Online Presence

Local Businesses: 5 Easy Steps To Build Your Online Presence

online presenceBuilding your business’s online presence, especially as a local business competing against national businesses in the same industry, is possible.

Creative 7 Design recognizes that it’s possible to build your online presence even if you’re a local business competing against national businesses. Does the process come equipped with challenges that are unique to local businesses? Of course. Yet despite potential challenges, your online presence is relevant to your business.

In one of our previous articles, “7 Reasons Why you need to Stop Ignoring your Digital Presence Now,” we talked about the importance of having a digital presence. And our pointers from that article still stand true when it comes to increasing the online presence of a local business. For example, we still believe that the overall success of businesses that are paying attention to their digital marketing triumphs in comparison to those that are not paying attention to their digital market.

With recent stay-at-home adjustments, it seems like now more than ever, nearly everyone is searching for what they need online first before they make a purchase decision. That’s why we’re going to highlight 5 seriously easy ways that you could get your local business’s online presence up-and-running in this digitally-growing world.

1: Build an email list.

HubSpot said it best. Curating and growing your email will enable you to engage with current and potential customers on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis on a business-friendly level. This means you can maintain your professionalism while establishing a business-friendly personality. At the end of the day, what do consumers like? Professional yet personable service.

Almost everyone has an email these days. There are even some people who have emails strictly for shopping endeavors! As a local business owner, get yourself into the mentality that there’s a huge untapped territory of potential consumers in the digital world that you’re not accessing because your email marketing is nonexistent. If that doesn’t work, think money. All the potential money you could be making from simple email blasts is going to the next email-blasting competitor (and their product isn’t as good as yours…but nobody knows this because you don’t have emails showing off all the great things you have to offer).

Of course, having an eye-catching subject line that would compel those in your email list want to open the message rather than send it immediately to junk mail is an art in itself. Still, building that email list to get your name into your customers’ head and give them something you-related to look at (if even for a glimpse) is better than nothing.

2: Show up where your audience is. Be active online.

One of the simplest social media strategies that drive results is being active online. Similar to but not the same as creating an email list, this tip is for your business to develop relationships. This doesn’t mean you need to have an account of every social media platform. Per this article, there is such a thing as ‘too much’ and biting off more than you could chew could result in a sloppy, incomplete, and unreliable online presence for your business.

You could either hire a company to help or you could handle it yourself. No matter how you go about this, you want to be consistent and you want to have a gameplan. If you’re a food truck business owner who serves your local residents, having an Instagram account with updates on upcoming events is probably more profitable than having a LinkedIn profile which is a platform tailored to jobseekers and jobhunters.

Being active online doesn’t just mean reposting others’ content. Engage with your audiences, educate and update them, ask questions, create client appreciation posts, give unexpected shout-outs, show variety by posting videos and photos and quotes, host giveaways! There are a plethora of ways your business can stay active online…it’s just a matter of the kind of activity you put out. Organize your online activity on a calendar so it’s easier to stick to your goal and hold yourself accountable.

3: Optimize for local search.

Don’t get intimidated by the word “optimize” or any form of it. If you were able to open or run a business, you’re able to optimize. People like things that are in close proximity (even social distancing can’t stop people from shopping “near me”). Forbes talks about this locality advantage.

Think about this: If your business is located on Mars, you already have the interest of all Martians. Optimizing, or making the best use of, your location means learning what’s special about your location and making local residents around you feel privileged to be in that area. Doing this basically gives your local business an unintentionally deliberate following.

Consider what makes your location unique and include that in your business website. You have to believe that every location is unique in its own way in order to convince potential customers that your location is unique, too, and a place they want to be. Once people are in your area, you’ve got their foot in your door—figuratively and, perhaps, literally.

4: Take advantage of Influencer marketing.

Generational differences do exist, and with these differences comes a need to adjust. Some businesses don’t want to hop on the so-called bandwagon of social media influencing. But influencers are called “influencers” for a reason. If one influencer has 1,000 active followers on their 10,000-follower platform, that means they can influence 1,000 people to either “pass or trash” your product or service.
So, how do you, with your little business, make this happen? Identifying key influencers in your market is a start. Remember that the job of an influencer is to review products or services and educate their audience. And the great thing is that most of them have a niche or a specialty. So, maybe your business isn’t located on Mars. But if you have mars-themed products or maybe you offer services that let people experience space without leaving their home, some influencers who are SciFi fans or space-themed artists could easily promote your products or services.

When it comes to influencer marketing, it’s all about the connection: finding the right influencers for your business, planning the costs, getting your product or services onto their platform, and waiting for the results. People want to talk about things they’re passionate about. Remember to not spend your resources trying to attract an audience that isn’t passionate about your product or service.

5: Connect with other businesses, whether in your local area or shared industry.

In your community, there will always be a business that has an established audience, whether they’re in the same market as you or not. Take advantage of this! People love to support their community and that includes businesses.

Ask local businesses if you could leave some printed material from your business with them on their bulletin board or at the front desk. Businesses that are already established and active in the community are often supportive of smaller businesses near them. If it’s appropriate, don’t be afraid to create a two-way connection. If you’re leaving your business material, ask if they have any that they would like to leave with you!

Hosting a community event with local businesses is also a great way to connect with a variety of business owners, get tips from already-established local businesses, and get your name out there within the community. After all, you are the host. The event need not be specific to only your industry. Inviting all local businesses to participate shows that you’re not only interested in yourself, but those around you.

Building an online presence involves dedication. But it’s worth it when the success of your business is on the line.

When it comes specifically to local businesses, a special dedication is necessary when doing research and acquiring knowledge that’s relevant to your market, making adjustments and stepping out of your business’s comfort zone, putting your business out there, and seeking ways to do that which hasn’t been done by your competitors.

Some might argue that building one’s online presence is easier said than done, and there is some truth to that. However, just because something isn’t easy doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it, and that goes for increasing your business’s success.