After speaking with thousands of small business owners over the years and learning their main frustrations is it clear that for most, gaining local customers can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Our studies confirm that this issue is mainly due to the large quantity of different advertising channels available these days in addition to not containing the proper knowledge that is necessary to make them work.
In this article we will be discussing the top 5 Digital Marketing Methods to gain more local customers and how you should go about implementing each of them for your business.
5 Digital Marketing Methods Listed Below:
Method One) Utilizing Social Media Marketing For Growth
Social media marketing consists of many facets but for this method we are going to be discussing growing a loyal fan base. Simply being active on social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can bring you more local customers. How? Well by having an active account you will effectively be “In sight, in mind”, as opposed to “out of sight, out of mind” to both your potential and current customers.
Businesses are expected to be more transparent then ever before and because of this consumers gravitate to any businesses who embrace this mindset and posts regularly. Our of the 5 Digital Marketing Methods within this article, this method is the easiest to implement.
Step 1) Creating Your Broadcasting Profiles:
Create all necessary profiles on the top social media channels. These top channels are, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linkedin.
Knowing how to post for each of these can increase results however for now we will keep it simple so that you can get started.
Step 2) Adding The Necessary Information:
What info do my social media account need to display?
It is essential to optimize each channel with your correct business information such as your business name, available hours, website link, phone number, and services or products offered. This is commonly called the “NAP” and stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. Doing so will help answer any potential questions before they are asked.
Remember to add quality photos and videos of your products or services, company building, office space vehicles, service areas, employees, etc. The more you show behind the scenes, the more trust you build.
Step 3) Posting Smarter, Not Harder:
Since there are a handful of social media channels that require attention it will take time to post on every channel. Time is money right? So to avoid wasting time it is recommended to use a social media management service such as buffer, hootsuite or sprout social.
These services allow you to create one post and upload it to all of your social media channels at one time. Furthermore, these posting services allow you to schedule your posts anytime in the future. Either you or one of your employees can spend an hour or two and create two weeks worth of posts that upload automatically at future times.
These services are very easy to use and will save you so much time you will be happy every single time you use it. (We recommend Hootsuite)
Step 4) The Elements of a Winning Social Media Post:
At this point you should have your social media channels created, optimized and ready to be posted on using a social media management service of your choice.
The elements that make up a great post are the image, the overall message, and the timing of the post. The image that you choose should be relevant to your product or service and should resonate with your audience.
Where do you find images to post on social media?
Your camera! However, sometimes you simply won’t have the time to capture enough content.
Two great places to find free, high quality images to use for your social media posts are pixabay.com and pexels.com. The message of the post can consist of many things however in order to stir up some engagement in the form of likes, comments and shares, you should ask questions that entice your audience to take some sort of action.
Creating engagement on social media channels gives your post a boost in the users news feeds thus creating a compounding effect and more exposure.
The timing of your posting can have a huge impact on how successful it becomes. The number of people who see and engage with your posts will determine the result you get. The best rule of thumb when it comes to knowing the best times to post is to simply test different posting times and take note of which times result in more engagement.
Here is a great method to accomplish that. Simply Post at 9am for a week straight and record the average engagement per post. Then, post at 9pm for a week, then 11am for a week, then 3pm for a week, etc. You get the point. Just make sure you give your testing time enough days to return solid results.
Once you have great images, a great message and you know your optimal posting times you are truly ready to post and grow your fan base! Also keep a record of the type of content that is creating the highest engagement so that you may use that style again for high engagement.
Step 6) Growing Your Social Audience:
How to grow your social media audience?
Once you have your posting schedule dialed in it’s time to ramp up your channel growth efforts. Every social media channel has different ways to go about this.
For Facebook, the best way is to have your employees and good friends periodically share your business page and posts with their Facebook friends. For Instagram, the best way is to collaborate with other local companies and feature each other’s accounts on your own profile.
Adding relevant hashtags to every Instagram post also helps it gain visibility which results in more followers that are interested in your offerings. Another Instagram growth method is to simply like the pictures of your local target audience in the area. (This may be a bit advanced so feel free to message us for more info on this tactic.)
Growing your Linkedin audience works in the same way as it does on Facebook. Pinterest audience growth is accomplished by creating boards, or collections of pictures, that others can find and if they deem interesting might follow you. You can also follow other accounts in hopes they follow you back.
