Do you own a local small business, such as a retail store, hotel or restaurant?
Would you like internet marketing tips that are tailored specifically to local businesses?
In this article, we cover six internet marketing ideas to get new customers and clients for your local small business. Some of these tips you will probably not hear of elsewhere.
Must Have: A Website
Before you start marketing your local small business online, remember that you first need a website that your visitors can check out.
Having a website tells a potential customer that you’re a legitimate business. It also helps you showcase your offerings – whether it is your menu, your room rates or the products you sell – so that your customers can check out whether they like what you have to offer.
Your website should be responsive (be accessible on mobile devices and tablets) and have a working contact form and a Google Map listing your business location.
Your contact information must be listed on every page of your website. You should also publish a regularly updated blog on your website, where you can post news and events that concern your business.
1. Verify and Promote Your Google Business Listing
There’s another reason you need a website. It’s because you need to connect it to your verified Google Business Listing. The benefit is that, when a customer searches for your local small business name and Google displays the search results, it will list your website and your contact information along with the listing.
Also, linking your website with your Google Business Listing will improve the chances that it will be displayed at the top of the search results when people search for your business name.
Build your follower list on Google+ by connecting with people in your locality or city. Join city-specific circles on Google and add their followers. Post interesting news or updates about your city along with a few promotional posts about your business. We usually recommend a ratio of posting 4 third-party posts for every promotional post.
2. Run Facebook Ads For Your Location
Facebook has been ramping up its offerings for local businesses. It’s new Local Awareness objective is the first Facebook advert objective created explicitly for local businesses.
According to Facebook, it allows you to create an advertisement in under two minutes. All you need to do is set a budget, choose a photo and create a relevant message for the people in your area.
Then, add a “Get Directions” button and guide customers directly to your location from their smartphones. You can also add a “Call Now” button and let your customers speak to you directly from the News Feed.
3. List Your Local Small Business On Industry-Specific Portals
If you own a hotel or resort, you’re really spoiled for choice. Starting from Booking.com to Tripadvisor to any of the major travel portals, you have a huge list of choices on which to list your hotel.
Ask your customers to write reviews for your business on these portals as most savvy travelers and diners read reviews before trying out a new place.
4. Organise Events And Post Them On Facebook
If you hold regular events at your business venue, such as concerts, exhibitions, flea markets, announce these by creating an event on Facebook and post it on your Facebook Local Business page.
Facebook will show your event to people in your locality and boost the chances that customers will sign up and show up. Regular events are a great way to boost visibility and word of mouth on Facebook, because people usually invite their friends to events that they want to attend as a group.
Come up with interesting ideas for events that your customers will enjoy. For instance, a restaurant can organize a food or wine tasting event. An adventure travel company can organize a local hike. A movie theatre can organize a sci-fi movie festival. A dog boarding facility can organize a social for dog lovers.
Even if you have to invest some money into making the event a success, it will give your customers a good feeling about your business venue and make them want to come back again.
5. Create a Meetup Group
In case you haven’t heard of it, Meetup.com is a great site to get people together for a common cause. If you organize regular events at your business venue, you need to create a meetup group for your city.
For instance, if you organise regular hikes or wine tastings, you can create a city-specific Meetup Group for adventure lovers or wine lovers. Meetup.com will promote your group to other people from your city, so you’ll get more signups and word of your business will spread.
6. Connect With Locals On Twitter
It’s not difficult to find people from your city to follow on Twitter. Just type in your city name with a hashtag (eg. #Pune) and you’ll be able to locate Twitter accounts from your city or those that mention it. Follow other local businesses and then follow their followers.
Post regular city news using the city hashtag and you will get followed by other Twitter followers in your city. Use Twitter to promote your events and company news. Announce contests, discounts and promotions and you’ll definitely attract local customers to your business.
These six local small business internet marketing tips will give you ideas that your competition is probably not even aware of. Use them and get an edge in the local business stakes.
© Priya Florence Shah