In order to stay competitive in the local market, small businesses need to leverage effective digital marketing strategies to reach and connect with their target audience.
This is true whether you're just launching a new business or you've been in the market a long time and are looking for new ways to grow your small business.
But many small businesses overlook digital marketing because it's seen as something that's complex and expensive — but it doesn't have to be! There are digital marketing ideas for small businesses suited to all experience levels and budgets.
While it does take some time and discipline, marketing your small business online can be a rewarding practice that provides a strong return on investment when done right.
Here are some actionable ideas for enhancing your small business's digital marketing efforts and boosting your online presence in the local market.
Optimize Your Google Business Profile
Your Google Business Profile is more often than not the first impression potential customers have of your business. It's also the most important online business directory when it comes to local search engine optimization (SEO).
Optimize your Google Business Profile by filling it out as completely as possible with accurate business information, and keeping this info up to date when anything changes. This means doing things like updating your hours when relevant (like at the holidays) and adding or removing listing categories if your products/services change.
You should also add some high quality photos and focus on getting plenty of positive customer reviews, as well as responding to all reviews, both positive and negative. This not only improves your local SEO, but also increases the chances of attracting local customers.
Claim Your Business Listing on Apple Business Connect
Expand your online visibility even further by claiming your business listing on Apple Business Connect. This platform provides a valuable opportunity to showcase your business to iOS users, potentially reaching a broader audience and increasing brand awareness.
Although most online searches (more than 90%) take place on Google and Google Maps, iOS users are increasingly searching for local businesses via Apple Maps, and the number of people doing so is only going to go up.
Apple Business Connect is essentially Apple's version of Google Business Profile, and you can claim and optimize your listing for Apple Maps in much the same way as you can for Google Maps to get ahead of the traffic and stay one step ahead of your competition.
Track Your Ranking in Local Search Results with Local Falcon
Understanding your local search ranking is crucial for optimizing your digital presence, so utilize a local rank tracking tool like Local Falcon to track your business's position in local search results, including those on Google, Google Maps, and Apple Maps.
The invaluable rank tracking data that Local Falcon helps you identify areas for improvement, ways to optimize your business listings for local search, and vulnerable competitors to try and outrank.
In fact, Local Falcon even has integrated AI, Falcon AI, that handles a lot of the analysis for you! Falcon AI provides an easy-to-digest overview of your business's performance in local search rankings, complete with competitor comparisons and actionable optimization recommendations.
You can then use Local Falcon to track your progress over time as you implement the AI's optimization recommendations and other local SEO best practices to boost your ranking.
Ultimately, local rank tracking does far more than just contribute to your local SEO efforts — it helps you refine your overall digital marketing strategy to get ahead of the competition in the local market.
Invest in Improving and Optimizing Your Website
In addition to optimized local business listings, a well-designed and user-friendly website is another cornerstone of your small business's digital presence.
Investing in improving website speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall user experience will contribute to your local SEO as well as help engage potential customers.
Just like with your business listings, you want to make sure that your website provides relevant, up-to-date information and a seamless journey for visitors.
Implement a Solid Content Marketing Strategy
Content is king in the digital realm, as it allows you to target any local keywords you want in order to attract potential customers to your website and other channels when they perform relevant searches.
So, develop a robust content marketing strategy that includes things like unique landing pages, blog posts, articles, videos, and other relevant content that makes sense for your industry. This not only helps with SEO, but also positions your business as an authority in your area.
Don't Overlook Reputation Management
Your online reputation can significantly impact customer trust and loyalty, not to mention reviews are a strong ranking factor for search engine algorithms.
Reputation management involves monitoring online reviews, responding promptly to customer feedback (again, both positive and negative), and actively seeking positive reviews. Reviews can make all the difference when you're trying to outrank close competitors in local search results!
Naturally, a positive online reputation is also a powerful asset for attracting new customers, as people tend to read reviews and experiences before deciding to visit or buy from a local business.
Consider Different Types of Ads
When you want to expand your small business's reach beyond organic digital marketing strategies, you might want to explore using various types of online ads.
From search and display ads to social media advertising, each platform offers unique advantages.
Experiment with different ad formats to identify what resonates best with your target audience and what provides the best ROI.
For example, service-based businesses may benefit from Google's Local Services Ads (LSAs), which you only pay for when you get leads, rather than paying for clicks or impressions as you do with other types of ads.
Create a Social Media Posting Schedule
Consistency is key on social media — if you don't already have a defined social media strategy for your small business, now's the time to develop a posting schedule and stick to it. Share a mix of promotional content, industry insights, and engaging visuals.
Social media platforms are a great way to connect with your audience and build brand loyalty and social media can even play a direct or indirect role in local SEO.
Collaborate with Influencers or Other Local Businesses
Collaborating with industry-adjacent influencers or collaborating with other local businesses is a great way to tap into their followers and introduce your brand to a wider audience.
For example, if you run a restaurant, bar, or cafe, you might invite an influencer in to enjoy a free meal and/or drink in exchange for them showcasing your establishment and offerings on their social media profiles. Or, you could partner with a local business to throw a joint event, like a pop-up sale or a collaborative dining event, that benefits you both.
The Bottom Line
Digital marketing for small businesses doesn't have to be a huge, expensive undertaking. Of course, the more time and other resources you put into it, the higher your potential ROI is going to be, but the key is just getting started with something!
By starting small and implementing some of these digital marketing ideas, small businesses can enhance their online presence, connect with their target audience more, and ultimately drive growth in the competitive local market.