When your business has a local focus, you want to do anything you can to ensure your success, especially in the face of expanding national service and product providers that can meet most needs in a cost-effective way.
Local businesses need to stand out in a big way to stay relevant and remain intimately connected to their communities, and the way to do that is through serious and local business online marketing focused on the people that live where you do business.
The Changing Face of Commerce
For local goods and services, business isn’t like it once was, and it’s pretty likely that it never will be again. The days of happening upon a business by driving or walking past it, or finding it in the proper category of the phone book, or being paid a personal visit by a salesperson – those days are waning fast and why you need local business online marketing.
Consumers consume differently than they used to, and it’s the nature of how society and technology have made it easier. The Internet has provided broad access to any information a user could possibly desire.
Businesses have to adapt to this, and especially locally focused businesses, in which any possible way to stand out is a further step toward differentiation and competitive advantage.
The Follow-Up Factor
Consumers’ primary way of finding local businesses may be online now, but it may not always be the first way. Referrals via word of mouth still exist, and local partnerships with other organizations are a valid way to get your business in front of people. Signage can catch the eye as much as it ever has, leading members of your community toward curiosity about what you do.
When potential customers hear about your business in real life, you need to be ready for when they do try to connect with you online. And you can be sure that they will try; part of the proliferation of broad access to information is that Internet users expect that information to be there when they want it.
Once a lead has learned about your business and has a general idea of what you offer, that second follow-up discovery step, in which the lead learns of your expertise and experience, is absolutely crucial in beginning that relationship that leads to sales.
Share and Share Alike
One of the most amazing things about the Internet today is its ability to serve as a hive mind for ideas. How this plays out for local business owners can be incredibly lucrative. Through social media sites like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram, users reach a new level of community and common ground never before seen.
Local businesses need to establish a strong online presence in order to educate leads about their products and services. A strong and educated customer base that is tapped into content that you’ve created will be extremely willing to share your content with others. This is the new word of mouth, and is a more enduring version of word of mouth, as you can control what it is people are sharing and discussing about your business.
The world changes, and business owners have to change with it and that is where local business online marketing fits in. It’s easy at first to resist moving from more traditional methods of reaching out to expand your business, but embracing local business online marketing for your locally focused business will ensure that you’re serving the community as well as yourself in the best way possible to secure your long-term success.