In order to learn how to build a strong marketing plan for your local business, you first need to fully understand the impact search engines have on our lives.

Search Engines and Their Impact On Our Lives

  From an average Joe’s point of view, search engines are a gift from God. The process of finding the answer to something is not time consuming any longer and the response is immediate. Search engines allow users to compare different results in order to make an assumed decision. But let us analyse things from a marketer’s standpoint. We, as marketers, need to understand the complex process a buyer goes through until their objective is met. Our primary directive is to help lead potential customers to our clients, as a result of their keyword search.   SCENARIO   You are  driving along a deserted road in a car that reads ‘screeching tires’ and all of a sudden, millions of marketers appear, volunteering to lead you to their Shop, a.k.a Result Page, in the hope you will fix your car there. Of course, each and every single one of these suggestions aims to be taken into account. How can you compete for a customer, when there are millions of business who will do the exact same thing that you do? For instance, some may advertise to a Car Repair Shop 25 miles from your current location while others may be only 2 miles away. Is proximity a guarantee for service quality? Some suggestions may have a stronger voice and a lower service quality. Others may have fine service standard, but lack in the marketing department.     So, how can you attract buyers to your small business?  

Types of Marketing Strategies For Promoting Local Businesses

  Despite common misbelief, marketing does not only refer to advertising or sales promotion. Marketing is the process by which a business decides what, to whom, when and how will sell and then does it.  

Social Marketing

  A consistent online presence is they key that will make your local business be heard. It is in your business’ best interest to create an interactive online presence to engage customers. Your customers are online, so all you have to do is reach out to them. A smart social strategy will make you stand out from the hundreds similar businesses in your area. Social Media is an easy and powerful way to drive business. Therefore, creating a sense of a community will likely draw potential customers to your local company. Be wary of what you choose to post. Internet users have a short attention span so stay clear of long text posts and opt for images with a fun twist, engaging visuals that may be both practical and inspiring.   Pro-tip: The comment section is where the community comes together. Try and start a conversation with your followers.   Pro-tip: Create an online contest. The number of participants and new potential leads will be well worth the price.  

Google Local Business

  Google local business tips by GoRanker   Once you have created your social accounts, make sure you are local. A local business profile for all major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) is necessary. You need to fill out your business contact information  and details such as phone number, address, operating hours and so on.  

Mobile Optimization

  Google Analytics will show you your visitors’ behaviour, as well as whether they used the mobile version or the web platform. Not having a mobile friendly page is the same as not letting more than half of your customers in the shop. Moreover, the users’ behaviousr are different. Mobile buyers follow a different pattern than PC users. They need quick small-sized information, they tend to hurry and study shows that mobile users are impulsive and tend to spend more.  

On-Page SEO

  We cannot stress enough how important On-page SEO is for local businesses. Deciding which keywords to target is indeed vital. On-page optimization is as crucial to your business as using the right keywords.   Title: It has to be short and simple. A common misbelief is that it is best if you try and cram a multitude of keywords in it. Pick a title that will attract people into clicking it. Meta Description: Best use it as a call to action. However, if you insist on keywords, a brief description of the site is sufficient. It should not be longer than Twitter’s 140 characters and should clarify the purpose of the business without being too over-explicit. This is the best place to include the name of the city as keyword, so that users know the result is relevant to the location. Interlinking: Organize your pages in a fluid manner so that the navigation is streamlined for your visitors. Google+ Authorship: Implementing Google + authorship on your website will allow your image to appear next to the listing i the search results, drawing your visitor’s eyes to your site, increasing the chances they will click through. Page Loading Time: Slow page loading time will influence web and mobile users and will have a negative impact on both web and mobile users, causing them to leave your site.  

Direct Mail

  Direct mail, or even direct email, is one of the greatest marketing strategies for local businesses. Did you know that 91% of consumers check their email immediately and 66% of them have made a purchase online as a result of email marketing? This adds up to a 4.300% return on investment. The key to a successful direct mail strategy is targeting audience. It is advisable you do your own research prior to sending out mail to potential customers. As for direct e-mail, if you don’t have a landing page or a website, create one. Use opt-in forms and give incentives to your online visitors to sign-up to your newsletters. Then make a list of your subscribers and break it down by geographic area, demographics and income. There are tens of free tools to help you automatize e-mail marketing campaigns, one of them being MailChimp (free for businesses with up to 2000 subscribers). Direct mail marketing tips by GoRanker

Case Study

  According to a recent report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the year 2014 was a prolific year for entrepreneurs everywhere. What does a small business need to thrive? A combination of hard work, drive and creativity with a dash of luck. But the most important ingredient is a sense of connectedness to a community.   Green Flash Brewing Co. is a brewery based in San Diego, California and was founded by Mike and Lisa Hinkley in 2002. Today, the company leads a team of like-minded enthusiasts who share a love for craft artisan beer. Their product is the result of labor and love, passion and zeal.   But how did they manage to thrive?   Being local is the answer. Established in 2001 as an independent local craft brewery, Green Flash achieved great success with the launch of their WestCoast IPA beer. After that, the Hinkley family realised that they hit a gold-mine: artisan beer. From here on, they developed a marketing strategy that involved expanding their product range and distribution network, while maintaining a beer-first philosophy all throughout the process. Social media has helped the company build a strong relationship with its customers locally and then nationally.   What sets this company apart from hundreds similar others?   Based in the beer wonderland that San Diego is, Green Flash managed to stand out from the 100 current operating brewhouses. The secret is the sense of community they skillfully manufactured. Being a customer meant being part of the big family that the company is all about. Staying visible at all times and constant innovations helped them expand all over the U.S. Now,based on sales volume,  they are the fourth brewery in San Diego, and 48th nationally, delivering to over 17 states.   Conclusion Great stories like the one above teach us that there are a lot of contributing factors to great success. What we can deduce is that the quality of the service is as important as how we sell it.   It’s not a question of if and when, it’s a matter of how you do it. Grabbing the attention is no longer enough. Holding the attention is what matters most in a successful marketing strategy.  


Adina