As a small business owner, you know there are certain challenges you face that larger retailers and brands do not. Your audience is local, and they appreciate word of mouth advertising and recommendations. However, they’re also online. Because of this, a local online marketing strategy is essential for making 2014 and beyond a success. It all starts with the right focus and initiative; check out a few ideas below.
E-mail marketing through a regular, targeted online newsletter allows you to connect with past customers, potential clients and current prospects on their own time. It allows small business owners to create a brand personality while building trust with their online communities.
To be a success, an e-mail marketing campaign should play up the local angle by talking about community events that you’ve taken part of and news stories. Offer coupons – good online and in-store –and special promotions to those on your list. Create content that pertains to them and demonstrates your interest in the community.
For maximum results, work with an e-mail marketing platform that allows you to track opens, reads, click-throughs and deletes.
Never underestimate the power of a local search. Customers are looking for local businesses to support while receiving reliable service. Google+ simplifies this process. Businesses can claim free, local business listings that appear on Google search results.
By taking the time to claim a free listing, your business will appear in Google’s 7-Box, which works by highlighting the top seven local results for a given search term. This is especially useful when searchers enter a keyword followed by a community or city name. Through Google+, local businesses can engage with customers, offer coupons, and upload photos like a social network.
Online users don’t have time for poor customer service, faulty products or negative experiences. Because of this, they trust online reviews. They are easy to find through Google+ and other online directories and that ensure a company without a high ranking won’t be overlooked. Mr. Rooter in Syracuse, New York has taken advantage of this idea. By encouraging customers to share their experiences online, the business receives positive feedback and maintains a 4.5 star ranking on Google.
To get started in this area, send an e-mail blast and include a link on receipts. Ask loyal customers to visit your Google+ page and leave feedback. Take the time to answer each message and interact with those who take the time to communicate. Positive reviews can make or break a business with an online presence, so be sure to take control of this area of your business.
How many people open a Yellow Book when looking for a company to do business with? The practice is dated; instead, the majority of people rely on online searches that yield online directory listings. The majority of these listings – Yellow Pages, Yelp, Google, Yahoo, Local.com and more – are free and provide business owners with the ability to reach a local audience with little effort on their part. Look for local directories and start listing your company; with a minimal time requirement, the effort is worth every second.