Digital marketing for local businesses is quite different from how to do marketing for a national or global business.
Yes, we mostly use the same channels – but, in a different fashion.
Local businesses target local people, who are geographically around. They may seem easier to reach without digital marketing; however, it’s been a long since consumers started searching online before they buy basically anything.
So, what to focus on specifically while working on digital marketing for local businesses?
Social media for local business
1. Create strong bonds with the audience
Social media is an indispensable part of digital marketing no matter how big your company is. Social media platforms are where we become friends with our target audience and customers for a long-term relationship. Like in all kinds of relationships, here we need to be compassionate and regard what they need.
2. Make your target audience feel ‘heard’
Social media is not a channel to put yourself forward, but a good opportunity for helping your audience and making life better for them. Within all the virtual and physical environments, people are surrounded by advertising. A social media post saying just “Buy Me” is not interesting for people in the digital age.
What people want to see to be interested is “I can help you in this” if you buy me. Buying/selling part of the story is out of the primary focus, but to offer a benefit, to show how your product will change their experience is needed.
3. Be easier to be reached out
WhatsApp and Messenger are not just to talk to friends. They are helping local businesses to be easy to communicate with the target audience. For example, WhatsApp Business App is great to “create a catalog to showcase your products and services and use special tools to automate, sort and quickly respond to messages.”
With Messenger that they already use daily, you can answer your potential customer’s questions quickly. Being available on an app, people have on their smartphones, is practical and safe for them. So, just be there through live messages or chatbots – or ideally both!
Local SEO for organic engagement
4. Create a Google My Business Account
First thing first.
Start with creating a Google My Business account as it will help you be visible on Google searches. Visibility is the first target before creating engagement in local SEO.
Google My Business account enables your target audience to see you when they search on Google with keywords such as tailor shops around me, bakery, yoga school, etc.
After being seen, we will work on converting users into customers. The first key for that is to provide accurate and up-to-date information so that they can call you quickly or visit your website with a click. Even, if your open hours are clearly stated, they can come to visit your shop without waiting. That’s how and why local online marketing may show the results pretty quickly.
5. Reviews, reviews, reviews
Wait a second before reading more and remember your own experience with the reviews.
We all care about the other users’ experience before paying for a product or service. So do your potential customers. Don’t hesitate to ask your customers to leave a review on Google for leaving a more positive trace on digital.
Reviews are beneficial not only to online reputation but also to local SEO. Search engines consider them as content and show them in the search results. So the reviews – preferably the positive ones – help you increase your visibility on Google search results.
6. Create content based on local happenings
The content you share with your audience is supposed to attract their attention.
Let’s keep it simple: when it is snowing outside, it is not the best idea to share summer vibes to do marketing for bikinis. Instead, you can try hot-spring-themed content or the advantages of buying when it’s not high season. You can list all the festivals and gatherings in the region you are active and create your content accordingly using SEO tools. So people will see you as ‘one of us’. That’s a good opportunity to be a loved brand.
Advertising to attract people around you
7. Advertise with local targeting
No doubt, if you go only for organic engagement, it will be hard to reach many people. That’s why advertising is a must for local online marketing. Be active in both social media and search engine advertising to promote your business locally.
To advertise locally, choose the region you are targeting to be known and find a language that will create familiarity.
8. Take part in the community
Local businesses are usually expected to support the community by being a part of it. Even if your shop is a shelter for the street dogs when it’s raining, the community feels you’re taking care of the neighborhood. How can you adapt this idea to your activity on digital platforms?
Let’s see an example: be the sponsor of an event that is for the benefit of the community. In this case, just give without expecting to sell anything.
9. Build a loyalty program
Digital advertising is not only to gain new customers. Find also ways to retain your current customers. Creating a mail or WhatsApp group is a simple way to do this. A loyal customer is good for further purchase and also being your brand ambassador – in a natural way.
Digital marketing for local business in 2021
10. Never forget digital is an ever-changing field
User expectation and behavior on digital is changing quite fast. There is no doubt that we all need to update our knowledge on these practical ways throughout the year with the help of digital marketing courses.
An outdated digital marketing strategy means a waste of money and time. You can follow the newsletters and latest posts on trustworthy platforms, and also get feedback from your customers. Interaction and self-improvement is the key to success in digital marketing for local business.
Source: Gizem Tas