Going online and establish a presence on the internet isn’t exclusive to established companies only. Even if you are running a small beauty parlor on the street, you can still get the most out of it from the power of the internet. Below are simple online marketing tips for small local businesses that everyone can apply to their business.
Social media is one of the best marketing tools. Not only everyone can create a social media account for free, but you can also reach out to people easily.
Join a Local Group
One of the advantages of using Facebook for small local businesses is how huge the audiences are. You can easily join a local community group such as Facebook Community or any group related to your field of interest.
Certain groups allow you to advertise your business if you adhere to the guidelines. Others might ban advertising but you can still reach out for your audiences in a more subtle way (comment and DM) if they are asking related questions in their posts. Just remember, no spamming!
Call To Action (CTA) on Profiles
CTA buttons are often available on business profiles. If you think that your business is not ready for a website yet then these CTA buttons can still be the perfect solution for getting more customers.
For example. there are Send Message button and Shop Now button on the Facebook page whereas you can also add contact button and booking or reservation buttons in the Instagram business profile. These buttons are often highlighted for better visibility so that the customers can easily spot it and click it.
Engaging with Social Media Users
Post regularly and interact with other users is essential in social media marketing for small local business.
Post interesting and high-quality posts frequently with related hashtags so people will found your post easily. Make use of image-sharing social networking platforms like Instagram especially if you have a large target demographic over there and are running an online store.
Replying and liking comments of related users makes them feel appreciated. These seemingly small actions can certainly get more like-minded fans that will enjoy the interaction.
Facebook allows its users to write reviews and Recommendations to determine a rating of the page. And according to Facebook, turning on the review and Recommendation allow Facebook to find your business easily which is a perk.
Another great thing about Facebook review and Recommendation is that people don’t need to spend time to go to third party sites to voice out their opinion. They can easily post their rating on the business page pronto!
Social media platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shopping allow you to sell goods. This is certainly a great opportunity for those who market their goods mainly through social media and those who have large target demographics on Facebook and Instagram.
Remember back in the days where people will find phone numbers in the phone book? The directory is basically the same thing but it’s a website instead of a white and yellow pages.
So, why would you need a directory when you have social media accounts and websites?
Well, one of the pros of getting your name of the directory is to get your name to the top of the search result. This is because most directories have more authorities than your newly built website, result in higher ranking.
This is especially useful if you want to get your name to the first page without spending too much time on SEO on your business website. You will add your business info along with your contact information and website on it, so those who access the directories can easily contact you.
At the same time, adding your business information to reputable directories can also be beneficial to your site SEO since search engines will think your website is trustworthy because you have a backlink in directories that have more authorities.
Forum is equivalent to the standalone community group. Compare to the community group on Facebook, the forum is more of a discussion place rather than a posting board. The thread can go long with people debating over a question.
You can easily advertise your business while replying to related questions like “Where can I get my nail done in XX Town?”. Just make sure you don’t spam your business info everywhere since forums are often stricter than Facebook community groups.
And unlike community groups, forums have a ranking/points system that is determined by how active the members. This means that having a low ranking/points with posting that solely about advertising your business can be deemed as untrustworthy and salesy.
Thus, answering other related threads with a reply that’s have nothing to do with your business isn’t going to hurt your profile.
Guidelines and Rules
Other than that, forums also have guidelines and rules. Some ban business advertising, some don’t but will despise if it’s too obvious. So, make sure you are being helpful by replying to the thread instead of shoving your business info into others’ throat.
People love social proof. A genuine review from a previous customer can help your potential customers in the process of decision making. The reviews often reflect the result of the services, the cons which never mentioned in the product description, and the overall experience with the business.
Being one of the biggest review sites, Yelp shouldn’t absent from marketing plans for small local business. Not only does it has CTA buttons for your potential customers, but it also helps you to connect with your customers better with its built-in messaging feature.
Google My Business
If your business isn’t listed on Google My Business, there’s a chance you will be losing many potential customers. This is because when people search related search terms with locations in it, Local Business listings will often appear on the first page of Google search results.
The key here is the word “first page“. This is the jackpot you will thrive to hit when it comes to getting people to find your business online.
Google My Business also allows business owners to set up CTA buttons like Call, Direction, Message, and Website, reaching out for you is easier than ever. And just like Yelp, you can manage the messaging in Google My Business app.
Sell Goods on eCommerce Sites
If you are selling goods at your local store, you can consider expanding your business by selling to customers all around the nation. And the good thing is you don’t need a website to start selling online. As we just mentioned above, you can easily sell things with Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shopping.
Social Media Shopping Platforms May Not Be The Best Choice
But before you open Facebook and Instagram in the next tab, you need to know that it requires more configuration. This includes managing inventory in third parties, connect to other channels, and in certain cases, require time to get approval.
That’s Why We Use eCommerce Sites like Amazon and eBay
But all these troubles can be avoided if you are using an eCommerce site like Amazon and eBay which its primary purpose is online shopping. In contrast to social media shopping, you can manage your inventories and stocks all in once without the hassle of third party websites.
Being websites that are famous for buying and selling, you can imagine how huge is the user base. Although the competition is tough, the chances of people buying from an experienced eCommerce site are still fairly high. Especially if you h compared to social media platforms and your own eCommerce website.
At the same time, as a seller you can also easily add discounts during events and holidays along with other sellers to encourage more sales.
And eCommerce sites often offer better protection for buyers and sellers. And most of them have dedicated and experienced support teams to handle various issues regarding online shopping. This makes selling experience less of a hustle especially for those who are not tech-savvy.
Booking and Reservation
What if you are running a small inn? Don’t afraid that you can’t “sell” your reservation online, there are lots of sites that dedicated to booking and reservation!
Most of the time, a small local business often don’t require a hefty amount of money to own a website for the purpose of marketing. You can easily build a website with an online site builder with little to no knowledge of coding.
Free Domain Name by Purchasing a Hosting Package
There are a lot of website builders which not only provide free site hosting with a free subdomain. But also offers a free custom domain name for 1 year when you purchase a hosting package. Some of them even giving out a free SSL certificate and a business email address ([email protected]).
This undeniable is a huge step for you to establish your digital presence. Another benefit of hosting with reputable companies is that they offer great support from live chat to hotline and email. So, that even a computer newbie can run a website hassle-free.
Website Builders that Allow you to Connect Domain Name for Free
If paid website builders are too pricey or fancy website builders are unnecessary, a hosting package can be wasteful. You can use free packages with subdomains or use website builders that let you assign custom domain names for free.
Although it’s understandable that the custom domain name isn’t exactly free, still it’s highly recommended to cash out and buy one for showing your professionalism and for branding purposes.
Website Makes Everything Comes True
If you are ambitious about your small local business marketing, don’t be afraid of adding some spices on your website! Add a blog, or maybe an eCommerce feature along with a live chat bubble. And take some time to learn extensive SEO knowledge with a great deal of website optimization tools that will hype up the conversion rate.
You don’t need to pay a lot into your small local business marketing. With the combination of the tips above, you will definitely see the desired result with more customers and sales.