6 Tips For Marketing Your Business To Get More Local Customers

6 Tips For Marketing Your Business To Get More Local Customers

 

For businesses that rely on local customers, marketing used to mean putting an advert in a shop window or local newspaper, or maybe handing out flyers. Now, local online marketing has really come into its own and provides businesses with a whole host of different tactics to get in front of new customers.

 

But, to really get the most out of local online marketing, businesses need to make sure they’re doing it right and not just wasting time and effort. Here are our Top Tips on How to Really Succeed in Local Online Marketing.

 

  1. Have a plan and stick to it

 

This should be obvious, but unfortunately it’s a crucial step that many businesses forget. If your marketing isn’t planned out it becomes almost impossible to track and measure any improvements, or lack of improvements that you make.

 

If you have no previous experience of putting a marketing plan together then take some time to do a bit of research, dull as it may seem it is a far better use of your time than going in blind! A basic local online marketing plan could start off by listing your business goals, then breaking down how you intend to achieve them.

 

For example, do you want to increase revenue by 10% across the quarter? How do you intend to get there? Will you employ an additional sales person, or will you sell higher value products? How will you get that message across to potential customers?

2. Invest in a Mobile Friendly website.

  • 40% Of Mobile Searches Have Local Intent (Source: Google: Creating Moments that Matter)
  • In October 2016, mobile internet web usage took over desktop (Source: Telegraph)
  • Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% will visit a competitor’s site instead. (Source: MicKinsey & Company)

Make sure your website is mobile ready

 

With Statistics like these it’s pretty obvious that you need your website to be mobile ready! People who are searching from their mobile are likely to be out and about, looking for what they need at that moment. If your website can’t be opened from their phone because it uses flash, or because there is too much to load then you could be missing out on valuable business leads every day.

 

3. Make Sure Your Campaigns Are Geo-Targeted.

 

geo targeting

 

If you want to attract customers within a specific local area, then it’s no good aiming your adverts far and wide where people from anywhere in the world can see them but can’t take action!

 

Sites such as Facebook and Google Adwords and other Display Ad networks, allow you to target ads using a geo-location feature, meaning your adverts will only be seen by people in the locations that you specify.

 

Think about how far people are likely to travel for your service and then target those areas to find your new customers.

Research conducted by Bright Local conducted a survey asking respondents how far they would drive to for 13 different local services. The results are below.

 

Driving Times to Local Businesses Infographic

 

Interestingly people are willing to travel for 5 minutes longer to visit a Dentist/Doctor than they would a Solicitor or an Accountant.

 

Alarmingly people are willing to travel an extra 2 minutes to go to a Pub then to a Gym. What does that say?

 

Make sure that your location is obvious to anyone who might be searching your kind of service within your area. Don’t leave this information confined to the contact us page. Include your location details on every page of your site so Search engines recognise it and more importantly potential customers know exactly where you are.

 

4. Engage with Customers Online.

 

social media engagement

 

When you’ve spent a lot of time building up your local online marketing you also need to be seen as a real human presence, not just a marketing machine. This means you need to take some time to engage with your customers, respond to comments they leave on your website, have conversations via Twitter, and thank people for their feedback.

 

Social Proof is now all important, and online comments and actions that remain searchable and in the public domain are often viewed as being just as important as recommendations from Friends and Family.

 

Don’t undermine your own marketing efforts by forgetting to be a real person!

 

5. Be Top of the Search Engines

Basic SEO strategies can help generate sales and customers so it’s vital to get it right. If the search engines recognise your site as being filled with valuable information on a subject then it also helps your credibility with customers.

Being at or near the top of search engine rankings will ensure you get the best of the search engine traffic coming to your site on a regular basis.

It’s not just SEO that gets you to the top of the Search Engines. Tools such as Google My Business also help, along with Videos, Images, reviews and a strong social media presence.

 

6. Get 5 Star Online Reviews

 

 

Local search user reviews help build new customer trust. If a person isn’t acquainted with your business, they’re going to want to get an idea that other people, past customers, are happy with the work or service you have provided before spending their money with you.

 

If they do not know anyone whom they can ask about your services they turn to online user reviews to get a feel for how you operate.

