You probably own a local business, it’s up and running well, getting some decent ROI, you also have some customers/clients on board but, if you are probably still being “old-school” & don’t use Digital Marketing techniques yet, then my friend, you are missing out on a lot in your business!
Don’t take me wrong. Being “Old-School” isn’t wrong in anyway. But in this Digital era, it probably isn’t very sufficient to just use traditional marketing techniques if you want to take your Local Business further, reach more people, convert them into leads and increase our business’ overall ROI.
If you would like to have a digital presence, reach more customers, grow your business to new heights but not sure where to start from, then, worry not because I’ve got your back!
This article is all about how one can grow their local business with the help of Digital marketing.
WHY GO DIGITAL? :
Now, you might still be wondering when the traditional marketing methods are working fine then why go digital at all? Let me tell you why.
Digital Marketing Methods are :
- COST EFFECTIVE
- REACH PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD
- HELPS BUILD A PERSONAL BRAND
- AVAILABILITY OF VARIOUS TOOLS TO UNDERSTAND CUSTOMER REQUIREMENTS & BUSINESS PERFORMANCE and many more.
HOW TO HAVE A DIGITAL PRESENCE?
Now You might ask me, advantages are all great but how to actually achieve a digital presence for my local business at all?
Here’s the answer :
1. START WITH A WEBSITE :
As obvious as this step might seem, it is one of most important steps to build a web presence. A Website is where your Digital Marketing Strategies & campaigns for you local business will be majorly implemented & this is how people will discover your business and probably become your customers for life, hence, I would recommend to not skip this step.
It helps develop a trust with your customers. The customers will be able to contact your local business directly from the contact information you provide.
Before we begin, let me be frank here. You must be willing to spend some bucks for the website. Yes, you definitely can make a website for free, but not always that’s a great idea. By purchasing Domain & Hosting for your website you will have a much better control over it.
In order to build your website you need to do the following :
Purchase Domain & Hosting :
These are the most crucial part of your website. Domain is the name of your website.
For ex: in www.srirakshavasu.com , “srirakshavasu” is my domain name. Whereas, Hosting is the place where your website’s content is stored.
For the Domain :
Domain name can be the name of your local business your are running already. If you are a beginner, not sure about niche/industry yet, then may be just go with your name.
- Choose a domain name which is easy to spell and read.
- If your are going with a niche based name then you can include the associated keywords in the name.
For Ex: For a Photography website you can the words “Photography”, “Clicks”, “Photographers” etc.
- Try to avoid symbols, special characters or numbers as much as possible as they might be difficult to remember.
- Don’t create a long domain name. Keep it quite short like up to two to three words max.
Now, Make a list of domain name you would want. Do keep some variations of names handy as you will have to check if it is available or not.
Also, while registering your domain name, crosscheck the spelling without fail. Because once you register it, there is no way you can change it.
Let’s check if the domain name you want is available or not. To do that, simply search “domain name finder tool” in Google and check if your desired domain name is available or not.
Once you are sure its available, then find the best Domain & Hosting providers.
Below mentioned are my recommendations :
PS : It is recommended to purchase Domain and Hosting from two different providers.
Go through all the providers and their plans and choose the one that fits your budget and requirements.
For the Hosting :
The steps to purchase both hosting are easily available on the internet.
- Once you purchase the hosting, install WordPress on your blog. You should be able to do that in the C-Panel section of your hosting. Follow the steps and complete the registration & Setup.
After the setup is complete,
- Log in to your WordPress dashboard and install some necessary plugins like : Yoast SEO, WP Forms, Akismet Spam Protection, WP Rocket, LiteSpeed Cache, XML Sitemaps etc.
- Also do not forget to get an SSL certificate to get “https://” for your website. It is crucial for your website security.
PS: Always go with Self hosted WordPress blogs. That way all your data will be in your control.
After you are done setting up your website, do the following :
- Create a simple yet informative Homepage –
This page should contain all the information about your local business. Like, what your business is about, what services or products you provide, how your business can benefit the customers, what your company has achieved so far, client testimonials etc. So I would recommend you use a Static homepage.