Method Two) Engaging Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing is alive and well in 2020 and will be for years to come. Email marketing can severely enhance how your business operates and how you gain and retain customers.
Due to an increase in spam filter technology, email marketing has retained the power to help convert potential customers into paying customers. It also has the advantage of enticing your current customers to remain customers by continuing to provide value after the sale. Out of the 5 Digital Marketing Methods listed within, email marketing can create an instant boost in new customers and return customer rates.
Step 1) Choosing an Email Marketing Provider:
An email marketing provider is necessary for the organization and automation of sending emails to your email subscribers. Don’t have email subscribers yet? Don’t worry, we will discuss how to gain subscribers shortly.
A few great email marketing providers to choose from are Mailchimp, Constant contact, Active campaign, Aweber, as well as many others.
We personally recommend Mailchimp as they offer a FREE plan which supports up to 2 thousand email subscribers and is a great (and free) way to get your feet wet. They have all the tools you need to be successful and their platform is also very easy to use! It checks all the requirements.
Step 2) Map Out Your Email Campaign:
The sales process for every industry varies however the core principles are always the same. At the end of the day for a transaction to occur a consumer must know, like, and trust the company who they are considering purchasing from. Email marketing does this by building trust over a series of emails.
Mapping out your customer’s journey consists of creating a series of 5-7 emails that focus on building trust over time. This email series is what ultimately leads your potential customer to make a purchase. Keep in mind that your goal should be to have your audience feeling happy and looking forward to receiving your emails.
Note: DO NOT POST OFFERS IN EVERY EMAIL. This is where 90% of companies fail with email marketing and it leads to their subscribers becoming annoyed and clicking “unsubscribe”, or even worse, “mark as spam”.
It is very import that your email sending address remains in good standing so that all of your future emails don’t automatically end up in your audiences spam folder.
In order to be successful with email marketing you must provide great value BEFORE asking for a sale by presenting an offer or discount. Each email should educate your subscribers about your product or services as well as work to establish your company as credible, knowledgeable, and the best solution to their problems.
Emails topics can range from being educational to entertaining. Have fun with mapping out and testing your email series.
Step 3) Create Great Content:
Now that you have an email marketing provider and 5-7 emails mapped out the next step is to create that content. If you are benefiting from website SEO (more on that later) then you can use the quality blog posts from your website to create mini versions as your emails that are quicker for your subscribers to digest with the option to visit your blog post to read more.
Great content consists of many elements such as relevant stats, definitions, images, quotes, and resources. The general rule of thumb is to make each email short yet interesting and you will achieve success. Ask yourself, “is this email something I would be happy I opened?”
Step 4) Create a “Lead Magnet”:
What is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is simply a piece of content that a website visitor will receive in return for entering their contact information such as their email address and name. The visitor will receive what they wanted, usually via email, and their contact info will be sent to you or your sales team for proper follow up.
An example of a lead magnet for a handyman company would be to create a resource that lists all the top home repairs one can make to their home and the added value the repair has on their property value.
A lead magnet such as this could be beneficial to any real estate investor who buys and flips homes or any homeowner concerned with getting the most ROI out of their dollars.
Your lead magnet should obviously reflect your industry and what it provides should be attractive to your target market. As people claim your lead magnets and exchange their email for access, your list grows!
Step 5) Implement a Contact form on Your website:
A contact form is the final step in completing a proper email marketing system. A general rule of thumb is that the less information you ask from your visitor, the higher the chances your visitors will actually submit their information to you.
Designing your contact forms can be done by a website designer or developer however most email providers, such as Mailchimp, supply a form builder for free. Their form builder lets you choose the color scheme and preferred text.
When your form is completed, you simply copy the code from Mailchimp and then paste the code into the areas of your website where you would like the form to appear. In addition to being placed on the “contact us” page, we recommend that subscription forms be placed on every page of your website.
Note: Make your contact forms interesting and enticing. In other words, do not simply ask your website visitors “join our mailing list for tips and more”. Instead, offer your lead magnet or a discount.
Method 3) High Converting Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is the fastest way to showcase your products and/or services to your ideal audience. Compared to SEO, which can take months to start seeing results, paid ads such as google, Facebook and LinkedIn, can start delivering a positive return on investment in as little at a few minutes after going live.
