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How to promote your local business digitally in 2021?

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‘Vocal for Local’ is the new normal. Customers have changed their approach and understanding of local small businesses drastically over the past year. They saw how these chains of shops and industries kept them afloat and provided them with the essentials they needed for survival during the national lockdown. 

Since May 2020, when the Prime Minister of India Shri. Narendra Modi launched the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign and huge opportunities have been created for local businesses. People have realized that by shopping from their regional businesses they are participating and performing their responsibility towards the national movement which carries the following advantages: – 

  • It promotes local entrepreneurs to take up new ventures 
  • Playing your role in nurturing the community 
  • Keeping the circulation of money in the local economy 
  • Creating local jobs for every citizens 
  • Getting access to personalized customer service 
  • Building relationships with the business community, which connects business with local communities 

 

Now, let us look at the other side of the coin. We are still wondering have local businesses been able to leverage the best for them out of this movement? This is a complicated question to answer. As some businesses have truly remodified themselves and adapted successfully to build a digital space for themselves. Whereas, some businesses have not been able to cope up with the changing pace. 

This article focuses on the 7 steps local businesses can take to build and increase their local presence digitally: – 

 1) Convert your name into a brand

 2) Know your customers and what they are looking for 

 3) Let Google know that you are there 

 4) Get social on social media

 5)  Set up your presence in online directories 

 6) Develop an online community to engage with current and potential customers 

 7) Go viral with videos 

Let’s explore  these step by step:- 

 1) Convert your name into a brand 

Convert your name into a brand

Branding is a very important aspect of your business. The entire phenomenon of branding revolves around your name, your identity (both individual and corporate), and your logo. You do not go to your local Apple store to drink a cup of coffee and similarly, you do not go to that Starbucks near your house to buy electronic gadgets. It is known that they are two different brands.

This is the importance of branding, it helps you create your distinctive identity which separates you and your enterprise’s activity from what your competitors are doing. Adding colors to your logo is like that icing on the cake which should never be left. 

You can find multiple ways of doing this, one of them could be hiring a digital marketing company like ours or finding out a freelancer who could do things on your behalf. You may assume that all this, in the beginning, could drain your financial resources, but it is extremely important to keep your business in alignment with your expectations. 

Once, you are ready with your logo, you can jump into the traditional and digital market. You could use this logo everywhere on your website, social media pages, google directory, other online directories, letterheads, merchandise, and an endless list of things. You have to use and market this logo in all advertisements and promotional mediums. 

 2) Know your customers and what they are looking for 

Know your customers and what they are looking for

To travel an extra mile, you need to know which way shall you be traveling! You need to learn the ropes to climb up the ladder of success and develop a good business. Every business is different, and the sets of customers they address are diverse. You need different strategies to target different sets of customers both digitally and in person. 

Small businesses address a smaller set of problems and therefore have to look after a limited number of customers. This reduces your research to find some very simple group of statistics like the age, gender, location, contact details, etc of various customers to communicate and pitch your business message effectively with them. 

Additionally, as discussed earlier local businesses have been evolving with the development of local communities. Why don’t you as a local business take up the initiative to gather the community and bring everyone together. This could be as simple as sponsoring a football team in a local tournament or organizing an open mic event to promote local talents! These ways could prove to be great methods in finding out, defining, and grouping your potential customers. 

 3) Let Google know that you are there 

Let Google know that you are there

There’s a huge variety of Google services available ready to use specifically designed and made for local businesses. A lot of them are available free of charge. You can use them to publish information about your business, to create awareness regarding your business hours, mode of operation, your exact address, GPS location for navigation, contact information, reviews, questions answers about your business, and many more things!  

There’s a lot of information about Google tools available on the internet for small business owners and marketers, but to get started with you could begin with listing your business on Google My Business and filling out every possible detail. With the word ‘Near Me’ being one of the most searched words on Google Trends for 2020 there is a clear added advantage for local businesses to optimize their online presence, get good customer reviews, and top the list with more people willing to do business with you and trust your business. 

 4) Get social on social media 

Get social on social media

Social Media is mostly a neglected medium of communication ignored frequently. There are thousands of examples of social media success that can be found in the ocean of the internet. Time, consistency, design, and perfection are the key factors of successful social media marketing strategies for your business. Once you have identified your target audience as discussed in Step – 2 you could then move on to create a successful social media campaign. 

Social media is a great tool to express how you are feeling and what kind of products you deal with in your business. Facebook Marketplace could be the greatest place to start with where you can find potential clients and customers. Additionally, you could also use mediums like WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Snapchat, etc depending on your customer base and their preferences. 

