If you’re looking for a new way to market your business, you’ve probably considered exploring online marketing. There are plenty of options available to businesses of all sizes, from small, independent firms looking to gain presence in a small community to larger companies focused on national and international expansion.
No matter what stage your business is at, you can use online marketing to reach potential customers in your local area. Not only that, but you can also use the internet to reach people globally, no matter where they happen to be located. That’s huge.
The question is, “Where should I begin?” That’s what we’re here to help with. In this article, we’ll discuss six ways you can use the internet to market your local business.
1. Product Reviews And Ratings
If you’ve ever shopped online, you’ll know that most big brands have an online review section. These are usually curated by third-party companies and only show up in certain areas of the site, such as organic search results or featured articles.
Product reviews and ratings are important because they provide useful information to potential customers. In the case of reviews, it shows the other shoppers what other people thought about the product. In the case of ratings, it shows the business what type of customer it had, and whether or not they were satisfied with their purchase.
2. Event Scheduling And Ticketing
If you have a brick and mortar store, you’ve undoubtedly considered the value of online event scheduling. Just like with regular shopping, customers can search for the date and time of your event, and bookmarks/notes can be placed on the page to help them remember it.
The benefit of online event scheduling is that it’s incredibly flexible. You can set the date and time of your event as you see fit, and as long as you meet certain criteria (usually being a local business), you’ll be able to use a tool like Meetup to easily find people who live in your area and who are also interested in what you have to offer.
3. Newsletter Sign-up
One of the oldest and, most effective online marketing methods is a newsletter. Just like with other forms of marketing, you can find newsletters in many different ways (through a subscription or an email list, for example).
If you have a small business, you might decide that a newsletter is not for you. However, if you have a large corporation and you want to stay in touch with your customers, you can use a tool like Mailchimp to easily set up a newsletter.
4. SEO Optimized Blog
If you don’t have the budget for paid advertising or want to try something else, you can always use SEO (search engine optimization) to get more traffic to your website. There are plenty of tools out there to make your blog search engine optimized, and you can use a free tool like Google’s keyword tool to easily find keywords and keyword combinations to target.
The advantage of a blog is that you can write about whatever you want. You don’t have to limit yourself to product reviews or tips and tricks for increasing revenues. With a little bit of planning and experimenting, you can use a blog to grow your business in a variety of ways.
5. Social Media
If you’ve ever shopped at Nordstrom, you might have noticed an uptick in online activity, as the luxury brand has a special department dedicated to coordinating the marketing campaigns for their stores.
Why would a luxury brand do this? It’s because people tend to trust recommendations from friends and family more than they do advertisements, especially when it comes to big purchases like furniture and clothing.
If you run a small business, you might not have the budget for social media campaigns. That’s why you should consider using tools like organic social media, where brands pay for reach and don’t have to balance their ad spending with editorial content.
With organic social media, your posts are sponsored and don’t have to follow a set formula. That means you can post whatever you want and use whatever platforms fit your needs. In addition, you can run ads on these platforms without having to pay for each individual post. If you want to engage with your customers online, social media is a great place to do it.
6. QR Codes & Virtual Reality (VR)
If you’re not into the idea of a newsletter or a blog, you can always use QR codes to easily share important information with your customers. Just make sure to put a lot of care into the design and implementation of these codes, as they can be scanned by anyone with a smartphone camera.
If you’re looking for an even more immersive experience, you can use virtual reality (VR) to take your customers into your world. The advantage of VR is that it doesn’t require any special equipment, so it’s suitable for all types of businesses, from small startups to large corporations.
VR was first used in 1997 by American arcade game manufacturer, Sega. Since then, it’s been growing in popularity, especially with the wave of smartphone adoption.
While there are a number of platforms designed specifically for VR, like the Playstation VR, Google Cardboard, and other similar products, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two most popular. To incorporate virtual reality into your marketing strategy, all you need is a head-mounted display (HMD) like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, along with some content to immerse your customers in.
What’s important is that, even though these platforms are incredibly popular and can be found for cheap, you can still use them to market your local business.
Ultimately, no matter what stage your business is at, you can use the internet to market your local business, and the number of options available to you depends on your resources. If you have a large budget and you want to stay within the confines of a single website, you can always use SEO to get more people to your site. For other options, be sure to check out local businesses marketing online, where you’ll find all the information you need to start effectively utilizing these various platforms.