Local businesses and salespeople need to really focus more on their online marketing. With the growth in mobile devices there is so much opportunity to have your business found through search engines or shared through social media from anywhere.
Even if you’re just a local Auckland business marketing to your suburb, you can also be discovered from anywhere. You need to have an online presence that shines for prospective customers.
With marketing online, the end game is getting a list of contacts that you can market to.
In the old days this was a physical address but now it’s the all important email address.
To get these emails we create an online ‘Sales’ funnel. The funnel will look like this:
- advertising driving awareness and traffic
- read magnets
- lead magnets
- asking for the sale
- maintaining a relationship with your loyal customers
A read magnet is really good free content that people consume. It’s a gift to potential clients. The aim with this content is to make it so good that people feel that they need to reciprocate the gift by doing something in return.
They do this through sharing the content or downloading an eBook or booking a webinar. These items are your lead magnets. Valuable content that you may charge small fee for or you might just give away too.
Your lead magnet of course requires their email, and maybe some basic details.
(I have a lead magnet of sorts in my free audit tool).
From there you have the ability to market to them on a regular basis and take them down a funnel to ultimately buy from you or subscribe to your services.
Building an email list is the one thing that you need to make the main thing consistently.
With your funnel in place – we then drive traffic to the funnel using social media or paid advertising.
So how do I use Social Media?
To understand the best approach to this we need to understand traditional and modern media.
Traditional mass media
Television, radio and print media are platforms where you need to pay to get your content shared – they provide us with entertainment and education.
We watch/listen/read programs or publications that:
- tell us what the latest news is
- entertain us and make us feel better
- educate us on how to be smarter, fitter, richer, etc.
In between TV shows (if we don’t Tivo or Sky record and jump over them) brands inject ads. We’ve come to accept its the price we pay for the entertainment they provide. Local business marketing has had some take up for radio and TV but many find it too expensive and untargeted. People that aren’t in an area they service see the message and often the leads are uniformed.
Social Media and more specifically Facebook has become mass media
We go there for entertainment and to keep up with our community. People only share and interact with content that will:
tell us what the latest news is
make us feel better
make us look better (smarter, fitter, richer etc) in front of their peers.
But because these new online mass marketing channels like Facebook don’t have ad breaks we are very wary of brands, companies and local businesses putting ads in our news feed.
But Facebook is mass targeted media
We are still very reluctant to accept that it’s the price we have to pay for the entertainment social networks provide.
Local business marketing has take this up because they see it as inexpensive targeted. The smart ones pay to get their message in front of exactly the right type of customer. But what do they say?
The workaround for social media and online marketing
Some say the key to success in business is leading with generosity – being of service to your customers.
If we share educational content around the local services we offer we will be found online through SEO. People will share our content as the local expert if it is:
- makes them feel better
- or is useful in making them feel smarter, fitter or richer in that area.
To help you create or share content that is topical and entertaining visit Google alerts to create an email that is sent to you as new content is indexed for:
topical news in your industry
local philanthropic news that could make them feel better
This is a fairly clinical description of how to be a relatable person online but sometimes we forget to be relatable and dive straight into selling.
In Browns Bay last week the if I was a local business in Browns Bay I would share photos of this and how you’re proud of the community getting involved. While this won’t generate leads, you will be seen as a connector in your community and this topical entertaining content is relatable.
It’s not enough to just produce ‘content’ – Your Uniqueness your USP and niche has to shine
People do business with people they know, like and trust.
Ultimately, regardless of our job or career, we are all salespeople. Some sell products or services, others buy-in on ideas or concepts and many are just convincing others to do their bidding.
We all have something that makes us unique as salespeople and that capacity needs to be your ‘angle’ online. Your unique selling point needs to come through as there are so many of us out there vying for eyeballs and dollars. Your angle allows you to create long tail keywords – which basically means when people look for something specific you have less competitors in search results.
There is one person online touting that they are “fluent in Agile Digital Marketing, Portuguese, Spanish and Residential Architecture”. Don’t bother Googling. I’m the only result.
We can add to this uniqueness our audience. This might be through simple demographic and geographic segmentation of your market. Even better would be creating a buyer persona. A description of your ideal customer that you can address when creating content. With this persona you can ask each time you blog, create a video, post on social media. Will this resonate with ‘Sam ‘ my ideal customer and does it help them on their journey with my business.
If we know our audience, our uniqueness and what problem we solve it is far easier to evaluate if a marketing any activity fits with our business.
We can then get your audience to “know” you online and create a loyal connections with people that share your posts and ultimately buy your product or service and encourage others to do the same.
Remember the more valuable the content the more people will perceive your products or services to be of even greater value.
There’s a tendency to hold back from divulging secrets online. Your secret is in the fact that you can combine your services in your unique way to create success for your small local business, yourself or your brand.
So what do you share in specific networks?
