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

Why You Should Establish Yourself As An Expert!

Why You Should Establish Yourself As An Expert!

 

Narrowing your Business outlook might seem a bad move, but in reality, focusing your efforts positions you as an expert. Find out why this is so important here! www.bigthinkingonline.com

For Many Small Business Owners Trying To Grow Their Business,

narrowing down the number of services you offer and limiting the type of business you take on might seem like professional suicide – however by focusing on one specific niche you are actually defining your brand far more clearly and positioning yourself as an expert at what you do.

 

As an example, if you had a scratch on your car would you take it to the local garage that does absolutely everything, or would you call out a scratch repair man? Almost everyone would have the simple scratch fixed by the expert who spends his days perfecting scratched cars, rather than the garage that spends the majority of their time doing MOTs and brake pad changes.

 

In other words, by positioning yourself as an expert in a particular niche you have already built more trust around your service, meaning people with a specific issue are more likely to call you than a more general competitor.

 

Another advantage of positioning yourself as an expert is that you are also adding perceived value to your services. Because you are the expert, your customers will turn to you for guidance and advice and will be more likely to follow your recommendations. This in turn will allow you to deliver  a service that you truly believe in, rather than following a client’s orders, and your great service will pave the way for a far healthier long term client relationship.

 

So, how do you go about branding yourself as an expert?

First of all, take a critical look at what services you provide, and decide what exactly you prefer to do. This could cover everything, from the way you work day to day, to the types of clients that you enjoy working with the most. Tailor your services so that you are speaking directly to those perfect clients and stop advertising other services that you don’t enjoy, or that you feel you aren’t as good at.

 

However, cutting back on what you offer shouldn’t mean losing out on business or opportunities. If someone wants a service that you no longer want to provide, you can always set up a referral scheme with another business who does that, but who may not focus on your specific niche. You can send clients their way, and they can send your ideal clients back to you.

 

Another option is to continue to offer the wider range of service in the short term but don’t advertise the fact. You can then explain to your customer that you are doing more specialist work but are happy to fulfill their particular requirement as a one off. This will also help you spread the word of your specialism and alert that customer to the fact that they could use you again in the future for something else.

 

One of the greatest benefits of focusing on one particular area of business is that people will start to associate you with your niche and expertise. For example, if I were looking for a new dentist there are possibly several in my area that would come with great recommendations, however if I wanted to have my teeth straightened there would be a lot less to choose from as not all dentists straighten teeth.

 

Being known for a specialism sets you apart from the crowd and gives you fewer people to compete against.

Consumers are presented with so much choice, and being able to research online gives so many options and insights that those choices can be overwhelming. Because of this, people crave specificity and if they are in the market for something in particular they want to know that they are choosing. By offering too many services you can dilute the power of your message and even though you may be perfectly capable at delivering, you’ll be putting people off.

 

Your potential customers who land on your website should be able to easily sum up what your business does, and not only that, but pinpoint your area of focus. By being so specific, you are providing your audience with an immediate association that allows them to remember you more easily. If you don’t intentionally give a clear and focused message about your business, those customer opinions will be passively influenced and will not necessarily be aligned with your intentions.

 

If you want to know more about building a website that speaks directly to your ideal customer then download our free ebook – Power your business with a website that sells.

Power your business with a website that sells

What are your thoughts on focusing on a Specific Niche vs offering a more General Service? Let me know in the comments!

Do Customers Really Look at Online Reviews?

Do Customers Really Look at Online Reviews?

Do Customers Really Look at Online Reviews?

Your website might be a shrine to the great work that you have done for past and current customers. There may be a host of glowing testimonials from clients saying how great your product is, how fantastic the service is and how they would recommend your business to anyone. But what about when people are searching for unbiased reviews of your business on websites that don’t belong to you?

reputation management

According to a survey by Lightspeed Research, 61% of consumers have read a review online for a product or service. Reviews are the second most popular online research by clients behind price comparison. This could suggest that if price is similar between you and competitors, then the one thing that will sway a buying decision in your business’s favour are glowing testimonials on third party sites.

Of the vast number of consumers that search for reviews, 70% use search engines to find them. Think about the search terms that potential customers might be using to find reviews about your business:

  • Review of “business name”
  • Review of “product name”
  • “business name” review
  • “product name” review”

There are hundreds of sites online that provide a facility where past users can leave a review about your business, from well known directory sites such as YELL right the way through to niche specific websites that give consumers the power to air their feelings about your business. With the increasing number of these sites it can be increasingly difficult to monitor what is actually being said about your business.

