As a business owner, it’s time you market your local business online or get out of the way for your competition to win the day and future.
But why hide in the fetal position because of the competitor across the street, when there’s another solution?
The answer isn’t to stay weak online and give up. It’s to learn, execute, and build a strong online presence that serves your business new customers plus big profits on the daily.
Just imagine this: hundreds to thousands of new customers every month flock to your store to buy your product or service, and the source of this new business is 100% people who found you first online.
This reality is not only possible, it should be happening or your business faces dangerous instability going forward.
Since I want your local business to thrive, I can’t help but share the top 5 online marketing tips to gain new customers.
My last article had 50 different tips (if you’re not a marketing nerd, sorry about that). This one is much easier to grasp and execute, there are only 5 tactics but every single one is paramount to your success.
Essentially all that’s left to do is read these online marketing tips, execute, and then celebrate your business growth!
Marketing Tips For Local Businesses
1. Create a Google My Business listing
It blows my mind every single time I see a business without a Google listing.
That’s like walking into a coffee shop without pants on. Or searching your place for 10 minutes looking for your phone only to find it in your right hand.
OK, you get the point, not having a Google listing is the opposite of smart marketing.
And the businesses who only have a listing because a Google truck, a random customer, or a local weirdo added pictures of your place to Google, don’t escape my rant either. You’re just as much to blame because you haven’t taken ownership of your Google listing to make it customer-friendly.
The reason this matters is Google gets an insane amount of traffic for local keywords such as “dentist near me” or “(insert city name) dentist” (just replace dentist with your line of work).
And where does this traffic go to? None other than the top businesses listed on Google. After the ads, the top listings show up first.
Here’s a link to Google My Business for you to get started.
The key information you want in your Google listing is as follows:
- Correct business name
- Telephone number
- Days and hours of operation
- Menu URLs (if you’re in the food business)
- Profile picture and cover photo
- Pictures outside your building, pictures inside your place, and pictures of staff or customers
They’ll send you a verification code through the mail. Just enter the code online and your business will be verified. Simple enough.
Just by doing that your business’ online presence has upgraded and will bring in more customers.
P.S. Setting this listing up is free, so it’s a no-brainer.
2. Build up your Google listing reviews
What’s a home without anyone living in it? A waste of space.
What’s a Google listing with zero (or very few) reviews? A wasted opportunity to get more online traffic and real dollars for your business.
Congrats if you completed Step 1, but you’re not nearly done with this Google listing. The real work starts now.
The first reason you want a growing number of positive Google reviews is it helps your business climb the local search rankings so Google recommends you to consumers in the map section of Google search.
Besides getting more exposure in the map section, just take a quick look at the persuasion power of online reviews and what they do to your customers’ minds:
- 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 58% of customers say the star rating of a business is important to them
With those stats from BrightLocal, I don’t consider it an exaggeration to say online reviews can make or break your business. Let’s have them make your business rich, not bankrupt.
The simplest way to get online reviews is to ask for them. As new customers check out, ask them politely if they mind spending 30 seconds to leave your business an honest Google review. (Quick notes: Don’t ask for 5 star reviews, that’s against Google’s terms of service. And if they don’t know what you mean or where to go to review, kindly show them.)
Another stat from Bright Local that’s helpful here is 70% of customers are willing to leave a review for a business when asked. This means it’s purely a numbers game of you or someone on your staff to kindly ask patrons to review your local business!
You can even start with your friends and neighbors who have been a customer of your business. Ask them to leave an honest review.
Odds are you know enough people to quickly get 10 or 20 more reviews this way. Then you have momentum to attract more reviews and credibility going forward.
If you focus on asking, the reviews will come. I promise you that. And I promise this can be a huge factor for growing your local business.
3. Optimize your website for SEO
Next, you’ll want to search engine optimize your website for local SEO terms in your industry.
If you’re not familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) that action step might look like a bunch of mumbo jumbo.
Don’t worry, I’ll break it down for you. What we’re aiming to do is to tweak your website so Google ranks it higher in searches related to your product or service.
The first way we do that is by putting your company information (name, address, and phone number) in your website’s footer. This information will show on all of your website pages, thereby giving Google a nudge to rank your site higher for local searches like your town or city and the search term.
Secondly, it also helps to have this information in the main body of your About and Contact page like the picture below.
This is especially helpful if your company has a blog because then you can more frequently (while still keeping it natural and not going too far) mention your location in your posts to build up local search for those.
