Getting everything aligned with your small business and marketing for new customer acquisition can be overwhelming.
So I’m going to give you some of the best, proven ways, and then you can decide which ones you want to use for your local business.
How would you like to have a consistent flow of new sales leads coming into your business like clockwork every month, without you having to do all kinds of tedious hard work?
That’s what you’re going to discover with my #1 strategy for local small businesses looking for more new customers.
Yes, there is some work involved to get it going, but there are plenty of people who can help you with it if you don’t have the time or inclination.
But, once you know what to do, you’ll be able to formulate a plan that works with your budget.
I’ll also give you several additional strategies small business owners use to get new customers.
Let’s get to it!
Online Small Business And Marketing Strategies
Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
What is local SEO?
In a nutshell, local SEO involves how you optimize your website to rank better for a local audience when they search for your products and services using one of the search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, or others.
There are two aspects to look at: “on-page” and “off-page” SEO factors.
For a more detailed local SEO information you can click here and read through the top of the page.
Here are some of my reasons for recommending Local SEO.
First, the vast majority of your best prospects will search for products and services they buy locally using Google or one of the other search engines (Bing, Yahoo).
Look at these statistics.
- 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. (imForza)
- Over 5.5 billion searches are performed on Google every day. (Internet Live Stats)
- Local information is the main goal of 46% of all Google searches. (SEO Roundtable)
- 60% of Google searches are done via mobile devices. (Statista)
- 1 in 3 smartphone searches is made before the store visit. (Think With Google)
- If done right, SEO can drive a 14.6% conversion rate. (Crazy Egg)
- 89% of marketers say SEO is successful. (quicksprout.com)
And there are dozens and dozens of additional stats regarding the importance of applying the SEO strategy to your small business.
Before the Internet, when someone wanted to find a local business to buy something, they “let their fingers do the walking through the yellow pages (remember them?)”. Now they let their fingers punch in keywords to the search engines, mainly Google.
A study by Forbes of smartphone users confirmed the statistics above showing that the payoff from local SEO actually delivers prospects through the doors of local businesses.
That study revealed that 95% of smartphone users perform local searches, 61% call the business and then 59% visit the business.
That’s the bottom line isn’t it? To drive new hot prospects to your business where you can turn them into paying customers. That’s what this small business and marketing strategy will do for you.
One downside to local SEO is that it can take a few months to kick in and really start yielding the benefits. However, once you get it working for you, it works non-stop 24/7/365.
So, that’s why you need to start with your SEO now and get it working for you ASAP. You are literally losing new customers that could have been yours every day that you wait.
One of the main tactics local business owners use for SEO is content marketing. This is where you use your blog to create helpful content for your target audience built around targeted keywords.
For more information about content marketing you can read a Wikipedia article by clicking here.
Even if you use some of the other strategies here (and you should), optimizing your website for local SEO should be of primary importance for your small business to be successful as a long-term strategy.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Another popular small business marketing tactic local business owners use is Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.
What is PPC?
PPC is an online advertising method where advertisers pay each time a user clicks on one of their online ads.
For local advertising the most popular platforms are Google Adwords, Facebook advertising and Bing.
Sometimes a local business will use PPC in conjunction with SEO, but most small business owners that I’ve worked with will usually focus on one or the other. And if you do your local SEO correctly, chances are you won’t even need PPC.
One of the biggest benefits of PPC is that it gives your business immediate exposure. So, you can reach your target audience even if you just started a business the day before and no one knows it’s open.
One of the drawbacks is that it can be very expensive. If you’re going to use PPC you had better track your results carefully and make sure you know the ROI you get from it.
Unless you have good experience doing your own PPC campaigns, you’ll need to hire someone to set up and manage your campaigns for you. That will cost you even more money.
And there are a lot of ancillary tasks that go with a properly executed PPC campaign like developing and testing ad copy, landing pages and incorporating email auto-responder sequences for your sales funnels. It can get quite involved.
Here’s a quick comparison between PPC vs. SEO.
- According to Search Engine Watch, organic search (SEO) wins clicks 94% of the time, leaving PPC with 6%.
- As far as individual PPC ads and SEO listings are concerned, the average Click Through Rate (CTR) for a Google PPC ad is about 2 ½ percent (depending on who you listen to). Ads higher on the page usually get a better CTR.
- An SEO listing at the top of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) can often get a 30%+ CTR. That’s a huge advantage over a PPC ad.
- Where conversion to actual sales is concerned, databox.com did a study showing that when considering “the channel that generates the most sales for their businesses,” the responses they got clearly favored SEO at 70%, while PPC had 30%.
- According to quicksprout.com, “The bottom line is you’ll pay a lot more for your traffic with PPC than with SEO…” So, make sure you have a good-sized budget if you decide to use PPC.
So, SEO yields more clicks, higher conversion rates and more sales than does PPC.
And keep this in mind…
If your PPC budget gets used up before the end of the month (or on certain days, or times of a day when your budget is used up), your business may be virtually invisible online at that point.
Those searching at that point will find your competitors instead if they’re doing well with their own SEO.
For more information about PPC you can click here.
I went into a little more depth about local SEO and PPC because those are the two I’m asked about most, and people seem to want more clarity where they’re concerned.
Social Media For Small Businesses
I suggest you start with Facebook, and then add other social media platforms as you go.
And don’t overdo it.
Just because there are so many social media opportunities doesn’t mean you need to use them all.
Keep in mind that they all take time and effort if you want to make the best use of them. Especially building up a following for each.
I’ve seen business owners spend way too much time working on content for their social media, and they have had less than 50 or 100 people following them. Their social media looked great, but very few people where there to see it.
Other popular social media platforms include the following.
Here are some ideas for you when it comes to developing content for your social media. And it can work hand in hand with your small business and marketing content strategy I mentioned earlier.
You don’t always have to talk about your business, products and/or services. Mix it up. Make your blog a go-to source for interesting things about your town.
- Write blog posts about your community like local events and sports (success for teams at high schools, little league, soccer, etc.).
- Write stories about local people who are noteworthy, interesting or have done extraordinary things in their lives.
- Write about the history of your town, what local charities are doing for the community and how people can get involved.
And, yes, talk about what your business can do for the people you serve. Like “Six Ways To Relieve Low Back Pain” if you’re a chiropractor. Tips on how to remove carpet stains if you’re in the carpet cleaning business. You get the idea.
Social media is a big topic and can get overwhelming. So, I’ve embedded a video below to give you the basics in just a few minutes.
If you want more in depth information about how to use social media for your small business you can click here for an article by an expert who will get into the details with you.
Offline Small Business And Marketing Strategies
I’ve focused on the online marketing strategies because they’re newer and not as well understood. However, the traditional offline marketing strategies are still working and should be considered as well.
I won’t go into detail because my guess is that you’re already familiar with them.
Many people have written off direct mail when email marketing became so popular. Reasons included no printing and postage costs to deal with, and email results come in within hours, not days or weeks.
However, direct mail still works and can give you a good ROI as well.
Some of the things to consider include using postcards, coupon mailers and direct mail magazines.
To save on postage costs you might want to think about going with “saturation” mailing lists.
Saturation mailings are sent to the majority of addresses within a carrier route of a zip code. They’re sorted in “walk sequence,” and because they are so efficient for the USPS to deliver they qualify for the lowest bulk postage rates.
A good use for them is when you want to mail to everyone within a certain radius of your business. Often, a business will use this kind of mailing for postcards.
The Other Usual Suspects
Other popular offline marketing channels include the ones you’re likely well familiar with like newspapers, magazines, television, radio and billboards. You know them, so I won’t elaborate here, but don’t forget about them.
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