The most important factors to know before running paid ads are your cost per acquisition, break even point and your minimum return on ad spend. Running paid ads without these numbers in mind is like flying blind and makes tracking which ad campaigns are truly profitable vs unprofitable a tough task. Our of the 5 Digital Marketing Methods mentioned within, paid ad campaigns are the fastest method at providing results.
Step 1) Knowing Your Audience:
As with all forms of paid advertising it is imperative that you truly understand your target audience. These days there are far more options available to us and because of that, knowing where your potential customers spend their time can make or break your ad campaigns.
You should brainstorm the following information about your ideal customer: Where they live, their age, their gender, their hobbies, their pain points, their income, their marital status and their passions.
Far too many business owners make the mistake of thinking their product or service is for “everyone who is interested”. This causes their marketing to be less effective then it could be resulting in poor performance and possibly a negative return on investment.
Knowing your core audience is the foundation for any successful digital marketing campaign. A great way to find some of this information is to simply poll your current list of customers and kindly ask them.
Step 2) Elements of a Winning Ad Campaign:
Remember in Method 1 how we covered the elements of a winning social media post? Well, the elements of a winning paid social media ad campaign are very similar but with only a few more steps.
These elements are as follows; choosing the right audience targeting, message, offer, channel, and timing. Once you understand the attributes of your target audience it’s then time to decide on which marketing channels you feel is best to reach them on.
For instance, google will be relevant to all internet users however can be the most expensive since it is the most competitive and the most aged ad platform to date. Facebook on the other hand can be a great option because it has the largest user base covering all age groups and less businesses advertising on it then google.
If your product or service is geared to the B2B (business to business) industry then Linkedin should also be used in most cases. Last but not least if your target market is under 35 then Instagram, Snapchat and Tiktok can be very beneficial as those platforms attract a younger audience.
Step 3) You Can’t Hit What You Don’t See:
All social media channels have the basic targeting options such as age, gender, geographical area, etc. Some advertising channels such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn offer advanced targeting. These channels provide the opportunity to target their users based on their interests, likes, dislikes, hobbies, life events and more.
Remember the importance of knowing what makes your potential customer tick? Well, you should be utilizing this information to narrow your targeting so that you only show your ads to the people who are most likely to take action.
Again, please don’t make the mistake of thinking your potential customer is “everyone”. Instead, think of who your main group is and focus on them first, before expanding to your second tier, third tier, and fourth tier audiences.
You will be surprised at how effective social media marketing can become when you make that improvement.
Step 4) The Offer is Everything:
The elements of a social media post go hand in hand with the elements of an ad campaign with the exception of adding an enticing offer.
The images, message, and targeting are very important but none of that truly matters if the offer isn’t exciting. Remember that when people are using social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and linked their goal isn’t to purchase a product or service.
In fact, purchasing something is the last thing on their minds and because of this having a great offer is the key to capturing their attention and reaching success with digital advertising on these platforms. A great offer can be as simple as “20$ off your next visit” or “14 day free trial” or “Free 1st lawn mowing ”, etc.
Choosing a successful offer can be challenging at first but simply test many ideas you have and you will find a winning offer that converts those who view your ads into prospects and customers!
Step 5) Test For Success:
As with anything in life, testing different things is the only way to know what works best in that exact situation. Simply “believing” an offer is great doesn’t influence how your target audience will actually respond to it.
The solution? Test the offer, test the images, test the message, test the timing. The good news is that the marketing channels all offer a way to test what is working and what isn’t by presenting accurate data on each campaign you run.
Facebook even has an A/B testing feature, also called split testing, that allows you to select different images, text, and targeting options. Over time Facebook will find the winning combination and show you which ads performed better then others.
Testing is very powerful and should be the first step in any paid ad campaign as it can make the difference in your cost per lead or sale being very expensive or very profitable! Testing is all about getting the best results for the lowest dollar amount possible.
Step 6) Scale to the Moon:
Once you have successful ad campaigns that are gaining leads for your organization at an acceptable ROI, it is time to scale. There are two ways to scale your ad campaigns; vertical and horizontal.
