Digital technology has opened up several purchasing options for local consumers, while at the same time presenting local business owners with additional platforms to attract that business. Today's technology based lifestyle is responsible for connecting consumers with local businesses through websites, social media networks, email, and web/mobile based searches.
If you are a local business owner then toss your traditional marketing out the window and focus on these four digital mediums. Your revenue and profits will thank you later.
Local consumers are using four digital mediums in order to make final purchase decisions. Make sure that your business is leveraging these to their full potential:
Ok, so this is an obvious one. Every local business owner knows that they need to have a website and it is very rare to find a business that doesn't have a website. There is more to this than just having an eye appealing website that is easy to navigate. It needs to be found!
Far too many business owners think that if they throw up a nice looking website that the orders are going to pour in and the phone is going to ring off the hook. This is not the case at all. Your website needs to be visible in search results related to your business and the products/services you are selling. For instance, if you are a Los Angeles, Calif.-based "widget" company then you would want to make sure that your website was displayed at the top of search results when users perform a search with the term "widgets in Los Angeles."
Local consumers are using Internet based searches more than ever, making it extremely crucial that your business is found. They are either going to find you or your competition. Who would you rather them find?
A well thought out search engine optimization strategy can help drive laser targeted local consumers to your website that are ready and willing to spend money.
We all have smartphones these days. You have one, I have one, and if you look around you will see a large percentage of the people around you are literally glued to them. What does this mean? It means that there is a very good chance that local consumers are using their mobile devices to search for the very same products or services that your business offers.
They are looking for local businesses when they search and they are also making purchases on their mobile devices as well. So, not only is it important to make sure that these consumers find your business when performing a mobile search, but it is also important that your website is mobile optimized. The percentage of consumers that are searching and purchasing on a mobile platform is increasing daily, so get with the program!
3. Review Websites
Your potential local customers are being influenced by online reviews now more than ever. If they see a company profile with five star ratings and positive customer experiences they are going to be more likely to click on that result. Businesses know this and it has lead to the discovery of several companies that were selling fake reviews. Recently there was a story about how New York busted fake Yelp reviewers.
Consumers trust online reviews, so what can you do to help your business in this area? Simple. If you have a customer express to you that they had a good experience then ask them to write a review. It never hurts to ask, and many times they will feel that they owe it to you for providing such a good service or experience.
4. Social Media
Facebook and Twitter have taken over the world and people spend a good portion of their free time (and to the annoyance of their employers, their work time as well) tweeting and posting status updates.
If you get active in the social space you can market to your local customer base around the clock. Posts (tweets on Twitter or status updates made on Facebook) made by local companies influence a large percentage of local consumers and this has to do with them not feeling like advertisements are being shoved down their throat. In their mind social media sites are "fun" and not all consumers register posts by companies that they follow to be as intrusive as traditional advertising.
Build up your social media following in order to engage with your customer base. Make sure that you social profiles are easily visible on your website and give your customers incentive to "Like" your Facebook page and "Follow" your twitter profile. Offer a discount or a special privilege to those that connect with your business on social media.
Get creative and give them a reason to want to receive your updates and offers. Would you rather market to a smaller pool of consumers that have already purchased form you and are aware of your business or a large pool of untargeted consumers that have never heard of your business before? Your social media following can be converted into repeat customers and one of your most valuable assets!
To sum it up, if you a re a local business owner then take advantage of the digital mediums that are converting consumers into customers:
- Get your website ranking high for local search terms related to the products and/or service that you sell
- Make sure that your potential customers can find you via their mobile devices
- Encourage your satisfied customer base to leave reviews online
- Participate heavily on social media, especially on Facebook and Twitter
My company, Market Domination Media recently created the following infographic to display the digital steps that lead to purchasing decisions. It recaps what was mentioned above and also outlines the five stages of the consumer behavior process related to making a purchase.
Click here for the full-sized version.