Digital marketing is a very broad term that includes website design, social media, online advertising, email advertising, SEO and more. This can be extremely confusing to the local business owner simply looking to attract more eyeballs on their site. They are typically too busy running operations to investigate which digital marketing strategies work best for their business.
In an effort to help local business owners such as restauranters, dentists, doctors, lawyers and any other service provider, I have put together the digital marketing strategies that all local businesses should adopt in 2018.
Your Website Is A Convertible Mustang
Just about every aspect of digital marketing is driving internet traffic to your website. This is the mother ship and you need to treat it as such. We still see too many websites that were not created with responsive design, meaning they look strange and difficult to navigate on mobile devices. We are seeing approximately 42% of all client traffic coming from mobile devices and that number is likely to increase.
Your website must look good with easy navigation on mobile devices. Visitors must be able to click on a phone number or an email address to contact you. If they have to zoom in or write down the number then you are likely to lose them to a competitor whose site is mobile optimized. The idea is to convert visitors into either a phone call, an email or a walk-in.
Additionally, Google has been tightening up its algorithm to award higher rankings to sites that are optimized for mobile visitors – and with good reason. You don’t want to be pushed to page two or three of Google’s search results. Get your site compatible for mobile devices immediately.
Implement Rich Answers On Your Website
Chances are that you have probably typed a question into Google to find out how something works. People are changing the way they use Google. No longer do people want to search for information, they prefer Google to answer their questions. Google has recognized this and introduced rich answers to its search algorithm so they can provide more accurate results.
Just about any local business – lawyer, dentist, plastic surgeon – has common questions they often get from their customers, e.g. What is a dental implant? How do you obtain a green card? What is rhinoplasty? It would be smart to implement rich answers on your website so when people are asking Google these questions, your site may appear first.
Use Social Media Wisely
We receive a lot of questions about social media. Many local businesses are confused to what social channels they should be using and how they should be posting. One of the most important rules of marketing and running a business is to know your customer base. Social media is not rocket science. Tune out the social media experts and tune in your customers. Social media can be a huge drain on your time if not used properly. Nobody is looking for a plumber on Twitter or a lawyer on Instagram. They just aren’t. Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn combine to have less than a 5% market share in social media, while Facebook has over 40%, according to Statista.
When it comes to posting on social media, understand that you are creating a voice for your business and often communicating with your most loyal customers, those that chose to follow you. Therefore, you must be careful in overloading them with specials and promotions. We always tell our clients that social media is not an advertising wall and they are not a supermarket; engage with your followers and share information that is pertinent to them.
Don’t Sleep On Email Marketing
Email marketing was kicked to the curb in favor of social media years ago, but now it’s back. For many local businesses, this is a great and cheap way to communicate with your best customers. Facebook and Instagram now show your posts to only a fraction of your followers. They want you to pay to reach more of your followers. If you have customer email addresses, you can send specials, event information and new menu items to all your customers for zero to little cost. Mailchimp allows you to use its email marketing platform for free up to 2,000 contacts.
According to MailMunch, a digital lead generation company, click through rates can be 50 to 100 times better on email than social media. This is an extremely effective and low-cost digital marketing strategy that might be right for your business.
In summary, local businesses should constantly be looking at their own website to make sure it’s easy to navigate, has fresh content and contact information works on mobile. The idea is to turn lookers into bookers. Once your site is up to snuff, you can start implementing some of the other digital marketing strategies that drive traffic to your site, like social media, email marketing and rich answers.