Small businesses that depend on revenues generated by only local customers sometimes have a difficult time promoting their products and services. Online marketing methods show tremendous potential, but do they also work for a locally owned business with a relatively small customer base?
For companies with a limited marketing budget, taking advantage of the inexpensive marketing tools online can achieve rather remarkable results. The 6 ways to encourage customers to shop locally is a straight-forward collection of marketing tools that are within reach of every small business.
Even in 2016, many small businesses do not have a website. Shop owners can build one themselves for under €100 with sites like Weebly.com or WordPress.com. Be sure to include a company blog and to write a new blog post at least once a week. The consistent adding of content to your website helps keep the website fresh while also giving you a boost with the search engine page rankings.
Getting started can be a nervous or apprehensive time. But here’s the nub of it – no one knows your specific area of expertise as well as you do. Remember, you’re not writing for the world but for a group of people that would appreciate reading what you have to say. Writing is a habit and in no time, you’ll marvel at how far you’ve travelled.
When shoppers buy local, they are not only supporting you, the local merchant, they are also supporting themselves and their community. Sometimes the lure of low prices and one-stop shopping at big-boxes can be tempting, so as a local entrepreneur it is in your best interest to educate the local community about why it is better to shop local businesses. It can be an up-hill battle, but every little bit helps. Encouraging your customers to buy local is a win-win for everyone!
Interaction with your customers is important, and social media is a great way to engage with your customers. If your business does not have a social media presence, it will be more difficult to get customers to visit you. Some ways you can engage with your customers is by offering contests, discounts or sharing special offers on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Your website will be of little use if nobody can find it on their search engine. To generate the most online traffic, and therefore customers, you need to rank highly on Google. Because really, does anyone click to the second page of results?
SEO for local business
To rank, you will need to work on your SEO techniques regularly, monitoring your statistics closely and refining your features accordingly. One of the first things to do is carry out keyword research on sites like Serpstat, SEMRush or Keywords Everywhere. What phrases are your customers searching? What questions do they have? Do your best to answer all their queries, in one place. But be wary of keyword stuffing: Google can spot this a mile off and may penalise you for it in the rankings.
You will also need to update your site frequently with keyword-rich content and work on building quality backlinks to your site. Make use of internal links too: spread credibility from high-ranking sites to your own by creating natural links between pages.
With a current shift of society focusing more on sustainability, the health of our planet, and changing behaviours to be more eco-friendly, you should highlight the benefits of shopping local. When you shop local, you take away from the environmental impacts of shipping, excess packaging and have the option of reusable containers, bags, and even walk to local stores.
Get people to buy local
With a continued focus on shopping local, make sure your business stacks up to the occasion. Using these various strategies can help you develop content for your social media posts, implement traditional marketing tactics and connect more with your local community. When it comes to supporting the local economy and community, businesses are at the heart of them all.