When it comes to local marketing there are no set rules but there are some known "no no's". Each community in the Chicago Area, be it Naperville, Glen Ellyn, Barrington, or even as far as Rockford,while related is different; and each individual business has to adjust to its target customer base within that community. Still, there are some basics to marketing successfully to a specific local audience that can't be ignored. If you feel like the return on your local promotional initiatives is hit or miss, you may be neglecting some basics that can bolster your business and reputation in your community.
While there are many mistakes to be made, here are five common mistakes are businesses make when it comes to reaching targeted local customers:
Lack of Any Web Presence
Even owners of a longtime, Glen Ellyn mom and pop establishments could have benefited from a simple website or inclusion in an online directory. We encountered a client who had absolutely no presence in any directory, yet had been in business in Glen Ellyn for over 30 years. We thought something like this would be impossible, but he was an internet ghost. It is not often that a local business owner says he or she has “too many” customers(although we may switch keywords at times to keep from peeking). In addition to regular, sustainable and residual customer, a web presence brings in new clientele that happen upon sites when looking for a product or service. Many websites cost very little to create and maintain, and results-driven online directories are affordable too. If you're unsure of where to begin in building an online following, hire someone to help you or contact us today. The money you invest will pay off over time and many companies offer a flat fee to maintain the site for you. Ultimately, if you don't tap the resource, it is an avenue of growth that your business will not experience.
Remember that it is not enough to rely on word-of-mouth or traditional marketing techniques to bring in new local customers. Hanging your digital shingle in cyberspace is also vital and easier than ever to accomplish. Give potential customers the answers to their questions in an immediate way in order to win their business and not lose them to more visible competitors.
Beautiful Sites Unable to be Found in Search Engine Results.
This point is similar to having a lack of web presence but applies beyond the digital realm. Having a website is a great start, but the having one that is invisible to the search engines is nothing more than a place for people to go when they read your business card. One of our Naperville SEO clients learned this the hard way. He had a brilliant website, that was designed well, and written well; it was just all images and invisible to the search engines (warning, any images of text on your site are absolutely worthless). Ultimately, he brought us to his Naperville office to discuss a way to boost his Search Engine Optimization and elevate his listing in the SERPs. It took an entire rebuild of his site due to the poor decisions of his previous web designer, but we had him on the top of his 5 main keywords within a month.
Location Location Location
If people do not know where you are located, they cannot give you their business. We often work start Chicago clients who don't even have access to their Google+ and Local citation sites. This data is absolutely imperative to building business in the local market. This means promoting your web location in addition to your physical address. Unfortunately, people are so programmed to find the answers to all questions immediately that they will not take the time to track you down if a competitor offers ease of information. Additionally, with the improvements in local search functions on smart phones, over 50% of local market share is now going to the top 5-10 listings in a map search. Do whatever it takes to let people know where you exist, from web presence optimization to the signage outside your location to inclusion in web listings for your industry.
Take the Temperature
One of our Barrington Web Design clients was absolute in that he didn't care about what his clients thought of his services. That was, at least, until he started reading his reviews online. He soon found that reputation and feedback management are absolutely critical in the way of local business targeting.
There has never been a financial advantage to being an industry “best kept secret.” Ask customers how they found you and how you can improve your physical visibility. Those that are most loyal to your business will want to help and will be honest with you. Do not lose customers to frustration or impatience at having to track you down, instead make it easy to find you and even easier to buy your products or enlist your services.
It's Hard to Acquire Community Business without Community Outreach
There is a reason that people say “the more you give, the more you get.” Find simple ways to give back to the community of your loyal clients and build your reputation for future local clients. Simple ways to get involved include sponsoring a local event, donating a product or service to a fundraising auction or volunteering at a local non-profit organization. Align your name with a cause that you believe benefits your client base and one that represents your business ideals.
Not only does outreach earn you the respect of the community, but it also creates a culture of social consciousness in your business, encouraging employees to reach out when they are off the clock too. You can feel satisfied knowing that you went beyond the call of duty to help the community and build a strong image of beneficence in the process.
Focus on local marketing does not have to be overwhelming. Find simple ways to reach out to your local audience through an online presence, easy-to-find location and outreach programs. By participating in just a few initiatives, you’re taking down some of the barriers that may be holding your business back. This then allows you to increase your business and root yourself in your community.