Attention local business owners – Do you own, or market for, a local business like a store, restaurant or service provider? We understand that every business is different, but we also know that there are specific and actionable tactics that you can use right now to elevate your business. Below we have compiled the top 10 local marketing trends that can help you start getting more customers to your local business from the internet.

 

Google My Business – 

Studies show that 46% of all searches conducted have local intent. A properly set up Google My Business listing might just be one of the most vital parts of growing your business's online presence. The biggest advantage of having a GMB is how it plays into local searches. For example, if you Google “Plumbers near me” Google is going to show you listings for businesses located near you. If you’ve ever googled a similar phrase you likely saw a square profile pop up on the right side of your computer screen, or at the top of your phone screen. This would be a businesses Google My Business listing. It shows location, hours, website, reviews and more. This is now one of the top ways consumers are deciding where to go. If you properly optimize your GMB you have a better chance of showing up in the coveted Google “3 Pack” – businesses in the 3-pack (also known as local pack) show up ahead of organic results and have a spot pinned on the Google maps greatly increasing the chances of someone clicking through to your website or visiting your physical location. This is an extremely easy form of internet marketing that is simple to implement and can greatly increase your online visibility.

 

Online Reviews and Ratings – 

Personal recommendations have long been one of the top ways consumers decide where to go, what to do, or what to purchase. The same principle still stands, but on a larger scale. Online reviews and ratings from real-life consumers are one of the biggest indicating factors on whether or not a consumer will be happy with your product or service. A 2014 study showed that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from people they know, and the same study also found that 72% of consumers say that positive reviews greatly improve the chances they will trust a business. On the same note, negative reviews can greatly impact business and whether or not consumers will choose them over the competition. Businesses are at risk of losing between 22%-70% of consumers depending on how many bad reviews they have. Use negative reviews as motivation to improve customer experiences, and offer an incentive for those customers that are happy to leave reviews. Reputation management is a marketing strategy that often gets overlooked but is crucial to your businesses long-term success.

 

Location-Targeted Mobile Ad Spend & Geofencing – 

Studies show that location-targeted mobile ad spend is expected to nearly double in the next four years. Thanks to advanced technology and mobile devices, location-based mobile advertising is now easier than ever before. Now, instead of only targeting a person's physical location, you can also target their online location (Instagram, Facebook, etc.) or wherever they are most likely to engage with your business. Gone are the days of spending ad money and hoping someone needs your products or service, now you can target people when and where they need it most. Geofencing specifically is a location-based mobile advertising feature that allows you to send ads and notifications to people that are within your specified geographical area. For example, if you have a pizza restaurant and a person comes within your designated geographical location, you have the option to send push notifications, ads or promo messages to their mobile device urging them to try out your pizza shop that they are already conveniently near. Recent studies show that 70% of consumers think geofencing notifications are valuable and 53% of consumers are likely to engage with the advertisement.

 

The Effectiveness of In-Person Events

Hosting events, where you are in the presence of real, live people, can be considered face-to-face marketing for businesses. Digital marketing and/or internet marketing are important pieces of your business's overall marketing plan, but face-to-face interactions with customers is a highly effective marketing tactic that often gets overlooked. Even if your business is strictly online, hosting in-person events can be a good way to promote your business to a new area or group of people that may not have interacted with your brand otherwise. Face-to-face marketing can be done in a variety of different ways. You can host a small, intimate event where only a select few people are invited, or host an event on a larger scale and open it up to the public. How you face-to-face market will be dependant on your business and what you hope to achieve through your event. Create buzz for your event beforehand via online advertising and consider offering some sort of incentive for others to share about your event.

 

Website Retargeting – 

Research shows that only a small percentage of customers convert (meaning that they make a purchase) on their first visit to a website or an online store. So, how do you get customers to come back, pull out their credit card and make a purchase? The answer is retargeting. Retargeting is a type of advertising that lets you target your ads to people that have previously visited your website. Because it can take multiple encounters with a brand or business before someone actually purchases, retargeting is a good way to stay in the forefront of potential customers minds (and their news feed!) and increases your chances of turning website visitors into paying customers. You can target people who visited your page and left without purchasing, people who added items to their cart and left without purchasing, and more. As of now you can implement retargeting ads via Facebook retargeting, AdRoll retargeting, and Google Adwords remarketing. The best option for your business will depend on a multitude of different factors so consider checking out what each platform offers before choosing which channel is best for you and your business.

