Local Online Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

If you’re looking to increase brand awareness and sales of your local business, you’ve probably considered trying something novel on the internet — like online marketing. But what exactly does that mean? What are the appropriate platforms for local online marketing? How can you best use the web to grow your business?

To help you answer these questions, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide that covers the basics of local online marketing, including how to find the right tools for the job.

The Basics Of Local Online Marketing

At the most basic level, online marketing includes the use of marketing software, like HubSpot, to spread out content, such as blog posts and webinars, across different platforms — like websites and mobile apps — and measure the results.

Just because your website is hosted online, doesn’t mean you should rely on it to reach your audience. After all, somebody has to host the site. And, oftentimes, that someone is a third party, like a content delivery network (CDN) or a hosting company.

You may choose to host your site yourself, on a custom-built server. If so, you’ll need to establish an internet connection first and make sure that your server is configured to allow for traffic. You can also opt to use a caching service, which temporarily stores content on their servers to improve web performance for your audience.

The Difference Between Online and Offline Marketing

Let’s say you run a bed and breakfast in Nashville. You might decide to host an event, tentatively titled The Great American Country Festival, featuring various country music stars. You could put up signs around town, advertise in the newspaper, and visit social media to spread the word about the festival.

All of these methods of getting the word out there about your event would be considered offline marketing. And, for the most part, they work. But they’re not limited to the internet. You can also download and print flyers, send out press releases, and get on YouTube to create blogs and vlogs to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your site.

What Is Local SEO?

Sometimes, when someone decides to search for a local business or institution, they’ll use keywords and phrases like “Nashville restaurants,” “Nashville hotels,” or “Nashville coffee shop” to find what they’re looking for.

In other words, they’re focusing on finding content that relates to them, as they are searching, rather than the content itself being useful or entertaining.

If a person sees your website and forms an opinion about your brand before even entering the building, congratulations! You just gained a new visitor.

To ensure that your website gains the most exposure possible when a person searches for your business, you can use online marketing strategies to optimize your site. One of the simplest and most effective strategies is to make sure that your website’s pages have the right keywords. The more people who find your website when they search for those keywords, the more likely it is that they’ll become customers.

Why Should People Visit Your Website?

If you’re wondering why someone would visit your website, even if they aren’t physically located in your area, you’re in the right place. Let’s consider a few reasons.

First, if they find value in your content, they’ll likely become a customer or subscribe to your mailing list. Next, you can use your website to gather feedback from people in your industry. Not only does this benefit you, but it also benefits them, giving you an opportunity to improve your service or product based on what they have to say.

Last but not least, your website could just be a fun place for them to learn more about your industry. Whether you opt for a simple blog or a full-blown ecommerce store, you can use the content to your advantage.

How Can You Use The Basics To Grow Your Business?

To help you get the most out of the guide, we’ve broken down the steps you can take to start your local marketing journey.

Firstly, pick two to three platforms, at least, that you think your audience cares about the most. We’ve discussed this further down; if you want to grow your business, you need a place to publish your content, like a website.

Next, build out a content strategy, laying the groundwork for content creation, such as a plan for blog posts or a to-do list for a webinar. Having a plan helps you stay organized, and it also makes it easier to identify content that will be valuable to your audience — and, more importantly, to you.

If you have a limited budget, consider hiring a content strategist to help you develop a content strategy. They’ll help you choose which platforms to use and, if necessary, establish goals, benchmarks, and metrics to track your progress.

After you’ve developed your strategy, you can start researching keywords, picking a few to work with, and making changes to your content, as necessary, to ensure that your content ranks high in search engine results for relevant searches.

If you have a limited budget, you can use free tools like Google Keyword Planner to find the right keywords without having to resort to using poorly performing keywords with a high cost-per-click (CPC).

What Is A Keyword?

A keyword, in SEO, is a word or phrase that users type in, usually, when searching for something online. If somebody types in “Nashville restaurants,” the keyword “Nashville” would be the one associated with the search. So, if somebody decides to search for “Nashville restaurants,” they’ll likely land on a page, or site, that contains content related to the city.

SEO, or search engine optimization, has become an essential tool for marketers. Even if somebody decides to visit your website by accident, the odds are they’re interested in your industry and what you have to say. And that, in turn, can lead to them becoming a customer or, at the very least, a regular visitor.

How Do You Find The Right Keywords?

Luckily, Google Keyword Planner makes the process of finding the right keywords easy. All you have to do is enter your niche, pick the location, and the format (blog post, podcast, or webinar), and you’ll get keyword suggestions that you can use to optimize your content.

Google Keyword Planner also provides you with the ability to conduct searches for individual keywords or, alternatively, enter a list of keywords and see how they perform in individual searches. To get started, simply type in “Nashville restaurants,” the location you’re targeting (i.e., “Nashville”), and the format you’ll use for your content (i.e., “blog”), and hit enter.

The results will show you the keywords that are most likely to get you results for that search, along with potential suggestions for other words and phrases that you might want to consider using. To begin your journey toward SEO success, visit Google Keyword Planner now to get started.

How Do You Use Keywords?

Once you have your keywords, you can start using them in your content, like your blog posts and website pages, to improve their performance in the search engines. You can also take this a step further by using them in your email marketing campaigns and social media platforms, like Twitter and Instagram, to gain more exposure.

To make sure that your content ranks high on search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords, you can use a service like Google Keyword Tool, which is an SEO tool that plugs into Google Keyword Planner.