With so many people performing local searches, you can’t afford not to increase your brand’s online presence.
Even if you’re a small business, learning how to properly reach your local audience online doesn’t need to be hard, so long as you are mindful of the following six steps:
1. Create a powerful website
The type of website that you create will impact how easily you can reach your audience. This is one of the very first steps that you can take in order to establish your branding. The logo that you use, the tone of your copy, and your overall theme is something that is representative of who you are as a company.
This will help people distinguish you from your competitors, but moreover, anyone that wants to search for you should be able to easily find you online.
Your website doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should include the essential information consumers need to easily contact or locate you.
Having a website helps you connect to Internet users, establish credibility for your brand, and provides a platform upon which to showcase your products and services.
“If your business takes the time to make its mark on the web, it will have access to thousands, even millions, of potential clients and customers.”
Additionally, posting quality content to your website will not only help you establish your brand as an expert in your industry, but it will also serve as a marketing tool for attracting new customers, providing value, and creating a sense of community for current customers.
2. Ensure that you are mobile friendly
Whether they’re gathering ideas and inspiration, comparing products, or searching for store locations, today’s consumers consult their smartphones throughout the entire shopping process.
With 58% of search engine searches coming from mobile devices, businesses need to recognize the critical role mobile plays in the success of their online presence.
“Smartphones are a new front door to the businesses around us,” says Lisa Gevelber, vice president of marketing at Google. “We see more and more people turn to their phones prior to making an offline purchase.”
3. Choose the best social media platform
As a small business owner, you may not have the bandwidth to market your company on a multitude of social media networks. And even if you do, it may yield very little compared to the time and effort you spent on it.
“While Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest each offer a unique set of benefits, engaging your audience across multiple platforms won’t necessarily drive results for your business,” warns ThriveHive.
Be strategic about where you spend your resources. Rather than misallocating your time across multiple networks, focus on finding the best social media platforms—those that complement your business’s needs—and make the most of the benefits those specific platforms have to offer.
Keep in mind, too, that having a larger audience on social media doesn’t necessarily convert to real results for your business, while a highly engaged audience (regardless of size) will. Make sure all social media marketing objectives are matched with a platform that will maximize your efforts to reach your local audience.
4. Do some search engine optimization
Search engine optimization will make it easier for local consumers to find you online, while also boosting your ranking in Google’s organic results.
The first step is to research keywords that would be profitable for your business. These could be phrases such as “plumber near me”, or “buy flowers”. Once you determine strong keywords, then you’ll want to optimize your website pages to ensure that they target these keywords.
Keyword research and making sure that your website pages are set up correctly go hand in hand when it comes to maximizing search results and building your online presence, especially when you consider that 97% of consumers look online to find local businesses.
Another key aspect of SEO is building authority for your website in the search engines with quality links to your website.
This can be achieved by registering with local directories such as Yelp and Google. Properly creating a business listing on these directories will help reinforce the fact that you have a credible business. You can also guest post on relevant websites in exchange for a link to your website.
Want more SEO tips? For helpful guides on SEO, check out The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz or the Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide by Google for an overview of SEO basics that will assist you in optimizing your website.
5. Create high-quality and high-value content
The type of content that you post online will further impact whether or not your target audience will resonate with your brand.
“The success of your website is determined primarily by its content,” says Intechnic. At the end of the day, content is what wins your customers’ wallets.
Your website content should always begin with proper market research. Your first step should be to determine your high-value customers (HVC) and define personas for your website. Then you can move on to the methods you’ll use to target them.
Using taglines and slogans that are customer-centric—focus on the needs and wants of the customer—are vitally important in capturing the attention of your potential customers. “Your taglines must deliver a clear value proposition and include an effective call to action,” says Intechnic.
“The key to a successful website is having clear, relevant and keyword-rich content that delivers the right message with power and conviction. The content on your website should target your audience, engage them and persuade them to take action.”
6. Take advantage of integrated e-commerce
As of 2017, e-commerce accounted for approximately $2.3 trillion in sales and is expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021 (according to a Statista report). In the US, e-commerce represents about 10% of retail sales and it’s expected to grow by 15% each year!
Based on these numbers, small businesses need to recognize the importance of providing consumers with a seamless experience from their physical store to their online shop. How exactly can this be achieved? “It’s all about providing online customers with stellar customer service, convenience, and consistency,” says FSSI.
When your website is integrated with a cloud POS system, you can manage your inventory using just one tool, synching everything across your website and physical/online store. This helps to create a seamless experience that results in satisfied local shoppers who are very likely to visit your store after finding the product they want on your website.
Today’s consumers are looking online for information that will help them make smarter purchasing decisions.
According to the E-commerce Foundation, 88% of consumers will research product information before they make a purchase online or in the store. This buying behavior emphasizes the importance of using online tools to target your local audience.
Want to attract more qualified local leads today? Get started with the 6 helpful tips above!
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