Eight Steps That Local Business Owners Can Take, Right Away, To Enhance Your Web-Based Marketing
We asked one of the local Surrey business neighbourhood communities with which we’re a member, what was the most significant area of frustration they faced when it came to their online marketing. The questions and our accompanying recommendations formed the basis for this article and broadly fell into eight topics.
- How do we increase traffic?
- I’ve A Facebook Page, Do I really need my own website?
- Do I need Google My Business?
- Do I really need social media?
- What makes a good website?
- How to create fresh content?
- What are the top steps a business can take to boost it’s digital presence?
- How to boost our email-marketing?
Whether your business has managed to maintain a level of sales or not during much of 2020; it’s fair to say, as a local business owner, you’ll be looking for ways to boost sales. How we do business is going to change, be this as a result of an increased digital presence through to revising your operation and fulfilment model. Innovation is vital.
Like most things, this doesn’t just happen on it’s own, an effective digital marketing strategy needs to be created and delivered. Whether you opt to do this yourself or engage a local digital agency to help doesn’t matter; what does, is to take appropriate action.
Furlogh payments and the Bounce Back loan are two critical steps the Govt’s taken to keep the economy going. A reduction in VAT, for some, from 20% to 5%, will, hopefully, help to kickstart those sectors that have also struggled. There are steps that you, as a business owner and entrepreneur, can also take to boost your business that you may have overlooked.
The following is a summary of our recommendations as going into depth would be information overload!
These are practical online marketing steps, you as a local business owner can take, to position your business to create more leads and sales as people get back out and about post the pandemic.
If you’re pressed for time, we’ve summarised the questions and our recommendations into a 2 minute video, here …
There are two options that you can and should consider together:
- Run paid ads. Paid adverts/PPC on one or more platforms, e.g. Facebook, Google, etc. Paid traffic is more immediate. How people use the platforms varies, and this influences the nature of the ad or ads that run. For example, typically, when someone’s on Google, they’re searching for the who/where/when/why or how.
- Encourage more natural, organic traffic to your site. This traffic is more of a “slow burn” but does result in a regular flow of visitors over a more sustained period of time. Activities that support organic traffic include, but not limited to, are SEO, social media marketing, reputation marketing, and not to be overlooked, talking to people!
- Both PPC and organic traffic can and, if your finances allow, should be run in parallel, at least for a period of time.
- Like a physical store, an increase in visitors alone doesn’t automatically equate to a like for like increase in sales. Other factors’ll influence whether or not there’s a sale. But, it is a truism, if you have no visitors, you won’t have any sales! A simple rule of thumb, give your visitors what they need and remove barriers that get in the way of completing the desired action.
In one word, Control.
Whether it’s Facebook or any other 3rd party platform provided by someone else; if, however inadvertently, you transgress their T&Cs, you can have your page suspended and removed. Your page is likely to remain unavailable and invisible while you seek clarity and resolution. With your own site, you have full control, and you’re not subject to someone else’s whims that’ll impact your business!
It’s relatively inexpensive to set up and host your own site. The benefits far outweigh the cost.
GMB is a great resource, particularly for local businesses. To get the most out of it, ensure that it’s set up correctly and optimised. A couple of other benefits:
- Unsurprisingly, Google trusts it’s own products, and this is a significant influence for Google and other search engines use trust as part of their algorithms when assessing where on the Search Results pages to display your website.
- Helps significantly to be found/shown on Google Maps and when people search for a product or service ‘near me’.
There are other benefits, but, if these two aren’t enough, it’s also free!
If you’ve not claimed your free Google listing, click “Google My Business” and you’ll be redirected to Google’s site. Follow the instructions from there.
Yes. As with the earlier aspects, it must be done properly. The key, listen to what’s said and the language used. Recognise also your audience is judging you and your business’s reputation’s at the same time; so, ensure you’re doing yourself justice.
Different platforms attract different audiences, and the behaviour / the way people act on and interact on them is subtly different. Misjudge it and, at best, you’re message is wasted, at worse, it’s misconstrued, and this negatively impacts your brand, product or service.
Social media is a great way to raise the profile of your brand, product or service and to engage with your market. People increasingly are looking for reviews of a business before they’ll buy; what’s said by others and how you respond will say more than the words used. Trust is both being built and destroyed during these interactions. Make sure you’re responding appropriately. A bad review, for example, can be turned around to the betterment of your business; if done correctly.
What Are the Top 3 Things For An Effective Website?
Narrowing this to 3 is a challenge in its own right! But, for simplicity, we recommend:
- Content needs to be clear, engaging and relevant. Video is a great format to use.
- Optimise your website as this will help with your search engine ranking, i.e. how quickly and visible your site is on Google et al. SEO is a key factor in determining where your webpage and website features in the Search Engine Results Page. The majority of people seldom go beyond page 1, so, if you’re not there, you’re invisible.
- It must be mobile-friendly. More and more people are using a mobile or tablet to surf; if you’re site and or features don’t work for users on these devices, you’re also likely to lose leads and sales. A site that’s not mobile-friendly is a negative mark for Google; impacting presence on the Search pages.
There are multiple options to go to, for new ideas. A couple of options include:
- Review questions existing customers/clients have asked
- Look at Google Trends
- Go to any search engine, type in a few words and look to see what other terms are automatically shown or, look at the bottom of the page for other terms
There is a multitude of avenues to consider, and it’s imperative to prioritise and plan. That being said, five areas to focus on are:
- Ensure that you’ve got a website; one over which you’ve full control, with relevant and informative content. The key, the content should focus on what your audience wants/needs to know. Video as a format works particularly well. Have a clear call to action and remove barriers that impede the sought after action.
- Regularly create and share fresh and engaging content that adds value to your audience.
- Claim and optimise your Google My Business listing. Remember, it’s free (the listing that is).
- Market your business’s reputation online. We can help if you’d like to take further.
- Automate and leverage technology. There are many tools and software available to the SME market, that helps to level the proverbial playing field. Make as much use of this as you can. It removes the manual processes, can make your operation more efficient and doesn’t necessarily cost the earth. In saving you time, it saves you money and may, help in securing more sales!
Outbound marketing is an area where it’s easy to come-a-cropper and caution’s needed! Be careful.
If you don’t know how the list was compiled, you could fall foul of spam laws, resulting in your domain being black-listed and or fines levied. Don’t therefore be tempted to buy a list of emails. There are ways to run Outbound Marketing campaigns without falling foul of the law.
It is possible to run cold email campaigns, but you must take several precautionary steps before starting.
Alternatively, run promotions or equivalent, whereby the user provides you with their email address; this is typically referred to as a “single opt-in”. Many mass email-marketing software providers require, as part of their T&Cs, that you have the end user’s permission (at least single opt-in) before you can send any mass-email campaigns on their systems. A more thorough approach, is to make use of the “double opt-in”, which is where you confirm back to the user that they’re happy to continue to receive content from your business.
We’ve only touched on a range of topics that you, as a local business owner, should consider when designing and executing your digital marketing strategy. This article is by no means exhaustive, and each area itself could easily be the focus of more significant discussion.
Digital Marketing Surrey‘s a digital media agency, based in the borough of Kingston upon Thames, Surrey. We work with local businesses just like yours, across London and the Home Counties. We’re a local business too and know full well the issues you’re facing.
If you’re struggling with your digital marketing or need to devise a strategy and need help, get in touch with us today. We’ll set up an initial exploratory, no obligation, discussion to dig a little deeper and outline if and what we can do, to help you and your business.