Looking at starting a business, or growing an existing one? Digital marketing is an important component in any business plan.
When it comes to growing a local business, digital marketing still has an important part to play. Even when you’re simply targeting locals. There are a lot of things that need bearing in mind though, and digital marketing can be a minefield.
So, what are the best tips to grow your business online?
1. Make sure your website is excellent
This is obviously an important step, but one that many people miss. Many local businesses aim to grow their online brand just by using a Facebook page, or a basic WordPress site. The problem with this is, it doesn’t look very professional and it doesn’t give you much scope to grow.
Building a good website is actually very simple with plug and play website builders from WordPress. And it doesn’t even cost much to buy a domain name and host it online. In fact, you can easily start running a website from around US$80/GB£50 a year.
With a good website, you have a platform to build your business, your social media presence and to expand when you’re ready.
2. Interact with local enterprise on social media
Another important step is to have social media accounts that link to your website. Most people interact with business pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin, so make sure to have a fully set up page if it’s relevant to your business.
For example, a restaurant might not need a Linkedin page, but then a business services company might not need Instagram.
With your social media set up, make sure to interact with other local enterprise and initiatives. Work with your local trade department to raise your local profile online, and work with local influencers to get more engagement with your business.
3. Research and target local keywords
Only you understand your local audience. And a critical part of growing any online business with local focused digital marketing is understanding what people are looking for.
This means you’ll need to use some keyword research software, for example SEM Rush. This gives you fantastic insight into both you and your competition, what people are looking for online.
Keyword research software can be expensive though, so it can work better to hire a local digital marketing expert to do the research for you. There are also free digital marketing and keyword research tools, although, obviously, these aren’t as effective.
4. Ensure your brand and domain name are visible locally
If you’re trying to expand your business locally with digital marketing, you also need to leverage the power of offline marketing. There are many different ways you can do this. For example:
- Sponsor a local sports team (it doesn’t have to be a big one, perhaps a local school team or amateur league – this can be quite cost effective).
- Work with local events to get your brand seen as a sponsor. For example if there is a business conference, they might be keen to have local sponsors and their brands in the background.
- Sell t-shirts, caps and other clothing items, if this is relevant to your business. This obviously works if you have the kind of branding that people are happy to wear and display.
- Run print adverts in local newspapers and magazines. This can be quite expensive, compared to digital marketing, but is still effective.
This is just the tip of the iceberg with offline ads, but you can find tons more ideas just by looking around you.
5. Run online ads
Pay per click advertising is very effective, even for local digital marketing. Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Microsoft (Bing) Ads can be quite a cost effective way to get your brand seen locally.
If you’ve done your keyword research then you can run small and carefully targeted campaigns at key points in the marketing calendar. If you are running ads, you’ll need to watch your budget and we highly recommend blocking fake traffic which can really inflate your digital ad spend.
If you’re running Google Ads, there is a wide variety of click fraud protection software. Read up on which is best and which one fits your budget. If you’re trying to choose ClickCease vs Clickguard, ClickCease offers coverage for Facebook including Instagram, and is the superior software too.
6. Ask for reviews online
People look to online reviews more than ever, so make sure your reviews are glowing. Ask people to leave feedback online, and maybe even offer an incentive if they do, for example money off their next visit or other offer. You don’t have to do this though, but it can be a nice touch.
Realise too that a perfect 5 star score is very hard to achieve and actually isn’t really the best result. People trust a score between 4.3-4.8 more than a full 5 stars. As people have become more aware of fake reviews, they’re likely to raise an eyebrow about 5 star reviews…
Just offer a quality experience, handle objections and problems as efficiently as possible and don’t be afraid to ask for reviews on your preferred platforms.
7. Use the power of local hashtags
One final tip is to use local hashtags on your social media, and to ask people to tag you in their images. People love to pose for an Insta selfie, so give them something to include that references your businesses.
It might be a photo backdrop in your premises, or an art installation in your city that is commissioned by you.
As Oscar Wilde said, “The Only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about…“
And when it comes to local digital marketing, this is especially true.
So whatever your business, we wish you success, and hope that our tips to grow your local business with digital marketing will help!