Whether you’re a local business with a store front (office, warehouse, etc.), or a business who serves its customers strictly online, the question always will come – “How do I reach my customers online?”
Let’s look at this from two angles…
1. How To Reach Your Customers Online As A Local Business
Coffee shop, thrift store, restaurant, sporting goods, car wash and detailing, business services, lawn service (gasps for air) and pretty much any business with a local presence… You have some free, or relatively inexpensive, tools in your toolbox to help reach your customers online.
Local Business Online Marketing Starter Pack
Google my business page – You know those map results you get when you search for something like a plumber?
If you’re a local business, you have to get on these results. You do this by creating or claiming a Google My Business Page (free tool). Make sure the page has the correct business NAME, PHONE NUMBER, ADDRESS, and other details like business hours, email, link to your website. Once you have done this, be active on the page and post specials, news, and other information that your customers would find VALUE in (do this even if you don’t feel like it’s worth your while). The reason is that when you stay active, Google considers you to be relevant and will place you in those map results. THE BIGGEST AND MOST IMPORTANT (excuse my use of caps, I was not raising my voice at you) thing you should do is encourage customers to leave reviews on your page. The more reviews (positive) you have, the faster and higher you will appear for those results. Also, optimize your page by including keywords for your products or services in description areas. Note Bing, a Google competitor, has a similar service called Bing Places.
Facebook Local Awareness Ads – Local awareness ads get your business in front of tons of people who are near your business, for a relatively low price. It even gives them instant directions to your store front! In my experience, these types of Facebook ads have been really affordable compared to other Facebook ad campaign goals. You pay per 1000 impressions (eyes who’ve seen your ad) and I’ve seen it as low as $1.98 per 1000 impressions. Of course, depending on the location of your business and the type it is, you might experience higher prices. If you were a coffee shop in Tampa or Miami, you might see higher prices as competition for that type of business is much higher than in a small town.
Local Online Listings – You should highly consider creating a listing for your business on Yelp or TripAdvisor. I’ve talked to many local business owners who claim these listings services generate business for them they otherwise would not have had.
2. How To Reach Your Customers Online As An Online Business
SEO Campaign – Think of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as the story of “The Tortoise and the Hare”. SEO is the tortoise because while it takes time and effort, it pays off in the long run. SEO campaigns will get your business ranked among the top search engine results for the particular products or services you offer. Think of the Hare approach as relying solely on advertisements that generate quick results while you pay, but then all benefits end as soon as you cut the funds.
Social Media Ads – When you decide that you’re ready for advertising on social media, it’s important to look at what your ideal customer looks like. Where are they most likely to be found? How do they use specific social media channels? The reason being is that you want to invest your money into ads that will maximize your ROI, and avoid wasting dollars where your ideal customer doesn’t spend time. If you’re a B2B, then LinkedIn or Twitter might be where you want to put your money. You will be able to determine the best channel to advertise in when you do your homework.
Pinterest + Promoted Pins – I separated Pinterest because it’s a little different than the other platforms. The reason being is that it’s completely visual and it’s one of the top ways to convert leads into sales. To make this platform sound even sweeter, it’s new Promoted Pins ads platform boasts attractive results that business simply can’t ignore.
Instagram – If you’re a company that sells tangible products, then you want to get on Instagram. Better yet, if you’re a company who sells things like clothing, clothing accessories, shoes, furniture, antiques, custom phones, custom anything really… Instagram is an excellent way to grow your brand and boost sales. There are several companies who I’ve discovered thanks to Instagram, which I am sure I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
If this all just seems daunting, take a deep breath, break things down, and just start implementing some of the things I covered. If you still feel overwhelmed, reach out to us and we will be eager to help you reach your customers online!