If you have a local brick and mortar business, and looking to get more new customers, here are proven online local business marketing methods you should be using.
Don’t get overwhelmed, just keep this article bookmarked and come back to it as you incorporate one of these online marketing tactics after the other. Chip away at this list over time and watch how your business grows.
Imagine what your life will look like when you don’t have to struggle getting new customers every month. Cash flow is great, your employees sense their job security because your business is booming and you can afford the lifestyle of your dreams.
These online marketing tactics will definitely help you get there.
Once you read this article, you’ll have enough knowledge to know how you should proceed. You’ll be able to talk to people who can help you take the next step even if you’re not technically minded or up on the latest online marketing methods for local small businesses.
So, start scanning below, find a good place to begin improving your online marketing efforts and take that first step.
Optimize your website for local SEO
Here are the basics.
Make sure your website is mobile friendly.
To check this simply go ask Google by clicking on the following link and entering the URL of your website into the box: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
In a couple of minutes Google will give you the answer.
Make sure you have an SSL certificate on your website showing that it’s secure.
You can tell that by looking to the left of your URL in a web browser like Google Chrome. It will show an icon of a padlock (or maybe say “Secure”).
Here are some examples of what you may find. You do not want to see the one on the bottom.
If you need an SSL certificate (SSL means “Secure Socket Layer”) contact your website hosting company. Sometimes you can get one free. If you have to pay it shouldn’t cost you more than about $50 per year.
You also want to make sure that your website has fast page load times for good online local business marketing.
For that you can go to the following website called GTmetrix, enter your website URL (like with the Google mobile friendly online tool above) and see what the results tell you.
As you can see, I need to work on my “Leverage browser caching” and “Optimize images”. For you, the person who built your website can help you with that. If not, feel free to contact me and I can refer you to someone who can do this for you.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
And when you get to the top of page one you’ve basically got the search engines acting as your virtual online customer referral service for your business. These are quality leads that turn into paying customers at a very high conversion rate.
In fact, according to Projectignite.com, organic traffic (from SEO) is the most consistent form of traffic and brings more paying customers than paid ads by up to seven times the conversion rate.
There are over 200 factors that Google uses in their ranking algorithm, but just a few of them will get you to the first page if you do them right. Backlinks to your website and on-page SEO are two of the most powerful.
Build backlinks to your website
Backlinks are simply when another website has a link back to yours.
The main benefit of building backlinks is that it greatly improves your SEO and helps your website pages get to the top of the search engine rankings… like Google. That brings more prospects to your website so you can turn them into paying customers.
For instance, maybe your local chamber of commerce has an article about your business on their blog, and they include a link to your website within the article. That’s a backlink.
Getting links from other websites to yours is the most powerful factor for your local SEO, but not just any backlink. Some are more powerful than others.
Just getting a backlink from a small website with no domain authority won’t do much good. The same is true for irrelevant links (from websites having nothing to do with your type of business).
Building backlinks is one of the hardest things to do well. So, many local businesses tend to ignore this ranking factor. Because of that, building backlinks is a great opportunity for local businesses that are willing to put in the time, or money, necessary to build quality backlinks.
If you’re interested, following is a resource from an expert on building backlinks: https://backlinko.com/newsletter
On-page local SEO factors are something that are within your control, so you should make sure you get this done.
Like backlinks, the main benefit is that good on-page SEO helps your website pages get to the top of the search engine rankings.
There are many things to consider, but I’ll give you some of the most important ones that will do your website the most good.
- Use your main keyword for each web page in the URL. An example would be: yourwebsite.com/keyword-here.
- Also use internal linking, which means you link one page of your website to other relevant pages on your website.
- Use the main keyword for your page in the first paragraph of your text.
- Optimize your images by using LSI keywords (keywords that are synonyms and related keywords to your main keyword).
- Use social sharing buttons.
- Write long, detailed and helpful content. Try to use 1,000 words, or more, if you can.
- Increase the time people stay on your website pages by using interesting images, infographics, videos, etc.
- Optimize for geo-targeted keywords – Include city names in your title, h2, meta tags, description and content.
- If you have a WordPress website, use a SEO plugin like “Yoast SEO.”
If you have a service that takes you into different cities in a wider area (like plumbers, HVAC, etc.) make sure you create different pages on your website for each city.
Some businesses that serve five or ten different cities make the mistake of putting all the cities they serve on one page and call that page “Locations”. Don’t do that. It’s not good for your SEO in the other cities where you don’t have a physical location. Have a separate page for each city you serve.
For instance, If you’re an appliance repair business located in Orange County, California, that has a physical location in Mission Viejo, and you also serve Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita and San Juan Capistrano, make sure you have a separate page on your website for each of those cities.
Here are three things that are a must for good on-page SEO.
Make sure your online page listing in the search engines read like a compelling ad so people will click on it.
Two important elements for that are your “title tag” and your “description.”
Here’s an example for how they display in Google.
Think of your title tag as the headline and the description as the body copy for a classified ad. Use your focus keyword in both and make them persuasive.
The third thing is to deliver high quality content. That’s an in-depth subject, but you can get a helpful formula for writing great content by clicking here.
This is something your website designer should be able to help you with, or maybe someone who specializes in writing website copy. Once again, let me know if you need help with this.
A good place to start may be to use a free online website analyzer to tell you where your website stands. Here’s one you can try for free if you like: https://neilpatel.com/seo-analyzer/
Get online reviews every month on a variety of review sites
The first is because they are one of the most important local factors for ranking in the search engines.