 

90% of consumers read 10 reviews or less before they feel that they can trust a business (Source: BrightLocal)

Therefore it is imperative that you have in place a system to get clients to leave their positive feedback online.

 

Local Online Marketing is not complicated but with increased competition for people’s attention, time and money it is vitally important to have a plan and continuously act on it to build a stream of new customers.

Get 5 star reviews fast

4 Things You NEED to Make the Internet Work for Your Business

4 Things You NEED to Make the Internet Work for Your Business

Business success online today is all about connection and conversation, community and collaboration.

 

While traditional online marketing methods and social media complement each other, it is no longer good enough to be found on Google alone. You have to have a solid and positive presence on social media networks and ultimately where your targeted client spends their time online. Not only so you can take part, contribute and be an active participant in relevant dialogue to attract and engage with potential customers, but also so you can harness the power of the people and have others generate a buzz about your business on your behalf.

 

In order to get others speaking highly about your business you need to invest in the four following factors that will influence your online success.

 

Visibility

 

business visibility

 

Getting your business in front of as many targeted users as possible is paramount to success no matter the size, format or niche of your business.

 

Many business owners believe, or are mistakenly told, that by getting online and developing a website they will be inundated with phone calls, bookings and sales.

 

The truth of the matter is that’s not how it works. Your website will simply add to the hundreds of millions that are already there competing for the same traffic.

 

In the past a business owner had to attend networking events or seminars in order to raise their profile and get in front of targeted business partners. Now social media means that you can connect with like minded people online and if your profile is right then people will be attracted to you and connect with you.

 

Select a social media platform based on the business partner you want to attract.

 

  • 50 year old business owners might use LinkedIn
  • 17 your old males might prefer YouTube
  • Twenty something girls could be on Instagram.

 

Then select a group where your niche will like to spend their time, join, watch and learn how people are connecting but more importantly study how those who are getting the most interaction are engaging and use some of their strategies to help increase your visibility in the group.

 

Incidentally I plan to put more time into collaborating on LinkedIn the future so if you would like to stay connected then send me an invitation to connect here…

 

CREDIBILITY

 

We all want our message to be heard by as many people as possible. That right has to be earned through building credibility in your subject or niche.

 

Getting people to like you or follow shows that you have demonstrated a reason for them to connect with you. From that point on your focus should be on motivating them beyond the like to connecting with you, speaking with you, sharing conversations with you and with the people that follow them.

 

Credibility online is a two way street. It should be viewed in terms of conversation. The better the quality of the conversation you have, the more trusted, well liked and respected you will be and as a result the more people will introduce you and refer business to you; and the more business you will generate.

 

Make your conversations meaningful. Interact and converse, don’t just broadcast.

 

Credibility is not all about what you say. It is about how you listen to other people and the value of the responses and information that you share.

 

POSITIVITY

positivity helps business growth

When looking to build long term business relationships it is all about quality and not about quantity. Having ten thousand Facebook fans or followers is great as it means that you have great visibility but it is counterproductive when looking to build true and meaningful relationships.

 

One of the mistakes that I made when first starting on social media, Twitter in particular, was to follow too many people. This meant that it wasn’t a stream of valuable information presented to me by people I respected but more of a tidal wave of deafening noise. There was no value to be had because it was impossible to digest.

 

I therefore took the decision to cull the number of people who I followed down from 10,000 to around 150. Now, I actually enjoy spending time interacting and sharing on Twitter because it is relevant to me. You can follow me on Twitter here..

 

Interact and engage with people that have a high profile and large influence on their following. Be positive and add valuable input to their conversations and you will find that people stop and take note of who you are and interact with you.

 

Likewise you need to make sure that your brand is reflected in a positive manner online. Take the time to research what is being said about your reputation and if there are any negative sentiments make an effort to contact that person and set the record straight or help them overcome the problem they had with your brand or business.

 

For people who are looking for someone with your skills for the first time, being presented with negative information from other people is not a great way to start a relationship. Make sure that when people search for your online reputation, what people find is positive and a true reflection of you and your business.

 

PROFITABILITY

business-growth and profitability

  • How can someone in your network help someone else?
  • What do others need?
  • How can you help?

