6 Online and Offline Tips for Growing Your Local Business.

Is your business struggling in the local market?
Are you failing to attract new customers and falling further behind the competition?

If you are, then you need to do something about it. By something we don’t simply mean reducing prices and offering BOGOF deals; we mean addressing the issue of local SEO and dealing with some of the online and offline issues that may be constraining your business growth.

How can you improve your business’ performance in the local market?

Well, you can start by looking at the following 6 problem areas that often hinder local growth:

Poor website design.

Your website is your window on the world; if you like it’s your public face, so that should be where you are concentrating your online marketing efforts. A functional website should be your number one priority. However, if it doesn’t have all the right elements it will fail to attract and retain visitors. Your business website should ideally:

  • Load quickly on any device (PCs, smartphones, tablets, etc.),
  • Be easy to navigate,
  • Prominently display your contact information,
  • Have fresh and frequently updated content; content is king for search engines.

A poor online image.

Do people talk about your business online? Do you get lots of reviews? Do you respond to online criticism, or simply let complaints fester? Well, if your business is struggling locally, the chances are that your online image needs a bit of a makeover. Having too few online mentions or having bad reviews posted on a website can hurt a business’ reputation. To correct these failings try to seek out reviews from customers. If you get negative feedback, then deal with any issues and most importantly of all make sure that your other customers can see that you are dealing with criticisms positively.

Low prices aren’t the be-all and end-all: convenience and added local value are also important.

However low your pricing structure might be; there’s always someone who’ll undercut you. So rather than indulging in a race to the bottom; concentrate instead on adding value to your business. Local customers don’t just want low prices, they also want convenience. Look at ways of improving or expanding your services; increase your opening hours, and offer services that your competitors can’t. Whatever changes you make to corner the local market, make sure you advertise these prominently on your website.

Inactivity in the local community.

If you want to increase your online business’ visibility, then you’ll need to play a more active part in the community. This will help you build more active links with the community you serve. Sponsor local events and get involved with local business groups and associations. You’ll not only increase your profile: you’ll also get to meet other like-minded business people and this might lead to mutually beneficial networking relationships. Whatever action you take, make sure you publicise your efforts with articles and blogs on your website; this will also have a beneficial impact on your local SEO efforts.

You aren’t getting enough referrals.

Most of your new online business will normally come from referrals. If you provide a good service at a great price, then people will happily recommend your goods and services to friends and family. If you’re not getting these referrals and recommendations, then something is definitely wrong. So ask yourself what are other businesses doing that you’re not. Get customer feedback and look at your competitors’ reviews. Find out what’s giving them the edge, and then change the way you’re doing business accordingly.

Re-evaluate your content marketing.

Content marketing is paramount in online advertising. You need to understand that content marketing isn’t simply a fancy way of disguising a sales pitch in article form; anybody can do that. Content marketing is about publishing interesting and valuable content that readers will want to enjoy and share. Good content marketing helps your business build a reputation as an authority in your chosen field. The better your reputation, the greater the number of links you’ll be able to build, and that will lead to increased customer numbers.

To improve your content marketing strategy:

  • Blog on a regular basis,
  • Publish useful, (free) resources on your website, like fact sheets and white papers,
  • Post links to all the content you create on your social media accounts, (these links should lead back to your website).

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