So your local business is doing okay by focusing on sales of products or services at a physical location. Your competitors do the same, and nobody else in your industry focuses on online marketing methods. In such an environment, you may think leveraging online marketing tactics is a waste of time since nobody else is doing it, right? Wrong. I’ll let you in on a little secret; most of your competitors have no idea what they’re missing out!
Online marketing is a powerful strategy when used correctly for any local business. To prove my point, here are three ways you can start using the Internet to drum up more leads and sales with very little effort.
1. Create a Google Plus page
A Google Plus page for businesses is like having a Facebook page, with one major difference – Google pages rank on the first page for local searches. For example, let’s say your car broke down in Sydney, and you need to find a local garage. You search ‘car garage Bondi’ on Google, and the search returns the following:
Each listing above shows a local car garage with a Google Plus account. It’s free to create an account, and you can attach it to five relevant categories associated with your business. When a prospect types in keywords related to your categories, your Google Plus page appears on the first page of Google with your website address, telephone number and location. Free leads!
Google search is pretty advanced and will only show relevant businesses based on a searcher’s location. If your competition doesn’t have a Google Plus page, you can pretty much monopolise the local search to drive more sales and source new leads. Even if you sell products offline, 89% of consumers today start their purchasing decision online.
2. Facebook is not just for fun
Many business owners still regard Facebook and Twitter as ‘social fun activity’, and not something that can benefit their local business. Aside from the dozens of success stories from businesses that use Facebook to get ahead, your customers also say Facebook is a great place to interact with brands:
Over nine million Australians login to Facebook every day. How many of them are potential customers?
One of the biggest features of Facebook is the ability to set up a free Facebook business Page, where you can run advertisements. Unlike a typical offline advert where you have very little control over who views your content, Facebook allows you to target your audience by age, gender, interests, location, behaviour and even post code.
An active Facebook business Page can help you better engage with your customers and you can use it as a customer support channel. You can also host social media contests to help launch a new product or generate buzz for your next sale. Click HERE and set up a Facebook business Page in a matter of minutes.
3. Paid search marketing
Does your business have keywords many people search online, but you don’t know much about SEO or have time to write a blog? If so, Google PPC online Advertising (Google Adwords) is your answer.
In a nutshell, Google pay per click advertising only displays an advert when a searcher types in specific keywords or phrases. If the searcher clicks on the advert, they are redirected to your website and you’re charged a fixed, pre-agreed fee. To give you a real-life example of a Google Adwords advertising, I searched ‘office cleaning brisbane’ on Google, and this is what the search returned:
The results above are all local businesses that targeted the keywords ‘office + cleaning + brisbane’.
By leveraging paid Google search, instead of going out and finding new customers, you can streamline your lead generation efforts allowing potential customers to find your business. Whether you sell furniture, yoga classes, or manage a restaurant or bar, if you use the right keywords you can do this too.
If you’re a local business that operates without using the Internet or you have little experience, your first step online can be a little scary. However, if you look around, you will see consumers now throw away newspapers and replace them with smartphones. They listen to podcasts and use eBook readers, instead of using print media and radio.
Plenty of potential exists for your local business. You can find new leads and generate sales through online marketing. It’s not only cheaper, but also more effective than offline marketing. Don’t think it’s not for your business just because your biggest competitor doesn’t use it. It could be the advantage you need to increase sales and take your business to the next level.