- Use Menus and properly categorize all your posts, products page, contact pages etc. It is also good for SEO purposes.
- Make sure your website can be easily accessed on all devices like Computer, Tablets, Mobile Phones.
- Also make sure your website loads faster.
- Keep a simple and easily navigable theme.
Create a unique logo :
A logo is the visual representation of your company/business. It distinguishes you from your competitors. It will be used in all the platforms your business exists like your website, social media channels, visiting cards (Physical or Digital) etc.
- Create a logo which clearly represents your local business.
- Make sure the logo is very simple and minimal.
- Don’t try to add too many elements in it.
2. IMPLEMENT SEO & IMPROVE THE WEBSITE RANKING :
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION also known as SEO refers to the process of optimizing your website for search engines in order to rank high in SERP’s (Search Engine Results page) and get more traffic organically.
As this is an organic approach not paid, it sure takes a little time to deliver the results. This surely will not work wonders overnight but it will give you the best results in the long run.
Benefits of SEO :
- Organic reach converts better then paid ones. Hence you get more traffic.
- This is cost effective than SEM or PPC methods.
- More your site ranks in the top position organically, more trustworthy it feels.
- It also improves Brand Awareness.
- SEO helps improve customer experience.
- Helps understand the market better.
How to Implement SEO? :
Firstly, In order to be recognized by and rank higher in Search engines, you will have to make sure that your website in indexed in Google. Because only then will your website be shown in SERP.
Also, note that for new websites indexing does take some time. So just be patient.
To check if your website is being indexed or not :
- Go to Google and type “site:yourwebsitename.com”
- If you can see some of your website’s pages here, then Great! Your site’s being indexed.
If your site isn’t being indexed, then head over to Google Search Console,
- Sign in with your Google account.
- Add your website to your account.
- You have to verify the ownership of your website.
Submit your site’s XML Sitemap to Search console.
If you are not sure where to find it, type
Then head over to Search console > Indexing > Sitemaps and submit your sitemap.
It will take some days for you site to be indexed. It will clearly show “Success” once it’s done. So be Patient.
You can also use the URL inspection tool in Google search console. If it shows “URL is on Google”, your site is being indexed. Else, you can click on the “Request Indexing” button for the same.
Next, Learn and implement the SEO Strategies correctly.
Follow the below steps for the same.
- For any topics relevant to your business, use the right keywords in your content.
- You can use tools like Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, SEMRush, or even Google Search page itself for the Keyword Research.
- Make sure that you don’t overuse the keywords anywhere on your site.
- Publish Good and High Quality content which can resolve your target customer’s issues/queries.
- Build Backlinks.
- Perform Site Audit regularly in order to have a User-Friendly website & to understand how your website is performing. The above mentioned tools can help you with this.
Also, Know about the types of SEO and use them appropriately.
- White-Hat SEO : The type of SEO whose practices are in accordance with any Search Engine’s Terms & Conditions. This is the best type of SEO.
- Black-Hat SEO : This type of SEO includes negative practices like Keyword Stuffing, cloaking, paid link building etc. which is strictly against the Search Engine’s Terms & Conditions. Although this may give you some instant results, it will only worsen things in the long run for your website. Your site may be banned from the Search engines. So Never follow these practices on your site!
- Grey-Hat SEO : It is a type of SEO where the practices and neither like white-hat or black-hat SEO. Using these practices may lead you to loose a lot of traffic in the long run. Hence this practice isn’t recommended either.
Other types of SEO which you need to focus initially are :
- On-Page SEO : This type of SEO refers to the one in which certain parts of your site like on-page content, title tags, internal links, URL’s, images etc. are optimised for the Search Engines.
- -> Technical SEO : It refers to optimizing the technical aspects of your website like loading speed, submission of sitemap to Google, optimizing internal links etc. to help Search Engines spiders crawl & index your site more efficiently. This SEO type is also a part of On-page SEO.
- Off-Page SEO : All other optimizations that is done outside of your website like Advertising, getting client testimonials on some well know platforms, getting backlinks from credible websites etc. come under off-page SEO.
- Local SEO : This helps local Business get some visibility in local search results in search engines especially Google. This is more beneficial if your business has a physical address like shops or offices.
