The sooner you get started on strategizing your marketing efforts, the sooner you will see meaningful results.
Small business owners are faced with a lot of decisions and responsibilities – marketing strategy and customer growth being at the heart of many of them.
It’s important to focus on marketing your business, yet more than 70% of local businesses spend less than $500 a month doing so. We understand you need to spend limited budgets wisely and it can be a struggle to determine how best to keep customers walking through the doors. So how do you attract clients while watching your budget? Simply put, strategize and localize.
The Importance of Strategy
Your local marketing campaigns are only as successful as the strategy behind them. Without planning beforehand and analyzing the results afterwards, you will probably feel like you’re throwing spaghetti at a wall waiting to see what sticks. Before rolling out a marketing campaign, business owners must know who they’re targeting and what results would be considered a win. Otherwise, how else will you know if it was worth the time and money invested?
Where are you as a business right now, and where would you like to be? Take that answer and establish a clear game plan to work from. Then track and measure growth (or lack of) and tweak your strategy moving forward to move closer to your goal.
Research Your Competition
Take a look at what your competition is doing well. What’s different about their website? How often are they posting on social media, and what content do they publish? Where do they rank on a Google search for your key phrase? One of the quickest ways to determine what you could, should, or shouldn’t be doing is to see what your competitors are up to. We absolutely don’t mean you should copy everything they do. Simply, take the marketing principles they’re using as inspiration for yours. You can even search across the nation for small businesses like yours to see what’s working for them in their local community if it applies to yours.
Local Strategy Focus
Now that you’ve taken a look at what types of marketing you could be implementing, it’s time to focus on your overall strategy to reach your ideal client. Today, we’ll focus on hyper-local marketing, SEO, and social media marketing.
The sooner you get started on strategizing your marketing efforts, the sooner you will see meaningful results – and will know how you achieved them.
A niche advertising approach often goes hand in hand with a small business’ local marketing strategy. Essentially, you’re looking to reach a certain group of people who need your services, and it’s better to target that small group than everyone in your community. Networking with other local businesses who deal with your ideal clientele can strengthen community ties as well as facilitate future partnerships. And if you’re looking to reach a specific group of people consistently (and easily), a great way to do so is through niche print advertising. For example, BeLocal magazines are mailed free to new movers in a community to help welcome them to the area. Advertisers in those publications are looking to reach new movers so their business is the first one on the minds of these residents when a need in their industry arises.
If you really get into the mindset of your clients, you’ll figure out what form of advertising they’ll actually appreciate. Better yet, you’ll be able to send them a customized message that truly resonates because you’ve made an effort to reach them on a hyper-local level.
Along with a powerful, user-friendly website, SEO (search engine optimization) must be covered in your overall marketing plan. Especially for a local business, location-specific SEO can help your business stand out online as potential customers search for services or products in your area. Consistent blog content, informative videos, and eye-catching social media posting are great ways to boost SEO. And of course, a website sprinkled with the key phrases your customers will be searching for online is a great place to start.
If SEO seems intimidating, think of it this way: pretend you’re a potential customer with a need to find a local provider. Open Google, and search for what you need. At this point, if your business doesn’t show up at the top of the list, notice what business does. What search phrases and terms did you use to find what you were looking for? In this scenario, your competitors are ranking higher than you for those keywords and phrases. This means you need to publish copy online (on your website, blog posts, social media content, etc.) that include those search terms. Google is always scanning new copy that’s added online, so you could see your business move up in Google rank in just a matter of days or weeks!
If used correctly, social media can be one of your company’s greatest assets. To be successful at social media marketing, it helps to set aside time each month to plan out content and determine a regular posting schedule. After all, it’s worse to have a social media profile with no updates or with incorrect or outdated information than it is to not have one at all. Research the questions and topics your customers are interested in, as well as what times and days they are most active on Facebook and Instagram. (Once you have a following on your business page, Facebook will provide analytics that tell you when they’re most active – no guessing necessary.) Knowing these patterns of your customers will help you reach your unique audience and ultimately help them by providing great information about your product or service. There’s so much you can do with social media. Use it as a platform to position yourself as the local expert in your field, not just a provider. And, of course, connect with your customers.
Do you use your great online reviews in your marketing efforts? You should. The majority of consumers read online testimonials and reviews as a part of the buyer decision process, so reviews carry a great deal of weight in their consideration. In fact, most people say online reviews are just as trusted as having a recommendation from a friend or family member. Monitor the reviews your business receives, both negative and positive. Make sure to follow up with everyone, and then use the 5-star testimonials on your website, social media, and newsletters to spread the good word.
Do you have plenty of satisfied customers but not very many reviews to prove it? Don’t be shy! Many times all it takes to get a good review is simply to ask for one. If you send customers a follow-up email thanking them for their support, the CTA (call to action) should be to share about their experience online. Provide a link to make it as easy to do so as possible. Maybe you communicate with your customers via text. Again, send a quick “thank you,” along with a link for them to share their experience for others to see.
The sooner you get started on strategizing your marketing efforts, the sooner you will see meaningful results. Remember, a well-thought-out plan goes a long way, and checking in to make sure your campaigns and strategies are working how you want them to is just as important. Keep in mind the best marketing plans take time to grow and develop, so don’t get discouraged if you aren’t seeing the exact results you want right away.
If becoming a BeLocal advertising partner sounds like you would be reaching your ideal clients (you area’s new homeowners), contact your local Area Director today.