As a local business owner in today’s digitally powered world, your efforts online should be geared towards simultaneously serving and attracting customers.
The obvious benefit being that the Internet is working for you 24 hours a day.
And that all makes sense, but it is still so hard for the majority of small and local business owners to do this effectively.
So what gives?
The Truth About SEO & Other High Priced Internet Marketing Tactics
You see, what works most effectively today in local business and thus in local Internet marketing is a true desire to help, honesty, hard work, reliability, accountability, and consistency.
The same goes for your online presence.
Three major shifts have happened recently and the effects are being seen with our interactions online.
- The Internet is here. It is not going anywhere and it is ingrained into almost every aspect of our lives in one way or another. Don’t fight it, don’t try to hide from it, embrace it.
- Consumers do not need fancy over the top marketing when it comes to local business. They don’t need overbearing constant contact either. What they need and want is clarity over what the solution to their problem is and the control over the decision-making and sales process to get it. People know they need to hire or shop with local companies, they just want a good experience in the process.
- The last 20 years of marketing overload has caused us to seriously prefer to start our shopping or search journey with a referral from a friend, family, social media, or even online reviews!
What this means is that a local business owner doesn’t have to spend thousands of dollars a month to try and rank for some keyword that some person might search for when it comes to a product or service their business offers.
Especially with all of the ever-forward ways a consumer can search for things these days, like voice search, Google Home, or through the Amazon Echo.
For local business owners, the search engines are just too crowded to waste money trying to rank #1 for a potential opportunity that may never come and is tough to accurately track the ROI for.
This means that business owners don’t have to have fancy email marketing or video campaigns. They don’t have to spend countless hours learning about funnels, PPC, ROI, and everything in between.
There are just too many new platforms, tactics, strategies, gurus, and the like out there when it comes to marketing your business online.
And when you pile that on top of the already heavy workload that all local business owners are under it just leads to all efforts or thought about the Internet feeling daunting, draining, or something you would just rather not deal with.
There is just so much confusion and chaos.
What you need is some clarity!
So, what can you do?
The Right Approach To Marketing Your Business Online In 2019 And Beyond
As a local business owner looking to simultaneously serve and attract customers online, you must start by optimizing your online presence to be heard once found.
But what does that mean?
It means that no matter how, why, or where a person finds your company online, if what your business offers can meet their wants or needs, they should know it, and then that person should have no hesitation to get in touch with you, or at the very least continue to research and compare your business further.
As a local business owner, your efforts should first be focused on making sure that when someone searches for your business by its’ name they can not only find you, but that they will like what they find about you, both that which is published by you and that which is from other local clients who’ve hired you and can speak to your service by way of online reviews.
I call these controllable’s, the fundamentals of serving and attracting customers and clients online. And yes these few fundamentals paired with the right strategy are all that a local business owner needs to focus on. Both of which I will give you in this article.
Once these fundamentals are in place local business owners can expect to have an online presence that:
- Serves and meets the wants/needs of current customers
- Attracts, informs, and provides value to potential new customers
- Removes stress from the business owner and employees
- Adapts and grows with the business
Remember, the benefit being that this happens 24/7.
So, what are these fundamentals?
But first. I mentioned that in today’s local online search world business owners don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on chasing down long-tailed keywords.
So….Yes, there is an upfront cost to having an online presence like that which is described above and there are even some small monthly charges as well. So, if I am doing you justice in the info I give out I should take a moment to briefly cover the average costs.
What does it cost for Internet marketing for a local and small business in the Denver Metro Area?
These are costs you should be aware of and no matter which stage your business is in you will incur them as monetary costs or time costs.
Typically, local business owners should expect to spend between $3000 and $7500 upfront and anywhere from $50 to $10,000+ a month for complete creation, optimization, and maintenance of their online presence.
Now, as a top Consulting Firm on DesignRush, I am going to give you the fundamentals and the strategy that powers it all upfront and then we will go into it and break it down a little bit.
The Fundamentals of Serving & Attracting Local Business Customers & Clients Online
- Business Listings, Citations, Review Sites, and Community Sites
- Social Media Sites
- Local Business Website
- Review Aquisition, Monitoring, and Marketing Strategy & System
- A Customer Focused, Consistency Over Time Approach
Business Listings, Citations, Review Sites, and Community Sites
Your online presence starts with information about your business. Information like business name, address, phone number, categories, products, services, logo, email address, business hours, start date, number of employees, and the list goes on. All of this information helps the search engines categorize websites and show them to people who want or need what they offer. A few primary examples are Google My Business, Yelp, Factual, EzLocal, Neustar, Localeze, Thumbtack, Zillow, Realtor.com, Alignable, YellowPages, Nextdoor, Fourstar, and many more. There are roughly 50 top business listings that each local business should try and obtain and maintain accurate and consistent information on at all times. Community websites are those that review and rank local company’s by category in order to help local consumers find a good company. Many of these sites also have platforms for a person to reach out to and even hire a company without ever leaving the platform.