3. CREATE SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES & PERFORM SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING :
After creating your website & implementing SEO it’s now time to create Social Media handles. There are a lot of social media platforms out there like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest etc. Make sure you do a good research about where maximum of your target audience lies as all the available platforms may not be the best for your business.
While Instagram and Facebook does have most audiences for maximum niches, platforms like Snapchat, Pinterest may not be for all the businesses. So choose wisely.
Now, Create a new profile in the chosen platforms or optimize it if u already have one.
One more thing to consider would be to keep your business’s name exactly same in all your social media handles. Let there be uniformity in the usernames so that people can recognize your profile across all channels. Otherwise people might confuse other profiles to be yours in case one of your competitor has a similar name for their business.
Also, make sure to keep your company logo as the Display Picture across all the platforms as well.
Perform Social Media Marketing :
Before we begin lets understand the Importance of SMM :
- Recent analysis show that approximately 4 billion people use social media around the world as of 2022.
- SMM is proven to be very effective to promote your businesses.
- Helps improve Personal Brand.
- One can directly interact with their target audience easily.
- Cost-Effective for organic reach.
- Get traffic to your website via SMM
- Increase the Sales and in turn ROI of your business.
To perform SMM, make sure :
- To create a professional account instead of personal account to be able to get better analytics about your page.
- Your profile’s BIO clearly states about your local business, the products & services you provide.
- Write them in points keeping it short, simple & up to the point.
- Update your contact information like phone number or email id and your website address properly so that it is easy to contact you.
- Do good research and post relevant High quality content on the platforms. Make good use of Shortform video formats like Reels to reach people.
- Post good quality information/posts regularly.
- You can use tools like Canva to create the posts.
- While posting any content research properly, use relevant Keywords in the captions to increase your reach.
- Use the Analytics of your account to see how your page is performing.
You can also create an WhatsApp business Account so that customers can contact you directly there. Make sure you have given proper information about your business in the bio section. If you also have any products you sell, you can list them in the Catalogue section.
Next, Use LinkedIn to get clients :
LinkedIn being a proper B2B platform is one of best places for a local business to be. The platform helps you strengthen your Professional Network.
To get started :
- Create your Profile as an Individual Account preferably with your work email address.
- Next, create a page for your business.
- You can choose a relevant category for the page according to the type of your local business.
- Next, Fill out all the details about your company to Create the page.
- Next, Optimize your page by adding a Proper Description of your Business, Your Website URL, Your Industry, Your company’s achievements etc.
- You can also include Keywords related to your company in your description, preferably in the 1st paragraph.
Post nice & Original content about your Business regularly. You will also be able to hire more people to your company if needed by posting about job openings etc. You may also ask your employees to add their job title and the company on their profile.
Then start networking by sending personalised invitations to people in your industry to build connections to help your business grow in the long run. This also helps your company in getting potential clients.
4. PERFORM EMAIL MARKETING & CREATE AN EMAIL LIST :
After following all the above steps you should have a good online presence with decent amount of followers. This is a great time to start email marketing to get more leads and convert them into lifetime customers.
Email Marketing which is also a form of direct marketing refers to using email as a medium to promote your company’s service or products, do promotions, share any major updates, newsletters etc. directly with your target audience.
Make sure to execute your content marketing strategy correctly. By doing so your target audience will gain some level of trust with you as your content serves their needs. When these people sign up for your emails, they are most likely to convert as a customer.
It is up to you to play your cards right and send only relevant emails and not spam your customers so that they enjoy your mails, buy from you and become your lifetime customers.
This also gives you the advantage to contact individual customers if needed and also send personalized messages.
You can even categorize your customer base into different products and services your business has to provide and send emails accordingly.
To get people to sign up to your mails :
- Most importantly provide high quality content and include a strong CTA (Call-To-Action).
- You can provide free stuffs once in a while like eBooks, some free printables, vouchers etc.
- You can also provide some discounts or offers for your subscribers.
Some of the best email marketing tools I suggest are :
- Hubspots’s email marketing tool
Some tools can not only be used to send personalized mails, they can also be used to create awesome landing pages to generate more leads. Most of these offer some of their features for free up to certain subscribers for a user. You can also search for more tools, try them and see which works the best for your business’s needs and then stick to it.
