Marketing can be difficult, especially if your business is small and has a limited budget. Small budgets are still possible in today’s internet age. They can be efficient, profitable, and effective. Even if they don’t sell their product online, small businesses shouldn’t ignore internet marketing. Small retail shops today make the biggest mistake: they ignore internet marketing, even though most of their local customers are online. Small businesses commit many other mistakes online every day. These are some ways to overcome this problem.
Tip #1: Always have a presence online
Local businesses make the first mistake. They assume that because they aren’t selling their products online, it means that they should not be active online. It is vital that customers have access to information about your business online. Online information can help customers overcome their fears and make a purchase decision. Let’s take, for example, a local dentist’s office; dental services are provided at the office. The first step to deciding whether or not you want to use your services is to search the internet. Even if your business isn’t investing in marketing or online advertising, you should have a website that is impressive and useful to your customers.
Tip #2: Capture leads when you are not selling online
A common error made by small businesses is not capturing enough leads through their websites. It is easy to become lazy and believe that people will call you to inquire about your product if it is available at their local store. Businesses should take advantage of this trend in today’s age where people don’t mind giving out their personal information. It’s better to have a lead fill out a form than to call. You can then keep the lead and send them an email to follow up. Imagine that hundreds of thousands of people fill out the lead form. You have a list of people to promote your product to, and you’re able to reach them when they are ready. Don’t hesitate to go big with leads.
Tip #3: Engage with your local community online
Although social media is not the best way to convert, it can be a great source of community involvement. Instagram, Twitter and Google + are great hashtag platforms that allow you to see what locals are discussing and engaging with. A small, local ice cream shop is doing a great job with Instagram. The shop’s brand is well-known for being a prominent part of the community thanks to their constant posting and hashtagging of community events. Because it is affordable and can help build a reputation in a community, small businesses should embrace social media marketing.
Tip #4: Digital Banner Ads Work Locally
Google’s display advertising network allows small businesses to create banners and have them displayed on their websites. Because the technology is so advanced, if a user lives outside of a certain area, the banner won’t display. Businesses can target only local users with Google Adwords PPC ads and Facebook ads. Although this is not the most cost-efficient option, it can deliver a bigger message to a local audience.
Tip #5: Add Localized Content to Your Website
The “contact us” page often only mentions the address of the business once. Search engines are sent a signal by the “contact us” page. Simply by including a map and listing the cities that you serve, you can increase organic traffic from nearby cities. Google might not know about a local business that serves neighboring cities. You can create pages specific to the cities that you serve with the name of the city in the title and the meta description. This will send search engines more local signals. Local businesses don’t get the localized search traffic they deserve. Many businesses don’t have any competition, and lose this traffic because Google doesn’t know that they are serving the local area.
Tip #6: Blog about Community Events
This tip is similar to Tip 5. Blog articles are a great reason to share your content on social media. Write about local events, even if they are about your college winning a tournament. A community marathon is another great example. Data has shown that your blog article may outrank the site that hosts the event. This is a great way to build your brand. Article marketing can be very effective for small retail stores. If you or your employee have the time, it’s worth it.
Tip #7: Encourage and push for online reviews
Rankings are a result of online reviews. Customers can even be guided down the conversion path by ranking, if a positive review is passed on to a customer who takes action. Local businesses are filled with satisfied customers. However, they often forget to remind happy customers to leave a review. Sometimes, the angriest customers are the ones who leave reviews. Local retail businesses should push their customers to leave honest reviews, on Yelp, Google Places or other sites.
Tip #8: Never buy links
Every time I speak to small business owners about links, I always get a smile. Then they tell me how they purchased some good links. This is a common practice that rarely succeeds. This is a dangerous practice that small businesses should abandon immediately. It is not safe. Most websites selling links suffer. Google is not a trick anymore. It is not worth taking the chance. Online marketing campaigns should be all-natural and have only quality.
Tip #9: Don’t neglect your marketing offline
Online marketing can often be complemented by offline marketing. Although offline marketing can take more time and money, the offline buzz can often convert to online searches and interaction. This can lead to social shares, leads and conversions as well as natural links. Hilarious commercials are often hashtagged because they direct the viewer to an online community on their favorite social media platform. If the funds are available, this builds brand equity and is well worth the effort.
Tip #10: Be Different and Creative
Advertising and marketing today can be very cookie-cutter. Because most start-ups market via Kickstarter, people often associate the word “start-up” with the brand Kickstarter. The most popular social media platforms will be used for social media marketing. Google and Bing are the most popular search engines for search engine marketing. PR marketing is usually done through the largest online news sources. Each marketing campaign will follow a consistent pattern. Small businesses need to hire creatives. Creatives are the backbone of some of the most successful ad agencies around. When it comes to getting noticed, creativity is essential. Companies can be creative while sticking to the same marketing patterns. Creative can be a combination of being innovative, funny, or controversial. You don’t need to go through nine levels of management in order to get a project approved at the small business level. Your advantage is creativity. A business can be elevated by creativity.