Local online marketing can often be forgotten about as a small business owner. If you’re a small business owner an essential tool for local online marketing is your website. However, once you have created your website, if you have created one at all, it is commonly forgotten about and left to do its own thing. The right website is a great opportunity to open your local business up to a new, and potentially untouched, market. You have to remember that your local community will be searching online for the services or products your local business offers, so why not take advantage of that?
You may be putting off creating a website simply because you don’t know where to start, let alone have the technical skills to complete a new website. However, creating a website for your business doesn’t have to be are. Below is a list of things we chat to local business owners about when creating a site for them.
Identify your company’s brand
Branding your company isn’t just about creating a business name and logo. When we talk about branding we are speaking about the image you want to portray to your target customers. Before starting your website, sit down with your staff and discuss the things that make you stand out. You need to find the message you want to convey to potential clients.
When thinking about branding it can often seem daunting, but break it down to several things:
- What do you want your company to be known for?
- What is your unique selling point?
- Maybe your business has a unique story about how or why it was started. This may be something you can use as part of your branding.
These things can allow you to differentiate yourself from your competitors. While you are thinking about your competitors, why not do some research on them? Look at what they are doing well and what they could improve upon. There may be something your competitors have forgotten that you could focus on.
Speak with your current customers. There could be something that you are already known for in your community that you had never considered before. Ask them about what they think of your company and what areas you could improve on.
When all of these areas come together you will have a good idea about what makes your local business different, and can develop your branding around that. This will allow you to have a common message throughout your website’s content for you to focus on.
Look at your website through your customer’s eye
We’ve talked about this in our ‘6 Simple Local Online Marketing Hints’, but as a business owner we can sometimes fall in love with our ideas. Every now and then take a step back from your website and look at it through the eyes of your customer. Is the language straight forward? Is it free of jargon? Just because you use key terms or phrases every day doesn’t mean that your customers will know them. Keep that in mind and write for the everyday person. This will make what your business offers so much clearer, which will hopefully convert those potential customers into paying ones. You want to make sure that your branding theme is clear throughout your content to ensure that your message gets across. Talk in a language that your audience will understand.
Does your website have a specific target audience and does it meet their needs? There is no reason in creating a business website if it doesn’t provide relevant and useful information for your desired audience. If you do nothing else, you should make sure that you at least cover what your company does, what products and services your company offers, pricing information and how people can get in contact with you.
This is the most basic information that you should provide potential customers, but your website is also an opportunity to show why people should use your company, to show that you are an industry expert and that you have the skills required to meet their needs and answer their questions. And you should take advantage of that.
Your content should solve your clients’ distinctive issues or questions, which will not only help them but makes you stand out as an industry leader. This offers a reason for customers to return to your site, maybe come to you before your competitors and puts you in the front of mind the next time they need your particular services. However, don’t over-saturate your audience with useless content that will be of no use to them. It will only help to dilute your message, make it more confusing for your potential customers to find what they need and less likely to convert them into a paying customers.
If possible, built up an email list, either through your website or when you deal with current customers. Capturing email details is a great way to get to get more work or sell products. These customers have at some stage shown an interest in your business. Why not use this to your advantage?
Send an email with a special deal. Although not all customers will take advantage of that deal, a number will. This will provide you with additional work or sales and built your brand. But be sure that the emails provide value, or you will simply annoy people and be added to their junk mail list.
Once you have great content, you need a way to get it out to your customers. If you’ve done things right you should start to see some results through natural searches. But why not also take advantage of social media to reach an even wider pool of potential customers.
In order to make social media work for you, you don’t have to be on every platform. Choose the ones you feel are best suited to your business or what you have the most experience with. Social media is a useful way to build your brand loyalty and engage with people who you may eventually convert into a paying customer. It’s also a great way to get people behind your brand.
With the combination of all the above, you’ll be well on your way to marketing your local business online, growing an audience and generating more work and sales.