Small business owners – we know your pain. It’s hard to not only start and run a small, local business, but you also have to somehow get feet through the doors and cash in the till. On top of that, so many of you are having to go fully online because of current health circumstances…!
You have to do online marketing now to even survive in the current climate, but there are so many conflicting messages out there and so much to learn, how do you know what to focus on?
Well, after years of working with small, mostly local businesses like yourself, here are five tried-and-true approaches we’ve found that can help you boost sales at your store.
Make sure you’re visible on Google Maps
At this point everyone knows Local Listings are incredibly important to be found if you’re a local business. To make yours more visible, make sure your profile is completely filled in, post regular updates on what’s happening at your store or with your service, post more photos of your place of work, the work you do, and your team (also, make sure to geo-tag the photos!), get your business in more local directories (AKA citations), add products and services directly to Google’s platform and follow the next step!
Get more online reviews
The only thing people love more than something free is something they feel like they earned.
Whether it’s one star or five, simply asking your loyal customers for an honest review is beneficial. Great reviews boost your social proof, while 1 star reviews might have some learning experiences for your business! We know it can be difficult to get reviews, so here’s a few ideas:
- Leave a friendly little message on your receipts with a short link from Tiny Url to a review form – same with invoices!
- If you have after-care calls with customers, make sure to ask them to leave a review on your socials or Google profile. If you don’t have after-care calls, implement them!
- Have a sign on your shop counter with a QR code leading to your Google review form (Google does say you can’t offer an incentive or prize for doing so, so uh… Just be careful?)
Of course, you don’t want to be pushy or aggressive about getting reviews – but if your customers love what you do, they’ll usually be willing to help out! You’ll usually always hear from unhappy customers too!
Be sure to keep these reviews visible on your website or social media profiles.
Use social media effectively
Having profiles on every platform is important to protect your brand, but keeping up with all the different platforms out there can be difficult, and posting out 12 ok pieces of content is nowhere near as effective as 3 pieces of great content that get people talking, liking and sharing! So how do you decide what to post? It depends on the type of business you have.
If the business you have deals with visual things, like building works, selling yarn, a restaurant or something that makes sense in a visual platform, have active profiles on Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and maybe Youtube & Facebook.
Whereas if you have a business that runs on information and data, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & maybe Medium will be more for you.
Then on top of that, podcasts are becoming the big new thing everywhere!
Think about where your target audience browses, and what makes most sense for your brand, then go all-in on just 3-4 platforms.
Create an email campaign
Email marketing is a great way to regularly interact with customers and reinforce your brand. Include links in your messages that drive potential customers back to your website or social media profiles. You can even create a series of email campaigns to reach out and touch your customers on a regular basis!
One thing we would caution, is to not bombard your customers with messages – don’t feel like you have to send emails every day like some companies! Your customers would rather you provide value (Educate, Entertain or Enlighten them), then constantly send them low-content emails.
Highlight upcoming events, tangential companies doing good work, deals and discounts you have coming up etc.
Increase your website’s traffic
To rank, you will need to work on your SEO 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.
We hope these small tips have helped in this quick post! LeadFocus is your one-stop solution for all of your local business needs. We offer a comprehensive range of services to help you rank higher on search engines, boost customer engagement and increase sales with our digital marketing solutions.
If you want any more information on the tips above, want to find out how we can work together, or need anything else – head over to our contact page!