Technology has transformed many processes since the turn of the century, and this is very much the case where marketing is concerned.
While traditional forms of promoting goods and services still have their place, every business must be adept at getting key messages in front of new and existing customers via digital routes.
That point is especially pertinent for local businesses, with those who embrace digital far more likely to succeed than those that don’t.
Whether you use the services of Sports Habit, a digital marketing agency, or manage your marketing activities in-house, it is imperative to establish a solid online presence.
Read on as we look at some of the best ways to market your local business digitally.
Use Website & eCommerce Solutions
The internet tends to be the first port of call when people search for goods and services, so businesses must ensure that they are visible.
Investing resources into a user-friendly website is an excellent place to start and will help your firm stand out from the competition.
There are some excellent cost-effective solutions that can be created on WordPress, providing your business with the opportunity to market itself properly.
eCommerce solutions such as Shopify, Etsy and eBay are also well worth considering, as these provide a ready-made way to facilitate online sales.
Whichever way you to choose to establish this initial online presence, make sure that it is kept regularly updated with products, special offers and information.
Get Active on Social Media
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provide an easy way for businesses to get themselves noticed by thousands of people.
Each platform has its merits in terms of marketing, so take time to figure out where target audience is likely to engage with you on social.
For instance, if your business is a local butchers shop, it is highly likely that Facebook would be an excellent resource for marketing your produce.
Creating a vibrant presence will not only attract existing customers, but has the potential to reach a wider audience as they share your information with their friends and family.
This is effectively free advertising and can significantly help to grow your business if you consistently post content for people to share.
Be Creative with Video Content
The aforementioned social media platforms all provide businesses with the opportunity to be creative with their marketing activities.
Studies have shown that short-form videos can be a hugely effective tool, significantly outstripping written content in terms of engagement.
Its visual nature means that people are more likely to remember your business and increases the potential of your online content going viral.
Instagram is particularly effective in this regard, and can be a tremendously valuable marketing tool if you are attempting to attract a younger demographic.
Videos content also goes a long way to improving your search engine optimisation and website ranking, giving you a greater chance of appearing on Google’s first page.
Offer Excellent Customer Support
Some businesses don’t consider customer support to be a digital marketing function, but nothing could be further from the truth.
While establishing a solid online presence allows you to promote your firm, it also gives customers to express their anger if they are unhappy with your service levels.
Barely any business will go through life without experiencing some issues, but dealing with any problems efficiently can strengthen your reputation.
If a customer leaves a complaint on your website or via social, make sure that you are seen to interact with them to resolve the problem to their satisfaction.
Consumers want to deal with businesses that care, and putting things right when things go wrong is a great way to keep people onside.
Embrace Digital Innovations
For businesses operating at local level, it may be tempting to think that you can cut corners when it comes to servicing your customers’ requirements.
However, the digital landscape is very much a 24-7-365 operation, and it is essential to ensure that you don’t miss out on sales opportunities outside your regular business hours.
Digital innovations such as chatbots have been proven to be helpful in this respect, providing users with answers to simple questions and providing you with valuable data about customers.
Virtual reality (VR) technology can also be an excellent marketing tool, especially in real estate, construction, tourism and hospitality.
Convincing customers to complete a sale is challenging in every sector, but VR can be an extremely effective way to secure those all-important sales.
Have a Social Conscience
Digital agencies such as AdSavvy have long been extolling the value from a marketing perspective of local businesses being socially conscious.
Many consumers want to deal with firms who embrace this ethos – either with the products they sell or the causes that they support.
For instance, a health and beauty products business that sells sustainable products is more likely to succeed than one that does not care about the environment.
Engaging in charity efforts is also advisable, although it is vital to ensure that whatever the business undertakes is not just a cynical marketing tactic.
Being socially conscious helps you to connect with customers on a much deeper level, and if it is done with passion can make a real difference to your business.
Play the ‘Local’ Card
Local businesses often find it difficult to survive, particularly in the face of competition from larger operations or even global brands.
However, the word ‘local’ still holds plenty of resonance for many consumers, and this is undoubtedly a point you should hammer home.
If your goods or services are of sufficient quality, people will be happy to pay a premium for the convenience that dealing with a local business brings.
Make sure that you support other businesses in your neighbourhood, get involved with local events and strive to be an integral part of the community you are based in.
Regardless of the size of your local business, if you embrace digital marketing properly, you will be well on the road to success.