Vertical scaling is when you simply increase the ad spend of a winning ad until you reach a spending amount where the cost per lead starts to increase. This increase is due to a number of factors but mainly it’s due to people seeing your ad too many times and not responding like they once were.
Horizontal scaling is when you create new ads that deliver a different message yet still generate leads. An example of horizontal scaling is having multiple ads each with different themes or messages with the same overall goal.
An example of vertical scaling is having one ad campaign that is slowly but surely fueled with ad spend over time so that it grows and produces results at a faster rate.
Starting out, it is recommended to scale horizontally first so that you diversify your winning ad campaigns. It is recommended to find at least 3 different winning ads that produce profitable results and then proceed to vertically scale by increasing ad spend.
Method 4) Online Reputation & Referral Programs:
Your company’s online reputation is extremely important as 95% of potential customers will google search your company before making any type of contact with you.
Make no mistake about it, your online reputation, such as Google reviews and Facebook reviews, is the first impression of your business to potential customers and will determine whither or not they contact you or your competitor.
It is recommended to have a minimum of twenty 5-star reviews and a review score of over 4.5 stars. Doing so will act as a “cushion” in the event your company receives a negative review.
The good way to obtain positive reviews is simply by asking your happy customers. However, the best and most efficient way to gain positive google reviews is to use an online reputation management service. What these services accomplish for business owners is priceless. They save business owners tremendous amounts of time while maximizing the amount of positive reviews received from past or current customers on autopilot.
Having a greater number of positive google reviews than your local competition signifies to a potential customer that you are the better, more experienced option enabling you to receive more calls, emails and customers then your competitors.
Once you have built up a great online reputation and a healthy customer list, is it time to create a referral program which can end up being one of the best lead generation sources for your business.
The goal with creating a referral program is to offer a valuable and exciting reward for each referral you receive. Take for example a chiropractor’s office, a great example of a valuable reward would be to offer anyone who brings you a new patient one or maybe even two free adjustment sessions.
Keep in mind that if the referral reward isn’t exciting it will be challenging to achieve success as your customers simply will not put the effort into boasting your company to their friends and families.
Referral programs can be broadcast using your customer email lists, sms lists (text messaging), listed instructions on receipts, or even posted inside the business itself. You will be shocked by how many extra customers you could be receiving each month by creating a simple referral program with an enticing offer. Our of the 5 Digital Marketing Methods mentioned within, your online reputation should be the foundation of everything else you do!
Method 5) Search Engine Optimization:
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the art of making a website appear in google search results when certain search phrases have been searched for.
For instance if you own a dentist office in Delray beach Florida and someone google searches “best dentist in Delray beach” you will gain local patients by having a well built dental website that appears high in google search results when that search term is entered.
Step 1) Having a Well Built Foundation:
Effective SEO all starts with a proper foundation, your website. Attempting to achieve high rankings with a sub-par website is like moving to New York City in the winter and building a wooden shack to live in. Yes, you might receive lots of visitors (traffic) however not many will want to stick around long enough to learn about you (or your company) and what it has to offer because it’s an unpleasant experience.
A proper website designer will take care of this aspect however 90% of designers fail to focus on elements that help SEO, such as website security, and website performance. A non secure, slow loading website will be out ranked by it’s secure and fast loading competitor.
Step 2) Knowing What Your Competition Is Up Too:
The majority of successful SEO is accomplished by creating content (more on that later). Having a content plan to maximize success in the shortest amount of time is the number one priority.
This is accomplished by analyzing what your competition has done and is currently doing and then formulating a plan to reach success.
For example, let’s use the same imaginary dental office in Delray Beach Florida. If you are trying to make your website appear when someone google searches “dentist in Delray beach Florida” that will take a longer time to achieve compared to trying to rank your website for “best dentist in Delray beach”.
This is because adding a modifying word such as “best”, “top”, “quality”, “affordable”, etc, to a broad search term is sure to have a lower monthly search volume. Generally, the lower the search volume for terms, the lower the competition is and the quicker your website can rank for those search terms. Low competition and relevant search terms are always worth ranking for first for quick and easy SEO wins.
Step 3) Knowing What Keywords to Target:
As we mentioned above, knowing which keywords to target is very important, especially when first starting SEO. The more people that visit your website and spend time also further compliments your website rankings as google likes to see visitors who spend time on a website instead of leaving after a few seconds.
