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7 Key Online Marketing Strategies for A Local Business Website

7 Key Online Marketing Strategies for A Local Business Website

For big box stores, online marketing makes obvious sense. Giant chain businesses have huge online audiences and can afford the expense of extensive paid advertising and marketing through multiple online venues. Their strategies are intimidating, and online marketing can seem difficult and expensive.

Local businesses, though, should also practice online marketing. Using strategies specifically targeted towards localized marketing online, even small local businesses can usually afford to enhance their reputation and increase their success via the internet.

Use these 7 online marketing strategies for local businesses to leverage the internet for your business’ benefit:

1. Establish an Online Presence

One of the first questions many business owners ask about getting started with online marketing is where to begin. Generally, Google has listings of addresses and sometimes even names of local businesses. From there, business owners have the option to establish a presence via their own website, in online directories, on social media pages, through retail sites, and even on review sites. The answer to which of these venues local businesses should market through? As many as possible.

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To rank well in search engines, your business should be listed in multiple places online and multiple times in those places. Basically, the more established the business’ online presence is, the easier it is for consumers to encounter the business and the easier it is for consumers to find or stumble across the business through a search engine.

2. Create a Clear and Modern Website

The importance of having a helpful, modern, up-to-date website is too often overlooked. As increasing numbers of consumers turn to information on the internet to make decisions about where to give their business, an old or confusing website becomes a death sentence. Potential consumers are likely to check businesses out online before doing business with them, even if they’ve seen the storefront or have visited the business previously.

Consumers often check business hours, contact info, prices, and more via the internet as well. If they have difficulty identifying such basic information or find it on a website that looks outdated and poorly managed, they are likely to get the same impression of the business, believing the local business is as outdated, difficult, or poorly managed as the website. In other words, ditch the poor website designs if you want to see an increase in your success with online marketing.

3. Incorporate SEO Into Everything

Ensuring that a local business does not get lost in the plethora of information found online is possible largely through the use of search engine optimization (SEO). A marketing tactic that involves strategically using keywords, geo-tagging, categorizing, and much more, SEO is all about building a reputation online so that search engines will identify your business; it is essential to successful online marketing. If a search engine like Google can find a business’ info, it will be much easier for consumers to find that same info.

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Some of the best ways to use SEO for a local business include:

  • Focusing on a niche using just a few targeted keywords (e.g. this article’s focus on “online marketing”)
  • Focusing taglines and key phrases on location for localization
  • Publishing unique content on different sites that includes the business’ niche keywords and the business’ name
  • Including keywords in social media content and profiles
  • Connecting with other local businesses that are visible online

Local business owners often connect with small marketing firms or freelance marketing experts to ensure their web presence is SEO-friendly.

4. Let Google Help You With Your Online Marketing Strategy

Even though most local businesses are already listed somewhere on Google because of Google Maps, it is important to make sure local businesses are verified on Google and have updated, correct information. Google processes about 40,000 search queries each second. By verifying and correcting business information on Google, any of those queries pertaining to your business are more effective.

Be sure that Google has:

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  • A correct link to your website
  • The correct business hours listed
  • Contact information for consumers to use
  • An accurate address
  • Links to reviews, directories, and other pertinent information about your business found online

Establish and verify this information on Google regularly. Additionally, build a Google Plus following to improve rankings and receive easy to find reviews.

5. Try Paid, Targeted Advertising

Many of the places where local businesses should have a presence online also offer paid advertising opportunities. For instance, a local business with a page on Facebook can pay a small price to have their own advertisement promoted on Facebook to a targeted local audience. This tactic is useful for reaching local potential customers who may not know about a local business or who may not know a local business is now available to connect with online.

Reaching niche audiences through paid social media advertising locally can offer a high return on investment. This is especially the case when advertisements offer sales, coupons, invites to local events, and other actionable opportunities for consumers to engage with a local business in person.

6. Use Free Analytical Tools

Many large businesses’ online marketing success has a lot to do with them using analytics information well. Through analytics tools, businesses can identify the best time of day to share information, where their web traffic is generated from, conversion rates, and much more. Fortunately, many local businesses also have access to this sort of information if they know where to look.

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Social media pages like Twitter or Facebook have analytics tools and data built in. Many websites can have analytics software applied, such as Google Analytics. These tools are either free or offered at low rates. Local businesses ought to access analytics information to optimize their use of the internet for marketing purposes.

7. Demonstrate Your Local Pride

Some aspects of online marketing really are this simple. Connectedness in the community helps local businesses gain free advertising and is a great way to market online. When local businesses share local news stories and talk about their participation in local events or issues online, for instance, they can rank better in search engines and are likely to reach a wider local audience. Something as simple as sharing a local news story with a basic comment on the issue described in the story can be engaging and spread far online.

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Irene Fatyanova

Staff writer, Templatemonster.com

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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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