Marketing for small businesses takes on a wildly different tack compared to the ones from big businesses. Small businesses can’t for example get Spike Jonze to direct a video promoting Apple’s HomePod featuring the British musician/performing artist FKA twigs in a visually inventive and surreal scene with Anderson .Paak’s Til It’s Over playing in the background. They also can’t take out a huge billboard ad showcasing weird listening habits they’ve picked up over the year like what Spotify did.
Technically, small business can do the above things but the resources required to pull these off is probably beyond what most small businesses are capable of. No, when it comes to marketing, small businesses have to get really creative and figure out a way to reach out to potential customers without spending millions of dollars. One way of achieving this is by getting the help of an SEO services or if they’re feeling adventurous, actually try their hand at how SEO works by themselves.
SEO in lieu of traditional marketing
How much of your time do you actually spent online? For me personally, I pretty much spend every waking hour of my life online. I work mostly with the use of Evernote and Google Docs and in my free time, I write using Evernote as well. I play video games on Steam, Origin or with Microsoft’s Xbox platform, all of which requires me to be online as well. Even when I’m watching a Formula 1 race, I have the official live timing open on my phone to better keep track of how the race is progressing; that’s how dedicated I am when it comes to something I love.
Other than the cases described above, there’s the typical use of WhatsApp, Instagram, Netflix, e-mail, search engines and the news that is pretty much inseparable with how I live my life on a daily basis. Given that the internet is pretty much inseparable with the general public, marketing too has mostly shifted to the online realm, which is where the practice of SEO comes in. While SEO used to be strictly limited to search engines such as Google and Bing, given that even social media platforms now has their own search feature, the concept of SEO is no longer limited to search engines.
As a way to bring attention to and raise the visibility of your business, SEO is actually pretty effective when done properly, especially with the practice of local SEO. As can be inferred, local SEO works by narrowing the scope of internet searches into the area around you. So if for example you’re looking for the definition on what an abura soba is, you’re probably going to be taken an English food blog that might be based in Japan. However, if you’re looking for a bowl of actual abura soba, Google is probably going to show you places around you where they might be found.
Compared to high-profile marketing campaigns listed at the beginning of this piece, local SEO is pretty simple to do and takes much less resource but could still prove to be a big help with you and your bottom line. If you’re interested, the following tips should be able to help get more people in the door of your place of business.
Claim your Google My Business (GMB) page
Google is by far the reigning king when it comes to search engines even as the European Commission has begun targeting their search giant for their business practice. If your business doesn’t exist on Google you might as well not exist for at least 90% of the population and you can rectify this by claiming your GMB page and fill it with relevant information regarding your business. Think of your GMB listing as a snippet of what your business is like that users can see without having to visit your website or social media page.
You should always ensure that the relevant details regarding your business, photos of the place, the detailed address, operating hours, etc are correct as they will practically serve as your official representation on Google search. Users are also able to ask questions regarding your business and post reviews so even after you claimed your listing and completed the relevant details, you might want to check back from time to time to see if there’s anything you might want to respond to.
Be present on discovery websites and services
While Google does provide some ancillary information on local businesses, the information available there is somewhat lacking compared to more comprehensive service such as Yelp, Trip Advisor or the food-focused Zomato. If your business is the type that is eligible to be listed in discovery services such as these, make sure that you do. Google regularly pulls information from these services so by having a presence on these services, you are also contributing more information to Google, which is always a good thing as Google search remains the first port of call for the majority of the population.
Be present on social media
Yep, the most important factor that could increase your discoverability is by making sure that your business is discoverable in the first place. Your GMB and Yelp listing should help with that just as how your presence in social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram could help with that. I’m of course assuming here that you should already have a website up and running. Remember, social media platforms have their own search function and by using the relevant hashtags on Instagram, you’re raising the chances of your business being discovered by potential customers.
Instagram is also very useful if your business is the type that works well with visual aids such as those working in fashion, food or in the creative industry. For other professional services, Facebook should function as a better alternative as they’re not just limited to images and short videos. Keep in mind that because of the highly interactive nature of social media, you want to keep an eye on your social media account at all times for possible queries and leads.
Optimize your content and website for local audiences
Wouldn’t it be weird if you’re a professional service company based in Sydney but on your website, you use a stock photo of a skyline but one that unmistakable feature the silhouette of New York’s iconic Empire State building? The actual contents of your website matters, especially in the case of local SEO as anything that isn’t reflective of the society at hand can easily be dismissed as out of touch. Keep your ears to the ground of what’s happening around you and if there’s anything notable that happened recently, the good kind mind you, try to mention it in your blog or social media posts.