32 Marketing strategies ANY local business can implement to attract local customers using the internet!
Hi, I’m Will Williamson, author of ‘Local Business Marketing – Online’. Over the last 5 years I have brainstormed hundreds of local business internet marketing ideas with business owners and marketing managers. So here are just a few of them, a great resource to get your marketing juices flowing:
1) Claim Your Google Plus Local Business PagePreviously called Google Places, these are the map listings that come up every time you do a local search in Google, 'eg SEO Agency in Derby'. Go to http://www.google.com/+/business/ to sign up or find your business listing in Google maps, go to the ‘Google + Page’ and click on ‘manage this page’. Over 80% of all business have not even completed this basic step.
2) Invest In Local SEO ServicesEmploy an SEO Agency that understand and specialise in local SEO – they can optimise your Google + local business page, optimise your web pages and build links and citations for you to outrank your competitors.
3) Add Your Business To Apples iOS MapsWhen they launched the new iPhone 5, Apple controversially abandoned Google Maps in favour of its own maps service. And guess what? Your business probably isn’t listed (most aren’t), which means anyone searching their iPhone nearby won’t find you. To add your business listing, search for yourself on an Apple device using the maps application, and in the bottom-right hand corner is a page curl - scroll that up to reveal the options below. Click on ‘report a problem’ and then follow the instructions and fill out your company information.
4) Target Mobile Only Users With Google AdwordsIf you are a business that relies on passing trade – for example a cafe – then you want to make sure any passing shoppers searching their phones for a place to get a cup of coffee can find you easily. You can create an advertising campaign in Google Adwords specifically targeted at mobile users within a certain radius of your premises.
5) Use Location Extensions With Google Adwords
If you are running a Google Adwords campaign, go to the extensions tab and set up location extensions. This will include your address and phone number in your Google ads, and show a pin in the map for your location.
6) Create A Bing Local ListingI know Bing is only a small part of the search market. But hey, it’s part of the market. And it’s free, so it has to be worth a few minutes of your time to add yourself to Bings local search listings – go to http://www.bing.com/businessportal
8) Write A BlogGoogle loves fresh content. And so do people – websites with blogs attached attract more visitors, have more credibility and generate more leads - so get started today.
9) Voucher WebsitesPromote an offer on Groupon, Wowcher, Amazon Local or Living Social (to name but a few). BUT! Be prepared to be generous with your discounts. You also need to ensure you have a strategy to handle the volume of sales, and to turn the unprofitable highly discounted sales into high value long term customers.
10) Facebook AdvertisingFacebook’s advertising is one of the most laser-targeted advertising methods in history and allows you to create ads that will only be displayed to people that meet your target demographics, within your local area.
11) Use Twellow To Target Local Prospects On TwitterGo to www.Twellow.com, it’s like the Yellow Pages for Twitter users. You can look up local Twitter users, follow and interact with them to gain new followers and contacts.
12) Contribute To Local LinkedIn GroupsSimply go to LinkedIn, and search the groups using your local area as the search term. You will find many possible groups to join and then interact in to create new connections and network with potential customers.
13) FoursquareFoursquare is still living and breathing and offers very real marketing opportunities. Encourage your local customers to ‘check-in’ to your business with foursquare to receive offers, prizes and the ultimate recognition… becoming the ‘mayor’ of your business.
14) Offer Free Reports On Your WebsitePeople want to buy from knowledgeable experts that can advise them – writing free reports is a great way to a) demonstrate this expertise and b) obtain contact details (an email address) in exchange for the report, with which you can then use…
15) …an AutoresponderAn autoresponder allows you to send pre-programmed emails to people who have downloaded your reports. You can then stay in contact with a prospect for months, even years without actually having to do anything manually.
16) Get Google ReviewsGoogle reviews boost your local search rankings and (as long as they are positive) give people more confidence to do business with you, so ask all your customers to leave reviews for you.
17) Build Links & CitationsThe more websites refer to your business, the higher your website will rank in Googles organic search results. You can find time to do some of this work yourself, but for best results employ an SEO company to do this for you.
18) Local DirectoriesAdd yourself to free local directories – for example www.freeindex.co.uk or pay for premium directory listings, like www.yell.com.
19) Use QR Codes In Your Offline MarketingDrive more online traffic by adding QR codes to your packaging, flyers, stationery, receipts, posters etc.
20) Online Press ReleasesPress releases increase your exposure and are a great way of building links to your website.
21) Article SubmissionsRegularly writing good quality articles is an important habit to get into – they can be used on your own blog, as guest blog posts and can be submitted to trade magazines or article websites to increase your credibility and build links to your website.
22) Guest Blog PostsMany bloggers are always on the lookout for great content and will be happy to give you the link and authorship credit in exchange for your expert articles – you’ll gain credibility and the links back to your website will be very valuable.
23) Keyword Research To Target Better Keywords For Your SEOMake sure you are targeting the keywords which will drive the most potential customers to your website by using the Google Keyword Tool.
24) Banner Advertising In The Google Display Network
Display advertising is a huge area of opportunity for cheap clicks, brand building and driving website conversions. Your business can appear on well-known websites like the Times, B and Q etc – but can be geo-targeted so they ONLY appear to people going to those websites from your local area.
25) LinkedIn Advertising
Like Facebook advertising, you can place very targeted ads within LinkedIn – you can create ads which only show to professionals of a certain age, job type or industry, and canbe targetd to show up only to peple within your local area.
26) Improve Website Landing Pages With CRO
Conversion rate optimisation is the process of increasing response from landing pages on your website, whether they are email signup pages or E-commerce product pages.
27) Add More Social Proof To Your Website
One big factor in conversion rate optimisation is social proof – so add more testimonials, case studies, social plugins and evidence that many other people have bought from you and enjoyed the experience.
28) Add Better Calls To Action On Your WebsiteReview every page of your website – do they have at least 2-3 calls to action? And are they clear, easy to understand and compelling?
Businesses evolve quickly as do web design standards and it is easy for your website to start to look tired and out of date. Your website should be redesigned every 2-3 years as a minimum.
30) Use Google Analytics To Analyse Website Traffic
Google analytics is a free tool that few people use to it’s full potential. You ca use the data it provides to target better keywords, optimise landing pages and reduce bounce rate.
31) Classified Ad Websites Like Gumtree
Advertising on sites like Gumtree give you a free source of website visitors and potential customers.
32) Create A Mobile Optimised Website For Smart-Phone Website Browsers
Many customers will search for your business on their phones while they are on the move – improve their user-experience and stop them going to competitors by developing a mobile optimised version of your website.
33) Place An Ad In The Yellow Pages
No, really. I’m just kidding! Seriously though - unless you have a much older demographic and deep pockets, you can get several times the result for a fraction of the investment by using the local business marketing online strategies outlined here.
So let me know what else you've tried that has worked well in the comments below, and subscribe to the blog to receive email alerts for every new article.
Image source: Unsplash