Local Internet Marketing for Small Business

by admin on August 15, 2011

Local internet marketing can be an extremely fruitful strategy for small businesses. While I am sure you have come across many online publications, consultants and experts that promise to “teach you the easiest/best way to market your business…” in exchange for a monthly or an upfront fee, chances are they are trying to sell you a local internet marketing strategy. Targeting local markets online can have a substantially higher return on investment than traditional marketing or internet marketing practices.

Local Internet Marketing

A counter intuitive term, as for many people the internet is synonymous with a wide network of information and infinite number of opportunities that span the globe. Targeting local markets however enables you to be more efficient in your advertising and enjoy a much higher return on your investment. Picture local internet marketing a practice that targets specific markets searched by adding a city name after the main keyword. Toronto, Mississauga, New York, Manhattan, Montreal, Ottawa and so on.

Targeting Local is Smart

The big fish small pond analogy works best in explaining why targeting local and small markets can produce results faster, easier and cheaper than targeting national or regional markets. People tend to want to shop local, to have face to face meetings with their service providers and tend to search the internet using local city-word indicators to narrow down their searches.

While local internet marketing can produce a higher ROI, there is something to be said about certain niche markets that can be really competitive even on the local level. In these cases, it is advised to target even more local markets. Instead of city, try neighborhood, or even street. Remember, all other things being equal, by targeting customers or clients in your area you can reduce your costs of doing business.

Local Lead Generation

If you operate a small business then chances are that there are many prospects who are live in your area. While it really depends on what type of industry you are in, in most cases there is ample demand for business to business and business to consumer offerings in your local market. Local lead generation works best as it allows a business to connect with prospects faster. There are many ways to capture demand for your services or products using local marketing techniques. Getting new business leads using local internet marketing can be a sustainable alternative.

Best Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Local Search Engine Placement

One way of doing so is to pursue rankings for local and geo-targeted keywords. For instance, if you are in the business of providing financial services, then targeting a region or even a city first will be wiser. Even though you know you can service an area far greater than your neighborhood, your marketing costs will be much lower than when you are targeting a region, a province or a state. Some simple search engine optimization can produce wonders on a small niche local market as the competition is much less.

A smaller market means fewer businesses, and thus less competition. While there might be competing businesses operating in the area they might not have optimized their placements for the specific search terms leaving the search engine aspect of the market up for grabs.

Using search engines for local internet marketing can be done in several ways. You can advertise on programs like Google Adwords, you can optimize your site to rank for keywords or you can even optimize your business map listing to appear higher in the search results. For any of these strategies to be successful though you will need to perform some keyword research. Find keyword combinations that have demand and are not as competitive.

While some keywords might have less searches, do not just ignore them One search that ends up in one deal or a new client is far better than one thousand visitors who just glance at your site and bounce.

Social Media Marketing

While in general, not as effective as search engines, different social media platforms can be used to generate local business leads. Facebook advertisments for example, allow you to target populations based on various demographic characteristics and by region. This feature can be used to promote your business to the right audience. However, keep in mind that advertising on social media does not always produce the same results as advertising on search platforms.

Other Internet Advertising

While advertising with banners and placements on sites is considered outdated you can still use such techniques to generate local leads for your business and at a low cost. Find all the relevant blogs, online local newspapers and similar online publications select a few, ask for a media kit or traffic statistics and offer their owners to place banner advertisements. In most cases smaller publications will let you place advertisements for low fees as long as you provide a service that can of value to their target audience.

Going National with Local

Don’t let the term local fool you. Chances are you started your business with a vision, and chances are this vision was not necessarily local per se. Targeting a local market does not really restrain you from going after other markets in other regions. Once you perfect a strategy for a local market you can easily replicate its success by applying the same techniques to enter markets in different regions. Just do it one at a time, methodically and with care.

Return on Investment

While finding new ways to advertise your business in local markets can be exciting, always keep in mind the notion of ROI. Gather as much information as you can about specific forms of local internet marketing techniques, your local internet market and then create an advertising plan that is based on reality and not hope. If you operate a small business you need to understand the value of cash flow and keeping your expenses at a minimum. Small business internet marketing can produce good results as long as you do your research and speak to a  knowledgeable internet marketing coach. You can read more tips here.

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