 

Social Media Giveaways & Promotions

Hosting a social media giveaway for your business can actually benefit you in a few ways. Other than doing a good deed and giving some free swag, product, or services to someone, it can help promote your brand and encourage engagement. While social media and social media following aren’t the crucial aspects of your marketing efforts, they definitely don't hurt your business. Hosting a giveaway that urges consumers to like, comment on, or share your post (or better yet, all three!) can greatly increase your engagement, therefore giving your page a boost in the feed and discover pages. This also increases brand awareness as people are often prompted to tag others in giveaway posts, giving the tagged people a chance to check out your page and so on. This usually results in a surge in followers and gives you the chance to market yourself to a whole new group of people that may have never heard of you otherwise. If applicable to your business, consider investing in influencer marketing, or partner with a local influencer to help promote your giveaway. Influencers have larger social media followings and can get your giveaway in front of an even bigger audience increasing your chances of reaching more people.

 

Local Facebook Advertising – 

Did you know that Facebook has over 2.2 billion active users every single day? Because it is the largest social media platform by far, you can pretty much guarantee that your customers are hanging out on Facebook at least some, if not most, of the time. Studies also show that 78% of people surveyed say they have found new products via Facebook, and 26% of users who clicked on ads ended up purchasing the product (that's almost 1 in 4!) Facebook Ads allows you to micro-target via a wide range of demographics you can choose from. You can target consumers based on things like location, age, gender, etc. in addition to things like stages of life (people who are engaged,) education level and more. Its micro-targeting abilities are part of what makes Facebook Ads so effective, especially for small businesses. Even better? You can spend as little as $1 per day. With all of this being said, knowing your audience and effective messaging is important for successful ad runs. Consider checking out online forums to learn more about how you can identify your target audience and advertise to them in a way that makes them want to convert.

 

Live Facebook & Instagram Video – 

Did you know that companies that utilize forms of video marketing see up to 41% more web traffic than competitors that don’t? Or that 80% of consumers would rather watch a live stream on social media than read blog content? These are just two major reasons going “Live” on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media platforms is an effective way to increase brand awareness and engage with consumers. While Millenials are more keen to view live streams than other age groups, streaming isn't something that should be completely ignored. Streams could be based on just about anything relevant to your brand or business whether it is a live Q&A, a tutorial, or a behind-the-scenes look at your business amongst other things. With that being said, there are a few rules you should abide by to ensure successful live-streams:

  • Market your live stream ahead of time – This way you can reach more people and give consumers a chance to recommend your live video to others if they are anticipating it beforehand.
  • Accurately title and describe your live stream when applicable – Giving potential viewers context greatly increases chances of them tuning in to your live video.
  • Don't go live just to go live – You don't want to go into your live video ready to read from a script and put on a show, but you also don't want to randomly show up with no purpose. The purpose of your live streams should be to increase brand awareness, expand your audience, and promo for any new/upcoming releases or events.
  • Bonus Tip: Utilize Instagram stories. In January 2019 Instagram reported over 500 million active Instagram stories users every day!

 

WordPress Website Upgrades

Websites and website building are often a fear of local business owners. Most don't have the budget to hire a master web designer, and others don't have the knowledge or resources to do it themselves. This is one of the reasons that WordPress is now the most popular website builder of choice amongst large and small businesses. Studies show that 60.4% of all the current websites online built using site builders were built using WordPress. Aside from the fact that it is free to download, WordPress has a lot of features that other website building platforms don’t. While additional features do cost money sometimes, it is still an incredibly effective way to get your business online and ranking on Google. There is no doubt that every business now needs a website – and a well-functioning website at that. WordPress is great for small businesses because it's extremely customizable, and user-friendly if you need it to be (if not, it's easy and relatively cheap to have a site built from scratch if you have the right online resources.) In addition, many WordPress website themes already have some SEO features built-in making it easy to track your sites search engine data. Don't know anything about local SEO or why you need to be implementing it? Click here to learn more. 

 

Search Engine Optimization (Intent Based Searches) – 

Google receives over 63,000 searches per second. What this means for you and your business is that it is absolutely crucial that you have established an online presence. What good is it to have the best bakery in town if no one is able to find you? SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a process that helps you beat Google's algorithm and show up higher in their search listings. Google and other search engines only serve consumers with the highest quality content. If your website does not meet their standards you will be lost within the algorithm – which Google says changes between 500-600 times a year – and your content will be amongst the bottom of Google's search results. If you want to learn more about Search Engine Optimization or local seo and why it is critical to your business's success, click here

 

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