Social Media successfully provides your business with the exposure it truly needs and the group of loyal customers you are looking for! Both paid and unpaid advertising helps you to increase your reach on social media. Through this, you can find more people interested in your business and ready to shop your products and use your services. 

To get started with social media you can develop your social media strategy, list out your expectations, and identify your target audience across several mediums. Remember! Success and failure on social media is determined by some key factors which is the frequency of post, relevance, association with the audience, etc. So, design the best strategy, images, and keep posting!

 5) Set up your presence in online directories 

Set up your presence in online directories

Online directories and business listing websites are a gem of the internet. Let’s assume that a user searches for ‘convenient stores around me’ then in addition to Google My Business results and rankings there are several business listing websites and online web directories that can help your business get noticed. 

Now, it upon you to leverage these business listing platforms, they help customers find your place of business, ways to contact you, and much more details. Through this, they indirectly contribute in generating inbound leads and traffic for your local business. Make sure that you fill-up the entire business directory in detail and list your business over there with all the criteria fulfilled to get noticed. 

Additionally, you could also add images and post videos about your business to narrate and display your story. Local businesses are truly about personalized customer service; you can use several websites depending upon your requirements and target audience. Once you are all set to go and ready with the exposure you can easily scale up your local business and make it go global if that’s what your intentions are.  

 6) Develop an online community to engage with current and potential customers 

Develop an online community to engage with current and potential customers

As discussed earlier, ‘Vocal for Local’ is not just about consuming products manufactured by local businesses or buying products from a local store it is about creating a successful ecosystem and supply chain for small businesses. This allows your business to build and engage with the larger community for your expansion plans. 

There are several ways for local businesses to develop an online business community. This could happen through conducting online events, promoting locally manufactured and handmade products available in your store, displaying customer experience and feedback about your business, collaborating online with other business competitors, advertising handmade local products exclusively available at your store, sparking conversations on trending topics, asking questions about your business and products on social media, creating groups of customers on Facebook and Whatsapp, promoting local talent by providing your platform to artists, etc. 

All these tactics show what your business stands for in the digital space locally and helps you promote your products and price range. Once your business has developed a local community you can create a group of loyal customers which if served with perfection can convert into permanent customers. 

 7) Go viral with videos 

Go viral with videos

This is the final and the most overlooked step by the local businesses. There could be several reasons for it, one of them could be lack of infrastructure and financial resources, inadequate time to shoot and create videos, utilization of time in shooting and editing videos, and a lot of others. Due to these reasons, video marketing is a commonly ignored phenomenon by most local businesses. Let us look at an example first and then understand video marketing, 

Moriarty’s Gem Art Store, a family-owned local jewelry business based in Indiana, USA innovated their approach and created an online live-streamed gem show through Youtube and Youtube Studio application. They promoted it through social media and email for more than a thousand people to watch it now every Wednesday. These shows were pre-recorded versions of Steve Moriarty as he cut, polished and faceted diamonds. By showing their activity online they grew their business even in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Believe it or not, even you can create multiple opportunities like this. 

You do not need to make documentaries or longer videos, just a 15-second video on Instagram Reels shall be more than enough to pitch your message. There are several things you could display here, you could run an online video advertisement, or display the work you do, show your distinct customer experience and engagement methods, and finally happy customer service. Videos are the future of tomorrow, if you want your business to move forward then you need to display it and create buzz around it!

Conclusion

Everything listed seems difficult, right? There’s a huge task list and each medium needs detailed modifications. Therefore, if you can’t develop and display your digital presence then why not hire a digital marketing agency that could manage your website, social media presence, internet directory, google listings, video creation, and many more things. 

If you are looking for an all-in-one digital marketing services for your local business or startup get in touch with one of our industry-leading experts at DataPierce today and subscribe to our mailing list to get more updates about our services delivered straight to your inbox. 

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Raj Virani

Raj Virani is a graduate in Political Science and holds a multifaceted personality. A changemaker by heart he likes taking up challenges especially the ones which are outside his comfort zone. He is the winner of ‘The Times of India Public Speaking Competition’ and has been felicitated by the Chief Minister of Haryana when he won the first prize in ‘National Youth Festival Extempore Public Speaking Competition.’ He joined the team at DataPierce as a Content Writer to quench his never-ending thirst for knowledge, fulfill his desire of gaining new experiences and finding answers to curious life questions on the foundations of knowledge and experience.

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