If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years about local business, it’s that people still value it – customers as much as business owners. However, that doesn’t mean that online marketing and even local SEO has nothing to do with traditional local business, and in fact the opposite is true.
Shopping locally and finding new places to spend leisure time has become fashionable again, if you’re savvy enough to combine your digital strategy with your local promotion. Your local reputation helps your broader online efforts, and vice versa. Here are a few tips that will help you build up both simultaneously.
1) Get local publicity
Anything you can do to connect with your local audience through respected publications will work wonders for your brand awareness. Most local newspapers have online versions too, so landing a feature in one of these can kill two birds with one stone.
2) Get reviews from locals
If your business isn’t listed on Google+ Local, what are you waiting for? You can also get on Yelp, Facebook and other sites depending on your niche. Once you’re listed, positive reviews can help strengthen your reputation and even show up alongside your name in search results. People near your geographical location will value other locals’ opinions extremely highly. Read our article for more tips on how to get more positive online reviews.
3) Engage both online and offline
If you have a good experience with customers in your shop, encourage them to leave a review or get in touch on social media. If someone expresses an interest online, invite them to come and visit you. You should also update all your social media, blog sections and so on to keep up that engagement once you have some. Keeping all lines of communication open will help to build trust!
4) Create valuable experiences
Another way to follow up on a successful transaction is to turn it into shareable content for your digital channels. Share photos and stories with your customers online so they have something positive to remember you by, and this will also help you get seen by their personal networks. Participating in local events and getting involved in the community can really strengthen this.
5) Branding is the key
Don’t get too bogged down with facts and figures if your goal is to create an impression and build up your reputation. It’s good to have measurable goals, but you may not be able to quantify the impact your branding efforts are having straight away. As long as you show consistency across all your marketing channels, however, the long term effects can be great.
All these factors will help you to build up an online brand, and this naturally leads onto better SEO in your local area, even though most of these don’t directly contribute towards rankings. If you sow the seeds wisely, your happy customers will support you and give you that much needed boost online as well as in the local area.