If you have a local business, you must be able to market locally. And while that isn’t surprising, it’s also one of the most challenging things to do.
With the explosion of online marketing channels, it’s hard to know where to begin and what channels are best.
I’ll cover a few local marketing ideas that should help you get started and give you the inspiration (and maybe even some confidence) to pursue your local marketing efforts…with gusto.
Need to move fast? Here’s your quick marketing list:
- Know thy audience
- Keyword study
- Build a local website
- Optimize for Google Maps
- Encourage reviews on Google Business Profile
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What is local marketing?
Local marketing is a form of marketing that targets people living within the same general area as your business.
Let’s rephrase in layman’s terms (since the above sentence was generated by Yours Truly testing Outranking AI Copywriting)
“Local marketing is marketing to businesses or customers near you, in your neighborhood, in your city, and/or in your state.”
I don’t know if that’s any better. Grammarly suggested it’s very unclear. But I’m pretty proud of adding “near you” in there. I’d like to be “near me,” but it wouldn’t make sense, would it?
Local marketing is not just advertising; it also uses public relations, email marketing, and social media to connect with your local consumers.
The goal of a local marketing strategy is to spend your marketing budget more efficiently by targeting customers who are likely to purchase from you.
Your local marketing campaigns can include any of the followings:
- Pay per Click (PPC)
- social media campaigns
- search engine optimization (SEO) ==> that’s me
- traditional print and broadcast media
Make local online marketing a big part of your campaign.
Begins with a solid foundation.
The goal of local online marketing is to increase traffic to your website from nearby customers — which, in turn, increases the likelihood that you’ll make a sale or close a deal with them.
If you’re looking for some tips on how to get started with local online marketing, here are some that I suggest every small business owner should consider implementing:
Know thy audience
Uber basic. Write for a human first, search engine spiders maybe later.
Understand not only who your customers are but also why they will choose your business instead of a competitor.
Inbound marketing techniques like local SEO and social media are great for reaching potential customers who are already interested in your offer.
Outbound methods like being present at local events or sticking a chalkboard outside your shop can help attract people who might not have heard of you yet.
Whichever strategies you choose, make sure you understand why people will want to do business with you.
Knowing how your audience searches for you helps.
How do you know what people are searching for in your area?
I use SemRush and Keyword Everywhere.
Any keyword study tool will also show you different variations of your keywords, related keywords, keywords with local intent, competition level, etc.
If the competition is too high, it may be difficult (or even impossible) to rank well for those terms. In that case, it may be better to focus on less-competitive keywords instead.
Get your local business site up and running
Your website should reflect your brand identity and provide helpful content for visitors seeking information about your products or services.
Optimize it for mobile. You will most likely be using WordPress. Mobile responsiveness is out of the box for this platform. So, less worry on your part.
There are other mobile optimization line items. But, in my humble opinion, if yours is a small local site, don’t sweat it. Focus on your product first, and let me worry about your mobile optimization when you HIRE ME.
Get local SEO right
You need to create a website and optimize it for local SEO. How do you go about doing that?
- Add location-based terms to your website is a good start
- Add your address. Make sure it’s marked up properly
- Find the right keywords. Use it sparingly and creatively. Spam is not tasteful out of the can or consumed online.
Claim and optimize your Google My Business (GMB) profile
It’s now called Google Business Profile (GBP) in 2022, Silly.
Claim your account. I’ll make a detailed step in my future post.
Or you can just go to the source: Google Support.
Follow this link here: https://support.google.com/business/answer/2911778
It’s not complicated.
Call me if you read this part and are having trouble claiming the darn thing. I’ll talk you through it.
And if you’re friendly and polite, I might just finish the process for you, seriously.
Why GMB? Why GBP? Why so many names, Google?
Your challenge is to get your listing to rank in the Map Pack.
Google tries its best to guess what its searchers want. If the search intent is local, Map results show up first or above the fold.
And that’s where you want to be, in the top 3 Pack or 5 Pack.
Be authentic or come across as authentic as possible
That’s my claim to fame right there. You won’t see any Asian as authentic as me, ever.
I cook authentic Thai food.
I read authentic Thai books.
There’s triple “authentic” in the above paragraph already.
So, yes, I’m authentic (4th one!)
On a serious note, this simply means letting prospects know they will deal with a person, not a robot.
Have your address or phone number displayed prominently. That means where it can be easily seen (Go big or go home).
Pick the social platform that you are most comfortable and familiar with. Start promoting yourself there.
Don’t just post. Interact! Respond to comments, answer questions, be helpful. This will help build your credibility, attract new customers and keep current ones happy.
I was on Twitter for years. Barely posted anything. But learned a lot from it and am still learning. Lots of good content creators there. Just don’t mix in with the mean ones.
I’ve seen how many big accounts handle trolls. I think that’s a marvelous skill.
Once your GMB or GBP is created and you’re hustling for new accounts, ask for reviews to be posted on GMB.
Reviews build trust and confidence. Interact with the reviewers, good or bad.
Example: If someone writes an unflattering review of your restaurant, don’t get angry or try to get it taken down; just fix the problem (if there is one) and move on with life.
Be honest in your dealings with customers, whether local or not, and people will trust and respect you more than if you try to hide things from them.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with promoting your local business online.
If you start with the above tips, you’ll be ahead of the curve.
Successful local marketing requires you to consistently engage with your target audience. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, I hope you get inspired by this blog post.
Start small and build upon those efforts as you evolve your strategy. Invest your time in quality content. That’s always a good start.
SEO Tools I Used:
Full disclosure: I’m an affiliate. But I swear by them because I use the tools everyday (correction: almost everyday).
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