3 Ways to Market Your Local Business Online
4 min read
Want to avoid FOMO (fear of missing out)? You need to market your business online! Local businesses are going digital to find new customers.
The options to market your business discussed below are easy and important first steps to creating an online presence for your business. Here are three ways to get started:
1. Add Your Business to Online Directories
In today’s world, many consumers turn to online directories first to find information about local businesses, and your business needs to show up in those searches. Here are a few types of directories to consider:
- Search engine directories: List basic information about your business, like phone number, address and business hours, on places like Google My Business, Bing Places for Business or Yahoo! Local.
- Local directories: Claim your business on some of the sites that specialize in listings by city or region, including YP.com, Citysearch and Local.com.
- Review-centric directories: If you rely on customer reviews to drive business, consider sites known for consumer ratings and reviews. Registration is also free at many popular sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and Merchant Circle.
- Industry-specific directories: If your business is in a specialized industry, an easy way to find relevant, high-traffic directories for your area of expertise is to do a quick online search of your profession (e.g., “attorney”) or your profession + “directory” (e.g., “attorney directory”).
Your business may already have a listing on these directories as search engines can automatically build one for you. In that case, all you’ll need to do is claim it and confirm the information listed is correct.
2. Set Up a Social Media Page for Your Business
Nearly seven in ten U.S. adults use some type of social media,1 so it makes sense to harness its power to promote your business.
Knowing your goals and understanding where your customers spend their time online can help you determine which social media site can help you reach your target audience.
Don’t assume it’s a popular platform like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter because that could limit your reach; choose the platform that aligns with the audience you are trying to reach.
Select one platform to serve as your primary social media presence. This will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed and help you to learn to use the site effectively for your marketing efforts. When you’re ready, consider advertising through social media. You can target your ads to people in a specific region and by demographic.
The key to successful email marketing is to test your efforts.
3. Start Email Marketing
Email marketing helps boost customer loyalty with your brand, drive business to on- and offline channels, integrate multiple marketing channels and fuel engagement on social media. Before you start, think about:
- Your list of subscribers: Do you have a customer list? Make sure everyone on your list has opted-in to receive marketing emails. Also, how will you get new subscribers? Consider collecting email addresses at events and/or in your social media efforts.
- Creating content to send to subscribers: You can promote your products and services, inform customers of special offers or even start a newsletter. Remember to create engaging content that your customers will find valuable and want to read.
- Selecting an email service provider: Consider a solution that will help you grow, is low cost and doesn’t lock you into a lengthy contract. Make sure you have an idea of how many subscribers you have and how often you plan to email them. Most email service providers base their pricing on these factors.
The key to successful email marketing is to test your efforts. Send out a few test emails to get an idea of the types of subject lines and content that your subscribers engage with the most. You can also try sending emails on different days and times to help determine an optimal time to send your emails for the highest engagement.
Connect Everything with a Domain Name
How do you tie this all together with your brand? Easy. Register a .net domain name, like JudysGoodies.net, to serve as the hub for your online presence.
Do you want your customers to go to an online directory page or your social media page? Use your domain name to redirect to your site of choice. Also known as domain forwarding, this option is usually easy to set up when you register your domain name and often takes as little as five minutes.
Having your own domain name makes it easy to tell people where to find you online.
You can also use your domain name in your email marketing campaigns by making it your custom email address (i.e. Sales@JudysGoodies.net) for your business. A branded, professional email address shows your customers that your company is established and legitimate.
Having your own domain name makes it easy to tell people where to find you online. And, if you want to create a website in the future, you already have a great web address that your customers know.
1 Pew Research Center. Social Media Fact Sheet. Accessed March 29, 2018