The benefit of internet marketing cannot be overstated. Regardless of which industry you are in, you must have some form of digital strategy to succeed. Far too many entrepreneurs and small businesses that I have spoken with recently have had a ‘build it and they will come’ website and internet strategy. But internet marketing is a delicate tool that must be consistently nurtured to succeed.
Here are 5 easy ways you can instantly improve your online marketing strategy.
- Use analytics to your benefit – Do you know where your customers are coming from? How they found you? What keywords they were searching for when they did? If not, you likely either do not have an analytics tool setup (such as Google analytics) or if you do, you are not using it to your advantage. Analytics tools can provide much insight into what drives your customers to you, and what drives them to ultimately contact you or purchase your service. Local businesses in particular have a need to know what their customers want so they can use the same messaging in other promotional materials, such as flyers and brochures. Dive in deep with the information you receive from these tools and use what you learn from to consistently improve your business.
- Go big or go home is not an internet marketing strategy –Lately I have seen local businesses aim too big. If your service is primarily local based, such as a landscaping company, localize your content and keywords to be found by people in your area. Instead of using overly generalized keywords, such as ‘backyard design’ or ‘landscaping services’, target your customer base by adding your location to your keywords. This will put you above the big guys on search engines when customers do local searches to try to find the companies in their area.
- Claim your space on Google Places – Every local business should register their address and business information to Google Places. Google is the search engine giant and having your business in their database of local companies who can help customers find the products or services they are searching for will put you ahead in search engine results. This also gives business owners more control over what is listed and said about your business.
- Encourage checkins at your business – Recently I visited a local barbeque restaurant where I ordered takeout. While I was standing there waiting for my food, I saw that they had a promotion for anyone who checked in at their restaurant. This could be on Facebook, Foursquare, or any other localized social media outlet. If you did so, you got a cookie, so of course I did. Anytime a customer can receive something for free simply for promoting that they are at your business, your chances of word of mouth marketing to others in your area skyrocket. The giveaway does not have to be costly or significant, but just has to make the person feel like they won a small prize for checking in with you.
- Host a Meetup – Think outside the box on how to get people through the doors of your business. While many people are using services, such as Groupon or LivingSocial to encourage business, these daily deal sites have proven to not always be effective. These services may get people in the doors, but they don’t always keep people coming back because once their deal is over they get sticker shock from the actual price of the service. Instead, offer classes or a service through meetup groups. Meetup is a site that brings people with mutual interests in the same area together to do something they enjoy. So for example, if you are a small gym or offer a personal training service, host a free workout class for small groups at a time, or offer a lecture on something specific such as how to lose weight or the latest advancements in nutrition. This will let people know about your business for free, get your target market in your doors, and if done right, keep them coming back for more.
Localized services must treat their business as a local business when they develop their online marketing strategy. Instead of trying to compete with the big guys when it comes to internet marketing, target your keywords and social media efforts to your area. In turn, you will open more doors of opportunity and get found by your target market instead creating significantly more opportunity.
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