7 Sensational Digital Marketing Tips for Brick and Mortar Businesses
Nearly half of all Google searches are looking for local information and 97 percent of Google users use it to find local businesses.
If you operate a brick and mortar business that deals with local clients, you can’t afford to ignore digital marketing. The days of people seeing your ad in a local paper or stopping in because they saw your sign are gone.
How do you reach those local customers online? Let’s look at 7 marketing tips that will get you in front of the right people.
1. Content Marketing and Blogging
The term content marketing means different things to different people but at its core, it’s about writing content that interests people. You might post it on your blog, on Facebook or another social network, or various other places online but it’s all about providing useful information.
When you’re dealing with local customers, you want to become the go-to source for information in your area. You can write blog posts that answer common questions from your customers, provide information about your industry in your local market, and even write about newsworthy events and activities in your town.
2. Build an Email List
One of the most powerful digital marketing tips is to build an email list of prospects and customers. Add an opt-in box to your website and blog, drive traffic from social networks to your opt-in pages, and promote your email list anywhere it makes sense in your business.
Being able to send an email to your clients whenever you have something to share is a powerful marketing tool. You don’t need to worry about whether the Facebook or Twitter algorithm puts your post in people’s newsfeeds or whether your web pages rank at the top of Google.
With an email list, you control the message and the medium.
3. Local Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing the pages on your website so they rank as high as possible in Google and other search engines. Local SEO is a little different beast than organic SEO though.
If you want your listing to rank near the top when someone searches for a local business, you need to optimize several things.
First, create a Google My Business profile for your business. The profile includes your address, contact information, and other details that Google uses to display in its search results.
Next, create profiles on other directories related to your industry and location. Industry directories, Chambers of Commerce websites, and other such places are ideal.
Third, get your customers to write reviews of your business. Google includes a rating in the local results so the more good reviews you get, the higher your review rating will be. If a lower-ranked result has a much better review rating than a top result, more people will likely click on it even though it’s not the first option.
4. Partner With Other Local Businesses
Partnering with complementary businesses in your area is another great way to reach more people online. For example, if you run a plumbing company, you could partner with an electrician or roofing company to refer customers back and forth.
There’s more to it than mutual referrals though. Linking between each other’s websites will help push both your sites higher in the search results.
5. Offer Special Online-Only Discounts
Getting people into your digital space is another important marketing tip for small business. Even if a customer finds you some other way, getting them into your online marketing funnel will help create more activity, which in turn helps you rank higher.
Create online-only special offers that people need to visit your site or sign up for your email list to get. This will keep them in your digital circle, and the activity will help expand your digital footprint.
This is a good social media marketing tip as well. Make special Twitter or Facebook discounts that only your followers will see.
6. Work With Local Press
While newspaper and TV ads don’t have the reach they used to, local press can still be a great way to get your business’s name out in the local market.
Set up Google Alerts for keywords related to your area and watch for stories that you can add something to or comment on. Write a blog post about them as soon as you see the alert and get it up on your blog.
Hitting while the topic is hot will generate traffic from people looking for more information as well as potentially local press. They might contact you for further comment.
7. Provide Great Customer Service
This goes beyond digital marketing but providing great customer service is also important from that perspective. We already mentioned the value in good reviews - good customer service is the foundation for those.
Word of mouth is important online as well as offline. Someone may ask their network of friends on Facebook for a recommendation and you could be the recommended solution.
And good reviews provide social proof for people searching for a solution in Google. Sometimes even bad reviews can work in your favor if you respond to them quickly and resolve the complaint. Showing that you’re listening to your customers and are willing to work out any problems will show potential clients what they can expect as well.
These Digital Marketing Tips Aren’t Complicated
These digital marketing tips might seem simple but you’d be surprised by how few businesses take action on them. With a bit of work, you’ll often be able to outrank your competition and siphon away some of their clients.
While it’s not complicated, it does take some time to implement. But most small business owners are already pressed for time with their own work, let alone adding another part-time job in marketing.