Even though your business likely targets a local audience, you still need an online presence. Search Engine Land's Local Consumer Review Survey found that 85% of customers search for a local business online. Figuring out how to market online can be a real challenge, however. Local marketing is similar, yet different, than simply marketing online.
Fortunately, we were able to gather top tips from some amazing online marketers. These tips will help take your online marketing to the next level and gain more customers.
Tip # 1: Be Unique
It might be tempting to just copy whatever your competitors are doing online, but that will never allow you to stand out from the crowd. Jeanne Grunert, President and Senior Writer at Seven Oaks Consulting, shared: “Don’t just copy what your competitors are doing solely because they seem successful. Because you do not have access to their metrics, you have no idea whether or not their ads, slogans, or online marketing programs are working. It may seem like they are, but appearances can be deceiving, as the old saying goes. Always base your marketing decisions on what works for YOUR company. Track, measure, and improve your existing marketing. Try new things and be sure to give them enough time to work.”
Tip # 2: Be Flexible
Understand that online marketing changes over time. Different social media venues grow and others shrink. For example, MySpace was once a must for online marketers. Now, it isn’t that much of a necessity and has been overtaken by sites such as Yelp!, Twitter, and Facebook.While multi-point marketing may be the wave of 2016, that could change in 2017. Just because one online promotional effort worked doesn't mean you shouldn't try something new and continue to track your analytics and make sure what you are currently doing is still working.
Tip # 3: Plan Email Marketing Campaigns Ahead of Time
To be successful with your online marketing, you have to plan ahead. Tonya Bruin, CEO, To Do – Done Handyman Services, suggests: “A good strategy companies can easily implement into their online marketing is to plan and prepare timely email marketing campaigns in advance, based on updates you can foresee in the industry in which you work. This way, you can almost instantly send out campaigns should the perfect opportunity present itself to position your company as the solution to a problem or the outlet to pursue a new opportunity. For example, if there is an exciting piece of news announced that makes your products and/or services more attractive to consumers, you can send out an email as soon as the news hits, while the topic is top-of-mind for your audience. Having bypassed the hours your competition will be spending crafting their messaging, this online marketing strategy puts your business in the power position.”
Tip # 4: Know Your Audience
You can come up with the most amazing marketing campaign anyone ever created, but if you aren’t getting it in front of the people who are your target demographics, then you are just wasting your time. Think of it like this… If you are selling alcohol, you aren’t going to market to five year olds. One of the simplest ways to figure out who your target audience is would be to poll your current customers. Next, study the average income and household makeup in your area. Finally, create some user personas, or mock people based on the facts you’ve learned, and center all marketing around those personas. You should have the persona in mind as you write the marketing campaign and as you figure out where to place your advertising for maximum effect.
Tip # 5: Recycle Old Content
One of the amazing things about writing quality, evergreen content is that you can bring it back up and utilize that content over and over again without repeating work. Lorrie Thomas Ross, author of the McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course to Online Marketing and Lynda instructor is known as the Marketing Therapist. She shared these tips on recycling content and marketing efforts: “To take the overwhelm out of online marketing (so many people stress unnecessarily), I remind people to RECYCLE! Recycling is great for the planet, but it's awesome to support your online marketing! Use what you have to get what you want. If you have great blog posts that are old but still great, re-share them! If you posted a cool graphic, turn that into a blog post…post the image with short text about it. If you wrote a cool tweet, use a tool like Hootsuite or TweetDeck to schedule it to hit again in a few months and a few months after. If you wrote a marketing email message, turn that into a blog post and share it!”
Local businesses will find that online marketing is just as effective as print marketing. Internet marketing offers different results than traditional marketing. You'll be better able to track how well your internet campaigns work and thus you can adjust your spending to get the most bang for your buck.
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