How to Market Your Business Online Locally

In times of Covid-19, people are looking for ways to stay connected with their loved ones. And what could be a better way to do that than through the medium that most people use to keep in touch – social media.

The fact is that a staggering number of people already use social media to keep track of what’s going on in their communities. For businesses, engaging with customers on social media can be a great way to build trust, identify trends, and grow a following.

But to reach the right audience, you need to go where they are. And with the world locked down because of the pandemic, that means more time at home, more time on social media, and less time out and about, shopping, and eating out. So businesses that rely on foot traffic are feeling the pinch.

Now is the perfect time to consider marketing your business online. Whether you have an established brand or are looking to grow a niche operation, you can use digital marketing to gain credibility, engage customers, and grow your bottom line.

What is digital marketing?

Put simply, digital marketing is the use of digital tools to market a business or brand. The term generally includes all of the aspects of marketing that use digital technology (such as websites, emails, and social media) to get the word out about a business or brand.

The advantage of digital marketing is that you can target the right audience and engage with them using multiple platforms, including mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. In short, you can use digital marketing to market anywhere and everywhere, whenever you want.

Traditional marketing, on the other hand, focuses on one or two channels, typically television and magazine advertising. In these channels, you have to fight for attention among thousands of other advertisements, distracting viewers while trying to promote a business or brand.

Traditional Versus Digital Marketing

The biggest difference between traditional and digital marketing is that while the first focuses on mass reach through advertising, the latter focuses on personal connections and brand storytelling to gain credibility and drive action.

Traditional marketing is important because it helps businesses build credibility by demonstrating their expertise, providing answers to frequently asked questions, and sharing useful information. Sometimes, this means convincing people to buy your product or service, but it can just as easily mean engaging with potential customers and encouraging them to develop a lasting relationship with your brand.

On the other hand, digital marketing allows you to bypass traditional marketing, going straight to the audience that matters most to you.

What does that mean for business owners?

If you’re looking for ways to market your business, consider all the options – whether you’re a one-person show or a brand with multiple locations. The key is to find the places where your ideal customers are already congregating and using that as a base to grow your business.

And remember – in these uncertain times, keeping people close to your brand is critical. Customers’ trust is a vital element in any relationship. Once you’ve built that trust, you can use all the other aspects of digital marketing to grow your business.

Here are some tips on how to market your business online locally.

Find Your Niche

If you’re new to local marketing, consider what makes your product or service special. What sets it apart from the competition?

Think of the types of customers you have now and imagine them engaged with your product or service. What would they need to know? What would they want to know?

These are important questions to ask yourself because they’ll help you to develop answers to precisely what your customers want, need, and expect from you. With that information, you can craft marketing messages that will compel your audience to action.

Develop a Strategy

To get the most from your digital marketing plans, you need to set them up correctly. That means getting a firm grasp on the basics of digital marketing and what works and what doesn’t. Start by creating a strategy – this should include the type of content you’ll use (whether it’s web-based, social media-based, or a combination), the platforms you’ll use to reach your audience, the type of engagement you’ll use (e.g., social media posts, websites, emails, or phone calls), and the type of leads you’ll follow (e.g., anonymous leads, opt-ins, or trial memberships).

Once you have a general idea of what you’ll do, you can narrow it down to specific tasks, such as creating content for your website or social media channels or getting people to opt-in to your email list.

Get Inspired

Marketing is all about inspiration. Take a look at your favorite brands, entrepreneurs, and blogs. What attracts you to them? What do you admire most about their work?

As you consider these questions, you can begin to develop a picture of your ideal customer and decide which platforms they’ll prefer to use to communicate with you, your company, or your brand.

These platforms may include websites, blogs, forums, social media, email, and phone calls. Make a list of the ones that your ideal customer uses and begins building out content for, either on your own or with a small team. Once you have content, you can consider using social media to attract more people to your site.

Measure And Review

To determine if your efforts are paying off, you need to measure and review your marketing progress regularly. Consider looking at your website traffic, social media activity, and email engagement to get an idea of how well your content is performing.

Website analytics offer an incredible amount of detail about website traffic and the effectiveness of your content. They can help you to determine the nature of your audience (e.g., whether they’re high- or low-volume), which content or channels they prefer, and how frequently they use them. For example, do you have a blog on your website? Use analytics to find out what posts generate the most traffic and engagement.

From there, you can craft content that appeals to them more effectively, using tools like HubSpot to connect with your audience and develop rapport.

Measuring and reviewing your digital marketing activity is incredibly important. Without it, you won’t know if what you’re doing is working or if you should switch gears and try something different. Also, keeping track of your performance will allow you to determine which platforms you should be using to reach your audience and how frequently you should be posting on social media.

Local Marketing: The Perfect Platform

Now, you might be thinking, “All of this sounds fantastic, but where do I begin?” Don’t worry – here’s where local marketing comes in. Local marketing is simply online marketing that targets people within a certain radius of your business. For example, if you’re a yoga brand, you might consider doing some local marketing in San Francisco, where you have a studio, or Los Angeles, where you have an office. Or, if you have an auto dealership in the Chicago area, you might want to consider marketing there.

As you think about where to focus your marketing efforts, consider the size of your business and the places you do and do not have an office. If you do have an office in multiple locations, you might want to consider doing some local marketing in each one. Think about the sorts of people you meet in each place and whether or not those people are a good fit for your brand. This might mean creating separate marketing plans for each area.

Above all else, take time to learn from experts. With the world shifting to digital and offline business models alike, the lines that once separated the two are now blurred. Still, many business owners are hesitant to cross over into the realm of digital marketing, fearing that they won’t know what will happen, that something will go wrong.

Here’s the thing: if you want to get the most out of digital marketing, you have to be willing to try new things and take some risks. You might discover that what you’re doing isn’t working as well as you think it is and needs to be changed. But, only you can decide what you’re willing to change. Ultimately, you’ll have to navigate this new world on your own, but with some effort, planning, and trial and error, you’ll be able to find your own answers. And, at the end of the day, that’s all anyone can ask for.