I remember when I first started my business. There was a bunch of trial and error and I spent hours driving traffic and marketing online to generate leads. This involved writing lots of content and attracting inbound links to build authority, visibility and rank higher for keywords that are relevant to my businesses.
But I've discovered that now, more than ever, local customers are searching online. In fact, there's never been a better time to grow your business with local marketing to boost sales and create an endless flow of leads to your business.
To understand why Local Marketing is so important, I decided to ask Frank Demming, owner of Local Business Marketing Solutions. Frank said "Marketing locally can have such a major impact on your business. I love helping businesses to make that connection happen with local search, Facebook ads, social media and other tactics to drive leads and sales."
I agree with Frank. Local marketing offers a juicy untapped opportunity for entrepreneurs.
Here's why every entrepreneur should focus on promoting in their local community too.
Local marketing helps you build close knit relationships with your customers and community. There's nothing like the power of real face-to-face relationship building. When you have coffee with someone, you build a deeper connection that can result in business, referrals or opportunities down the road.
Plus, there is far less competition when you focus on local SEO. While there may be thousands of businesses competing for the same top ranking SEO phrases nationally, it's much easier to rank highly with long tail geographic keyword phrases. For example "divorce lawyer" is much tougher to rank for than "Lake County divorce lawyer."
Let's not forget about the awesome power of word of mouth. When you give outstanding service and are a generous, fun person to do business with, local people talk. Take care of your local customers and they'll tell their friends and neighbors to shop with you.
Finally, the community loves supporting other local businesses. In fact, today, 70% of the population prefers online search for finding a service locally. There's a real pride in customers wanting to shop with and support local small business owners. So the more you are seen as a visible part of the local business community and not some recluse who does business on their living room couch, the more rapport you'll build with other local businesses.
What are the Best Local Marketing Tactics for Your Business?
There are several ways to advertise your business locally. Here are a few top ones to consider.
1) Local SEO. Did you know that Local Search is used by 85% of consumers? So if you don't rank on the first page of Google for your keyword terms you are seriously missing out on a lot of business. Working with a Local Search Optimization company to rank on the first page of Google for your local search phrases can really skyrocket your local sales.
2) Mobile Applications. A mobile app allows you to send Geo-Targeted Push Notifications. Just imagine being able to send a text coupon to customers who are nearby to stop in the studio and take advantage of a special offer on personal training services that are good for this week only.
3) Mobile Friendly Website. Your customers are shopping while they are in the waiting room at the doctor, in between appointments and from the parking lot of their favorite store. It's critically important that they are able to view and navigate your website from their smart phone. If your website is difficult to view, they'll search for the next local vendor whose site is mobile friendly.
4) Google My Business Page. Google offers a free listing to every local business. So it's important to claim your listing and fully optimize it. In addition to helping you rank high in the search engines it puts all your business information right in front of customers. It features your location, contact details, business hours, reviews, and even directions to your location. Even if you have a listing, there are ways to optimize it so your listing ranks higher.
5) Submit to Local Search Directories. Getting listed in a local directory generates an incoming link to your website which can boost your SEO ranking. Some of the top ones to submit to are Yahoo Local, Bing Local and Yelp.
6) Setup Pay Per Click and Facebook Advertising. Facebook advertising and Pay Per Click Ads can capture targeted leads for your services and products. It's easy to setup ads that target customers right in your city. What's great is you can target ads to reach viewers based on their location, age, gender, interests and more. So it's easy to attract your ideal clients.
7) Social Media. Remember to connect with your customers on social media. Post content that features your local customers and mention your region or city's name whenever you get a chance online. Encourage customers to check in when they are at your place of business. Ask customers to leave a Facebook or Google Business review. Start a local Facebook Group around a topic relating to your business. Consider featuring a customer of the month on your Facebook page.
8) Blogging. If you publish blog posts with interesting stories about your city, neighborhood or region, your fellow entrepreneurs and local news reporters will take notice. It's an easy way to build visibility and get local traffic.
Other Cool Ideas for Driving Local Business
- Cross Promote with other local businesses. Create a joint brochure. Agree to offer coupons for another business and they do the same. Send an email blast endorsing each other's businesses.
- Host a Local Workshop. Create a workshop to present as a lunch and learn or even a full day workshop. It's a great way to share your expertise with local individuals. You can offer a free strategy session, sell products, or offer a discount if they enroll in your program.
- Start a Podcast featuring local guests. I know a local real estate person and a mortgage broker that have local podcasts and interview other complementary vendors locally. Offering exposure to other local businesses as Podcast guests helps you make great connections. Plus it builds credibility featuring you as a top expert when you host your own show.
- Donate your products/services as door prizes for local events. When the local chamber or non-profit organizations have fundraisers, donate an item or a basket of goodies.
- Submit articles and press releases to your local media. The local newspaper is always hungry for great articles featuring stories in their community. Don't forget to pitch to local TV and radio when you have an event. You'd be surprised the reporters that will contact you wanting to feature your story.
- Start a local Meetup group. I know several entrepreneurs that have built their tribe by hosting a local meetup. It really gets you up close and personal. Great networking opportunity and way to build visibility locally as an authority.
- Join local networking groups. Leave your living room and connect with others in local groups. When you really invest generously in getting to know others and sending them referrals, it goes a long way to building your business too
I hope this helps you get excited and see the possibilities when you spread your wings and get known locally. Pick a few ways that interest you. Consider hiring a local marketing expert for your SEO and to boost your local search. There's so much opportunity waiting for you right in your backyard so go out and make it happen!