Digital marketing for local and small businesses doesn’t have to be difficult. Many companies see it as a daunting task that takes too much time, money and a whole team of people. Sometimes they are right, but most of the time they are just trying to do too much at once. Internet marketing as a whole encompasses a wide variety of activities, but local and small businesses don’t have to do all of them.
Many small businesses need specific online marketing and strategies that work for them and take advantage of them. This blog is especially helpful for local and small businesses, such as electricians, plumbers, heating and air conditioning, cleaning companies, restaurants, lawyers, and other types of small businesses. My goal is for you to get at least one takeaway that will have a positive impact on your company’s digital marketing efforts. OK? Here we go…
Your website is the face of your business online. It’s a marketing brochure for your brand, services, what your company stands for and the type of customers you work with. It should therefore contain all the important things about your company. This makes it easy for someone to find the information they need before deciding to contact you. With regard to creating a website, there are plenty of great companies that can design and build a site for you. Before contacting any of these companies, make sure you do your research so you know what to expect. The best tip I have for building a site is to…keep it simple.
Keeping a website simple can be very good for the user experience, the maintenance and management of the website, and especially for SEO (search engine optimization). Here’s an example of a basic overview that includes everything a visitor needs to know about your business. This overview still leaves room to expand your site and create more content with SEO in mind.
- Individual service pages (including photos and/or videos of previous work – if applicable)
- FAQ page
- Testimonials / Success Stories / Reviews
- About us
- Contact us
One thing to keep in mind is the type of images and copy on your site. Many companies decide to use stock images and fairly generic texts. I would recommend a different route as this is a great opportunity for local businesses to show that they are human and that their business has personality. This is where you can beat big brands. To break this down a bit:
For images, use photos of real projects or services you’ve done in the past. Spend some time thinking about what kind of images you want to display on your website. Then hire a photographer (yes, definitely spend money on this) to get the photos you want for your website.
For the copy, hire a copywriter who has done work for companies in your industry before. Make sure you give them enough input so they know exactly what you’re looking for and they stay in line with your brand’s tone of voice. And make sure they have experience writing SEO texts – that’s very important. 😉
Finally, make sure your website works on all screen sizes so that people can view it on all devices (computer, tablet, and smartphone). A responsive design or a separate mobile-specific version is a must. If you already have a website, I highly recommend going through the SEO technical audit checklist to make sure it’s optimal and will perform well in search engines like Google and Bing.
Reviews are VERY important to your company’s reputation. When it comes to contacting you, the customer may base their decision on positive or negative reviews. That’s why it’s a good one to respond to any review.
Similar to using real images of your work and developing text that gives your site personality, answering reviews shows people that you are human. Local and small businesses need to show they care about the customer. If someone gives you a positive review, thank them. If someone else gives you a negative review, respond as you would if someone were to give you negative feedback in person. This shows that you care about what people say about your business and that you want to engage with your customers even after you’ve worked with them. I would like to emphasize two things here:
Our company responds to all types of reviews. Even five star reviews get attention, which is important because it shows the customer that you care about their feedback and that their business is important to you. This is a tactic that can help you get a customer for life.
The response to a bad review doesn’t just stop with an explanation. It goes one step further and asks the person to contact the general manager (including contact information) so they can learn more about their customer experience. This is a good tactic to (hopefully) change someone’s mind after a not-so-great or misinformed customer experience.
Additionally, reviews can boost your company’s position in search engine results and help you outrank your competition. Ask for ratings on sites like Google and Facebook so you have a diverse rating profile across a number of websites. Once you’ve received reviews, check them weekly so you can respond to them and connect with past customers. A good resource to learn more about why ratings are important is MOZ’s local ratings and reviews resource.
Businesses of all sizes should use social media. Create a company page, update it with all the necessary information and use it regularly. Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter can be very helpful in promoting a business. In addition, they are great sites to promote your services and post original content such as blogs and videos. Use them correctly and you can find your market (aka customers), interact with it and increase your following. Social media signals are also starting to affect SEO.
Some websites may have already created a generic page for your business. It’s good to go through all the major profile sites for local and small businesses and see which ones have done this. Once you’ve identified the sites with your profile, you can simply request to take ownership of the page and update it with all the correct information. Here’s a small list of sites you can check:
We’re making a list here:
- Google My Business
- LinkedIn company page
- The Telephone Directory
- Opening Hours.nl
- Customer Stories
Now that you’ve taken the time to create and/or finalize your business profiles, update them with the most current data and include photos if possible. Then identify the ones that are most effective and start using them to your advantage.
A high-quality audience can be reached through email marketing. People who sign up for your emails ask you to communicate with them. You can do this by highlighting any specials and deals you may be offering, notifying them of new blog posts or resources on your site, or simply sending a monthly update on what your company has been up to and what’s going on. awaits. An easy tip to keep in mind is to keep the email short but sweet.
When used correctly, email marketing can be one of your most converting marketing channels. Keeping your emails short is a great way to keep people engaged, while still getting your message across. People can get overwhelmed if they get too much information. If the goal is to get someone to click on a link, write an enticing description and include an appropriate call-to-action (CTA). If your business has a new deal or promotion, tell customers exactly what it is and how to get it.
Another thing to keep in mind is not to overdo it with email marketing. If a company sends out too many emails, people may become uninterested or annoyed. This can lead to people unsubscribing from your mailing list, which is counterproductive to your email marketing goals in the first place.
While content marketing is not always the most important online marketing task, it can be very helpful for many reasons:
- Building leadership by answering questions on the internet
- Increase your online footprint by being active on forums and question and answer sites
- Both organic and paid social promotion of services and original content
- Link building by establishing relationships with bloggers and online influencers
Content marketing for local and small businesses can certainly take time to get it right. It’s one of those tasks that you can do more easily if you have some time to devote to it. You need to determine the exact strategy, which means finding the right websites with the discussions and content you can participate in. This is also a very good way to find new blog and page topics for your website. If someone has a question that requires a longer answer, write about it and post the full answer on your site. You can then reply to the person on the site where you found the topic and redirect them to the full answer on your website.
A few things to keep in mind before embarking on any of these tactics include:
First, make sure you have specific goals. This could be getting more organic traffic, increasing your social media following or getting more qualified leads. Each of these tips can help you achieve your goals and succeed in the ever-changing digital world.
The second thing to remember comes from my note in tip #1 about websites. Keep it simple. Don’t think too much about things, which means less action can take place. Don’t be afraid to dive in and familiarize yourself with every aspect. The sooner you start taking action, the sooner you will find digital marketing successes for your local or small business.