According to recent research, small businesses are struggling with online marketing efforts, with only 33.4 percent of small businesses providing a local phone number on their website and 22 percent having an e-mail address. Such missteps can mean the difference between success and failure with local customers.
Recognizing this unmet need, Local Corporation created its new service Launch by Local, which helps you not only reach new customers, but narrow your efforts to the right clients to maximize your campaigns. “Local Corporation’s online marketing consultants help small businesses navigate the complicated landscape of online marketing and customize a program that best matches their unique business needs, all tracked via a custom dashboard,” Local Corporation CEO Heath Clarke says. “Launch will provide over a dozen digital assets, and small businesses can manage their marketing activities with a single account with pricing starting at $249 per month.”
To help your marketing efforts reach local customers, follow these simple steps:
- Help customers find you. Having a website is only the first step. According to research released by The Kelsey Group, 70% of online searchers will use local search to find offline business. When you search for your business using various related keywords, what do you see? Is your phone number and address readily available? If a potential customer clicks over to your website, will that customer find your contact information with a minimal amount of searching?
- Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you’re a plumber located in San Diego, your company should rank fairly high when someone types “San Diego plumber” into a search box. If not, you’ll see the list of results you need to beat. This can be accomplished through using SEO to optimize your site for those specific search terms. SEOmoz has a great suite of SEO tools to help.
- Work on social media. Encourage Facebook “likes” and FourSquare check-ins by providing discounts or special rewards in exchange for them. Since many of your customers will presumably have local friends and followers on these sites, the publicity will find its way to other local residents.
- Ensure you have a presence on review sites. These sites can give your business increased exposure in search engine results. Encourage your regular customers to post reviews in order to bulk up content on those sites. Sites like Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Trip Advisor place prominently in search engine rankings and are go-to sites for many local residents and travelers.
- E-mail campaigns. Capture the e-mail addresses (on an opt-in basis, of course) of those who visit your site and regularly send coupons, specials, and other information that would be of interest to the customer. Don’t bog the user down with marketing e-mails, though, or they’ll quickly unsubscribe.
- Targeted ads. If you pay for online advertisements focus your campaign on sites that are frequented by locals. Consider partnering with another local business and either swapping ads or paying for ads on their site.
Small businesses with limited marketing budgets may find that targeting local marketing avenues gets the message directly to those who would be most likely to utilize it. By following these few simple tips, you’ll realize greater success from your campaigns.