By Aaron Boggs, president of RevLocal
For small business owners, keeping up with the latest and greatest strategies can be a daunting task – and digital marketing for one, is often rife with confusion and missed opportunities for local businesses. A recent study we conducted found that 75 percent of local businesses say they are investing in local search marketing, yet only 44 percent are tracking the effectiveness of their strategies.
For many business owners, the pain of running the daily operations coupled with a fear of keeping up with marketing online means many don’t know where or how to start. While there’s no one sure-fire formula, a few basic strategies can be a powerful foundation to help set local companies on the right path to digital marketing success.
DO go for Google.
This might seem elementary; however, a significant number of small businesses do not pay attention to their Google My Business page. To find potential customers online, you must first ensure you’re information is up-to-date on Google. Remember, Google wants to deliver the most accurate, active and appealing local search results.
Our study found six in 10 businesses are investing in SEO and social media and nearly everyone (95 percent) say they plan to increase or maintain their digital marketing budget for next year, which means it’s critical that you’re making the most of your listings.
DO stay positive.
Obviously, online reviews are an important ingredient to your overall online presence. Local consumers are motivated by word of mouth marketing online, and a portion of Google’s local search algorithm is dedicated to reviews of your business. For that reason, acquiring positive reviews should be at the forefront of your digital marketing strategy – and the best way to start is to ask. Start by engaging with local customers and solicit their feedback via online review sites. If you acquire emails, ask on email. If you have a front counter, ask at the counter. There really is value in creating fans.
DON’T forget to tell a story.
There is no shortage of social media platforms – and the truth is, they all matter. But realizing the value of social media is a company’s ability to tell stories to your followers. Pictures, videos, posts and blogs are all about connecting and engaging with an audience you want to influence. Without a story at the base, you’re facing an uphill battle when it comes to social media and its effectiveness on your overall digital marketing efforts.
DON’T forget to go local… and mobile.
The old website and organic SEO strategies of the past are no longer effective today. Consumers have been trained on mobile devices to quickly engage or disengage with your business. The most effective websites are simple, to the point and are optimized for mobile devices. Research shows that 85 percent of consumers are still going online just to find basic information about a business, including a phone number, address, driving directions and store hours, so at the bare minimum, it’s vital that you’ve updated the facts about your site online, so local customers can find easily find you.
DO find a partner you trust.
There is value in finding a digital marketing partner that does the work with you and for you. A great digital marketing partner saves you time, money and works as an extension of your business. Nearly two-thirds of our surveyed businesses say they spend less than $500 per month on digital marketing. With the advancements in technology, it is possible for your business to find incredible value in choosing the right partner.
The world of local search marketing is evolving at an amazing pace. Customers are out there waiting to find you. Digital marketing is no longer a “nice to have,” but is a “must-have” for all businesses today. Simple strategies can help ensure your business is taking steps in the right direction.
Aaron Boggs is president of RevLocal, where he is focused on continuing to evolve RevLocal’s personalized approach to digital marketing that helps more local businesses maximize their online presence. He will also focus on broadening the company’s national footprint and developing new partnerships and stregnethening existing ones, including deepening RevLocal’s integration with Google.