The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing Strategies for Local Businesses

Admit it.

A business has little to no opportunity to grow without any marketing. Whether it’s the traditional or the modern way of marketing, any business needs marketing to thrive.

Marketing your local business sounds exciting, but it can never be that easy. There are the traditional ways of marketing that you can choose from, but in the age of technology, digital marketing is the sure way to hit the bull’s eye.

Thinking that small businesses have no place in the digital world is just wrong. Large-scale businesses are not the only ones who have control over digital marketing. Local businesses can by any means, make use of digital marketing also to give itself the boost it needs.

Digital marketing should stop being taken for granted. It’s time to step up your game. Your local success depends on this valuable investment.

Why digital marketing? What are the benefits?

The following reasons why digital marketing is worth trying are based on an infographic by Digital Marketing Philippines:

1.) It boosts your online competitiveness

The Internet is a cruel battlefield. But stepping into the competition would do you more good than harm, that is, if you pick your weapons right. And digital marketing is undoubtedly a good weapon.

With the emergence of digital media and technology, local businesses now have the chance to compete in the same level as large-scale companies. Digital marketing breaks the common notion that multinational corporations are the only ones allowed to play their marketing strategies. Local businesses now have the same resources to perform sales and market their products and services to a whole new level.

 2.) It is cost-effective

Digital marketing is much more cost-effective than traditional marketing. As you rely on digital channels, you are making yourself known to people who search for the type of products and services that you provide. There is little waste on investment, and you reach those who need you. Gone are the days of billboards and flyers, which people just look at for a minute and forget about.

Gartner’s Digital Marketing Spend Report highlighted that up to 40% of respondents claimed getting considerable savings by using digital marketing methods of promotion for their products and services.

Definitely, digital marketing is the new trend and ensures a great ROI.

3.) There is conversion optimization

The primary aim of digital marketing is to convert the potential to actual. Digital marketing, at the end of the day, should convert online potential customers to actual buyers.

The average ROI on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) tools is 223% according to Venture Beat. This means that digital marketing is leading businesses in the right direction. Whether by mobile or desktop, the number of people who eventually buy what they only previously looked at is considerably high.

4.) It builds your reputation

Digital marketing allows you to create a name for yourself online. As people learn about your business, you are telling them that you are legitimate and so are your products and services. Slowly, you gain their trust and you can even make use of the reviews generated from them to fully establish a good reputation.

Digital marketing also allows you to interact with your customers. When you do this, you get the chance to know more about what your customers like and want, then you can tailor your business according to their needs. Digital marketing works like a double-edged sword. You market yourself and at the same time, you also learn about the current trends in the business industry.

Digital Marketing Tips for Local Businesses

1.) Set up a website

Setting up a website is definitely important for your local business. Its impact can be unimaginable in a number of ways. The fact that almost everyone uses the Internet in their daily lives explains why you should consider having a website set up for your business. People usually make their searches online and you have to capitalize on that to get their interest.

Setting up a website can be pretty easy, but if you want it to be effective at once, you can call someone who is experienced in setting up and maintaining websites. People might hear about your business from traditional advertising methods or by word of mouth, but most likely they are still going to try to learn more about you online. It is to your advantage when you make yourself known in the Internet by putting up a legit website.

Of course, it doesn’t end in just having a website. You don’t want a mediocre website that carries your business name. You want it to be of high quality, so that it reflects the quality of your business too. As you move on with your business endeavor, make time to expand and improve your website. A wise thing to do is to add blog contents and updated contact information and description of your products and services. You are not only providing accurate information to potential customers but also keeping your website SEO-friendly.

Consider making your website mobile-friendly too.

One-third of people use their smartphone as their primary device to access the internet.

People might find it as a hassle if they learn that your website doesn’t cater much to searches made from mobile devices.

2.) Invest in Local SEO

Searchers usually type in keywords on search engines as they make their searches. For this, Local SEO is a must for every business website. If you want to generate more traffic to your website and increase the number of buyers, pay more consideration to Local SEO. Remember, it’s not just about appearing on search engine results pages, but about appearing on top. You don’t want to risk appearing on the second page of the SERPs.

