You know that song that goes “can you take me higher?” That’s what your marketing should be doing for your business -- taking it higher, probably not to a place with golden streets, but you never know. Do any towns have golden streets? Or at least one golden street? Let me know in the comments if you know.
Anyways, to get back on track and away from 90s one-hit-wonders, marketing is essential for any business looking to grow both online and offline. So, where do you start? There are so many marketing tactics out there, it can honestly be kind of overwhelming.
But, that’s where we come in! We work with a lot of local businesses to help them get into this marketing thing, so let’s talk about some steps toward a digital marketing strategy that will take your higher.
1. Determine Your Target Audience & Where You Should Reach Them
The first step to marketing success is determining who you’re trying to reach and what sources may best influence them. If you’re not sure who your target audience is, you can use analytics to determine a specific demographic, geographic area, and more. Or, you can read this handy article!
Once you have a good idea of your target audience, you need to figure out where you should reach them. We know that consumers are largely searching online for new businesses, but traditional marketing tactics like inserts and newspaper print ads still impact purchasing decisions. So, it’s important that your digital marketing strategy includes tactics that will best reach your target audience across a range of channels.
For example, are you targeting millennials? We know they’re spending a ton of time online on social media sites, but they also largely live in apartments (remember, they can’t buy houses because they’re buying avocado toast...), so you can target them via social media marketing along with mailers to specific areas that include apartment communities. This approach can increase recognition for your business and drive action from your target audience.
2. Get Your Website Together
Did you know that about 45% of small businesses don’t even have a website? Your website is an essential way for consumers to learn about your business. It’s the foundation of your digital marketing strategy and the perfect place to direct people from your print ads so they can get more information about your business.
So, what makes up a good website? First of all, it’s got to be mobile-friendly or responsive. Consumers spend an average of five hours per day on mobile devices, and mobile internet use has surpassed desktop, so if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re not delivering a positive experience to those users.
Second of all, your website is an avenue for prospects to contact you. So make it easy for them! Include your phone number on every single page, enable click-to-call for mobile users, and consider adding live chat to your website so prospects can get info quickly and when they need it while also giving you a way to capture lead information. Speaking of lead information, add a form to your website! That way you can collect information about your website visitors and follow up to (hopefully) convert them into a customer.
Third of all, make sure your website is easy to navigate and read. Your content should be written for searchers, not search engines! Which leads us to our next point….
3. Add in Some SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a way to get your business found organically on search engines for specific keywords that relate to your business. SEO has a ton of different components, including how your website functions in the backend, how it’s organized, the content on your website, and some offsite factors including local listings (which we’ll talk about more later, don’t worry!).
TLDR: SEO is complicated. But it’s also super important if you want users to find you on search engines in the organic section (which is the part that shows under paid ads -- we’ll also talk about those more later!).
One of the most important things to note about SEO is that it’s a long-term strategy. So, basically that means that you can’t just start an SEO strategy and show on the first page of Google the next day. While that would obviously be ideal, it’s just not the way the world and the search engines work. But, investing in an SEO strategy can provide long-term results like better conversion rates, increased website visits, and more.
So, what digital marketing strategy do you pursue while you’re waiting for your SEO to kick in? Great question! Let’s explore.
4. Get Going with Search Marketing
Search marketing enables your ads to show on search engines for specific searches related to keywords, your business name, location, and more. The amazing thing about search marketing is that it’s pretty much immediate! Obviously, optimizations will occur as you continue running your ads, but it’s not going to take forever for your ads to show for your chosen keywords (but, please note: this depends on your keywords. If your top keyword is uber competitive like NYC Dentist, it may actually take a bit to show or you may have to pay a little more to get it there. We don’t make the rules - we just follow them).
Search marketing is an excellent digital marketing strategy because it’s fast, fairly easy, and can help you drive users to your website, landing page, or just to contact you. One thing to keep in mind with search marketing is how valuable it is to run your ads across search engines. If you’re only advertising on one search engine, like Google, you’re missing out on searchers that use other search engines like Bing and Yahoo!
5. Take Care of Your Local Listings
Your local listings, like on Google Maps, Yelp, and Citysearch, are sites where consumers can find your primary business information including your address, phone number, and website. If your local listings are outdated or incorrect, you could have some big problems on your hands.
For example, think about the last time you searched for a business on Google Maps on your phone. You were probably in the car, ready to get going. How mad would you have been if you got to your destination, and the business you were trying to visit wasn’t there? Or, maybe their hours of operation were wrong, and you got there after they closed. This happened to me with a cupcake place. I got to the bakery thinking I had an hour left to grab my lemon cupcake, and they had actually closed an hour earlier. But their listings gave me the wrong information! Needless to say, I was upset. So, I went to their nearest competitor and bought two cupcakes instead of the one I was planning on. You don’t want to upset your potential customers by providing incorrect information about your business.
Local listings can also help with SEO because consistent NAP (business name, address, and phone number) is a ranking factor. Search engine bots are crawling all over the web looking for the most relevant and accurate information, so your business name, address, and phone number consistently listed in as many places as possible is only going to help your chances of ranking in the search engine results pages.
We know this sounds like a lot of work, and we’ve really only scratched the surface of the marketing tactics you can use to reach your target audience. There are a huge amount of ways you can impact consumers’ purchasing decisions both online and offline with marketing, and it can seem overwhelming. But, the good news is that with LOCALiQ marketing solutions, we can determine the best digital marketing strategy for your business to help you reach your goals and grow your business. Contact us today to learn how we can partner with you for your grow story!