Does Digital Marketing Really Work for Local Businesses?

Local businesses, by definition, serve a geographically limited area. Most such businesses are still depending on traditional word-of-mouth, yellow pages, Groupon entry and local newspaper advertisements to grow their business.

Some have definitely jumped on to the digital age by having a website.

But the question is, is a website, by itself, part of a marketing strategy? A lot of local business website look like they were developed in the 90s, have no clear offering and no Call-To-Action (CTA).

On top of that, there’s little to nil effort in driving traffic to that website – it just lies there amongst thousands of others.

The Website

Your website is your digital front office of your business. It has to “work” for you in generating queries or leads. For that to happen the site must have a very clear offering (your flagship offering) and a clear Call-To-Action, where the visitor is persuaded to take some action to get in touch with our business.

The website must come up on the first page for the keywords that your ideal customers type into a search engine when they are looking to solve their problems. For that to happen, you need to have a Google Business Profile (formerly google My Business), show up on the Google Maps Pack and appear in the organic (and paid) search results.

Your Customer/Client

You need to spend the time to identify your ideal customer avatar – their demographics, interests, and pain points. Without that, you can’t devise your offering. “We are the best roofing contractors in San Ramon” – will just not fly.

Without a clear understanding of your customers and what problems that they are seeking solution for, you can’t do the keyword research required to dominate the search results in your area and industry, nor can you come up with a compelling offering.

The Offering

A lot of business owners make the mistake of thinking that the offering is same as what their skills are and what they do.

Your customer has a problem or a desire that needs to be fulfilled in such a way that she reaches her expected (happy) emotional state. She wants to get there hassle free and with some sort of assurance that her efforts will lead to the desired results.

The above might sound like an academic snippet from a marketing textbook – but that’s how it works.

The offering must stand out from the competition and be something the customer just can’t refuse (aka The Godfather Offer). This will require some deep analysis of the market, the customer needs and wants and what the business will actually be able to deliver.

The Digital Way

The biggest advantages of digital marketing is that you can reach very targeted audience and can track your entire marketing campaign. You will know exactly how much you are spending and how much business you are acquiring.

If you could drop a dollar and get two dollars of business, will it be worth it? How about 3 dollars? That’s the magic of strategic digital marketing.

Paid marketing on Google and Facebook can consistently keep your pipeline full instead of the business constantly in a feast or famine mode. You can nurture potential customers and keep your brand on the top of their minds so that they look at you when they need the offerings that you have.

More on how to structure a FB ad campaign for a local business in a future article.

Hope that makes you start seriously thinking about investing some time and effort to evaluate how digital marketing can transform your business.