 

Profitability might mean what is in it for you but rather than going in with the “what’s in it for me?” attitude, think about how you can be a conduit for others?

 

Your relationships and the connections you have developed are one of the most valuable assets that you have and will ever have.

 

By introducing and interweaving your connections with others you are building a stronger web of connections that you can turn to when you need something like an introduction or referral.

 

Keeping everything you know and everyone you know locked away in the annals of your mind is not going to get you anywhere. Share what and who you know and build more and more connections. Those connections will manifest themselves into relationships and profit. People do business with people they know, like and trust.

 

Ultimately the success of your business will come down to how good you are at building relationships. The more value you can add to other people, the more relationships you will develop giving yourself the greater chance of closing more sales.

What strategies have worked to help grow you authority and business online? Share your thoughts below and then hit reply.

Have You Earned the Right to Win New Customers?

Have You Earned the Right to Win New Customers?

Do you know the most effective way to spread the word about your business or increase awareness of your latest service online?

 

Whilst every business and every campaign is different, there are three ways to go about it for maximum exposure.  To succeed in online marketing, in fact any marketing, we first need to understand the differences between these strategies and combine them to create an effective, results driven, online marketing campaign that targets the right people at the right time with the right message.

 

Let’s start by learning what these 3 strategies are and how you can employ them in your business to produce positive results.

 

The 3 Different Online Marketing Strategies

 

paid owned and earned media

PAID Media.

A paid online marketing strategy is where you are quite literally paying someone else to drive “targeted” eye balls to your content or call to action. You use this type of strategy to cast a wide net and drag qualified prospects to your offering.

 

Examples: Paid media activities include advertisements for TV, print, radio, social media and email, as well as product placements, sponsorships, paid search and content syndication. Any time you pay to reach an audience you didn’t generate yourself it’s considered paid media.

 

Benefits

The benefits of paid advertising are that it is the most scalable and predictable of the three online marketing strategies. It also has the longest track record with banner adverts having been around since near the birth of the internet. Typically, paid advertising is the best understood online marketing strategy.

 

Disadvantages

Click through rates on unstructured campaigns are typically low and are continually declining as people are less inclined to be sold to.

 

OWNED MEDIA

Owned media is a closed channel that is controlled by a person or a brand. This could be your website, email newsletters or press releases. These assets cannot be edited by anyone other than you, your business or your brand.

 

Advantages of Owned Media

The advantage of owned media is that you own the brand and the platform therefore no one else can come along and pull the rug from under you. You do not have to dance to anyone else’s tune and your content is governed by you and you alone. As an online marketing strategy, owned media is a must. You should be in control of your own brand and messages.

 

Disadvantages of Owned Media

The disadvantage to having your own platform is that you have to manage, maintain, and update content regularly to attract and inspire the interest of your audience to take action. Click on the following link to learn more about content marketing. As soon as the content dries up the audience will move on.

 

EARNED MEDIA.

Earned media is quite literally the icing on the cake. It is when the customer becomes the marketing channel and talks about their experience with your business to their following through mediums such as Facebook, Twitter or leaving reviews online on Google+.

 

In traditional marketing terms this would be known as referral marketing; someone who has had a great experience working with you and then lets everyone know what a fantastic job you did and how pleased they are with the results. That kind of marketing is absolutely priceless and that is why it is earned.

Get 5 star reviews fast

 

You cannot go out and simply turn on the taps like you would with paid online marketing strategies. It is a result of hard work and persistence.

 

Disadavantages

Although earned media is without doubt a great way of growing business it can also work against you. If for whatever reason you have a disgruntled customer, then just as easily as people can heap praise, they will also paint your business in a negative manner. There is no direct control with earned online marketing. The best you can do is to be involved and if somebody mentions your business in a negative way then do your best to uncover the problem and rectify the situation as soon as possible. This in itself can add to your earned reputation as people will see how effective your customer service really is.

 

Forrester categorised Paid, Owned and Earned Media in the following way;

forrester research

Where Does Social Media Sit?

 

There is a case for social media to be in all 3 paid, owned and earned. And while months and months of hard work to build and grow a following in the thousands might represent the fact that you have earned that media, you never truly own that relationship.  You don’t own the conversation, you don’t own the vast number of followers, you are not in control of what changes the platform (Facebook, YouTube, Google etc) make with regards to how you can interact with THEIR owned subscribers.