There a lot of things to consider for this and it is not that easy to set up so it is recommended that you get yourself an agency that specializes in Local SEO.

Local SEO basics include website optimization, using citations and links, reviews, and creating local content, all for the main purpose of ranking high on search results pages. For a more detailed guide on Local SEO, read here **you can insert a link here for The Ultimate Guide to Local SEO 😉

3.) Get listed on Google My Business (GMB)

Google My Business is definitely the one place you should be in for digital marketing to reach its highest potential. Your GMB listing is also a part of Local SEO, primarily because Google My Business allows customers to leave Google reviews, and with reviews amongst the most important local SEO ranking factors, this is vital for any business.

Setting up your GMB listing is free and easy. You simply have to follow Google’s instructions and ensure that you enter accurate information (business name, address, and phone number), similar to the information that you provided in your business website. To further spice up your listing, add photos to give your audience a look at your business. Google will then verify your business and then you’re good to go!

As people view your listing, encourage them to leave a review. Digital marketing is about building your reputation, and reviews play a great part in building it. See to it that you also take time to respond to reviews, whether positive or negative. By responding, you are showing customers that you care for their experience with your products and services and that you are always looking forward to only giving them the best.

Google My Business also gives you monthly insights of how your business performed. They will display how many people viewed your listing, clicked the site, and asked for directions. It’s a really efficient tool to discover the contribution of your listing to your business as a whole.

4.) Participate in E-mail Marketing

It’s true that people these days have replaced emails with instant messaging apps like Facebook messenger, but it isn’t entirely true that emails are no longer important in the field of digital marketing. There are many ways to make emails useful, that is, if you do it right.

Email marketing is the act of sending commercial messages, campaigns, or advertisements, to a group people to improve sales and promote one’s brand. It is one of the traditional ways of digital marketing that has proved to be effective even until now.

Neil Patel, a brilliant entrepreneur and influencer in business, offers a detailed guide to email marketing. Here’s to sum it up:

  1. Gather email addresses ethically. Before sending your offer to a number of people, you need their email addresses. But remember to ask permission so that they won’t take your email as spam or unimportant. To effectively ask for an email address, you might want to offer something in return, such as a free ebook or catalog.
  2. Do follow-ups. If you promised that you’ll send an email once a week, stay true to your word if you want your email marketing to thrive. If you promised to send daily, then send daily. For follow-ups, don’t come out strong and pushy. Take your time to introduce yourself before pitching in your offers. As you go on, you might want to ask if they’re interested in signing up for your newsletter.
  3. Analyze data. At your end, you want to make sure your email marketing is indeed making a difference. Perform analytics with your service provider. Learn about the open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates. At the end of the day, you will realize what you did wrong and work to improve them.

5.) Advertise on Google using Google AdWords

Google AdWords is Google’s advertising system that allows businesses to bid on certain keywords so that their clickable ads appear on Google search results pages. ROI is not guaranteed, however, depending on the competitiveness of keywords you put in, and the relevance of those keywords to your business, Google AdWords might be something you have to consider getting into.

For the most part, Google AdWords proved to be effective for different types of businesses and it could be for you too as long as you choose your keywords right and write strong click-through ads.

Google AdWords is a pay-per-click advertising platform and operates in two ways: Google Search Network, and Google Display Network.

Google Search Network allows you to display your ads when users actively search. That’s when your ad gets displayed on Google’s search results page. On the other hand, Google Display Network works like a banner, and displays your ad in websites where your target audience might be in. Considering the two, it is less likely that banners get clicked compared to ads displayed in search result pages.

There are other pay-per-click advertising platforms that you can choose from, but Google AdWords might be the best option since users almost always use Google to make their searches online.

