How To Grow Your Local Business with Digital Marketing
Are you a professional or small local service business wondering how to get more customers to grow your business? Are you worried about not knowing where to start? Do you want to know what digital strategies or tactics have the potential to get you more customers faster?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then read on.
Before we dive in, let us review some local search stats to set the stage as to why, if you want to grow your local service business, you need to start thinking about digital marketing.
- 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information (Source: ThinkWithGoogle)
- 97% of consumers learn more about a local company online than anywhere else (Source: SEO Tribunal)
- In 2021, mobile devices will influence more than $1.4 trillion in local sales (Source: Forrester)
- 76% of people who conduct a local search visit a physical place within 24 hours (Source: ThinkWithGoogle)
- Organic reach on Facebook is now a meager 6% (Source: Crazy Egg)
While the statistics shown above can certainly help to answer the question as to why you need to embark in digital marketing to grow your business, there are a few more reasons:
First, if you are the owner of a local business, or a professional servicing the local community, chances are your competition will be well-known national brands that everyone is already familiar with. If this is not the case, it is highly likely that your direct competition is already thinking of or doing some sort of digital marketing already. This is where online marketing for local businesses can give you an edge and level the playing field. Being present where your potential customers are (online) will help you convince them to pick you instead of the competition. This is particularly important now as almost everyone is looking to support local businesses that have been struggling because of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Second, according to Bright Local, 86% of consumers read reviews for local business and most make buying decisions based on those reviews. Typically, after reading a positive review, most consumers go to the company’s website to learn more and hopefully perform a desired action like booking an appointment, calling, purchasing online, or visiting the brick-and-mortar location.
Third, it is very possible that a potential customer may decide to trust a local business over another because one has an online presence and reviews while the other one does not.
Enough of that, here are Top Five Digital Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Local Professional or Service-Based business.
- Local SEO
Local SEO is the process of improving search engine visibility for your local service business or professional website. Getting Local SEO right will increase your chances to get more traffic from local searchers in your area. Here are some recommendations on how to do that:
- Create or Claim & Optimize your Google My Business Listing.
- Create or Claim & Optimize your BING Places for Business, Apple Maps, Yelp & Foursquare listings.
- Ensure your name, address, and phone numbers (NAP) is consistent across all listings.
- Ensure all citations of your business online are accurate and consistent.
- If you are active on social networks, post similar content on Google My Business often.
- Encourage your current customers to share reviews online. Make it easy for them.
- Stay on top of reviews and respond to all including your location. Do respond even if they are all positive.
- Perform a Local SEO audit. This should include a Google My Business Audit, Google Search Console Audit, on-page SEO audit, citation audit, and competitors.
- Create & Optimize Content For SEO
Assuming you have a professional or service-business website that is mobile-friendly and SEO-ready, creating content and optimizing it for local search will help improve your online visibility and bring you more traffic from potential customers. Here are some tips on how to do this.
- Perform an SEO audit to reveal where to focus your efforts.
- Improve your internal linking structure to help both users and search engines find all pages of your website.
- Optimize your URLs, page titles, headers, and meta descriptions to include your location keywords. Be careful not to overdo it or you may be penalized.
- Localize your pages. IF you have multiple locations, it is important that you create location-specific pages.
- Ensure your website has a Map with your location and that your address and phone number are shown prominently on every page.
- Create local content pages that includes location-specific information such as promotions, events, strategic partnerships, informational guides, etc.
- Google Ads Pay per Click
If you are looking for an almost instantaneous flow of qualified traffic to your website, Google Ads is one of the most efficient and effective ways to get it. While explaining how to setup an effective Google Ads campaign is beyond the scope of this post, we have some tips to help local businesses get the most of Google Ads for business growth.
- Use all available and applicable ad extensions. The more ad extensions you use, the bigger your ad will look on the search results pages. This will increase the chances of getting the click from that potential customer. The obvious ones are location extensions, call extensions, promotion extensions, price extensions, call outs and structure snippets extensions that will showcase all the services or product categories you offer.
- Link Google My Business to Google Ads to show your Location Extensions. This will show your address to people who see your ad and will make it easy for them to get directions.
- Use localized and “near me” keywords. Near me searches have exploded in previous years as well as voice searches using location. Make sure to include your location as part of your keyword phrases.
- Layer in audiences. If you have a small budget for Google Ads, using audiences (in market, similar, customer lists, etc.) is one of the best ways to increase the efficiency of your account and get you more leads from your investment.
- Facebook & Instagram Ads
Small local businesses and professionals looking to grow their business and acquire new customers should consider Facebook Ads. Thanks to the highly sophisticated targeting options available on the social platform, Facebook Advertising can help expand your reach, target potential customers, and generate incremental sales. Here are some tips on how to do this well.
- Make sure the creative is engaging, visually appealing, and speaks to your target audience.
- Use appropriate calls to action for the product or service you provide. These could vary depending on the purchase cycle of your ideal customer.
- Set your geo-targeting right. If you go too wide, you may stretch your budget too thin, too narrow and you may miss out on opportunity.
- Target the correct audiences. Make sure you test a variety of audience tactics including interest targeting, custom audiences, behavioral, retargeting, etc.
- Use custom audiences. If you have a customer list, upload it to the platform and create a similar audience (look-alikes). Once populated, test it.
- Let the Facebook algorithm pick the best placements. While you may be tempted to decide which placements to show your ads on, it is best to let the Facebook algorithm work and find the best placements to serve your ads to get you more leads.
- Email Marketing
If you have a list of current customers, email marketing should be part of your overall digital marketing efforts to help grow your business. Email marketing helps to build awareness, create loyalty, and keep you customers coming back for repeat purchases. Whether you are doing Informational Emails, Digital Newsletters, Product and Service Updates, or Transactional Emails, email marketing is one sure way to help grow your business. Here are some tips for email marketing based on our experience:
- Segment your lists. Use segmentation to send the right message to the right prospect. Do not send mass generic emails to your list. Ensure to use segmented lists for maximum performance.
- Focus on a single offer. While you may be tempted to send an email blast with a long list of promotions, it is best to focus on one. This will help you better measure what works and what does not.
- Use automation. If you are using email for Transactions, Lead Generation or Lead Nurturing, ensure to use automation to schedule your emails based on specific actions performed by your audience or to send them a sequence of emails to bring them down the purchase journey and get the sale.
- Use your brand. Make sure to use your logo and brand colors in your email design. This helps with branding and will help your users recognize you among all other emails they receive on a daily basis.
- Include a call to action. Most email marketing campaigns have a purpose, to entice the user to perform an action. Do not forget to include strong calls to action on your email.
- Monitor performance. Testing and measuring performance should be top of the list when evaluating success of your email marketing campaign. Track open rates, click maps, unsubscribe rates, and, of course, sales and leads. In addition, ensure to tag all your links with Google Analytics parameters. You may want to compare the performance of your email campaign versus the rest of your digital marketing activities.
There you have it. I hope these five ways to grow your business with digital marketing provide you with some clarity as to what you can do for your business to make it grow. Performance Media Agency is a digital marketing consultancy helping local service-based business and professionals grow their business with performance-driven digital marketing. Contact us for more information on how you can work with us to grow your business. We are here to help.