What are the most effective marketing tactics to grow a small business’s revenue? Need some inspiration and looking for local marketing ideas? These are certainly very common questions of many marketers, small business owners and entrepreneurs. After all, the main goal of any business is to generate more sales and revenue, and promoting and engaging customers with marketing is an essential step.
However, with so many marketing methods, tactics, and techniques available today, choosing the right marketing tactics can be difficult. On the other hand, we can waste our budget if we are focusing on ineffective ones, risking our profit in the long run.
With those points being said, here we have compiled 5 of the most effective local marketing ideas and tactics available, both traditional and digital ones. Let’s explore them a bit.
1. Local SEO: Get More Revenue Using Google My Business
Most of the small businesses are targeting local customers, and we should recognize the fact that before we make any purchases especially from a new brand, most of us will consult Google. Pair this with the fact that now a lot of people are using their mobile devices for “near me” search queries like “restaurants near me”, “bookstores near me”, and so on, and if you are not optimizing your listing to rank well on Google Maps, you are missing out on a lot of potential customers.
The thing is, Google Maps only displays the top 3 results for each search query before you click on “more places”. So, to get more visibility, you should aim for this top 3 spots or at least a spot on the first page, and this is where local SEO comes in.
Although local SEO might seem complicated at first, actually there are only three crucial steps involved:
1. Register AND verify your Google My Business account, make sure your information is complete and up-to-date
2. Build citations on various local online directories according to your niche, the more the better. A quick Google search like “online restaurant directory” will show you these directory sites, there are literally hundreds of them.
3. Drive more positive reviews. Encourage your existing customers to leave positive reviews on your Google Maps listing and review sites (Yelp!, TripAdvisor, etc.) according to your industry. You might want to offer incentives (discounts, free products) in exchange for this review.
Do these steps consistently, and support it with content marketing (further below). You will see your listing slowly climbs up the Google Maps ranking in a few months or even weeks. Generally, expect 6 months of time frame before you see satisfying results.
2. Inbound Marketing: Building Your Credibility
The thing is, we only want to purchase something from a brand we can TRUST, and trust is a very expensive asset, so hard to establish and yet so easy to lose.
Nowadays, the most effective tactic for building credibility is to implement inbound marketing, which is in essence, regularly publishing valuable, high-quality content pieces to establish your position as the thought leader/expert of your industry.
Implementing inbound marketing, admittedly, is easier for certain niches than others. For example, if you are a business consultant, it is fairly obvious that your content marketing should cover “marketing strategies”, “revenue tactics”, and so on. Yet, the idea is probably a little more abstract if you are a restaurant or car service business.
The principle, however, remains the same: let the public know that you are an expert in your industry and build credibility. Publish actionable tips through social media, blog posts, or even YouTube videos. Share your expertise on events and seminars (you can also use webinars), participate in online forums, especially those offering paid memberships where you can advertise your business.
So the idea here mainly comprises of two things: publishing high-quality content pieces using various platforms, and making them visible through content promotion. The most sustainable way to promote your content is through SEO, including local SEO which we have discussed above. Yet, implementing SEO might require a significant amount of time. Combine SEO with various promotional tools like paid social media (i.e, Facebook’s ‘boost your post’, paid advertisement, or work with the influencers of your industry to promote your content (influencer marketing).
3. Email Marketing: Communicating Your Business
Even with all the new technologies and platforms, email is still one of, if not the most effective ways to communicate promotional messages to customers. Some studies even suggested that email marketing still offers ROI of above 4,000%, significantly higher than any other channels.
There are two core aspects of email marketing: building your email database, and how to communicate your messages.
You can use various lead generation methods to collect more email addresses, including using content marketing we have discussed above. One of the most common practices is to offer your website or on-site visitors something in exchange for their email addresses. For example, you can offer a free discount coupon for website visitors, which can also drive actual traffic to your business. You can also purchase email databases from third-party vendors, although generally, they won’t be as effective as earned ones.
The second is how to effectively communicate your messages, and this can be a pretty broad subject on its own. However, the main principles are:
-make sure your email content is mobile-responsive with reasonable (preferably fast) loading speed
-have an interesting subject line
-personalize your messages by using first name (many email marketing tools provide the feature to automatically do this)
-use animated GIFs, infographics, or even videos to keep things engaging, but refer back to the first principle
-keep it to the point and short, respect your reader’s time
4. Events: Face-to-Face Engagement In The Digital World
In this world dominated by online marketing activities, hosting and attending events can be extremely effective to build that actual, physical engagements with your prospects and customers.
Always attend events relevant to your business. For example, if you are a restaurant business, don’t miss any food bazaars or FnB-related events where your audience gathers. This is also a good chance of collecting contact information including email addresses (hint: the party organizer might also want to sell you the email database of attendees).
When planning to host an event, don’t overthink your concept. The key here is to truly understand your audience, and give them what they like. For example, if you found out through analytics and surveys that 40% of your existing customers are dog lovers, you might want to host a dog-related event. Also, anything involving free food will always get attention.
Use email marketing, which we have discussed above, to properly communicate your events and get more attendees. You can also use webinars as a somewhat digital alternative to offline events, which can be effective when done right.
Final Words on Local Marketing Tactics
There are certainly many more effective strategies to effectively grow your small business, but these four we have shared above are among the most effective ones. They can act like solid foundations before you expand your business with other marketing strategies.
There are two main keys to success here: the first is understanding your audience, especially their needs, problems, and behaviors. Second, is to consistently monitor your progress. The marketplace is always evolving, as so do your customers. Monitor the right metrics, and know when to make some adjustments when necessary.