Digital marketing for local businesses is quite different than marketing for national or global businesses. It is true that the same channels are used, but in a different way. Local businesses target local people, who are geographically around. They may seem easier to reach without digital marketing; however, it was a long time after consumers started searching online before they actually bought anything.
More than 90% of users searched for local businesses on Google in 2019. This field is an important step in growing a business. There are 10 central points to understand where to focus specifically while working on digital marketing for local businesses:
Create strong bonds with the audience
Social networks are an indispensable part of digital marketing regardless of the size of a company. Social media platforms are where the target audience and customers meet for a long-term relationship. As in all kinds of relationships, the key is to be compassionate and consider what they need.
Make the target audience feel heard
Social networks are not a presentation channel, but a good opportunity to help the audience. Within all virtual and physical environments, people are surrounded by advertising. The social media post that simply says “Buy me” is not interesting to people in the digital age. What people want to see to be interested is “I can help you with this” if you buy from me. Buying/selling part of the story is out of the main focus, but to offer a benefit, to show how a product will change the experience, it is necessary.
Easy contact access
WhatsApp and Messenger are not just for talking with friends. They are helping local businesses easily communicate with the target audience. For example, the WhatsApp Business App is great for “creating a catalog to showcase products and services and using special tools to automate, sort, and quickly respond to messages.”
With Messenger, already used daily, you can quickly respond to questions from potential customers. Being available in an app that people have on their smartphones is convenient and safe for them. So, it is advisable to be present through live messages, chatbots or both.
Create a Google My Business account
A step that will help to be visible in Google searches. Visibility is the first goal before engaging in local SEO. The Google My Business account allows the target audience to see you when they search Google with related keywords.
After being seen, you must work on converting users into customers. The first key to that is providing accurate and up-to-date information so that a quick call or visit to a website can be made with a click. Even if the opening hours are clearly established, you can visit the physical store without waiting. This is how and why local online marketing can show results quite quickly.
The importance of reviews
Everyone cares about the experience of other users before paying for a product or service. It’s important to ask customers to leave a review on Google to leave a more positive digital trail. Reviews are beneficial not only for online reputation, but also for local SEO. They are considered by search engines as content and are displayed in the results. So, reviews help increase visibility in Google search results.
Create content based on local events.
Content that is shared with the audience is supposed to attract attention. Simplicity is key: When it’s snowing outside, it’s not the best idea to share summer vibes with beach marketing. Instead, you can sample hot springs-themed content or the perks of shopping when it’s not peak season. You can list all the festivals and gatherings in the region you are active in and create your content accordingly using SEO tools.
Locally targeted ads.
Without a doubt, if you are only looking for organic engagement, it will be difficult to reach many people. That is why advertising is essential for local online marketing. Stay active on both social media and search engine advertising to promote the business locally.
Local businesses are generally expected to support the community by being a part of it. Even if a store is a haven for stray dogs when it rains, the community feels that it is taking care of the neighborhood. How to adapt this idea to an activity on digital platforms? For example: being a sponsor of an event that benefits the community.
Develop a loyalty program
Digital advertising is not just for gaining new customers. You must also find ways to retain current customers. Creating a WhatsApp email or group is an easy way to do this. A loyal customer is good for a later purchase and also to be your brand ambassador, naturally.
Never forget that digital is a constantly changing field
User expectations and behavior in digital are changing quite rapidly. We all need to update our knowledge on the good practices that surround each step.
An outdated digital marketing strategy means a waste of time and money. You can follow the latest newsletters and posts on trusted platforms and also get customer feedback. Interaction and self-improvement is the key to success in digital marketing for local businesses.