Local marketing and Internet marketing are two terms that most people are familiar with, but when put together, there might be some confusion. The former refers to marketing within a specific area, neighborhood or community, and the latter refers to marketing using online means, such as social media, blogs, search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click advertising (PPC). As such, local Internet marketing is the process of marketing to a local community using the web.
Local Internet marketing is a fantastic way of building a brand’s reputation, forming a relationship with a large customer base, improving lead generation, and acquiring new customers. For some top local Internet marketing ideas for 2015, here’s what your business needs to do:
1. Get a Website
If you’re a business, especially a small business, you may have been relying on word of mouth marketing and attendance at community events to keep your reputation strong for the past twenty years. While there’s no doubt that an offline presence and offline marketing matters, having a website is a crucial part of marketing yourself in today’s digital age. The majority of people use online search engines, like Google, to search for businesses when they’re in need of a product or service. If your business isn’t listed, and a website for your business isn’t available, you might as well be handing profits to the competition.
2. Use Social Media
Much liking having a website, many small businesses assume that social media sites are a tool that their businesses don’t need. Regardless of the type or the size of your business, using social media is an absolute must, especially for a local Internet marketing campaign. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Instagram are valuable social media sites to be on. Another must-be-on site is Google+ Local, which provides recommendations for customers based on their current location. Google+ Local is growing rapidly, and it’s hypothesized that Google+ Local will be the “next big thing” for Internet marketing for businesses in 2015. Using Yelp – which is technically a review site, not a social media site – to garner reviews about your business can also help you to get the publicity you need to grow.
Having a social media site alone isn’t enough, though; rather, being active on your different social media profiles is key. Make sure you share others’ content, post updates and Tweets that are engaging and relevant, and engage in conversations with others.
3. Cross Promote with Other Businesses
Cross promotion is one of the best things that businesses can do for both one another and themselves. Cross promotion can be done online by offering a special promotion for your customers at a different, non-competitive business. For example, if you’re a shoe company, you can offer a 20 percent off coupon for the local scarf company when people make a purchase through your ecommerce site. The promotion benefits you, as your customers have an incentive to buy your product, and a perk for doing so; the promotion benefits the scarf company, because they’ll have more customers driven to their site/store. Partner up with a few local companies, and customers and businesses alike will be pleased.
In addition to offering discounts for other products and services and having other local businesses do the same for you, you should also consider link sharing. Link sharing is the process of adding links to other businesses within your own content, and having them add a link to your business within their content. Link sharing is a great (and easy) way to cross promote without having to offer a discounted price.
4. Keep a Blog
An absolute must-do idea for local Internet marketing is keeping a blog. A blog is beneficial to every type of business out there, big or small, local or corporate, a business blog is a must. Setting up a blog is easy, and while blogging requires time, will pay off greatly for your business. Use your blog to highlight your customers or employees, talk about products or services, provide a unique perspective on something happening within your industry, share business news, talk about business history, and promote local events. That’s right, a blog can be one of the best tools for talking about local happenings, advertising for them, and therefore engaging with community members. Make sure that in addition to keeping your blog, you share your blog on all your social media sites, and encourage users to share the blog on their social media profiles, too.
5. Start Participating in Local Events Online
Every town or city has something happening locally. Whether it’s a fundraiser, a fair, or a high school football game, there are activities that community members care about and are engaged in. As a business, you can participate in those community events, support and promote them, using online means. For example, use your Facebook page to offer a $5 off coupon to anyone who shares a picture of themselves at the local football game and tags your business in it. Or, attend a fundraiser and offer a free gift for anyone consumers who show up and check into the event through Foursquare or Yelp. In fact, simply posting a blog news update about a local community event, just to raise awareness about the event, can be a great idea for local Internet marketing.
The Importance of Local Internet Marketing
As the world becomes more globalized, one thing remains constant: a local presence matters. If you’re the marketer for a business, taking the time to invest thought into local Internet marketing ideas and the effect that local marketing will have on your business marketing is critical. While your ecommerce site may attract non-local users, your physical store is probably most visited by those who live near it, which means that the people in your community are your most important source of revenue and profits. If you want to better connect with your customers, increase your leads and conversions, and establish yourself as a trusted member of the community, then you need to start marketing yourself locally through the Internet today.