Digital marketing is huge. It encompasses a wide umbrella of electronic-based channels including social media, digital advertising, podcasting, blogging, text-campaigns, and more. Digital marketing can be extremely overwhelming. But it can also be a lot of fun. Because the best part about digital marketing is that it works.
Electronic-based channels generate data which digital marketers use to track a campaign’s effectiveness, often in real time. Every click, like, comment, review, and sale are traceable and thus available for careful analysis. See what worked, what didn’t, and then move forward with a revised game plan.
It’s also important to realize that with so many people interacting with each other and online entities, digital marketing is about more than just what a company wants you to know about them. Digital marketing involves what media and the public are saying about a company as well. When done properly, digital marketing can be surprisingly personal, bringing customers to products and services they want, need, and love.
Embrace Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is here to stay, so familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of the trade is the first step to increasing your business’ success in your local market. While traditional channels are still alive and pertinent, it is now more important than ever to diversify your marketing strategy and be sure to establish a strong digital presence in your local market. Digital marketing can be extremely overwhelming, especially for small businesses catering to a local market. If you feel like your digital marketing strategy is stuck buffering, or maybe a little lacking, here are some great places to start.
Diversify your Digital Presence
There are so many different platforms and channels to use that it is best to pick a variety and then do everything you can to utilize them really well. Sticking to just one or two platforms will greatly limit your reach. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to media, and if you want to succeed, you need to be willing to cater to your local market by using the channels your target audience is most likely using. It sounds simple, but honestly, this is one of the first places businesses fall short. Figure out what your customers use and focus on those channels. If you aren’t sure, pick a variety of channels to experiment with. This will most likely involve using a combination of paid and free advertising.
Engage with Your Target Local Market
A big trend we are seeing in consumers today is an increased emphasis is trust. Consumers want to use businesses they like and trust. This means branding and PR are more important than ever. If you are trying to sell hats, you need to let consumers know that you care and appreciate them, and your consumers need to know that your product will boost their reputation and status quo because of the elevated strength of your brand. Consumers don’t want businesses to try baiting or tricking them into buying a product. They just want to know who you are and what you offer them.
You definitely want to provide promotions and other traditional means of attracting business, but never neglect to simply engage with your consumers. Provide content that is interesting, engaging, and frankly, good. Ask questions, listen, then, lastly, respond. That is one of the strongest aspects of having a presence on social media. It allows you to interact with your market in very real and personal ways.
Not every customer is going to be pleasant to interact with, but how you respond can shape how they, and most importantly others who see the interaction, feel about your company. Word of mouth is huge. So creating posts that generate discussion is a great way to let consumers promote your business for you. When people see something they like, they are more likely to help spread the word. Most likely, that potential customer wasn’t thinking of you when they got online, but suddenly, you are on their mind and they are engaging with you or their peers in conversation. That is powerful.
Take Control of Your Local Business Pages
There are multiple online services consumers use regularly to find and check out businesses. Some of the more popular services include Google+ and Yelp. These services are great because anyone can look up a business, check their reviews, find its location, connect to the website, or access contact information. Staying on top of these pages is key to succeeding in a local market because perhaps nothing else will drive foot traffic more when consumers make decisions in a pinch.
There are plenty of advantages to using these pages. For one thing, they help boost your SEO. This means that when people search terms that would connect them to your business, you are more likely to appear close to the top of the search. Search engines will also look at reviews themselves and use specific wording they contain to link searchers to your business. For example, if someone in your area searches “great Italian food” and you have a review that uses those same words, you are more likely to appear in the search.
While not everyone puts a ton of weight on one single review, they will look for patterns. One bad review may not deter most people, but a string of negative comments all voicing the same issue will set off warning alarms that could drive away potential business. So don’t sit back and let reviews come as they please. Make a plan to generate positive, honest reviews. This could be via offering incentives for reviews, or simply asking customers to leave a review after they have had a good experience. In the same way that negative comments can drive away consumers, positive ones can influence them to come in. Reviews boost your credibility and encourage consumers to engage with each other in positive conversation about your business.
Be Sure to Limit Your Reach Geographically
Digital marketing is relatively cheap. This means businesses of all shapes and sizes are engaging their markets with content. Digital marketing can be extremely competitive for this reason. In order to reach your local market, be sure to check the geographical parameters of any of your paid advertising channels. This will make sure that you don’t waste time, resources, or money putting content in front of people that will never look at it or convert to a customer.
Make Data-based Decisions
In the end, it is very difficult to predict how your audience will accept and interact with your digital marketing campaigns. With experience and time, you will get better and better at predicting what people will like and respond to. This experience comes primarily through knowing your audience and analyzing the data they provide. Identify what worked and what didn’t, then try to make connections. Based on that information, modify your plan and try again. Over time, you will find that your campaigns will improve. And you will reap the rewards of having a strong digital presence in a local market.