Across America, many small businesses still use their website like an old-fashioned yellow pages ad or online flyer. While much is written on the advantages of digital marketing, many small business owners just don't think those benefits will apply to them. They are not interested in converting website visitors into online leads using landing pages and contact forms. They need the people who live nearby to get off the sofa and walk down the street to their brick-and-mortar store or shop. If this sounds like your business, a hyperlocal digital marketing strategy can bring the benefits of online marketing to your in-person sales.
What is hyperlocal marketing? In essence, while the internet allows you to reach people from around the world, hyperlocal digital marketing narrowly targets a specific local community. However, when we state "local community", we are talking about very local, anywhere between a 10-minute drive all the way down to walking distance. While the phrase "hyperlocal marketing" may seem like a new buzz word, it is much like the marketing you have long employed, such as direct mail marketing, print flyers, signage, and local partner referrals.
All that said, small businesses are feeling a lot of pressure from large corporations and online businesses. Moreover, consumer trends demand that a small business has an online presence and marketing strategy to survive. With this in mind, here is a short list of hyperlocal digital marketing techniques to get you started.
1. Add E-Commerce to Your Website - Done right, providing online shopping can bring people into your brick-and-mortar store or shop. In fact, major retailers, like Wal-Mart, are already using it to do just that. Consumers want the convenience of shopping online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, they also like the idea of completing the final transaction in person. Adding e-commerce to your website provides this to your local customers.
2. Reputation Management - Studies have shown that most people are using online as part of their shopping process, even if they plan to buy in-person. They are going to review and social sites to research companies, evaluating their reliability and trustworthiness. One bad review can destroy the reputation of even a long-established business. It is vital to capture these listings, respond to complaints, and encourage positive reviews.
3. Geotargeting and Mobile Marketing - There are several prominent smartphone apps that can help you send targeted local messaging. This is marketing in real-time, focusing on those people who are nearby and looking for your products and services. Most importantly, these ads are being seen by those who are most like to visit your store or shop today.
4. Cross-promoting - There is a very good chance that you have partnered with other local businesses, in which you refer customers to each other. In the past, you may have exchanged stacks of business cards or brochures. Today, online is the best place for partners to promote each other. This can be accomplished sharing each other's content on social media, linking to them on your website, and writing blogs that reference your marketing partners.
Do you have questions? What haven't we covered yet that is important to you? If you would like to talk about a hyperlocal digital marketing strategy for your small business, or a related topic, please contact us.