3 SMB Digital Marketing Strategies You Should Be Doing (But Probably Aren't)
In addition to marketing, small businesses have a lot on their plate. So, it’s no surprise that it’s difficult for them to find the time and resources to employ all of the digital marketing strategies available to them.
But local, small businesses don’t need to use every strategy out there to make an impact in their marketing. They just need to use the ones that work best for their specific market.
The following are powerful (yet often underutilized) digital marketing strategies that create big results specifically for local, small businesses.
#1) Establishing your name on business directories
An online presence isn’t only about your website and social media profiles. Those pieces are important, but they are only two pieces of a larger puzzle.
To extend the reach of your online presence, you need to also be visible on business directories and listing sites.
Business listings give you extra exposure and also boost the online authority of your website. Listings improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) because they include links back to your website.
The more links pointing to your website, the better. This shows search engines that your website is a legitimate resource and something that searchers want to find. So when you create listings that point back to your website, you provide support for your SEO strategy.
To use this digital marketing strategy and improve your appearance online, create profiles for your business on directory and review sites such as:
While print phone books are probably nothing more than a doorstop in your home, the online versions have value for your business. Create listings on:
Depending on the type of your business, also look for directories or listings that are relevant to your industry, which may include:
To find more directories that are relevant to your business, try searching for “[your industry] + directory.” Or, search for a competitor to see what listings show in their search results. Do some research to see if you should have an appearance on the listing site too.
As you go through this process, keep an eye out for spammy or scammy directories. Don’t add your business to every directory you find. Do research to ensure sites are reputable. (Are there other high-quality businesses on the site? If you search for the directory listing, do you see any negative articles about the site?)
And, don’t pay for listings. You should be able to find enough free listings to support this area of your small business digital marketing strategies.
#2) Optimizing your website for local searchers
One of the other big benefits of adding your business to directories is that it will boost your local SEO. Local SEO is a practice that optimizes your site for nearby searchers. It helps people in the area surrounding your business find you through search.
Search engines want to help people find what they are looking for. They know a person who searches for “pizza restaurant” doesn’t want to see results for the most prominent pizza restaurants across the world. They want to see results for pizza restaurants near them.
So, search engines provide local results. Search engines often prioritize local results that connect users with nearby businesses that provide what they need.
As a small business, you want your digital marketing strategies to help you appear in these local search results.
To boost your appearance in local searches:
- Build your presence on local directories -- especially on Google My Business. Sorry to repeat this point, but it’s important enough to say again. Your business profile on Google is what feeds the featured information box on the results pages, so make sure you have a complete profile on this platform.
- Make sure all of your business listings and citations are correct. Search engines like consistency. So make sure your NAP (name, address, and phone number) is consistent on all listings. Some directories create listings without a business’s approval. Search to find those directories and contact them to update your information if it is wrong.
- Create a strategy for getting reviews. Another signal that lets search engines know that a business is popular and important (and worthy of showing higher in rankings) are customer reviews. Create programs that encourage your customers to share their experiences on review sites like Google, Yelp, and your local MyArea Network area.com like 813area.com, 407area.com and 727area.com.
- Include your business address in the footer of your website. Use each page of your website to send signals to search engines about where your business is located. If you have more than one location, also create pages for each location.
- Optimize your site for “[your category] + [your city].” You don’t have to optimize every page on your site for this phrasing. But, you do want to have a few pages on your site that include this search engine signal in the page’s title tag, page title, and within the content.
With these digital marketing strategies, you help local customers find your business via search.
#3) Geographically targeting your local customers
There is another powerful digital marketing strategy that also taps into the opportunities all around your business -- location based advertising.
Location based advertising or LBA is a tactic that targets audiences based on their geographic location. It allows you to send messages specifically to people who are in a certain area, people near your business.
For local businesses, LBA is an ideal marketing strategy because it connects them directly to nearby shoppers, consumers, and customers.
There are multiple ways to tap into LBA.
- Geographic targeting through Google’s ad network. All of Google advertising options (search, display, video and app ads) have the capability to only show to audiences who are within a certain geographic area. You see a digital marketing strategy example of this when you search for a service or business category. If you search for “chiropractor,” the top results won’t be the biggest clinics in the country. The top results will be local clinics paying to target your geographic area.
- Geographic targeting through Facebook. You can do the same hyper-local targeting through Facebook. Instead of wasting advertising dollars connecting with customers who are too far away from your business to visit it, you can hyper-target only audiences that are nearby.
- Mobile location-based ads. A more strategic approach to targeting people based on their location is drilling down and targeting only mobile users for certain ads. For example, you could create an ad for a coupon for your business, then select to only show it to mobile users that are close to your business.
- Text messaging marketing. Location-based mobile advertising can be even more powerful when used to connect with past customers. Businesses can collect phone numbers from customers and then use text marketing to send messages (like time-sensitive coupons and discounts) to users when they are close to the business location.
For tips on how to effectively collect telephone numbers through event marketing, check out our post on sponsorship activation.
- App-based proximity targeting. This next strategy also requires an initial action by your audience; you need the audience to download an app. Once users install your app, you can set up geofences (which designate specific geographic areas) that will trigger messages through the app when the user enters the location.
Local small businesses want local customers. And, these digital marketing strategies allow businesses to directly connect with nearby consumers -- and only local customers. There is no wasted advertising expense on marketing to people who are too far away to do business with you.
Ready to implement these digital marketing strategies?
Small, local businesses have dozens of digital marketing strategies to choose from when they begin promoting and advertising.
But, not all strategies are created equal.
Marketing strategies that work for small businesses are not always the same strategies that work for large, national brands.
Small businesses will find more success when they focus on the strategies designed for local shops, stores, and restaurants.
This post includes three of those smart strategies. And if you want help with executing these ideas or to learn more about marketing strategies that work specifically for small businesses, contact us for a free consultation about your digital presence.