Many businesses either don’t know that these review sites exist, or they know about them but do nothing to manage their online reputation, allowing negative reviews to damage their online presence. Between one and three bad reviews about your business will deter the majority (67%) of consumers from purchasing a particular product or service.

online reputation management

Two out of every three people who see a negative review about your business may in fact choose to find someone else to work with. That is a huge number. If you are concerned about conversion rates and cost per customer acquisition, and let’s be honest as a business owner who isn’t, then this could have a dramatic effect on both the number of leads your business gets and more importantly the number of conversions or new clients.

Not everybody is perfect.

At this point you may be thinking that you should hunt down all the negative reviews and look to get them removed from the internet. That in fact is the wrong thing to do, unless of course the review is simply defamatory. Take the opportunity to enhance your online reputation by responding to the reviews and offering to understand the customers concern in greater detail. This shows future prospective client that you care about the services you deliver and you want everyone to have a 5 star service. Getting all the negative reviews removed simply looks unnatural. Nobody is perfect and if prospective clients see twenty five star reviews and no negatives then they may start to think that some form of censorship is occurring.

What people say about your business is vitally important. Managing and monitoring what is being said about your business is one thing. Taking the time to dissect the reviews, both positive and negative, and making changes to the day to day operations and culture of the business can have a far greater effect on business growth.

Is Your Lack of Online Reputation Management a Ticking Time Bomb?

Is Your Lack of Online Reputation Management a Ticking Time Bomb?

Is Your Lack of Online Reputation Management a Ticking Time Bomb?

reputation managementWords spread very quickly online. It’s great if someone is raving about you in a positive way; not so great if the word being spread about you is a derogatory one. Previously when you received a poor service from a solicitor such as poor communication, constantly having to chase them for action, or missed deadlines, you would merely complain to the office manager or the partner. Truth be told, not a lot would happen.

These days you can tell the partner that you will be posting your comment on Yell, Yelp, Qype, Google+ Local, Thomson local or other legal specific review sites as well as on your own social networks complaining about your experience. That should have a far greater influence on the company making positive changes for your situation and also improve things for the better for other clients.

That’s because people trust customer feedback. So, just as glowing recommendations are better than any sales spiel that you have, negative comments and damaging reviews can drive customers away by the bucket load and act like a ticking time bomb for your brand online. If you don’t want your business to suffer then you need to think long and hard about your online reputation management strategy.

Reputation Management is All About Trust!

The way people make their buying decisions has changed and Social and Buzz now play an important role in the marketing mix. We are now more likely to read restaurant or hotel reviews online before booking a table or a hotel, or read book reviews on Amazon before we enter our credit card details.

The power of community and conversation is back, we are now more reliant on recommendations from friends and reviews, just as we were before the internet phenomenon where businesses relied on word of mouth marketing to assist their business growth.

Today we share what we like and dislike and post freely about our good and bad customer experiences. This gives all business owners the opportunity to use good feedback as collateral and negative online business reviews as means for improvement.

So how can you manage your reputation when anyone has the ability to say anything about you even if it is not true? You need to invest the time to find out how your business is positioned online, i.e. what customers are saying about you, and you need to use all the tools available to act fast and limit any lasting damage a negative review about your business could cause.

Reputation Management Top Tips

Optimise a Page on Your Website for Your Company Name

If you optimise a page for your company name or product name then Google should pass authority for that page in the search engines listing meaning your business should be displayed in the top positions.

Create an Online Portfolio

Google likes to provide their users with choice in terms of the media they serve. Therefore think about using video, images, pdf’s and other forms of content optimised for your name to appear in the listings.

Monitor Your Reputation Regularly

Set up a Google Alert for your company and product names. By setting up a Google alert you will be sent an email every time someone mentions your name or whatever search criteria you asked to be alerted about, every time the phrase is mentioned on websites that are in the Google index.

Reach Out to Negative Reviewers

There is only one thing that is worse than a negative review and that is a negative review with no response from the business in question. By ignoring the review it won’t go away, assess the review and respond accordingly, giving the reviewer every opportunity to contact you so you can put the issue right.

Act On the Review

Once you have showed people that you are listening then you need to show people that you care by finding the root cause of the problem. If the review said staff were rude then you need to make it clear to the staff that any further reviews will not be tolerated and to help the staff you may introduce customer service training. If waiting times are unbearable then you need to look at systems or staff in order to improve times. Problems are there for a reason, find out what it is and rectify it so it does not happen again.

Reputation management merely highlights the importance of giving your customers what they need so that, rather than shouting about how you failed them, they shout about how you delighted them and far exceeded their expectations.

