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5 local digital marketing tips for small businesses

10 July 2019

A common goal amongst Hi Digital’s clients is “we want to be known for the best ‘X’ services/products in the North of England”. No problem, we can make it happen with effecting local digital marketing! The opportunity for every small business is to make your brand more discoverable online amongst local audiences and to make it easy for them to choose you over the competition.

Small businesses typically start by mastering their local geographic surrounding area, and rightly so! Build your reputation and establish what you stand for within your local community before you embark on nationwide or global domination. Whether you sell online via an ecommerce website or you’ve a bricks and mortar set up seeking more bookings or footfall – an effective and discoverable digital presence is essential. Read on for five easy local digital marketing tips to help your brand engage its nearest physical customers:

1. Define your brand story
Is it clear to potential new customers who land on your website or social media profile page for the first time what your brand is about? Ensure that you are sharing a clear, compelling brand story. In addition to explaining what you do and why, you can also reference your location and heritage to appeal to your local target audience. Can you describe what your brand does in a tagline of up to seven words, a couple of sentences and a few short paragraphs? Give it a go and critique it from the perspective of your target customer(s).

Online you only have a few seconds to create a ‘wow’ first impression so don’t forget to feature beautiful imagery and utilise the bespoke features of each digital channel or platform. Once your brand story is articulated well, tell it consistently on your website, social media channels and any third-party website listings. Give customers a fantastic experience wherever they discover and interact with your brand online just like you would if you met them in ‘real life’!

2. Create a Google my Business profile
Google my Business is a fantastic free tool that will literally put your business on the map. For example, if you are a coffee shop in Leeds you will want your business to show on the Google map in the search results every time a user searches for ‘coffee shop Leeds’ and/or ‘coffee near me’ when they are physically local to your business.

Your first step is to create a listing that accurately reflects your brand and utilises all of the great features such as opening hours, website, contact info, photos etc. Ensure you describe your business using one or two key phrases a customer may use to find you on Google so that Google knows they are looking for your business.

Next, you want your business to be featured above your competitors in Google’s map listings. This bit takes time as you need to build your reputation with an active and popular Google my Business profile. The most effective way to do this is to gather authentic Google reviews from customers and respond to each one.

3. Build a responsive website optimised for local SEO
Your small business’s website doesn’t have to be complicated and contain multiple pages. However, it does need to be a responsive website and be discoverable online via search engines for users actively searching for your brand or its products and services.

One-page websites can be great for small businesses with a simple brand proposition and most small businesses need about five pages. A one-page website can sufficiently capture traffic for your priority local SEO phrases E.g. event caterer York. The trick is to nail your brief to ensure your website will be ‘fit for purpose’ and within budget, and then it’s time to copywrite, design and build your website well.

Tip: Never skip the design phase of any website project if you want yours to be beautiful and well thought out.

Website templates are tempting to small businesses because they are quick and simple to implement. However, be mindful that templates whilst cost effective in the short term they can be restrictive in the long term, many are difficult and expensive to manipulate for your content and brand proposition as it evolves over time. Trust us, a small business’s needs evolve quickly! If you have a little more budget available appoint a talented team (such as Hi Digital) to create a bespoke website, on a leading CMS platform such as WordPress, that’s easy to update and maintain yourself day-to-day whilst adding additional features and pages cost-effectively.

4. Be active on social media
Some days it feels like the world has gone social media mad and every business is told you need to be on social media. Do you? Yes. Your customers once they know your brand name are probably going to research you on social media so you need a presence that proudly portrays your brand on the channel(s) they are most likely to use. It’s important that they see recent content here too otherwise they may question if you’ve closed down.

Creating great content for social media takes time and planning to find your optimum formula. Try starting with the social media channel that your key target customer is most likely to be active on and create content with them in mind. If that channel is Instagram here’s 5 tips how to improve your Instagram strategy. Organic (free) growth on social media takes time and the algorithms of each platform frequently change, we recommend that you focus on engagement with your content (comments as well as likes) rather than follower growth, and have fun getting to know and networking with your local audience.

5. Encourage reviews and share the best
Trust and recommendations are key to success online, especially with the overwhelming amount of choice from local, national and global brands. Each review you receive online be it on Google, Facebook or a review partner, is going to help you win more customers. Consistently deliver a 5 star service and then share those reviews with your audiences on your website and social media channels. Don’t be shy, shout about what your customers really think of your brand!

Are you ready to take your small business into its next stage of growth? Do you want to create or optimise your brand’s presence online? Hi Digital are a boutique, digital agency dedicated to growing small businesses with effective digital strategies and we’d love to help you reach your business goals. Please email us info@hidigital.co.uk or please get in touch with using the form below to book a free consultation with us.

Alternatively find out more about what we do or read for free digital marketing tips on our blog.

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