In the age of eCommerce, many businesses have forgotten about their most valuable customer base.

Forget the Internet, your most valuable consumers and prospects are those right on your doorstep. Local business marketing is an extremely powerful and popular way of generating both website traffic and bricks-and-mortar sales.

Though the challenge many local business owners face is a lack of knowledge. Without a dedicated marketing team, you may think it time consuming, expensive, and difficult to market yourself in the local area.

In this article, we will share with you five top tips for local business marketing; showing you how quick, easy, and affordable is can be:

1. Claim Your Listing

google places

Your first step should always be claiming your company listing on the major local search platforms. A Google Maps listing for example is an obvious but highly effective way to increase exposure in your local area. Having a strong visibility on these local listings will ensure you turn up in your customers’ local searches.

You shouldn’t just focus on Google though. Yahoo and Bing are still major search engines and your customers are still using them to search. Make sure your local listings are up-to-date and regularly updated across all these search engines.

This is a hugely important step in boosting your local business marketing efforts.

2. Make the Most of Reviews

reviews

When it comes to local promotion, you should never underestimate the power of the review. Testimonials and reviews of you business and services are one of the best ways to encourage new customers to buy from you.

Many of the major local search platforms show your reviews as well as a ‘star rating’. So how can you encourage positive reviews from your customers?

One of the easiest ways to ask your customers to leave a review is with a follow up email after the sale. You can also use a regular newsletter, follow up phone call, or your email signature to ask for reviews.

While your ultimate aim is to secure 5-star reviews, even those with a criticism are important. They give your business more credibility, as well as giving you a chance to provide your local customers with a much better service.

3. Use Location-Based Keywords

local keywords

Whilst focusing your efforts online, you will need to localise your search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts. SEO is a great way to drive organic traffic to your website. As a local business, you need more than just organic traffic though.

You need organic traffic from those in your local area.

To do this, you should be using location-based keywords in your SEO efforts. Not only can they help you boost sales in your local area, they are also less competitive. This gives you the best chance of ranking – and ranking well – for these terms.

So instead of simply targeting “used cars”, focus your efforts around localised terms such as “used cars Manchester”. If you narrow your terms down to even more local areas, you can really reach out to customers.

Those who search using these terms are searching for something specific, as they’re ready to buy. Make sure you’re offering them exactly what they’re looking for.

4. Get Social

social media

More and more consumers are using social media to find what they’re looking for online. Twitter’s advanced search option lets you choose company-specific keywords and see what people in your local area are tweeting about.

Take the used car dealer analogy again.

Use the advanced search to find out what those within a 15 mile radius are saying about ‘used cars’, ‘second hand cars’, ‘vintage cars’ or any other key words. You can then tweet these individuals offering them a great deal, or just some advice.

Be careful not to sound like spam, but you should certainly get in marketing mode. This is a really simple – not to mention free – local marketing tip that businesses of all shapes and sizes can implement today.

5. Think Offline Too

direct mail marketing

You shouldn’t just be focusing your marketing efforts online. Offline methods are just as effective, if not more so, at local promotions.

Whether you’re based in a small village or large city, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of direct mail marketing. Reach out to prospects and potential customers in the local area with a well designed and irresistible mail shot.

You should also make sure you are listed in local telephone directories. While they don’t hold as much weight as they once did, your listing could get the phone ringing. The same goes for shop window notices. Don’t think that because they’re ‘old school’ they won’t work. You never know how effective they are until you try.

Bird and Co Creative are a Bromsgrove web design company, that can help you boost your local marketing campaigns. To find out more, visit their website and speak to a member of their online marketing team.