If you have a small business, looking for ideas on how to promote it in your local area, keep reading, as that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this article. And at the end I’ll also share you with you a bonus tip which normally helps us get more than 50% of all our clients.
One thing we always tell our clients, and this is the most important rule in Marketing:
Be where your customers are.
Promoting a business locally, is no different.
Before we jump into our recommended tips, I would actually be interested to find out from you, how exactly are you promoting your local business? What’s working, what’s not working for your business? Please let us know by using the comments section below.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s jump into our tips for today.
So I mentioned earlier, go where: BE WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE. But what exactly does that mean? Well… start by putting yourself in your prospects shoes. What would you do if you would need a plumber, a car mechanic? Would you search through the old yellow pages book? Of course not. You would go on Google.
We know people go on Google because we’re doing it ourselves, and also because there are tools that can help us with this kind of data show us on average how many people have searched for something on Google.
- Builders in Peterborough – 390 searches per month – on average
- Plumber Manchester – almost 3000 searches every month. Wow..
- Hairdressers Cambridge – near 6000 searches every month
How amazing it would be to get 10, no, 1 % of all those 6000 searches. That’s 60 every month, which can also become recurring customers.
And all this leads me to:
TIP 1: HAVE A PRESENCE ON GOOGLE
So let’s have a look at where you can be on Google, and what do you need to get there.
What you’re seeing here on the screen, is a typical Google Search Results page.
Starting from the bottom, these are the Google Organic Results. Now, it goes without saying, that in order to even be there, whether you’re on the 1st page, or 10th page of google, you do need to have a website.
And it’s very very important for your website to be Mobile Optimised, because that’s what Google looks at first. You can have a great website on Desktop, but if it’s not optimised to work nicely on mobiles, Google won’t like that, and your visitors won’t like that either.
If you’re not sure whether your website is mobile friendly, well. Pick up the phone, type in your website, and if things are too small, too hard to read, , or the text is cut off, that means it’s not. And it’s something you should look into fixing asap.
You also want your website to be fast, from a performance point of view. No one is going to wait 5-10 seconds for a website to load.
And of course, you want your website to look professional, because it represents your business. And if your website doens’t look good, people MIGHT .. MIGHT .. question the quality of service you’re offering.
Now, there are lots of other ranking factors, and since this wasn’t meant to be a SEO tutorial, I won’t bore you with all the details but I wrote an article a while back which can give you few more local seo tips to help your business grow.
Before we move on, I just want to clarify one thing.
Building a website does NOT mean, you’ll straight away end up on the first page of google. And PLEASE PLEASE BE AWARE of anyone who promises that. Yes, it’s possible, but SEO it’s a long term game, it can take months and years of hard work to get to the 1st page of Google.
TIP 2: REGISTER ON GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
Looking back at our initial Google Search Results page, above the organic Search results, we can see a section which has a map and showcases 3 businesses.
This leads me to my 2nd tip: Register your business on Google My Business, if you haven’t done so already, because that’s the only way to show your business on that map.
And this is very important, especially for local businesses, because, as you see, even Google puts more emphasis on this section, by positioning it above organic search results.
If you’re not sure how to setup your Google My Business profile, you’re in luck, because I have actually created a step by step video tutorial on exactly this topic, showing you everything you need to do.
The good thing about having a Google My Business profile, is that it’s easier to get your business showing on the first page of Google, compared to ranking your website organically. That’s because the map will always show businesses who are closer to your prospect location.
Google My Business also allows you to collect reviews, so make sure you get as many reviews as possible, to make your business stand out from your competition.
TIP 3: GOOGLE ADS
Moving on to the top of the page, this is where we have Google Ads. So basically you have to pay to get there. This is important especially if you have a new website, and it’s nowhere to be seen in the organic search.
Google ads allow you to cut the queue, beat your competition and go all the way to the top, as that’s where the majority of the people looking for your service, will be.
And as we’ve already seen, there are hundreds or thousands of people looking for different services on Google, every month.
While with organic SEO, it can take months or years to rank your website, and be on the 1st page of google, with Google ads you can be there in matter of minutes.
Just turn on the ads, wait for them to be approved, and shortly after you’ll start getting visitors to your website.
Making the advertising campaign be successful on the other hand, might require a few extra skills. So definitely have a look into some tutorials before you do anything, or consider hiring a professional.
In fact this is the biggest mistake we’ve seen that people make, they setup the ads, they set everything on auto-pilot, come back a month later and realise that they’ve wasted a lot of money with little to no results.
Google Ads are amazing, and can work successfully for pretty much any business, but it’s definitely NOT a set and forget process.
