Small business owners understand the value of digital marketing. But without an enterprise-level budget, it might seem difficult to drive results.
According to one recent survey, 70% of small businesses spend less than $500 per month on marketing. In fact, nearly 25 percent of small businesses spend nothing on marketing at all. When marketing budgets are this tight, small businesses need to be certain their investment will pay off.
That's where local marketing comes in. Today, customers don't want general search results when they're looking for a product or service. They're looking for nearby businesses that can meet their needs, fast. Local marketing is a focused way to respond to this growing trend in online searches.
You don't need a huge budget to drive real local marketing results. This article highlights four tried and true local marketing strategies. Best of all, these low cost tactics won't break the bank.
Local Marketing Solution #1: Leverage Social Media Marketing
If you aren't active on social media, it's time to get started. Maintaining an engaged presence on social media helps businesses increase their online presence. It can also support your local marketing goals.
Today, social media platforms grant businesses tight control over their budgets. For as little as $10 or $15, you can boost your posts to reach thousands of potential customers. This means you can send a post about a sale or service directly to the prospects who are most likely to bite.
To avoid wasting money, be sure to take advantage of ad targeting. This allows you to reach granular market segments according to different criteria. Location is a particularly powerful filter. If a social media advertisement begins to drive results, you can always add more budget to extend the campaign.
Finally, be sure to tag your location in your posts. Some platforms, such as Instagram, allow users to browse posts using GPS. When potential customers scroll over your location, make sure your business shows up!
Local Marketing Solution #2: Optimize Your Online Presence
If you own a small business, countless articles urge you to optimize your online presence. But what does that abstract advice actually mean? And how does local marketing fit in?
It all boils down to SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO is a complex process that happens on and off your website. Improving SEO can help ensure that your website will show up in local search results.
Start by taking steps to improve your website. You don't necessarily need to hire a developer to make powerful changes. Try creating location-specific website content. This can include individual pages for each of your locations, plus location-specific blog posts.
Next, consider how your business appears in local directories. These platforms include Yelp, Foursquare, Bing Places and more. Make sure all of your details—including your locations—are specific and up to date. When location-specific web pages link back to your website, it boosts your local SEO.
To fully optimize your online presence, investing in digital marketing tools can help. For example, GoSite's Placement tool condenses all your online accounts into one easy to use dashboard. You can even invest in SEO automation to streamline your efforts further.
Local Marketing Solution #3: Get Active in Your Community
It might seem old school, but local marketing can still happen offline. Depending on your type of business, showing up in person can go a long way toward shoring up your reputation.
This approach works especially well for local businesses that rely on a dedicated pool of customers. Dental practices, for example, aim to see the same patients year after year.
Top strategies for getting involved in your community include:
- Manning a booth at a community festival or craft fair
- Sponsoring a Little League team or Scout troop
- Forming relationships with other local businesses
- Getting involved in local government
- Running advertisements in local media
- Volunteering regularly with a local charity
When community members recognize you and your staff, they'll be more likely to check your business out.
Local Marketing Solution #4: Create a Google My Business Profile
One of the most powerful local marketing tactics is also 100 percent free of charge. Google My Business (GMB) is a free profile that provides total control over how your business appears on Google Maps.
Your GMB account acts as a hub for information. You can view and manage your Google Reviews, add multimedia and get verified. These actions can all boost your rankings in local search.
Most importantly, you can update crucial information about your business. Be sure to add your website, current hours of operation, and a brief but detailed description. This gets back to the most important goal of local marketing: providing better service to your customers.
Want to see how seamless local marketing can be? Download GoSite's free eGuide to learn five steps for getting started with local search!