Are the ups and downs of obtaining work as a small business owner causing you stress?

Are you sick of paying top dollar for bad leads? 

Do you see your competition killing it and want to know how they’re able to do it all? 

Are just plain you asking yourself  “How do I do local marketing?”.

This article outlines everything you need to be doing right now to rock your small business marketing and compete for your ideal customers online. 

There are so many strategies to build your brand and promote your amazing service, but we’re going to strictly focus on how you can generate your own quality leads using local online marketing. If you do local marketing right, you will spend less money on leads, close deals faster and even increase your average sale value! 

If you want consistent success, then you need to be leveraging these marketing tips for small business.

Local Business Digital Marketing Strategies

  1. Optimize your website for local SEO & conversions
  2. Collect your data via a CRM & analytics
  3. Set clear sales & marketing goals so you can plan accordingly
  4. Claim your local online listings and update your Google My Business profile to improve your Google Maps SEO ranking
  5. Proactively collect customer feedback & online reviews
  6. Invest in at least one paid media channel like Google Ads for local search marketing
  7. Build an audience and be consistent on social media
  8. Grow your email list database by offering a downloadable guide in exchange for a website user’s email address
  9. Nurture your email list with regular email communications and better yet automated messages based on how close your prospects are to becoming a customer
  10. Consider incentives like coupons
  11. Offer referral programs
  12. Share your expertise via videos on YouTube and repurpose the content on your website, social networks and email.
  13. Look at your results regularly – especially your marketing ROI
  14. Create a world class experience that gets talked about and noticed!

Before you take the leap into digital marketing to grow your business, here are some more fundamental marketing strategies to consider before focusing your marketing efforts online.

Fundamental Offline Local Marketing Strategies

  1. Create a professional brand & unique brand positioning. Yes, this is your logo but it’s also about being clear in how you solve your customer’s problems better than anyone else. What is your brand promise? Your values? And, more importantly, your target audience
  2. Know who you serve. This may take some time to drill down, but you shouldn’t be serving everyone. Know who the perfect customer is so it’s a win-win for both of you. You’ll close more deals faster and create lasting relationships. Where do they live? What’s their age? What do they value? What keeps them up at night? What’s their budget?
  3. Have basic marketing materials – be consistent with your branding from your proposals to your email signature to your work shirts.
  4. Amplify your brand – turn your trucks into their own moving billboard with truck wraps
  5. Use branded yard signs. If you’re working on a project in the neighborhood, let everyone know who you are. This is the best and easiest promotion you can get. 
  6. Build your relationships through associations and networking groups.
  7. Be an authority at trade shows and other related events.
  8. Hype up your trade shows by letting your email list & social audience know when you’ll be there ahead of time. Promote the show while you’re there and post info about it afterward
  9. Do you have other vendors or related local businesses that you can partner with? Not only can you refer business to each other, but you can link to each other’s websites and articles to build up your SEO ranking (more traffic to your website). Help each other and spread the word.

Related: What Can I Do to Increase Foot Traffic at My Trade Show Booth? 

Now that you have a nice overview, let’s get into the details of the local marketing you need to be doing after you get the fundamentals down. These local marketing strategies are listed in order of importance.

Here ya’ go:

#1 Develop an Optimized Small Business Marketing Website

Your website needs to not only be professionally designed & create a solid first impression, but it needs to attract potential customers that are looking for your services online and convert them into leads once they get there. 

Optimize your website using local SEO strategies to increase your ranking on Google.

Your website is the hub for your business and the destination for all your marketing efforts. Consumers are in charge and they research online to see who they want to do business with. If your website doesn’t serve them, your competition is just a click away.

Your website must answer all of their questions, establish trust, and make it easy for prospects to do business with you. 

If you don’t get your website right, then nothing else is going to be successful. You can spend a ton of money on advertising or spend a lot of time sending people to a website all so they just leave. That is not ideal and a terrible waste of time and money. 

Your website is the foundation for your business and marketing and it must be built right before doing any other local online marketing. 

Collect Leads & Manage Your Pipeline with a CRM

Whether you use software like, Pipedrive, ActiveCampaign or just a plain ol’ Google Sheet, your data is gold. Not only will this help you stay organized, but collecting data is key to making sure that your marketing is bringing you quality leads and customers. 

In the end you want:

  1. More deals
  2. Faster close times
  3. Larger deal sizes

You have to be tracking every lead from the time it comes in to the time it closes. Reviewing this data regularly will help you learn and grow.

If you do nothing else, make sure you have a solid website and are tracking your leads. 

