Many a local business has thrived by marketing themselves on the internet. Today, a large proportion of customers look up businesses online before they engage them. It’s important to make sure that your small business is leveraging the right kind of exposure online. As it happens, you must start with optimizing your online business content for Google – the world’s leading search engine. But that’s not where it stops. You have to create a solid marketing strategy that puts your business in the right place at the right time.
It doesn’t matter whether your business was founded by your great grandfather a hundred years ago. Things have changed, and more customers are relying on technology to find the products and services they need. A presence on Google+ Local is a must-have if you’re serious about increasing your exposure. It’s easy to set up. Google guides you through the verification process (for your business address). Your goal is to make sure that you the information on your page is accurate.
2. List on local directories
If you think that YellowPages.com and Local.com are obsolete, you’re wrong. There are tons of local listing platforms and directories out there that you can take advantage of. Another good one is InsiderPages.com, which garners millions of visitors each month. Have it in mind that a consistent, accurate presence on these sites will work for the good of your business.
3. Get reviews
Again, the goal is to make sure that you get the right kind of exposure on the internet. That means you have to attract some positive reviews on Yelp.com and other similar platforms. This doesn’t mean that you should solicit reviews or fake them. Simply send a message to your favorite customers and ask them (in your email signature) to consider leaving public feedback. Positive mentions and reviews add to the credibility of your business.
4. Do some social media
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last one decade, you should know that social media is an indisputably important marketing tool. A lot of people (including your potential customers) spent a significant chunk of their daily time on social media. Build a following, engage your local customer, answer their questions, and share locally significant information. Make sure that whatever you post is either valuable or entertaining. Don’t result to promoting your wares every other post. Relationships cultivated on social media can graduate into very meaningful and even lifelong business partnerships.
5. Make friends with local journalists
Of course – this is misleading. Don’t take it at face value. The idea is to focus on doing newsworthy things that journalists care about the most. Maybe you can start by commenting something insightful about the latest story by that upcoming local journalist. Something that can make them think! Maybe you’ll want to organize a local initiative that has the potential to change the community, in whatever way. Doing newsworthy stuff almost always translates into a significant boost for your business.
6. Work with complimentary firms
It’s tough to pair hands with your competition for purposes of marketing. But you can work with complementary companies to increase your market. For instance, if you make T-Shirts, why not get in touch with a company that offers T-Shirt printing services. Think outside the box. You could give them a discounted price and they could buy in bulk, as well as recommend your product to other vendors. Anything constructive that works for the good of your business is a Go. Have it in mind that positive recommendations go a long way.
7. Launch a loyalty program
Well-thought-out loyalty programs can spread like bushfire. They are a great way to give a boost to your local marketing efforts. Think about rewarding customers every time they shop at your shop. How can you make the offer sound so sweet without working your way into a loss? Maybe you could implement that mount-watering discount to attract more shoppers. Maybe you could give away a branded mug or something like that to every customer who does business with you on a specific day, a span of days, or week? Think outside the box. You’ll be surprised how much good you can do for your business by just being creative!
8. Try viral marketing
Welcome to Viral Marketing! This is one of my favorite strategies for marketing a small business locally. Today, the social web is abuzz with a lot of shared content. That’s the keyword – shared content. You probably have watched a couple of great videos that were shared with you by a friend or colleague at work. Instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp make it super easy for you to transmit fascinating content. So if you can create a shareable blog post or video that’s meaningful in the context of your business locality, that’s a great place to start. Consider reading a few guides on viral content and see how you can implement those tips in your business. I have seen business owners make hundreds of thousands of dollars from 300-dollar cartoon animations of their business or products. It works like magic.
As you engage in steps to market your business and make it outstanding especially when compared to the competition, don’t forget to treat your customers well. Focus on providing the best possible customer care. One company that’s been known to provide steadfast customer care is Java. If you visit with a kid, they’ll bring a coloring chart to keep the young one busy and entertained. They invest a lot of money (and time) to train their employees on elaborate customer care skills – and this works very well for them. So think about how you can make your service the best in the local niche!