There are many tools to analyze both your site and your competitors such as SEM Rush, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and many others. These SEO tools let you “spy” on your competitors websites and see what’s going on behind the scenes and are essential for proper keyword research.
If your goal is to rank for the number one position for a specific search term, then you must analyze the current number one position and uncover what they are doing that makes google’s algorithm reward them with the first position. Once you know what keyword to target, it is time to optimize your on-page SEO and create some content!
Step 4) On-Page SEO:
On-page SEO consists of how your website pages and posts are titled, how images are tagged and how your website links to both itself and other websites. The first step is to determine one keyword for each page of your website.
This is accomplished through competitor research and searcher intent. The next step is to properly title every page and post on your website. Use H1 Tags for the header text and H2 tags for every sub heading. Sub headings should also be optimized for search ability. A good rule of thumb is to use google suggest long tail keywords as subheadings.
Most people don’t know that images have data attached to them that google utilizes to classify what they are about. Some of this data, specifically an images “alt tag” tells google what an image is about. Properly filling in your images alt-tags with search terms, or relevant keywords will help your website rank.
The next and final step for on-page seo is to link your site to itself, this is called internal linking. In general you want each page of your website to link to all other pages, doing so makes it very easy for google to “crawl” or explore your website and make a determination about it’s topics and overall search value.
Linking out to other websites might seem counter-intuitive for your own ranking purposes however, linking to popular and relevant blogs, forums, tools, etc, helps establish your website as a relevant resourceful in the eyes of google.
Step 5) Creating Quality Content:
The main element of SEO is all about producing quality content in the form of blog posts, info-graphics, web tools, e-books, podcasts, and more. Creating this type of content will over time gain relevant websites link back to your site.
Content is what drives all engagement on the internet, in fact, content is the entire reason google search even exists! Knowing which content to create for maximum SEO results is accomplished through smart research.
The most common type of content is a blog post, such as the one you’re reading now.
As a general rule of thumb, a blog post should be a minimum of 2 thousand words and be filled with a few key elements such as, high quality research and information, proper h1 and h2 title tags, optimized images, statistics, charts, graphs and more.
These elements ensure that your readers have quality content to consume that is organized and pleasant to look at. These elements also ensure that google can easily uncover what your blog post is about and show it to the right search audience.
Every industry and niche requires a different level of content creation. Competitor research will let you discover a sense of how much effort is needed to achieve your website ranking goals.
Step 6) Building Relationships to Give and Receive:
Once you have created a piece of quality content that readers will find useful, it is time to promote it in order to get more links, referred to as backlinks, and views to your website. After all, receiving quality links from other established websites is a major ranking factor which will determine where your site ranks on google.
Relationship building should be handled naturally by using good old fashion messages and emails. This can take place on forums, social media channels, podcasts, or even the comments section of a website itself.
A great tool which we recommend is Ahrefs because of their powerful “content explorer” feature. This feature enables anyone to search for a phrase and be met with hundreds upon hundreds of popular blog posts ranked by social shares. What is special about this feature is that Ahrefs gives the ability to view who shared those posts.
Knowing this information is crucial as you simply have to message the people who have shared a piece of content that is similar to yours to receive traffic and links in the event they share your content as well.
There are hundreds of different tactics available for building links. Start creating content and reaching out to relevant people and websites and you’ll find what works for you.
I hope you enjoyed this read and truly gained some great value. Any of these 5 digital marketing methods will help your company grow immensely if properly implemented. A proper marketing strategy uses many methods which all complement each other.
If we looked at businesses growth like trees in the forest, marketing methods are the tree roots. To grow, you need plenty of roots all supplying essential nutrients. In the business world the roots are the marketing channels and the nutrients are leads and sales.
Digital marketing is not magic and anyone has the ability to learn and execute a plan on their own! However if you simply don’t have the time, knowledge and patience available, then partnering with an experienced agency will not only enable you to grow your company faster then spending months or years learning these methods but will also save you the headache and frustrations that come along with it.
We recommend giving it a try yourself however for any questions, consulting, or services, we are grateful to offer our experience and execution to you. Free online presence analyses are now available. Click here to claim yours!
-Michael DellaVecchia @ Digital Media Motion
A 5-Star Rated Digital Marketing Agency in Boynton Beach, FL