Establish Sales & Marketing Goals for Growth

You want to hold yourself accountable AND figure out where you’re going so you can celebrate once you get there! 🍾

Once you have some benchmarks, you can begin to map out some projections. Check out the following chart to see how modifying certain KPIs (key performance indicators) can make a big difference.

Ave Yearly Website VisitsVisitor to Lead CRLeadsSales Close RateNew CustomersAve SaleRevenue
Benchmark18,0000.5%9025%23$10,000$225,000
Goal20,7002%41475%311$15,000$4,657,500

What the above chart shows us is:

  • Where you started before ramping up your marketing
  • A 10% increase in website traffic (due to SEO efforts)
  • Plus, a 1.5% lift in conversion rate (due to conversion optimization improvements on the website design)
  • Plus, a higher close rate & higher sale amount (due to higher quality leads from better targeted marketing)
  • 👉 This equals a lot more potential revenue!

Also, don’t forget to factor in your marketing costs and set a budget to keep you on track with reaching your goals.

Measure Your Results & Know Your ROI

Utilizing digital analytics is how you prove your ROI with your marketing and helps you understand how users are interacting with your brand. 

If you don’t already have Google Analytics installed, it is a must. After some time you will learn how many people are coming to your website and from which sources. Traffic sources include direct (people that type in your URL and go straight there), those that come from referral sources (other websites), social media, email marketing, advertising and so forth.

Not only will you be able to get a better understanding of which marketing is bringing you results, but you can also track how many people take action on your website. These are called conversions. Conversions are made from goals that you set up. Examples include: contact form submissions, consultation requests, guide downloads and email signups are a few common conversion goals.

Now these conversion goals are only based on people that clicked to do something on your website. But what about prospects that give you a call to inquire? How do they find you? Of course, you can simply ask and add the lead source information manually into your CRM, but a much better solution is call tracking. 

Set up call tracking and then add in call conversion goals into Google Analytics to paint the whole picture! This is especially important if you are paying for online advertising. Only with call tracking set up can you really understand your ROI on your ads. 

Help People Find Your Business with Local Search Engine Optimization

I highly recommend optimizing your website for SEO before you launch it, but if you haven’t already make sure to do so now! Do keyword research to determine keywords that your target customers use to find businesses like yours. Create service pages based on those keywords and optimize your page titles and content to include them. Additionally, local businesses need to have website pages for each city they serve.

Increase Online Exposure & Google Rankings with Local Directories & Inbound Links

Having a presence online other than just your own website is an indication to Google that you’re “popular” and important enough to show to their searchers = higher local search rankings. 

Besides that, many customers search online directories to find businesses like you. Examples include: Google Maps / Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, CitySearch, AngiesList, Houzz, etc. The list goes on and on. 

What you want are inbound links so your website ranks higher and you get more traffic organically. Not only are directory listings important but consider other association websites to link back to your website (specific trade association, Chamber of Commerce, networking groups, etc.)

Make sure that your information is the same on all these listings (NAP information = name, address & phone number), but if you do nothing else make sure you have a Google My Business Listing. 

Be Proactive in Obtaining Several Online Reviews

A big factor in a customer determining to work with you is what other people say about their experience with your business. It’s social proof. Online reviews like Google Reviews are more important now than ever. You have to be proactive in generating them though.

The best place to start is by making asking your customers an important part of your process. But, you have to make it easy for them! Email or text them a link to an online review source like Google My Business or Yelp. If you make it hard for them to do, most likely they won’t do it.

Make sure to ask for reviews when the moment is hot (right after they’ve had a great experience with you). If you want to generate online reviews fast and be able to handle a negative review right away, set up one of the many online reputation management systems available. You’ll be surprised how quickly you will generate reviews and surpass your competition. 

Increase Your Leads with Local Search Marketing & Online Advertising

We always recommend investing in at least one paid channel like SEM/PPC to ramp up your leads. Searchers that click on Google Ads are more ready to buy and can increase your leads quicker than SEO or some of the other channels at first. If you need leads now, this is the best place to start after you have a well optimized website or at least a keyword targeted and ready to convert landing page to send people to.

Facebook advertising is where it’s at nowadays. So many people spend their time there and your targeting capabilities are why this channel is a must if you have the funds. While Google ads are more technical to set up, Facebook ads require more creativity in your messaging and visuals along with detailed targeting. You can create audiences based on age, income, location, interests and more. 

Utilize both of these channels to serve up ads to people that have visited your website but haven’t converted, a.k.a. retargeting ads. Perhaps they were too busy or the timing wasn’t right for them when they visited your website previously. Staying in front of them is key and retargeting ads are a great way to generate leads.

