations
Local business associations are an excellent way to develop these cross-promotional relationships or just network with potential customers. Your local Chamber of Commerce is an obvious first choice. But you should also be on the lookout for more specific organizations. For example, if you’re a web designer, seek out a local web design group.
You don’t need to limit yourself to your own industry, either. You should also seek out groups where your potential customers are active, even if they don’t directly fit within your industry.
Get Involved with Local Events
In addition to local business organizations, you should also try to take part in local events relevant to your industry. While attending is certainly better than not going, the best strategy is to take on a speaking or leadership role at the event. Speaking/leadership roles not only get you exposure but also help cement you as authority in your niche.
If you’re the speaker at the event, you must know what you’re doing, right?
Get Listed in Local Directories
You should always try to get listed in as many local directories as possible. While a single directory is unlikely to bring you massive traffic by itself, the combination of all local directories can add up. It won’t make or break your local business marketing strategy, but it’s low-hanging fruit and only requires a one-time labor investment (unless you change your contact details or rebrand).
For a great place to get started, check out HubSpot’s massive list of 50 local business directories.
Request Reviews from Happy Customers
Last, but certainly not least, is customers reviews. While many review sites prohibit you from directly incentivizing positive reviews, you’re still free to simply ask happy customers to leave reviews. 70% of customers will leave a review if asked. And when you further consider that 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust local businesses more, the ROI on requesting reviews is a no-brainer.
If you’re emailing clients a lot, a great place to ask for reviews is in your email signature. Unfortunately, physical stores don’t always have this luxury, so a similar strategy could be to print a review request at the bottom of every receipt.
Of course, you’ll never go wrong with (tactfully) asking in person.
I hope these tips provided some great jumping off points for marketing your, or your client’s, local business. While I tried to hit the highlights, this list is by no means exhaustive. There are lots of other marketing strategies you can apply to boost local business.