Social media sites are becoming more and more important. First, because they allow for a business to have more online real estate for their business to include links to their website. But mostly because Facebook is starting to recognize the power of local. What I mean by that is Facebook is making a number of changes to support people interacting with other locals as well as local businesses much more naturally and transparently and for the greater good of their communities. So, if you need one main reason to be on social media it would be so friends, family, and current or past clients can easily share and recommend your business on there. Which, those people who were shared your business can now easily get in touch through Facebook, view service offerings, schedule calls, appointments, or find links to your website and more!
Local Business Website
A local companies website is still considered the hub and main source of business information and offerings in the eyes of the consumer. The degree to which this is true largely depends on the industry of the business. For example, real estate agents need a website that does a lot more than just display information. They need their clients to be able to search for homes, save searches, make notes about homes, and all of which is synced straight to their realtor for review. Whereas a Family Law Office only needs an informational website because all client interactions are done in person or through the courts beyond the initial research and hiring of the firm. Either way, websites need to be mobile, fast, secure and have the right information in the right places and in the right format to be truly effective. They should have tap-to-call features and contact forms. There should be a clear flow through the site and the sites structure and navigation should not be confusing. The last part is optimizing the website to be understood correctly by the search engines so they can guide the right consumers to it. The great news is that technology is truly on our side when it comes to building a perfectly optimized website for a local business. Embracing technology not only keeps us on the forefront of the industry but it also allows us to lower our overall costs and pass those savings onto our clients in the process. On average, from year to year, you can expect your costs to stay the same or lower slightly, but they will not ever increase just because it’s a new year and we want a larger bonus.
Review Acquisition, Monitoring, and Marketing Strategy & System
Reviews truthfully are pretty much the number one factor when it comes to a local business attracting customers online. But the problem is that happy customers don’t often think to write online reviews and to make matters worse, most have no idea how or where to. Your review strategy should first consist of knowing where to obtain online reviews for your business. These will be the sites that your customer base mainly uses to find you. A couple of common places in which local business should try to obtain reviews on are Google My Business and Facebook. Once you know where you can work up a way to ask, remind, and walk them through the process. Once the review has been obtained, your review strategy should include sharing that review to your website and social profiles as well.
The Strategy That Will Power Your Online Efforts
If our focus is on getting more calls, sales, leads, growing, expanding, or making more money, then there is a good chance that we will not be serving our customers fully.
We must consistently make the right efforts for the right reasons when it comes to our efforts online. Then, over time the search engines realize that we are actually who we say we are and we actually provide value to our current customers and will for new ones as well.
Not only that but we are also ensuring that when someone types your business name into Google they will not only find you, but they will like what they find about you.
Only with these fundamentals, powered with this strategy, do the more advanced techniques like Google and Facebook advertising, conversion & funnel optimization, and social media marketing really reach their full potential.
It’s at that point you can really start to focus in on the specific problems that your customers and clients are having and begin creating the right content(Ad, landing page, blog post, email, text, etc.) which is focused on helping them solve that problem, one of which ways includes hiring or buying from your business.
Then, you follow that up with great products and services. Spare no expense. Work extra hours. But ensure your customers needs have been met. You’ll see, with a customer-focused consistency over time approach to marketing your business online, your business will pretty much market its self!
And that’s it. That is all you need as a local business owner to have success online.
I would encourage you to go back and re-read this article again to really soak it all in. Don’t hesitate to send me any questions.
If you would like to learn more about the intersection of your business and the internet, head over to the blog.
The Right Partner + The Right Approach
I’ll be honest, the easiest and most affordable way to get the fundamentals in place and beyond is for your business is to partner with me and my team at Gary Johnson Design. I take great pride in educating and empowering business owners with their digital marketing efforts.
Even more so, I take pride in delivering the highest quality services for an honest price. I follow an honest, ethical, customer-focused, consistency over time approach to marketing your business online. Not to mention I don’t believe in one size fits all marketing as each business is unique.
Basically, I am not here to sell you a website, social media management, PPC advertising, or any other digital marketing service, but to help you better serve and attract customers using the Internet.
Overall, I am looking to partner with other business owners who provide top-notch products and services and see the value in digital marketing but cannot wear that hat any longer because it is just not cost/time efficient.
Whether you’re a startup wanting to make sure you have all the information and boxes checked to grow as quickly as possible, or a seasoned local company looking to up their game by providing more value to their current customers and attracting some new ones in the process, by first focusing on the fundamentals we can ensure that your business is heard, once found online, no matter how that is (search or referral.)
From there, yes, there are other more advanced search engine optimization techniques, or what I like to call, online authority building, but most business owners, in my experience, can achieve great success in marketing their business online by focusing on the fundamentals consistently over time and then adding in some targeted advertising on Google or Facebook.
If you are looking for a solid digital partner with capabilities and connections to deliver across the entire digital landscape and one that will help you build up and manage a bulletproof online presence that will:
- Serve the needs of your current customers.
- Attract, inform, and provide value to your potential new customers.
- Remove stress from your life.
- Adapt and grow with your business.
Start by scheduling a relaxed call or filling out this contact form so we can start a conversation about your business. You will receive free information, strategy, and at the very least come away empowered to make the right decisions for your business.
Thank you for your time and interest in learning about the Internet and how you can better utilize it to serve and attract your local customers & clients!