Building a Brand that is the Identity and Personality of Your Business

Building a Brand that is the Identity and Personality of Your Business

Building a Brand that is the Identity and Personality of Your Business

building a brandCoca Cola, Apple and Nike are some of the biggest brands in the world and quite often the words associated with such brands are things like trustworthy, cool or market leaders. Although brands such as those listed above have massive brand equity along with equally huge advertising budgets it doesn’t mean that your small business brand cannot be as iconic.

A brand is more than just a logo it’s the identity and personality of your business. It adds value to what you sell and sets you aside from your competition. It’s what people think of first when they think of your company.

Building your brand will not only shape how you offer your services to your customers, it will also help guide the strategic decisions you make for your business.

Follow these 5 tips for Building Your Brand the right Way!

1: What is your big idea?

We all have ideas, some of them are great. However, an idea is and always will be just an idea and nothing more until acted upon. Ultimately those who go on to build brands as successful as Coca Cola or Facebook are the ones who bite the bullet on the idea and put it into practice.

An idea is and always will be just an idea and nothing more until acted upon.



Before you begin building a brand you need to know what makes you different and what your core values are. Analyse the marketplace. Where does your business fit in? Is there a gap in the market around quality, cost or service level that you can look to exploit?

Do some research by checking out your competitions’ online presence? Find out how they are interacting with their community in social media and forums and more importantly take note of what is being said, how it is being said and the general theme.

Once you have spent some time looking at the competition ask yourself the following:

What would make your business stand out from the others in the marketplace? What would make it truly remarkable? What would make your customer tell their friends and family about what you do? How would your business model or brand turn people into brand evangelists?

2: Know who you’re selling it to

Would a 35 year old male be interested in Justin Bieber? Would a 12 year old girl be the best person to approach about buying a one hundred thousand pound boat?

All of the above are not the ideal clients, sure there may be a very small percentage that turn into sales but we are talking miniscule so why would you as a business owner waste your marketing budget on that demographic?

Know exactly who is the ideal client for your product; make an avatar and pin it on your wall, depicting exactly what they do, what they like, what they dislike and what they do in their spare time. The more you know the more specific you can be with your advertising message and also the channels in which you deliver that message.

3: Define what makes you different

 

We are not going to be the first to this party, but we’re going to be the best! Steve Jobs



The chances are you are not going to be the first to the party either and there will be some bigger, more established players in the market place. But if you have done your competitive research then you will know where your competition is being complacent and more importantly where you can deliver outstanding value to your target clients.

Give the customer a reason to buy from you. Don’t sell a bottle of water, sell an ice cold refreshing drink that quenches thirst

People buy Apple products because they want to be part of a movement, people buy cars from Toyota because they are efficient, never break down and run forever, people by Dre beats headphones because they are cool.

When building a brand try to add some form of psychological trigger or emotional benefit that the user can relate too and gives them an extra special sense of being or achievement for being associated with your product. This is your unique selling proposition or unique value proposition.

4: Deliver on your brand promise.

Actually delivering on your brand promise is not good enough. The competition is already out there and to be successful you have to be better than the competition. You need to over deliver. You need to be exceptional, because whatever it is that your customers buy into about your brand you need to make sure that you trigger it. You need to press that emotional trigger when they receive your service.

If you are a small business and your edge is the fact that you are approachable and you are always there for your customers, then being directed to a call centre or to answer message after message is not delivering on that brand promise – it is absolutely failing.

The last thing you want is for someone to comment on social media that your so called “always approachable business” is never approachable, always unavailable and doesn’t answer the phone.

Whatever it is you promise upfront, deliver it in spades; in fact where possible over deliver and by doing that you stand a great chance of creating those advocates for your brand.

Read why your online reputation management is a BIG deal!

5: Be Clear and Simple

Once polished, your brand should be simple to explain and easy to summarise in one sentence. It must be understandable at a very basic level so you can explain your brand in no more than sixty seconds.

In order to achieve this level of simplicity, your brand must have a clearly defined value proposition; i.e. what it is you do and why your customers should choose you over your competitors.

Don’t try and be everything to everyone. This is a mistake. Not only does it take far more effort, it will dilute the potential success of your business by spreading efforts and resources far too thinly, it also clouds the clarity of the value proposition.

It is therefore more beneficial to focus on one product, drill down on the detail, deliver it exceptionally well and then expand over time.

Fundamentally building a brand successfully is about delivering a simple idea with a clear value proposition while providing something better than your competitors. If you can get this right it will not only be the foundation of customer engagement and trust in your brand. It will be the key to creating brand evangelists that will buy from you again and again with a broad smile on their face while telling all of their friends about how great you truly are!

What makes your brand different to everyone else. We are interested to know leave your comments below…