Marketing is always changing. Gone are the days of running newspaper, television and radio ads, online advertising is the king now. Local businesses seem to be lagging behind when it comes to having online presence and making the most out of the internet. These are the top 5 ways to promote your local business online. All of these are either free or less than $3 per day.
1. Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization or SEO is the strategy of trying to get your business to appear at the top of search results on Google, Bing and other search engines. If you own a pizza place in Raleigh, you want your business to pop up first when someone searches for pizza in Raleigh.
You can hire a professional to help you with this, but there are a few simple ways to help yourself. For one, you have to have a functional website. Your website does not have to be fancy, a home page with a few pictures of your service/product, a contact page and a blog. The blog is important, the more content you put out, the better your business will perform in search engines. You have to be putting out high quality content though. This could be a behind the scenes look at how your pizza is made or a blog about a team member, but you have to provide some value with your blog posts.
2. Active Social Media
This is so easy to do, but so many local business owners don't do it. You have to have active Instagram and Facebook pages to promote yourself online, it is that simple. Being active includes posting high quality content, like on your blog. It also include engaging with your target market, if someone comments on your pictures you have to respond. If someone tags your business in a post repost it. Social media is such an easy way to make a personal connection with people in your target market.
Sending out emails to your customers is another easy way to keep them engaged and keep your business at the front of their minds. These emails can be newsletters, detailing what is going on with your business or you can email your customer base different coupons. Emailing your customers on a regular basis helps you to create a connection with them, it shows your customers you're thinking about them and value their business.
4. Local Influencers
Local influencers are normal social media users in your target market that will post on their social media accounts about your business. The concept is pretty simple, people listen to friends not ads. We'll go back to the pizza place, if you see Joe's Pizza say that Joe's Pizza is the best or your see someone you follow on Instagram say Joe's Pizza is the best, who are you going to trust more?
Since local influencers are just normal social media users in your area they are less expensive than what you may think and provide the highest return on investment of any online marketing. For every $1 spent with local influencers, businesses earn $6.50!
An easy way to start using local influencers is REACHur.com. All you have to do is determine your target market and what you want them to post and REACHur takes care of the rest.
Collaborating with other local businesses is a great way to leverage different audiences in the same area. These collaborating can be as simple as your pizza place sponsoring a local little league team. Another way to collaborate would be social media giveaways. Let's say your pizza place teams up with a local ice cream shop to giveaway $25 gift cards to your businesses. With both of you promoting it on social media, your pizza place will not only be promoted to your followers but also to the ice cream shop's followers. This is also another great way to build meaningful relationships with customers.
These are 5 easy ways to promote your local business online. You can certainly try all 5 ways or you can pick and choose which works best for you. The bottom line is you have to try to build relationships with local people in your target market. It is easier than ever to talk to your customers and get to know them, so take advantage of it!