Local businesses don’t always have the capacity to hire a marketing agency, or even a marketing consultant or freelancer to help them with their digital marketing. That shouldn’t mean they need to be at a disadvantage. The digital marketing tips that follow highlight a few of the marketing strategies small local businesses can implement with relative ease. Now is the time to make sure your business is not only on the high street but also on the digital map. Which is exactly where we’re going to begin.
Digital Marketing Tips You Can Action Right Now
Google My Business
If you haven’t already, make sure you complete your free Google My Business profile without delay. It’s quick, easy, and essential. As far as digital marketing tips for local businesses go, this should top everyone’s list — which is why it tops ours. With the majority of people now searching for businesses on mobile, or using the ‘near me’ search term, having a Google My Business profile ensures your business details appear when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search or Maps.
Similarly, you should also claim your business page on Yelp. Yelp is a business directory/social network hybrid. Users add personal reviews and ratings based on their experiences with businesses, effectively turning the site into a digital word-of-mouth forum. As a local business, it’s a great way to help people get to know you. Make sure you include important business information in your profile such as opening hours and contact numbers to make it easier for people to find you. You can also add photos to showcase your business at its best.
Reviews and Testimonials
Following on, but keeping to the same theme, one of the best digital marketing tips for any business, big or small, is to gather social proof. Display testimonials and reviews on your website. Encourage customers to leave feedback on your various social media profiles. Gather as much anecdotal evidence as you can to demonstrate that people rate your business. Then share it everywhere.
Local businesses need to leverage their social media presence, perhaps more than most. Social media is a free resource with a guaranteed audience. Make sure you build up your presence, choosing your channels carefully to best suit your business. Social media marketing is extremely versatile, and if done well, can be of great benefit to local businesses.
How do you know if someone’s mentioned your business online? There are a number of monitoring tools you could use, but as a small business, you need something quick and easy to set up and automate. Enter Google Alerts. This is a top tool for any business. Simply set the alert criteria (your business name, your name, etc.) and you’ll receive email alerts every time these are mentioned with a link to the source. It’s a great way to keep track of what people are saying about your business online.
As a small local business, you need to tap into as many networks as you can. A little bit of self-promotion never hurt anyone. Better still, get your employees, friends, and family to be your advocates and promote your business for you. Specifically, get them to like, share, and comment on any posts you make on social media. Their engagement will help make your business more visible to an even greater audience.
Content marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, a simple weekly blog is enough to help a small local business improve its online visibility. Blogging is a great way to showcase your knowledge and highlight what your business has to offer. If you’re unsure how or where to start with blog writing, check out our guide on how to generate blog ideas.
Digital Marketing Statistics for Local Businesses
Finally, just in case you needed proof that all of the digital marketing tips mentioned above were worth actioning, here’s a summary of some key stats:
- 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34).
- Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.
- 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written within the past 2 weeks.
- 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars
- 80% of 18-34-year-olds have written online reviews – compared to just 41% of consumers over 55.
- 91% of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews. (source)