6.) Advertise on Social Media and other platforms

We’ve come this far, and it’s a lie to say that social media is not the big thing in this day and age. Some of your social media target should be:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter

As of 2015, 90% of young adults use social media, compared with 12% in 2005, (Pew Research Center, 2015) and nearly one-third of the world uses social networks regularly. (Source:)

Statistics say that social media has become the place that people frequent and if you advertise on these platforms, you might reach the audience that you target and convert them into actual buyers.

Social media is becoming much more than just becoming social and creating meaningful engagements. Now, it might be a very useful tool in realizing your local success.

Tips on Choosing the Best Local Digital Marketing Agency

1.) Get recommendations

There are a lot of digital marketing agencies available and it will be a bit difficult for you to choose the best among the rest. However, as a first step to finding the one, you can get suggestions and recommendations from friends or colleagues who are in the same field as yours. If they’re a local business and have an experience with a digital marketing agency, ask about their experience and see if they can recommend the agency to you.

2.) Know the agency

Before settling in with an agency, make sure you know them well. Anshul Sushil, founder and CEO of Boring Brands, reminds local businesses to learn about the agency’s work culture and ethics before making the decision to trust them with digital marketing strategies. Make sure that they mean serious business with you, not just small talk.

Also, one important thing to consider is how the company’s staff is delegated. You don’t want to be overpromised with good outcomes but be teamed up with junior, inexperienced staff. You want to make sure that they only provide you with the best team that they can offer.

Learn about the agency’s top strengths too. Each digital marketing agency is unique and may not prove to be effective for all businesses which need it. Classify what you really need and see if the agency’s strength matches with what you lack. Inquire about what services they can offer you. Find an agency who is a full-packaged service provider, which includes website design, online marketing, email and mobile web solutions, social media marketing, SEO, SEM, copy and content writing, etc. See to it that they are updated with the current trends in the industry.

3.) Ask for the cost

Digital marketing need not drain your entire resources just to prove that it can thrive. A good digital marketing strategy is cost-effective and has great ROI. Ask the agency for the corresponding prices of the services that they offer. You can try to negotiate the fees but remember that a low cost will not guarantee quality work. If you’ve worked out the math already, you might as well just go for the costlier one.

The cost must be reasonable and just, according to what you expect and need. At the end of the day, you should be able to say that it was worth it.

4.) Inquire about the agency’s work experience

Having knowledge of an agency’s work experience gives you an idea of its reputation and the quality of its work. You want to know if they have worked with similar businesses as yours before and what came out of it afterwards. Their experience with related businesses assures you that they’re not new to the industry and that they can pull it off with yours too.

Don’t pick an agency that’s new in the field if you’re cautious about your local success. If you like, pick an agency that is already seasoned and has a long work experience in the field.

The agency’s reputation says a lot about its quality of services and you’d only like the best of the best for your business. You can also rely on customer testimonials about their work experience with the agency. Testimonies are very powerful evidences of a company’s work.

5.) Consider your needs

Don’t be overwhelmed when an agency offers you a wide variety of services and an elaborate marketing strategy. Aside from making sure that they understand what you need, you also have to make sure that they are prepared to attend to your needs and target only what is to be targeted.

Tell them how you’d like things to be and ask them what their plan about it is. They should give you a clear picture of how they’re planning to take your business into the competition without a lot of turns but straight ahead. You want matters to be done and implemented economically, without wasting time on unnecessary stopovers.

Understand if each step they offer is practical for your products and services and make sure you’re not wasting time on strategies that offer no evident outcome in the long run.

Gone are the days of traditional marketing. Digital marketing has paved the way for businesses’ local successes. It is time to break the trend of physical marketing. The trend now is digital, and digital marketing is the best, if not the only, way to ensure that businesses thrive and improve.

Without a digital marketing strategy, you will find yourself lost in a fast-paced world of technology and online competition. If you want to run ahead of the race, digital marketing is definitely worth the try.

Digital marketing is not just a tool for your local business; it is your edge against the rest.

About the author

Ruben Licera

ESTRAT X's Chief ESTRATegy Officer (CEO) Ruben Licera Jr empowers businesses by providing them actionable digital marketing strategies. Know more about him via his personal website or here.


>