You must have a local marketing strategy in place if you are a small business looking for ways to reach more customers.
I am often surprised at how many businesses go all out with their marketing campaign, spending big bucks to attract customers from far and wide while completely ignoring their local prospects.
To me, this is a major marketing disaster.
As a small business, you just cannot afford to neglect your local clients.
Consider this – If you offer plumbing services, would you be looking for customers overseas or even out of state or would you prefer to attract local customers?
Obviously the second option is more realistic. So, the question is, how do you reach out to these potential customers? Aha – here’s where local marketing comes into play.
Take a look at these interesting facts and statistics that help emphasize the importance of local marketing.
When anybody who is looking for a product or service does a query online, the first page of the search result will usually include local businesses that offer that particular product or service.
If you have not marketed yourself locally, you are missing out on a large share of the market who are interested in what you are offering but just do not know about you or how to reach you.
Marketing locally delivers qualified leads that have a higher likelihood of converting, unlike other techniques that may evoke curiosity in your business but do not really convert.
While these may be a good way to get some additional exposure, it does nothing to benefit your bottom line. What good is that going to do you?
Let’s consider again that you offer expert plumbing services. You know you’re good – very good and you want everybody to know it. To advertise your business, you launch a state of the art website that attracts thousands of footsteps from around the world.
That can be very satisfying but the truth is, it will do nothing for your core business if your website does not target local prospective clients.
Nobody is going to use your services if they live miles away from your location. It is local marketing that is the key to your small business success.
The next logical question when it comes to local marketing for the small business owner is
“What do I need to do?”
The first thing I would suggest is to include both online as well as offline strategies.
Giving away business cards is the most basic type of local marketing and it is very effective too. They are convenient and affordable. They contain all your contact information so it is easy for prospective clients to call you when they need to.
BUT… make your business cards effective by going beyond just listing your business name and contact info.
Make up a compelling offer for a free guide or some other incentive, and include that on your card as well. Thus, your business card becomes a tool that is likely to be USED vs. thrown in the bottom of the desk pile.
Check out postcard marketing… study up on successful postcard marketing campaigns. This is a very effective medium, not only because it is affordable, but also because it’s highly efficient at getting read. It arrives opened and ready to be read.
Figure out who is your most consistent/ideal customer, and find a list with a lot of those types of customers. Then, simply apply what you learned in your research by creating your postcard and then mailing that postcard to those people.
Many people will tell you that nobody uses the Yellow Pages anymore.
However, if that were true, why is it that many, many, businesses are still raking in millions of dollars every year through their Yellow Pages advertising?
Yes, many people do not use Yellow Pages anymore, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t be useful.
The key here is to make sure that you know that your ad converts. This is where postcards come in very handy.
Once your Yellow Pages ad is designed, before signing the contract, mail that exact ad via postcard out to a few hundred or so of your ideal prospects.
If it doesn’t
get a good enough response, then don’t place the Yellow Pages ad! Keep
testing different ad concepts until you find one that works. THEN place
your Yellow Pages ad and look forward to the results!
Also complement your offline strategy with online local marketing. With more and more people using the internet to search for whatever product or service they need, online local marketing is what will often clinch the deal for you.
This means making sure your site is optimized for search engines, using local SEO techniques that will help to differentiate your site from that of your competitors in other locations.
Here are a few services that we recommend to all our clients are:
SEO Citation Sources
Using proper local listings for your business plays a crucial role in the ability of small businesses to rise to the top of local searches and enhance their visibility to potential new clients.
Knowing the top local SEO listings sources is the key to optimizing a business’ chances at having top listings. Getting the help of a third party data provider can help you begin the process of building vital structured listings.
Don’t spend hundreds of marketing dollars on SEO strategies and paid search campaigns until you’ve first exhausted the low-cost and free options available. The biggest of these is a free resource from Google: Google Places.
Google Places can give your small business much needed local leverage, and it’s free! This is because Google wants to provide valuable content to their searchers. By including your business in their site, they become more valuable by becoming more in-exhaustible.
While Bing has always been a popular platform for local listing, the array of unique features that have been recently added gives you a wider reach when it comes to promoting your business via your local listings.
Local directories are an easy way to grab a listing. They have a higher value since they are essentially focused on only one area.
If you’d like to know more about the services above or how we can help you get more business locally, please contact us for more information