These days, there seems to be a generally accepted belief that as long as you have a strong enough online presence, your business will be able to reel in customers like there’s no tomorrow. Yes, it’s very important to have a website and social media profiles to support them, but many small businesses are still getting the bulk of their customers from their local area. If your marketing’s been a little web-heavy, it’s essential that you make sure your local customer base can find you easily. Here are a few great tips for effective local marketing…
Get your Business on Local Search Sites
Before the internet became a part of our day to day lives, getting found by a local customer base meant getting into a local phone directory. These days, however, it’s a little more complex. Sites such as Yelp, Google+ Local, and Citysearch have all more or less replaced traditional phonebooks, which you need to be exploiting if you want to tap into your local customer base effectively. The good news here is that getting listed on these channels is relatively easy. Just start checking out some local directories and searching for your brand name on them. If you haven’t been listed already, then most of these sites will have a link in the banners you can use to get yourself listed manually. Obviously, just like on Google, you’ll want your business to appear as prominently as possible. Some of these directories will allow you to pay a fee to bump your brand up, but there are usually more economical tricks you can use to the same effect. There are even tools that will broadcast your business across many directories, such as Ubl.org. Start targeting more local search directories, and your brand will become much more powerful in the local area.
Invest In your Digital Presence
Targeting local directories and focussing your marketing resources in your area are very important, especially when you’re running a customer-facing premises. However, it’s 2017, and for the large majority of prospects, their first impressions of your brand are going to come from your digital presence. It’s great to have a beautiful storefront where your customers can feel like home, but by doing a half-hearted job on your website and other digital platforms, you’ll be cheating yourself out of masses of potential profit. Make sure you have a strong digital presence that lines up with your brand, and keeps up to the same high standards you apply to your customer-facing premises. Of course, your website is only the tip of the iceberg. These days, it’s pretty much a given that every established business will have an active and well-managed social media presence, spanning several of the main networks. Make sure that someone on your staff is always ready to reply to any queries or comments on any of your social profiles. There are a number of tools that can make this much easier. Finally, consider coming up with some coupon schemes, and getting them published on a popular couponing directory. Websites such as DontPayFull.com get countless visitors every week, and you’ll have your business’s offers exposed to a much wider audience than you would otherwise, alongside larger brands that carry more prestige.
Ask for Reviews
Word-of-mouth is one of the oldest forms of marketing, and in today’s increasingly digital age, it’s taken on a whole new meaning. A large proportion of modern consumers make a point of reading online reviews before they choose to buy from certain business, and when they can see that it comes from people in a similar demographic, people in your target audience are much more likely to trust a positive opinion of your product or service. There’s no gray area about it now; your business needs to get positive online reviews if you want to grow and develop according to your business plan. This means finding ways to encourage customers and clients to write reviews on the right channels. The main issue here is that most people don’t bother to write reviews unless they’ve had a very bad experience! Start implementing some kind of review protocol after orders are made and invoices are filed. Even some of your customers that come close to “ideal” aren’t going to take the time to write a review. However, if you have a system in place to actively ask your customers for their feedback, you’ll be surprised at the positive response you get. The secret, as always, is making it as easy for the customer as possible.