Think single-channel, digital marketing is all your local business needs? Think again. As the digital information age continues to evolve, so do the purchasing behaviors of consumers. More than ever, consumers are doing copious research before the moment of purchase. And they’re consulting more sources than ever as they do so. These days, consumers are consulting an average of 10 or more sources before making a purchase. That’s more than double what it was just a few years ago.1   If your business lacks a presence on any of those—you’re missing out on real revenue potential.

The rise in research is due in large part to the proliferation of information online. There are countless digital sources for consumers to tap into when making purchase decisions. Social media, email marketing, online review sites and business websites are just a few. To remain competitive and relevant, your marketing strategy needs to be robust and diversified.

The good news is, small changes can yield big results. Use these small digital marketing tips and you’ll see big results from your marketing strategy.

Focus on Retention

Loyal customers not only keep coming back to your business, but also become brand advocates for you. Brand advocates offer the best type of marketing out there, but you can’t pay for it — you have to earn it. From leaving positive reviews on sites like Facebook, Google and Yelp, to recommending your business to their friends and family, brand advocates use word-of-mouth marketing to organically increase awareness of your business.

But without a presence on sites like these, customers can’t leave great reviews. Make sure you’ve got a strong presence on social media networks and review sites.

Generate Custom Content

Back in the day, a quick 30-second ad on the radio or a small black and white ad in the local paper were about the extent of the marketing options available to local businesses. But there was an inherent problem with those options—how can you cram everything your business does, represents and stands for into something that small? You can’t. When it comes to local businesses, consumers want to know you, trust you, remember you. A logo and phone number in the corner of the obituaries section of the evening paper won’t do that.

Recently, Key Difference Media reported that “78% of customers believe that businesses providing custom content are interested in building good relationships.2” You see, custom content offers businesses the chance to tell a story, tell their story, and showcase their industry expertise. In a way, it begins a dialogue with their customers, it invites potential customers to get to know them and start a relationship.

The great news is—you already have everything you need to get started with custom content. You’ve got a computer (hopefully) and a head full of stories and industry knowledge. So, get writing! If you have the ideas but writing isn’t really your thing, remember that you don’t have to go it alone. We suggest looking into a partner to work with that can help you to create that custom content – or better yet, who have a team of social media experts who can do it for you.

Manage Your Online Listings

We’ve all done it. We’ve searched for some sort of local business, like say, a plumber, and on that first page of Google we see results from places like Manta, BBB.org, Mapquest.com, etc. Ever wonder where those sites get information on various businesses? Ever wonder if your business shows up on those sites? It’s a pretty safe bet it does. The bad news is—if you’re not actively policing and managing those listings, your business information could be wrong. In fact, 50% of businesses have seen listings for their business that are not accurate3. We’re willing to bet that number would be even higher if more businesses checked their listings!

The good news—you can totally manage those listings. Every one of those sites offers the ability for you to claim and optimize your business listing. While it’s generally quite inexpensive to manage each, it can be time consuming. But the value in managing these listings is huge. Imagine what would happen if a directory listed the wrong address for your business. Potential customers could be sitting in the middle of nowhere looking for your business. Or worse yet, they could end up at your competitor.

If this tip seems daunting or overwhelming, consider hiring a partner to manage these listings for you.

Email, Email, Email

With one of the highest ROIs in marketing4, email is a tactic you can hardly afford not to use! In fact, over 82% of companies are using email marketing4. If you’re not on the bandwagon, make sure to jump on soon.

One of the reasons email marketing has such an impressive ROI is that it’s relatively easy to manage, and can drive some pretty compelling conversion rates. Consider the cost and time involved in sending out 1,000 print flyers. Now consider the cost and time to send out 1,000 emails—no contest!

Email is quick and easy. All it takes is a little creativity, a compelling product or offer, and a list of email addresses. “Easier said than done,” you say? You probably already have more email addresses than you think—or could easily get them. Most businesses have customers fill out an information sheet that could easily ask for an email address. Or—if you’re more of a transactional business—collect email addresses at the point-of-sale. At the end of the day, then, all you need is a tool for sending and tracking those emails. The good news is, there are lots of very affordable solutions for doing just that (including ours!).

 

So, there you have it folks; 4 simple yet effective ways you can make sure your business is checking off multiple digital marketing boxes. After all, diversity is key when it comes to marketing. Getting your business present and active on social media and review sites, having customers act as brand advocates, claiming and optimizing your business information across multiple online directories, and pushing your products and messages out via email will ensure customers find you. At the end of the day, it’s about brand exposure. The more customers see you, the more they get to know you, the more they trust you.

Sources: 1) Orangeline, 2017. 2) Key Difference Media, 2016. 3) Searchengineland.com 4) Campaign Monitor, 2016.