According to Stats NZ, as of 2018, there were over 160,000 small businesses in NZ. That number continues to rise and with it - the competition. In 2020 it is not enough to simply create an amazing product or offer an incredible service, you’ve also got to tell people about it. You may have heard that the internet is this magical place where your dream clients are just a few clicks away. That is partially true, but it is going to take more than a few clicks.
Marketing. You’ve got to do it. Bigger businesses can dedicate money and resources into marketing departments. Small businesses don’t have that luxury, so they need to be careful about where to invest their hard-earned money. Consider this a little cheat sheet. Here are some basic concepts we need to clarify before moving forward.
Local Business Marketing:
In the simplest terms, local marketing is the strategy of marketing a business or brand and its products and/or services to a nearby audience. Your local fish and chips shop puts their menu in your letter box. A real estate agency sponsors a children’s rugby team. A landscaping business takes out an ad in the local paper. Those are examples of local marketing.
This is also known as online or content marketing. It is the strategy of marketing a business or brand and its products and/or services over the internet. Internet marketing is a pretty broad term these days and can include content, email, search, paid media, and much, much more.
The best way for a small business to compete is to combine these two marketing strategies into what we like to call - you guessed it - Local Internet Marketing. Essentially, this is the process of marketing a business to its local community using online strategies to gain new customers and generate awareness.
So, what do you need to do to venture into the local internet marketing arena? We’ve compiled a list of the top seven ways to stay ahead of your competition and step up your local internet marketing game.
1. You need to have a fully functional website.
If your small business doesn’t have its own website or if your website is outdated and clunky, you might as well be handing profits to the competition. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is extremely important. In broad terms, it is the science behind making web pages rank higher on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Basically, you want to make sure that your website has the right keywords and their appropriate synonyms.
This is to make sure when your business keyword is typed in on google for your location, your website pops up on the first page.
2. You should start a blog for your business
The benefits of blogging are great for raising the profile of what your business does. You can use your blog to do the following:
- Highlight your customers or employees
- Talk about your products or services
- Provide a unique perspective on something happening within your industry
- Distinguish yourself as an industry leader
- Share business news and local happenings
- Provide answers/solutions to the top ten questions/problems your customers always have
- Promote other local businesses
Make sure to keep it updated, use local related keywords and share your blog posts on all your social media sites to gain traffic to your website.
3. Jump on the social media bandwagon.
Regardless of your small business’ niche or type, using social media is an absolute must, especially for a successful local marketing campaign. Geo-location based apps such as Instagram and Facebook are essential since people use tags to find close-by businesses that can supply their needs effectively. You can also target your Facebook ads to target specific locations in close proximity to your business. Make sure you share interesting and relatable content, post updates that are engaging and relevant, and participate in online conversations.
4. Google My Business will get you on the map.
This platform was built for local SEO marketing. When you register your small business, they will send you a confirmation postcard to make sure that it exists. Google (just in case you didn’t know) is practically synonymous with local search and online marketing. After your business is verified, potential customers who are close by- will have all your relevant information in one place. Your business will pop up automatically on searches based on the proximity to the person who’s searching for your type of product or services. You can upload menus, a list of services, pictures of your staff, weekly specials, and even videos on your Google My Business page to help your local audience find what they’re looking for.
5. Invest in locally-targeted Google Adwords.
You can either invest in PPC or social media ads. PPC (Pay Per click, or Google Adwords) are a standard option for managing the cost, distribution, and targeting of your ads since they are limited to who and where your ad is shown. Again, Google uses keywords as its targeting method. Social media advertising has to do with how social media content is presented, and unlike search engines, which display data from the web, a social media newsfeed shows data from your followers, friends, and family, showing them ads according to their interests.
6. Build a community with neighbouring businesses.
Cross-promotion can be done online by offering a special promotion for your customers at a non-competitive business. For example, if you have a shoe store, you can offer a coupon for a local clothing designer when people make a purchase from you. This promotion can benefit you, as your customers have an incentive to buy your product, and the local designer because they’ll have more traffic driven to their store. Also, you should consider link sharing, which is adding links to other businesses within your own website or social media content and having them add a link to your business from theirs.
7. Participate in local online and offline events.
Whether it’s a fundraiser, a fair, or a rugby game, there are activities that your community cares about and you should participate in those community events, by supporting and promoting them. For example, use your Instagram to offer a special discount coupon to anyone who shares a picture of themselves at the local game and tags your business in it. Or, attend a fundraiser and offer a freebie for anyone who shows up and checks into the event on Facebook, Foursquare or Yelp. In fact, simply posting an update about a local community event, just to raise awareness, can be a great idea for your local internet marketing strategy, helping you build buzz.
Consider trying all these ideas as you improve your local marketing strategies, and if you need help putting them together, you can reach us here and we’ll be glad to help.