A lot of local small businesses are still trying to find their footing in a post-COVID world. And while the new normal of a digital-meets-physical shopping experience is always evolving, there is still a strong place for local brick-and-mortar businesses in the mix.
97% of people learn more about a local company online than any other medium. So, how does a small business turn that digital traffic into foot traffic and get customers to their physical store? We’ve rounded up the top 10 local marketing strategies to help you do exactly that.
What is Local Marketing?
Local marketing is simply a marketing strategy that targets customers within a certain radius of your physical location. It’s great for any business with a brick-and-mortar location, but it’s crucial for locally based businesses who rely on in-person transactions.
For example, if you run a restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri, then driving traffic to your website from upstate New York isn’t going to help. Instead, you should focus on reaching people who live near enough that they would actually visit your restaurant in person or order delivery.
The key is to accurately define your target audience. Once you understand their demographics – who they are, what they’re looking for, and specifically their geographic location – then you can pinpoint exactly where to concentrate your local marketing resources.
When it comes to reaching and attracting local customers, there are a lot of simple and affordable things you can do at little or no cost to your business. Read on for the greatest local marketing hits of this summer – and beyond.
1. Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Google is the first place your customers go when they search for a business online. One of the easiest and most effective local marketing strategies you can employ immediately is claiming your Google My Business listing.
A well-maintained Google My Business listing gets 5x more views than a listing which hasn’t been claimed by their owner. In fact, customers are 2.7x more likely to consider a business reputable if they see a complete listing on Google Search and Maps. Each view is a potential new customer. And you can’t afford to miss out on those opportunities.
2. Get Local Reviews
In addition to your Google My Business listing, create and claim listings on third-party sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Better Business Bureau, etc. Setting these up legitimizes your online presence and helps with word-of-mouth marketing. It’s also a great spot for customers to leave reviews.
Don’t be afraid to ask your satisfied customers to leave a positive review online. Then take time to respond. Be sincere and avoid any cookie-cutter or generic responses. Seeing a genuine response from a local business owner shows that you care about your customers, which goes a long way toward building both your online and in-person reputation.
3. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
Did you know that 88% of mobile online searches for local businesses result in either a call or business visit within one day? A mobile-friendly website is critical to attracting new business, especially local customers.
One of the first things you need to do before implementing any other local marketing strategies is ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Confirm that it loads quickly and seamlessly on a mobile device. Adjust the layout and format to make it easier for current and potential customers to browse on the go. This includes things like showing bigger text, form fields, menus and buttons.
The easier you can make it for people to navigate your mobile site, the more likely they are to find what they’re looking for.
4. Localize Your Website
Make the content on your website relevant to your local audience and keep the language consistent across all your digital spaces, including social media and digital ads. This means incorporating location-specific terms. For example, instead of “chocolate shop,” your homepage could read “best chocolate shop in St. Louis.”
Don’t forget to add location or contact pages to your website, especially if you have more than one location. These pages include your business name, address, phone number, and any other relevant information about your business. This also helps you rank higher on local Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
5. Go Local on Social Media
Social media marketing is crucial for your local marketing efforts. Just like your website, your social media channels should be localized. This means keeping your page updated with all the latest information, like your store hours and contact info. It also means staying active and posting regularly about what’s going on in your business.
Most platforms offer a ton of options to localize your pages, from setting a location in your profile to tagging the location of each post. You can also share local hashtags in the caption or comments.
6. Localize Your Paid Advertising
Targeted digital advertising is another powerful way to connect with local customers. Include relevant keywords to your ad copy – like your region, city, and even neighborhood – in order to reach your local audience.
7. Leverage Your Ecommerce Efforts
If you conduct business both in person and online, you can use your ecommerce activity to boost your local business. For example, you can offer free in-store pickup or returns for online purchases or tie in an in-store promotion to online purchases. For customers who find you online, these strategies help to get them in the door.
8. Utilize Local Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies for small businesses. While it can sometimes be difficult to tell where a user is located based on an email address, there are ways to filter users by location. For example, create a sign-up sheet at your store and keep it by the point of sale. That way, you know the people who give you their email address 1) want to receive updates and promotions from you and 2) live close enough to shop locally.
9. Don’t Rule Out Local Media
Advertising on local media is still alive and well. Whether it’s advertising on the local morning radio show or placing an ad in the local newspaper, getting exposure through local media can help bring in new customers. Plus, it helps to build your reputation around town and highlights your role in the community.
10. Be Active in Your Community
Speaking of your role in the community – when you support your community, they are more likely to support you. People love having civic pride, and that includes their neighborhood businesses. Whether it’s sponsoring a local event or participating in community activities, non-profits, and organizations, this is a smart and meaningful way to gain loyal customers.
Need additional help with your local marketing strategies? The Fly Pages team is here to save the day! Reach out for a free 30-minute consultation today.