7 Ways Local Businesses Can Take Control of Digital Marketing

by / Monday, 13 February 2012 / Published in Local Marketing, Marketing

Welcome to our first installment of Marketing Monday, where we will be addressing ways businesses can take advantage of online marketing.

Digital marketing is rapidly expanding as brands across the globe embrace the potential of multi-media marketing on the web. As more and more time is spent on the Internet (via desktops, tablets, or mobile devices), it is essential for all businesses to optimize their web presence to increase their visibility and draw in new and returning customers. Most local businesses, however, have been slow to utilize these tools, which is a shame. With just a minimal amount of time and money, a local business can revamp their online presence and gain a significant edge over their competitors.

Here is a short and simple explanation of how your local business can take control of digital marketing:

 

1. Website:

This is necessary to be competitive in 2012. Just a simple website is necessary, with contact info, location, hours, and services offered, prices, and driving directions. Here’s some data showing what consumers look for on a local business website, via Search Engine Land.

 

2. Social media accounts:

According to a 2010 Gartner Study, 74% of consumers rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions. If you don’t have any social media accounts, you’re missing out on a large amount of prospective customers. We recommend getting at least a Facebook, Twitter, and Google + account to cover all the bases.

Social Media is an effective way to connect with your customers, be introduced to new customers, and increase conversions. Use social media for customer support.  Show the human side of your brand by interacting with your customers. Share your brand: post interesting pictures of your product, make a video about what goes on behind the scenes, promote contests, ask questions. Engage with your fans and your brand will grow.

 

3. SEO:

Now you have a website and social media accounts. You want people to see them, right? In order for that to happen your websites need to rank high on search engines. This is where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in. You want your text to be keyword rich. For this to happen, you need to understand what your customers will be searching for on Google. All of your website pages, and all of your social media accounts, should be keyword rich to attract the most amount of traffic possible.

 

4. Blog:

Of course, a website with just a few pages of information will not provide enough keywords. This is why it’s imperative for all business websites to have a blog. Blogging is a great way to continually keep new keyword-rich content on your site. Informative blog posts will keep readers coming back for more, and you will see a return on investment.

 

5. Link building:

Another essential part of SEO is link building. Your blog cannot just be a standalone site. For it to work effectively as a marketing tool, it needs to link out to reputable sources (.edu domains are the best), and reputable sources need to link back to you.  Linking out is easy enough, while getting sites to link back to you is harder. The simplest way to go about this is to find blog posts that are relevant to your blog, and leave interesting comments that are relevant and add to the discussion, leaving a link back to your website at the bottom.

 

6. Mobile:

More people than ever are using the internet on their phone. Local businesses need a mobile version of their website so customers can look up the business on the go. 95% of smartphone users will use their phone to look for local information, and your website needs to be accessible on mobile devices when that happens.

 

7. Search Engine Listings:

Make sure your business is registered with the big search engines so customers can easily find your business. You can register for Google Places, Bing, and Yahoo.

 

Those are enough steps to get you started. If you check back every Monday, I’ll be providing more tips on marketing in the digital world.

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