5 Local Online Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Local Online Marketing

In 2021, local online marketing has become a must for businesses of all sizes and across all industries. This is especially true for small businesses that rely on local foot traffic to stay in business. While it used to be the case that a strong reputation along with some targeted local advertising would be enough to thrive, competition has intensified, especially as many potential customers are making their decisions based on online search results. So what should you be doing to ensure your business comes out on top?

1. Establish your Branding

Branding is critical for local online marketing. You likely have dozen or even hundreds of local competitors all vying for the attention of the same group of local customers. The key to success with your local area digital marketing is communicating what sets your business apart from the competition. In other words, why would your target customer choose to do business with you? It is critical that you answer this question; otherwise, you risk losing out on a potential customer, as they may be unsure how they will benefit from doing business with your organization versus another better-branded competitor.

Critical components to your brand include logo design, copywriting, and your website. Your logo is one of the first things a prospect sees, whether in advertisements, business cards, on your website or in your retail location. Be intentional here. Copywriting on your website – what you communicate about your business – also needs to align with your branding. The goal is to provide value and be engaging while leading prospects toward a call to action or outright asking for the sale. How you write copy will be dependent on your industry and what a typical sales cycle looks like. Branding for a pizza shop will be far more straightforward than an architecture firm might be.

2. Grow your customer email list

Having worked with thousands of small businesses on their email marketing campaigns, I can say with confidence that this is one of the most effective ways to engage with your customers. Additionally, it is one of the least utilized local marketing strategies. Many small business owners think email is outdated or isn’t practical. 

Contrary to popular belief, email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment of any marketing technique. Even better, it tends to be one of the most straightforward marketing techniques to implement. At Keys2 Media, our minimum recommendation would be to collect emails from consenting clients in exchange for providing something of value to them. This could be in coupons, relevant tips, updates, or a helpful newsletter. As this list grows, you can send some great content yourself or have an agency do so for you. Provide some value with a call to action (repurchase today, order, take advantage of a limited time offer, etc.), and you will be shocked at how much repeat business you generate.

3. Create a Google Business Profile

One of the easiest ways to establish your local online marketing presence is creating a Google Business Profile (GBP). Until recently (December 2021, when this was published), these profiles were known as your company’s Google My Business page. The name changed right around November 2021, but the importance is the same. This is especially true if your business relies on local customers finding your business via mobile search. Spoiler alert: this applies to almost every industry, as most customers conduct business searches like this via their smartphones.

Having a GBP, you dramatically increase the likelihood that Google will display your business in the search results. For example, if you are a local criminal defense lawyer with a great-looking website with lots of positive reviews, Google wants to feature your business when someone searches for a “criminal defense lawyer” near me. However, Google tends to optimize their local results for companies with a strong GBP. This includes your service offerings, pictures, video, reviews, etc. The goal of your GBP is to give prospective customers a sense of your business without having to step foot in your physical office.

4. Post Engaging Content Regularly

This is often one of the trickiest parts of any effective marketing campaign. Customers make choices based on first impressions. Having regularly updated content on your website and primarily your GBP will ensure that customers get the information they need and make their decision-making process a lot easier. In its basic form, things like menu updates for restaurants, recent case highlights for lawyers, and seasonally specific information for businesses like landscaping or vacation rentals are the minimum we would recommend that you include.

The actual results come from going above and beyond industry norms. Perhaps you post an update that answers a common question you hear regarding your service offerings. Maybe you write a blog post on your website providing some additional value to your customers or offering suggestions on how they can make the most of your products or services. The key here is to keep your existing customers happy while showing new clients how you stand apart from the competition. I promise you that few if any of your competitors will be doing this, ensuring you stand out from the pack.

5. Automate Your Local Online Marketing via Local SEO services

Branding and regular content creation take time. Based on experience, we’ve seen that many small businesses either don’t have the time or resources to take on additional marketing projects or simply outsource it. While there is no right or wrong answer, it’s essential to understand that local online marketing is a highly undervalued marketing strategy that can help you generate both new and repeat business. 

If you decide to do everything in-house, you’ll spend a lot more time but will have ultimate control over the end product. Outsourcing some content creation and brand strategy will best serve most small businesses.

While freelance services like Fiverr can often get you solid results on a budget, you often get what you pay for. You may need to hire additional freelancers for corrections and could end up working with a freelancer who may not natively speak the same language you are looking to have your content written in. Additionally, outsourcing the various components will require additional time on your end to piece the projects together and ensure everything is ready to go live on your website, social media, or GBP.

For those looking for a comprehensive solution, your best bet would be outsourcing your local marketing to an agency. In this case, you want to look for agencies offering Local SEO services. Keys2 Media specializes in creating local online marketing plans just like this. Best of all, you are kept in the loop with timely reporting and don’t have to worry about hiring freelancers or manually updating your website and email marketing campaigns on your own. We do it all and show you the quantifiable results of your investment in real-time.


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