Local Social Media Marketing

The amount of time people spend on social media is amazing. And, if you’re reading this during COVID-19, there is a ton of opportunity for your business to be in front of people while they’re scrolling through social media every day.

Posting on social media isn’t difficult especially if you use a social media platform like Buffer or Hootsuite. The hardest part is having great imagery, messaging and, more so, staying consistent. As a busy business owner, you have a million priorities on your list and it can be hard to make social media one of them. 

Just know that your work will pay off with consistency. You’ll get quicker and learn so much about your potential customers if you keep at it. Social media should be a top traffic driver for your business. It’s an opportunity to showcase your work, establish trust in your brand and build a following.  

Related: 3 Keys to Marketing Success

Be An Authority by Writing Informative Blog Articles

Your website should already be properly optimized for organic search. Now your ongoing SEO strategy should be aimed at creating valuable content that will engage your target audience, contribute to your search ranking factor and get shared and found on the internet. Again, it is important to be consistent. Google will reward you over time and your audience will look at your brand as an authoritative source of information, a.k.a. a company that they trust.

Creating content can take a lot of time, so be sure that it is optimized correctly for search terms people are looking for, valuable to your target audience, speaks to them and reflects your brand well. 

You can repurpose your blog articles into an eBook, social media posts and emails.

Just know that distributing blog articles is probably more important than writing them! Ok, writing great content in the first part is key, but you’ll get more juice out of the squeeze by distributing your content in as many places as you can. Write about something very specific to your audience and distribute the article on the many free article submission sites. This will also help build more links back to your website which will put you in favor with Google.

Pay a few dollars to boost social media posts that link to your blog article to get even more exposure and give you more people to remarket to later.

Turn Prospects into Customers Through Email Marketing

Email marketing is still the cheapest marketing channel and the most effective. People on your list have already decided they are interested, they just need a little nudge to become a paying customer. 

Related: The Marketing and Sales Funnel: the Matchmaker’s Playbook

But how do you get people on your email list in the first place? 

Repurpose your blog articles into a lead generation offer like and eBook or Guide that your website visitors can download in exchange for their email address. 

Design a branded email template and make sure to send out regular communications to nurture your list.

Better yet, do more targeted emails based on where people are in their sales journey. If they have just been introduced to your brand, send them emails that help them understand who you are, your values, mission and work you’ve done. After they’ve gotten to know you, start sending them information to entice conversion like case studies and an explanation on your process. Ask them to get a consultation or incentivise them to move forward with a discount if they just aren’t moving.

This may sound complicated, but systems like ActiveCampaign make it really easy. It’s all in the set up and then marketing automation gives you back your time 😉

BONUS: Even More Small Business Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business

Everything listed so far are the essentials. Do certainly focus on these initiatives first. However, once you have reached what I like to call “marketing maturity” where you are feeling comfortable, are being consistent and seeing results, then move on to some of these other small business marketing strategies below.

  1. Offer coupons to incentivize a purchase with you
  2. Referral programs – bring your staff into this as well to receive a bonus for referring new customers to your business
  3. Brand ambassadors – Create a world-class experience so your customers refer new business to you on their own (without even asking them to). This is the fun part for us! We love serving people and creating a lasting impression. Apart from delivering on time, on budget, and helping them solve their problems better than anyone else, make sure you close the relationship/ project with something they’ll be talking about for years to come. Throw them a party, give them a gift, send them a thank you note, or just follow up with them regularly to see how they’re doing. Can you continue to give them tips afterward via email? Whatever it is, just make sure to put that final explanation mark on it!
  4. Publish informative YouTube Videos
  5. Direct mail – talk about a great way to stand out! You can be extremely targeted with your list especially if you find a great printer that provides targeted lists.

Conclusion

As you can see there are many local marketing strategies you can and should be doing. It can be overwhelming and down right paralyzing getting going if you feel you have to implement all of these strategies at once. Just know that your marketing mix will build over time and you will get better at it as you go. 

I always say “progress not perfection”. Just start chipping away no matter how much money or time you have, just do something or else you’ll continue to fall farther and farther behind your competition. It’s about being proactive, helping customers find you and leading them to make a purchase. 

If you need help getting started, a small business marketing agency can help you tackle the low hanging fruit so you can start seeing results quicker. Whether you are investing your time or dollars into marketing, if done right, it should be a profitable investment and not an expense.
Schedule a free marketing strategy session with me today to learn which strategies can help your local business increase calls, leads and profits.

About April Edwards

Hello! I'm AE Design Co's lead Digital Strategist & Creative Director. For over 15 years, I've been helping busy businesses get a grip on their marketing to increase profits year-over-year.

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