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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 If they have difficulty identifying such basic information or find it on a website that looks outdated and poorly managed, they are likely to get the same impression of the business, believing the local business is as outdated, difficult, or poorly managed as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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Published on November 12, 2020

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

What’s the most draining, miserable job you’ve ever had? Maybe you had a supervisor with unrealistic demands about your work output and schedule. Or perhaps, you worked under a bullying boss who frequently lost his temper with you and your colleagues, creating a toxic work environment.

Chances are, though, your terrible job experience was more all-encompassing than a negative experience with just one person. That’s because, in general, toxicity at work breeds an entire culture. Research shows abusive behavior by leaders can and often quickly spread through an entire organization.[1]

Unfortunately, working in a toxic environment doesn’t just make it miserable to show up to the office (or a Zoom meeting). This type of culture can have lasting negative effects, taking a toll on mental and physical health and even affecting workers’ personal lives and relationships.[2]

While it’s often all-encompassing, toxic culture isn’t always as blatant or clear-cut as abuse. Some of the evidence is more subtle—but it still warrants concern and action.

Have a feeling that your workplace is a toxic environment? Here are 5 surefire signs to look for.

1. People Often Say (or Imply) “That’s Not My Job”

When I first launched my company, I had a very small team. And back then, we all wore a lot of hats, simply because we had to. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly together to build, troubleshoot, and market our product, and nobody complained (at least most of the time).

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Because we were all in it together, with the same shared vision in mind, cooperation mattered so much more than job titles. Unfortunately, it’s not always that way.

In some workplaces, people adhere to their job descriptions to a fault:

  • Need help with an accounting problem? Sorry, that’s not my job.
  • Oh, you spilled your coffee in the break room? Too bad, I’m working.
  • Can’t figure out the new software? Ask IT.

While everyone has their own skillset—and time is often at a premium—cooperation is important in any workplace. An “it’s not my job” attitude is a sign of a toxic environment because it’s inherently selfish. It implies “I only care about me and what I have to get done” and that people aren’t concerned about the collective good or overall vision.[3] That type of perspective is not only bound to drain individual relationships; it also drains overall morale and productivity.

2. There’s a Lack of Diversity

Diversity is a vital part of a healthy work environment. We need the opinions and ideas of people who don’t see the world like us to move ahead. So, when leaders don’t prioritize diversity—or worse, they actively avoid it—I’m always suspicious about their character and values.

Limiting your workforce to one type of person is bound to prevent organizations from growing healthily. But even if your work environment is diverse in general, the management might prevent diverse individuals from rising to leadership positions, which only misses the point of having a diverse work environment in the first place.

Look around you. Who’s in leadership at your company? Who gets promotions and rewards most often? If the same type of people gets ahead while other individuals consistently get left behind, you might be working in a toxic environment.

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However it manifests in your workplace, keep in mind that a lack of diversity is a tell-tale sign that “bias is rampant and the wrong things are valued.”[4]

3. Feedback Isn’t Allowed

Just as individual growth hinges on being open to criticism, an organization’s well-being depends on workers’ ability to air their concerns and ideas. If management actively stifles feedback from employees, you’re probably working in a toxic environment.

But that definitely doesn’t mean nobody will air their feelings. One of the telltale signs of toxic leadership is when employees vent on the sidelines, out of management’s earshot. When I worked in a toxic environment, coworkers would often complain about higher-ups and company policies during work in private chats or after work hours.

It’s normal to get frustrated at work. That’s just a part of having a job. What isn’t normal is when dissent isn’t a part of or discouraged in the workplace. A workplace culture that suppresses constructive feedback will not be successful in the long run. It’s a sign that leadership isn’t open to new ideas, and that they’re more concerned about their own well-being than the health of the organization as a whole.

4. Quantifiable Measures Take Priority

Sales numbers, timelines, bottom lines—these metrics are, of course, important signs of how things are going in any business. But great leaders know that true success isn’t always measurable or quantifiable. More meaningful factors like workplace satisfaction, teamwork, and personal growth all contribute to and sustain these metrics.

Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and they shouldn’t be the only concern. Measure-taking should always take a backseat to meaning-making—working together to contribute to a vision that improves people’s lives. If your workplace zones in on quantifiable measures of success, it’s probably not prioritizing what truly matters. And it’s probably also instilling a fear of failure among employees, which paralyzes employees instead of motivating them.

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5. The Policies and Rules Are Inconsistent

Every organization has its own set of unique policies and procedures. But often, unhealthy workplaces have inconsistent, unspoken “rules” that apply differently to different people. When one person gets in trouble for the same type of behavior that promotes another person, workers will feel like management plays favorites—which isn’t just unethical but also a quick way to drain morale and fuel tension in the office.[5] It only shows how incompetent the leadership is and indicates a toxic workplace.

For example, maybe there’s no “set” rule about work hours, but your manager expects certain people or departments to show up at 8 am while other individuals tend to roll in at 9 or 10 am with no real consequences. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that your organization’s leadership is more concerned with controlling people and exerting power rather than the overall good of their employees.

How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment

The first thing to know if you’re stuck in a toxic work environment is that you’re not stuck. While it’s ultimately the company’s responsibility to make positive changes that prevent harmful actions to employees, you also have an opportunity to speak up about your concerns—or, if necessary, depart the role altogether.

If you suspect that you’re working in a toxic environment, think about how you can advocate for yourself. Start by raising your grievances about the culture in an appropriate setting, like a scheduled, one-on-one meeting with your supervisor.

Can’t imagine sitting down with your supervisor to air those problems on your own? Form some solidarity with like-minded colleagues. Approaching management might feel less overwhelming when you have a “team” who shares your views.

It doesn’t have to be an overtly confrontational discussion. Do your best to frame your concerns in a positive way by sharing with your supervisor that you want to be more productive at work, but certain problems sometimes get in the way.

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Final Thoughts

If your supervisor truly cares about the well-being of the organization, they will take your concerns seriously and actively take part in changing the toxic work environment into something more conducive to productivity.

If not, then it might be time to consider the cost of the job on your well-being and personal life. Is it worth staying just for your resume’s sake? Or could you consider a “bridge” job that allows you to exhale for a bit, even if it doesn’t “move you ahead” the way you planned?

It might not be the ideal situation, but your mental health and well-being are too important to ignore. And when you have the opportunity to refuel, you’ll be a far more valuable asset at whatever amazing job you land next.

More Tips on Dealing With a Toxic Work Environment

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

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