The second is due to the fact that they are a major influence when it comes to building trust with a new prospect. Reviews help bring you new customers.
When it comes to SEO rankings, Google looks for three things in particular.
- Your total number of reviews.
- Your overall star rating.
- How recent your reviews are
Google also likes to see your reviews on different third-party platforms like the following. And I’m ranking them according to the ones best for your business.
- Industry niche review sites (like Houzz, Urbanspoon, etc)
It’s also good to display reviews on your own website. The reason is because you can get it ranked on the first page of the search engines (like Google), and sometimes at the top of the page.
This is important because it can drive traffic right to your website where you can use different tactics (like website pop ups) to get an irresistible offer in front of new prospects.
For more information about generating online reviews for your business you can click on the following link.
Find The Right Local Directories For Online Local Business Marketing
This helps your business because it’s an important SEO local ranking factor, can bring more traffic to your website and helps people find your business.
The most important is your Google My Business listing. Make sure you claim it if you haven’t already, make sure all of your information is correct and then optimize it.
I could go over all of the details here, but it would be easier and faster if you click on the following Google link to check with Google right now.
You can do the same for Bing using the following link.
There are literally hundreds of directories where you could list your business, but it’s extremely time consuming for you to try and do on your own. It’s really not a good use of your time. I suggest you find someone to help you with it, and it’s not expensive.
And you should be strategic to get on the most important directories first, and they can vary depending on your business category.
If you contact me, I can run you a report to show you how your business is doing where you listings are concerned, and I’ll do it for free… no cost or obligation.
You can email me and ask for a free “Top Listing Report.”
For your information, following are some of the most important directories for your online local business marketing.
Google My Business
Best of the Web Local
Here’s an important point regarding your business listings: you want to make sure that you get your listings on hundreds of directories across the Internet and all your listings should match the NAP information (Name of Business, Address and Phone number) on your own website exactly character for character.
There’s a good way to do this, and I can tell you more about it if you contact me.
Pay Per Click Advertising For Online Local Business Marketing
One of the biggest benefits of using a local pay per click (PPC) campaign for Google, Bing, Yahoo or elsewhere is that it’s immediate and you can get eyes on your business right now.
This can work well for new businesses and those that aren’t ranking well with organic SEO as mentioned above.
Some disadvantages include the fact that they can be very expensive and they don’t normally convert as well as when someone clicks on an organic listing (from SEO).
And when your ads aren’t running – due to your budget running out or you not being willing to pay top dollar for a high listing position – your business will be invisible if you aren’t showing up on the first page in a natural organic SEO ranking.
You also need to keep in mind that there’s a lot of work to be done to create a proper marketing funnel to convert your prospects into paying customers.
Some of those things include the following.
- Set up the campaign properly within the platform you’re using (like Google Adwords).
- Write effective ads and test them to find winners.
- Create effective landing pages.
- Set up and connect an email platform (like Aweber or Mailchimp) to collect email addresses and automatically send emails to your new subscribers.
Some businesses don’t do this, and they end up failing badly and wasting a lot of money.
Here’s something else I’ve often seen with local PPC campaigns and it’s not only a huge mistake guaranteeing failure, but a clear indicator that the person running the PPC campaign is a rank amateur and does not know what they are doing.
When someone runs all the traffic (when people click on the ads) to the home page of a business website (as opposed to an effective landing page), they clearly have no idea what they are doing and they are just throwing money out the window. Don’t ever do this or allow someone to do this if you hire them to do a PPC campaign for your business.
If you don’t have any experience with executing PPC ad campaigns you would be well advised to find someone with expertise to do it for you.
Use your blog to draw traffic (content marketing)
Blogging can help your local SEO, help you engage with your community of customers and potential customers, help you build backlinks and then you can share your blog posts on your social media.
One thing you’ll want to do is to do your keyword research well and focus on one important keyword for each post. That will help you with your SEO ranking and drive traffic to your website.
If you’re looking for more ideas to blog about, here are some possibilities:
Helpful articles related to the services you provide
Local news and events
Interview local high-profile people in your community
You should also post to your blog at least one time per week and then share it on your social media.
If you would like a little help, following is a link mentioned earlier that will show you a simple process for writing articles and blog posts.
You don’t have to be a seasoned writer to be a good blogger. Just write like you talk and write on topics that are interesting to your audience.
One way to find things of interest is simply to ask your current customers (use a survey) what would be helpful for them.
To learn more about blogging basics click on the following link.
Online Local Business Marketing In A Nutshell
If you want to drive more traffic to your website to help you get more new customers, you should start by optimizing your website for on-page SEO and building backlinks to your website. And don’t forget to make sure your website is mobile friendly, has an SSL certificate and loads fast.
Generate online reviews every month, and try to get them on Google, Yelp, Facebook and your own website.
Make sure your business listings are accurate, and start with Google My Business. Optimize your Google account and use Google Posts. Also, get listed on as many directories as you can. There are hundreds of them out there.
Then start blogging and focus on important keywords, like ones related to the products and services you sell.
Do these things and you’ll drive more prospects to your website, get more new customers and grow your local business.
- Google Reviews For Local Businesses - January 24, 2020
- Email Marketing For A Small Business – The Beginner’s Guide - December 18, 2019
- Small Business And Marketing – Best Customer Acquisition Strategies - December 12, 2019