Doing this will help your site rank higher in Google, bring in more traffic, and most importantly result in more online or in-store purchases for your business.
And if you don’t have a website, remember the year is 2017 and the large majority of customers are going to look up your business online before giving you any money. This CNBC article explains why every business, every single one, needs a website.
Get the website. Then optimize it for local search traffic with the strategies I mentioned above.
4. List your business in other directories
We covered Google, but why stop there when that’s not the only online directory of local companies?
It’s obvious that consumers search online to find places to eat, shop, and buy the specific service or product they desire. Many times other online directories appear near the top of Google searches. It’s best your company appears there too.
Plus, the fact that filling out your company information takes a few minutes and isn’t a time-sucking exercise makes this even more worthwhile.
If you really want to go crazy, then consider adding your local business to these other directories:
- Better Business Bureau
- Angie’s List
- Yellow Pages
- Industry specific online directories
Now you may be tempted to try to get reviews on all of these different listings, but that’d be a bad move. Because 8 reviews on 7 different directories is simply not as effective as 56 reviews on your Google listing.
Build up a strong Google listing, then pursue Facebook reviews or Yelp reviews. The strategy here is divide and conquer.
5. Produce content
Even if you do Step 1 through 4 to perfection, your online presence won’t be fully optimized if your business isn’t producing any content.
I truly believe that regardless of the business niche, small businesses need to become media companies if they’re going to do well in the future (cool fact: while researching this article I discovered that Gary Vaynerchuk believes this too).
Far and away the most convincing reason to produce content is, if you’re good, platforms will naturally send thousands of new customers to your business.
Say you’re a chiropractor with a podcast talking about topics like best stretches and exercises to heal back pain. If your podcast does well and climbs the charts, iTunes will start sending thousands of new people to your podcast.
Individual business owner Pat Flynn has a great podcast success story for his business, read it here. He explains how his podcast played a major part in making six-figures a year in 2013 (in 2017 he makes millions a year).
Maybe you’re a restaurant and you do a weekly YouTube vlog where a camera follows your day-to-day operations from serving customers, directing chefs, paying bills, and other activities. If it’s interesting enough, people will find you on YouTube searches and related videos then get familiar with your company. The more familiar people the more money coming to you.
Or use video to explain your product or service in action. Half the bottle is telling the customer what you’re selling and how it benefits them.
For an example of YouTube execution, GoPro might be the best. Their Fireman Saves Kitten video has 36 million views, which can’t hurt their product awareness.
Or you have a blog like the one you’re reading now. Then Google, and sometimes Bing, will send traffic right to your website which can become email subscribers, social media followers, and ultimately paying customers.
To prove this works, HubSpot grew their sales by 1,193% in 3 years just through blogging. Amazing, I know.
That’s the big magic behind online marketing. It’s a beautiful money-making machine when you get other platforms to grow your business.
Also don’t forget about simply producing content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.
You can use these social platforms to drive people to your podcast, videos, or blog, or have them act as a stand alone.
Hopefully this could go unsaid, but no content means you’re going to struggle getting anything more than a Wednesday night book club group to visit your business’ online real estate.
If you really want to be a successful online marketer for your business: produce high-quality content and keep it coming.
Stick to consistently producing content I guarantee your business will be successful for years to come.
There’s no worries about paying payroll and rent when your online sales funnel is producing more income than you budgeted or know what to do with.
It’s Make Or Break Time For Your Online Presence
The importance of a business establishing a credible and profitable online presence can’t be understated in 2017. Reaching your customers and their wallets depends on your company executing through the Internet.
That means you need urgency to start growing your business’ online presence. It’s now or never since the Internet isn’t going away.
Because if you procrastinate, your competitors are only going to make further advancements to dominate you online. Sooner or later it may be too late to catch up. That’s not a joke.
But you still have time to make up ground and actually surpass the local competition if you take action, quickly.
Again, the way you get ahead is by:
- Creating a Google My Business listing
- Building up your Google listing reviews
- Optimizing your website for SEO
- Listing your business in other directories
- Producing content
If you can master just these 5 areas, your online presence has no choice but to rise and your customers will be paying you more cash.
Now open up another tab and get started on these action steps today. There’s new customers to be won!
P.S. Since this can be a lot if you’re not familiar with digital marketing, consider working with us to have a dominating online presence that produces real results.