5 digital marketing channels to grow your local business

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Local business is the backbone of every community.  It gives your locale something unique, some distinctive element to its character.  If you like travelling around cities, then you can probably pick out a handful of places that you will tell your friends: “you just have to go there”.

Like Chapter One in Manchester.  Or, Inhabition in Camden (which does the best bubble and squeak known to man).

You just have to go there.

We all like local businesses like these.   They are unique and create their own stories.  In truth these are the best businesses to write for.  They make their own rules.

Companies like this should be making the most of the digital marketing channels available to them.

If you are running a local business, here are 5 digital marketing channels to help you grow.

Prevalence of social media

1 – Social Media

Almost everyone knows the power of social media.  That’s because almost everyone is juggling one or more social media accounts.  Everyone is sharing funny videos on Facebook.  Or, they are sending magic pictorial moments to their Instagram account.  Well, they also might be tweeting out hackneyed philosophy and blog posts.  I could go on and on about the prevalence of social media. 

But you know.  So, it’s a moot point.

Every social media channel works differently, however.  It isn’t necessarily best to create on post and send it out on all of them.  With that in mind, we can look at each channel and see how it is best utilised.

Facebook

Facebook allows for the best balance of media and content in a social media site.  Write good copy and post an attractive image or video with it.  However, there is a lot of high-quality competition.

Use Facebook but make it all your own.  Use this platform to show the character of your business.  Don’t be afraid to use a little bit of humour

Boosting posts on Facebook will also help you spread your name a little further afield, so when those tourists come flooding your streets, they’ll already be looking for you.

Twitter

You could be forgiven for assuming that Twitter is where the celebrities hang out and say celebrity things.  A lot of local businesses just think it doesn’t apply to them.  But it does. You can pretty much keep tweeting all day.

If you are B2C, there is always opportunity for a story.  What funny things happen to you at work?  What content have you found that is relevant to your business.  Share it all.  Use Twitter to drive traffic towards your website.  It is also the best channel for you to build authority or attract influencers.

Picture is worth a thousand words

Instagram

We all know the old idiom: a picture is worth a thousand words.  And whilst that is an unquantifiable exaggeration, with an image you perceive more in a short space of time.  And, not everyone is interesting in reading a Dostoevsky-esque tome based on your business.  However, in a single picture you can capture the imagination of your recipient.

Use Instagram to capture the personality of your local business or its staff.  If you are a café, show them items from your menu.  Take pictures of your office or anything you sell.  Instagram is very popular with the younger generation, so if you are marketing to Millennials and Gen Z, then this is the best social media channel.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is great for those local businesses that sell predominantly B2B.  With additional tools like ‘Sales Navigator’ to help bolster your search for leads, LinkedIn is great for getting to the decision maker.

Use LinkedIn to participate in industry relevant conversations. You can understand potential customers long before you approach them for a sale.  Using LinkedIn and Sales Navigator you can find relevant posts to comment on.

Local Business Local Knowledge

Email Marketing for a Local Business

There always seems to be something going on.

Once Christmas is over and the New Years fireworks are fizzling in the memory, we start looking forward to Valentines Day.  Then St Patrick’s Day, Easter, Summer, Back to School and round and round.  So, there is always an excuse to email your local customers.

But you have an advantage.  You have local knowledge.

You can write emails citing local charities, or local events that are close to the hearts of your recipients.  And, if there are people not local in your contact list, you are demonstrating how much a part of the community you are.  Yes, you are part of the town’s character.

But as much as you may be a unique part of the town, your novelty could wear off .  That is why email marketing is a good tool to remind everyone what you do and where you are.

The Queens English

Content Marketing

One of the things people find hard to understand, is that successful marketing is not all about the quick sale.  It’s about nurturing and reminding an engaged audience that you are still there.  Content marketing is used to both attract new leads and continue to serve existing customers.  If you are a local business, then you have a distinct advantage.

You already speak their language.

When appealing to the local area do not be afraid to use the colloquialisms that the area use.  It speaks directly to them – and so what if it isn’t the Queen’s-tea-gargling English.  If a local landmark has a nickname, then use it.  If you have a local celebrity, refer to them.  If you talk like you are one of them, then you are going to attract more honest and fluent conversation.

The idea of being a local business is to be a recognisable feature within your immediate communities.

People like Local Business

Or perhaps not…PPC for local businesses

In some sense there are businesses that aren’t recognised features of the local area.  Your insurance broker, accountants or plastic products manufacturer might not be as memorable as a local café or music venue.  But a local business still serves the immediate area.  Even if the services are a little less glamourous.

The fact is, people like to buy local.

Making sure that your local area is considered in your PPC campaigns is important.  When people start looking for local businesses in your market, being at the top of page is the best place to be.   Make sure you put your post-code in the ad copy and display URL and talk about stuff only locals know.

A local business website for local businesspeople

In the twenty-first century, even a local business serving its own community needs a website. No matter how traditional you want to seem, or how much you want to appeal to the local days of yore.  You will need a website.  As a local business you will still need to be found.  So, your website needs to be mobile responsive for those locals on the go. 

Local SEO is vital.  If you want your business to be found easily by locals, then there are a few things you will want to be aware of.

  1. 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site.  (Pat Ahern, 2019)
  2. 33% of clicks go to the local “snack pack” results, with 40% going to the regular organic results. (Joshua Hardwick, 2018)
  3. 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else. (Lindsay Kolowich, 2019)
  4. “Near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years. (Lindsay Kolowich, 2019)

In short, having a mobile responsive website for your brand is important regardless of where you are.

Wrapping up

The joys of running a local business are many.  You are part of the town’s history and heritage.  In most cases, you are a part of its future.  But that doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels as far as marketing is concerned.

If you have any advice for the local business owners of the UK today, then please leave a comment below.  If you have any questions or feedback you can also comment too.

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