We’re pretty much done with Google. Moving on, we’re going to look at the biggest Social Media Platform out there. And.. I’m hoping you guessed that right..
Yes, that is Facebook.
There are 2.5 billion monthly users on Facebook. These are recent stats from December 2019. Well.. Depending when you’re watching the video.
The point is Facebook it’s way too big to ignore as part of your small business marketing strategy.
TIP 4: Make use of FACEBOOK LOCAL Groups
If you’re not aware, there are groups on Facebook, which you can be part of, and normally they are all around a specific theme, or location. So you can join a fishing group, a photography one, and discuss your hobby, or you can join a group that it’s local to you.
All you have to do is go on to Facebook, go to the search bar, search something related to your area, city, or perhaps neighborhood, and then filter the results by looking only at the groups. From there you can join the different groups.
This is a gold mine because I’m part of some similar groups in my area, and every single day, I see people asking for recommendations for plumbers, accountants, cleaning companies, you name it.
And that’s how you can promote your business, by either posting on those groups directly (if they allow you to – make sure you read the groups rules) or respond to a post when someone is looking for your service.
If you don’t have already, think about creating a Facebook Page for your business, because that will allow you to establish an online presence on Facebook, showcase your work, but more importantly, it will allow you to collect reviews, or recommendations I think they call themt these days.
If you’re not sure how to do that, we’ve just created, not long ago, a step by step tutorial on how to Create a Facebook Page for your business.
So whenever someone is looking for a service like yours, you can now reply and tag your own page directly, so the person can visit your page and see your work, customers testimonials, and your contact details.
TIP 5: FACEBOOK ADS
You have a marketing budget, you want more people to see your business. That’s where Facebook ads come in.
Facebook is a great way to promote your business. However.. You do need to adapt a different strategy than just asking someone to buy.
Think about why people are on Facebook in the first place? They are not there to buy, they are there to socialise, and keep in contact with their friends and family.
So what does that mean? Well. Let me answer that question, with a different question. If you just met someone today, would you normally start selling your service before saying Hello?
My guess is NO.
Right, so why would you do it on Facebook? I am not saying that you shouldn’t promote your business. What I’m saying is that the approach, the strategy should be different.
Whilst with Google Ads, you know people are interested in your service because they have searched for something, On Facebook you don’t. On Facebook you assume they might be interested, because they were also interested in something else, or because they are based in a certain location. The 2nd one is very important for local businesses.
As well as Facebook organic, but also Facebook ads, it’s very much action driven. We’ve seen this everywhere. People like, comment, share your posts, it’s like a domino effect, Facebook will show that post or ad to even more people, perhaps even cheaper.
If people don’t interact with your post or ad, facebook will think that the people are just not interested and it will show your ads to less and less people, and more and more expensive should you continue to advertise.
That’s why I always recommend advertising something that requires less commitment. Don’t tell someone to buy your product or service, because they won’t as they have no idea who you are, and they will just ignore the ad.
But if instead, you advertise something that requires less commitment, let’s say a coupon code, a Freebie, facebook is great at lead generation, or an article / a blog post, that will require less commitment, so people are more likely to take that action.
You need to test what works for you. Facebook Ads it’s a whole new beast, and I could probably talk for hours about, so instead, check the video we’ve created recently, on the Biggest Mistake Local Business Make when they use Facebook ads. Make sure you check that out.
Thank you so much for reading this far. Now even though everything I do is digital marketing related, we are a web design agency.
Guess what? NOT all our clients come from online sources.
BONUS TIP: REFERRAL MARKETING
More than 50% of our clients come through referrals. People who were happy with our service and they recommend us to someone else.
But it’s not just that. It’s about meeting people in your local area.
The biggest lesson I learned in Marketing is that:
PEOPLE BUY PEOPLE.
When you’re online, you’re competing with everyone. When you’re there, face to face, meeting your prospects, people will work with you for who you are.
And that’s why, as a Local business I highly suggest attending some networking events. And you know what’s better than Networking Groups?
Referral Marketing Groups. – Because they only allow one person per category. I’ve been to other networking events where I would find 4-5 different web designers. It’s not particularly comfortable, especially if this is your first time.
However, Referral Marketing Groups, like the one I’m part of, they only allow 1 person per category. 1 web designer, 1 accountant, 1 electrician, 1 car mechanic. Etc.. And we all work together to grow our business and pass referrals to each other.
Something like this will allow you to make more contacts in your local area, and get more clients
If you are based in Peterborough area, give me a shout, and I would be more than happy to invite you to one of our meetings, so you can see for yourself what it is, and how it could work for your business.