Social Media For Business Free Download

 

This leaves you in the position that you will have to pay to reach the followers that you worked hard to build. In effect it becomes a mixed or converged marketing media.

 

What is Converged Media?

Paid, owned and earned media channels play a critical role in your content strategy. Merging them to work together on any campaign or project will take your content marketing to the next level. This combination of two or more channels is referred to as converged media.

 

converged media

 

Converged media works well because it’s characterised by a cohesive storyline. All channels work collectively for a brand so that it reaches its customers precisely where, how and when it wants. Take our brand, for example. At Big Thinking Online, we apply converged media to create a well-balanced and established marketing content strategy.

 

To incorporate paid media, we use pay-per-click advertising and retargeting on Google and Social media dependent on the campaign that we are running.

 

Our owned media includes the content in our website and newsletters, as well as any collateral we produce for our brand.

 

Owned media for us is the hub of our marketing, everything else we do in our marketing campaign is designed to get potential and existing clients back to this website, it could be through an email, a Facebook post or long tail search engine term.

 

However readers get here we have the ability to increase awareness and educate that individual by providing value that will encourage them to want to know more about how we can help them and to take the next step in their relationship with us.

 

That next step is taken by following a call to action such as completing a contact us form, subscribing to one of our email lists to get one of our content upgrades, or calling us directly.

Click here to get access

 

And our Earned media is generated through past clients who share their experiences of working with us by leaving reviews and by referring us to other business owners who they feel we can help and add incredible value to.

 

The best practice today is to use a combination of “owned, earned, paid media.”  Use one media channel to amplify or extend another type. They need to work hand in hand and there should be a specific business goal behind each campaign.

 

So don’t think about a single marketing technique in isolation, such as a website or being active on Facebook. Think instead about how you can combine techniques to reach people at different stages of the value journey.

 

At Big Thinking Online, we want to learn about your business, empower your sales team and be your online resource. Your online marketing goals deserve a conversation: contact us today on 0161 850 4413.

Google Gives the Email Marketing Campaign a Boost

Google Gives the Email Marketing Campaign a Boost

Google Gives the Email Marketing Campaign a Boost

email marketing campaign

It was announced last week that as a pilot scheme Google will be adding related messages in Gmail accounts to the search results. Now you may think that this isn’t overly impressive for a company that has some of the sharpest minds on the planet working for them but it is and here is why.

For years marketers have been insisting that the best way to support a business online is to “build a list”. Building a list means capturing the name and email address of users by offering a free giveaway, delivering that freebie offer and then marketing to those individuals through a well structured and thought out email marketing campaign.

One of the setbacks with this system is that once your email has been sent, if the reader misses that email or doesn’t open it then you have missed out on influencing that buyer’s decision and that email will never be seen again.

Now with Google’s new search feature, when a Gmail user requests a search on Google they are presented with a box in the top right of the screen, if you expand the box you get all Gmail results in your inbox that relate to your search criteria. This means that your email has another opportunity to get acted upon.


email marketing campaign

Your Email Marketing Campaign needs SEO

To increase the chances of your email being opened again and again you will have to start thinking about using SEO principles and that means including your keyword phrase in the title and then using your keyword throughout the email itself.

From my point of view, the new search feature provides a more personal approach to search, which is what Google has been aiming for and continue to strive towards. If you type in the phrase “My Flights” Google will trawl through your inbox and look for the last mention of flights and present them back to you.

The search facility expands on the “search plus your world” feature that Google introduced at the beginning of the year. So for example if you are looking to go on holiday to Rome and some of your friends have been to Rome and mentioned must see places in their emails to you then these emails will be shown. Therefore rather than relying on reviews from people you don’t know you can follow the advice from those that you know and trust.

Yes, there will be a few questions raised about privacy; let’s be honest there always is when Google is involved with anything! The more private information that the search giant can get its hands on the more targeted ads it can display and thus the more money it can make.

Email marketing campaigns are a great way of educating your clients about your business and your services with Google. Google adding their search capabilities to the medium is a great opportunity for businesses to get your name out in front of the competition.