Even if you don not wish to use too many platforms for your business never neglect email marketing along with your website. This helps in getting genuine leads who convert to lifetime customers. This will immensely benefit your business in the long run.
5. PERFORM CONTENT MARKETING :
Content marketing is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of Digital Marketing and also most crucial for a business.
Content Marketing refers to creating & sharing information in different ways like Blog posts, Videos or Audio on many different platforms like Websites, Social media or Podcasts to reach your target audience.
To be able to produce and publish good content you definitely need to have a strong strategy in place. If not, the content may not be efficient enough to reach your target audience.
To create a content marketing strategy :
- Be Clear about your Company’s Goals
- Use Customer Persona and research more to get a deeper understanding about your target audience about what type of content they prefer like blogs, videos etc.
- Also do a deeper Keyword research to understand what type of content works best for your company’s niche & what related terms are searched the most on the social media platforms you have chosen.
- Next develop a clear plan & structure your content. It should not just be relevant enough but most importantly serve your customer’s needs.
- Based on your research choose what exact topics can you make content on, in what order can you post them, when should you post them etc. Make sure you are sure about these points. More clear you are, faster you can achieve your goals.
- You can use tools like Google Calendar to schedule your content. You may also use Project management tools to stay up to date about the schedule, collaborate & communicate with your team easily and stay on top of your game.
While creating the content make sure :
- The content is Unique and neatly presented. Never copy any content from the web as it is and post it as yours. Do your research, understand the topic well and present them in your own way.
- If u are writing a blog posts, make sure you use some sort of infographics like Pictures, Graphs for any numeric data, Flowcharts etc where needed. This not just helps in SEO but also increases the time a visitor spends on your website’s page.
- Make sure you keep updating your content from time to time.
- Promote your content using Email Marketing, Ads, Landing pages etc.
6. CREATE THE CUSTOMER PERSONA :
Customer persona is a fictional representation of what your ideal target customer might look like.
To create a Customer persona consider the following points :
- Age group of your target audience
- Estimated income range
- Challenges your target audience might face
- Type of content they like (Blogs, Videos, Podcasts etc)
- Educational qualification/ job roles
- Optionally their interests or hobbies
- The social media platform they prefer
- Their buying process
- Or any other questions to help improve your business
Take a good survey to get a clear idea about your Customer Persona. You can use Google forms or services like Typeform for the same.
Create your form and post the link to your social media profiles or website using landing pages and ask your followers/visitors to fill them.
Once you have sufficient responses, you can export them to either MS Excel or Google Sheets to better analyse them.
7. USE PAID ADVERTISING METHODS :
This is also one of the effective methods to drive traffic to your website. Unlike the organic approach, paid advertising is the fastest way to get traffic.
You can use Paid Advertising platforms like Google Ads, Facebook (Meta),Instagram Ads etc.
Google Ads :
Google Ads is a Pay-Per-Click(PPC) Platform by Google which allows you to place Ads on the SERP’s by bidding for a specified Keywords.
PPC simply means that only when people click on your Ads, you pay. These Ads show up first on the SERP’s helping people discover your website and it eventually drives traffic.
Facebook/Meta Ads :
Another Effective Paid Advertising Platform is the Facebook Ads. Similar to Google Ads, Facebook Ads also gives you the option to create custom audiences for each Ad campaign you create.
Here you will have even more customizable options to help easily reach your target audience.
Also, unlike traditional methods of Advertising, Digital Advertising is more affordable and helps reach wider demographics.
So make sure you utilize these platforms well when you are just starting out. But also make sure not to advertise too much as organic methods is proven to be more viable in the long run. Hence, do put in more efforts on SEO as well.
That’s it for this article. I hope the above steps will help you scale your business.
Do let me know what you felt about the article. In case, you have any other methods that might be beneficial for Startups & Local Business get more visibility online or if you have any questions regarding this topic feel free to drop them in the comments. I’ll try my level best to answer them.
Thanks a lot for reading till here. If you found any of my articles useful, feel free to share them. Peace.