Not having a company profile for you local business on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Twitter is a missed opportunity to:
create links to your website
be found or shared by other members of the network
to interact with your customers
to drive traffic to your read magnets – the start of your ‘sales’ funnel.
LinkedIn is a business social network, an online resume and content sharing platform for business people.
People use this network to find jobs or work and to learn from others how to be better professionals.
Share content that is relevant to your local audience and that makes you be seen as the local expert. Respect that it is a business platform. Memes and potty humor has no place here – or anywhere you’re trying to be professional right?
One other useful piece of functionality on LinkedIn are the recommendations
If you can, request a recommendation on LinkedIn and connect with each of your customers. LinkedIn even lets you suggest wording for a potential recommendation – this is an opportunity for you to incorporate local keyword terms and your speciality into the recommendation. Make it easy for them to recommend your services and products.
LinkedIn is a great tool for collecting and maintaining business contacts. Use it to introduce contacts to others that may need their service. I call this Triadic connections. If you do this regularly and often, people will come to you and think of you as a connector – the local expert that ‘knows somebody that does X’.
Facebook is the main social network for the majority of people in the English speaking world.
People use this network to keep in touch with family and friends, sometimes to learn and regularly to entertain themselves.
Remember people like to share content on Facebook that’s:
makes them feel better
or is useful in making them feel smarter, fitter or richer in that area.
Get yourself set up with a Facebook business page and try to attain fans that really like your business. As people discover your content and they’ll like your page to receive more.
Buying page likes can have a negative effect on reach – for each unengaged follower you acquire (people that don’t enjoy your content by giving it a like, comment or share) you decrease the reach of your posts.
Promoting posts and linking to your site is a great way to get traffic. Targeted posts – even at just 5 or 10 dollars a post allows you to target specific audiences on Facebook. In general for about 1.4 cents you can reach a person on Facebook.
We can also “retarget” those that visit your website with an ad to remind them to come back. Once you have a database of emails (from followers on your website) you can use that list to market to them on Facebook and to what Facebook calls look-alike groups. Those with similar profiles – that would have a similar propensity to like, share your content and enter your sales funnel.
Twitter is the second social network for the majority of people in the English speaking world.
People use this network to find out about breaking news and to share and discover content on specific themes.
It is a great place to share content on your industry for all audiences. The users of Twitter are a small subset of your target audiences. That said, journalists, gatekeepers and key industry experts are on Twitter. Aim to use the fast-paced news focus of Twitter for newsjacking opportunities. You can follow trending events by clicking on a #hashtag and then using that hashtag within your message to reach others that are reading that stream.
Here are two examples of newsjacking:
- California trial lawyer comments on legal aspects of news to grow influence
- Hillary Clinton leveraged the #superbowl hashtag.
The fourth big social network and owned by Facebook.
People use this network to share pictures of their world, motivational quotes and memes.
A lot of brands, celebrities, authors and consultants use this channel to show behind the scenes, the personality of their brand in an authentic manner. The only clickable link from this mobile centric app is in you profile so it is challenging to drive traffic to your website without creating a sponsored post.
Although the google plus is not the most lively of social networks, creating a business page at https://business.google.com/manage/ allows you to register your details and confirm your location.
This is great when people search for your local business as it will show result near them. In this example you can see burger joints near me in Auckland. These results are pushing the organic or unpaid search results further down the page.
Burger Fuel and McDonald’s are paying to appear above the map results and the first organic result for arguably the better burger joint ‘Burger Burger’ only just features on the page.
Using Search Engines to drive traffic to your sales funnel
With your blog posts and read magnets in place, use AdWords campaigns and YouTube video preroll to reach your audience.
With search engine marketing your audience are seeking answers or products. You could choose to pay for exact matches on your product or service like the burger joints are doing above, and have some success with expensive short generic keywords.
Or you could look to use the long tail ‘more niche’ keyword phrases that are related to your read magnets.
If your read magnet is the perfect answer to their question then think of other ways you would phrase the question. Group those terms and and craft an ad that matches the question. This can really gear up your lead generation and is really limited only by what you consider to be an acceptable cost per acquisition. To put it into perspective, if you sell a set of tyres with a profit margin of $500 would you mind paying say $5 to have them visit your website and request a quote?
Running online advertising also has a secondary benefit of brand awareness. Google also offers the ability to retarget or re-market to people that have visited your website. The conversion rate for retargeting is significantly higher, but as you may have experienced you can get tired of seeing the same banners everywhere.
Creating end dates and rules around specific pages on your website will optimise the experience for your visitors and your costs. For example if a visitor has completed a purchase then retargeting them with the same product should end.
And with the world consuming more and more video you could explore pre-roll advertisements on YouTube. Again targeting topics and keywords related to your product, service or read magnet topics.
Using other websites and events portals to drive traffic
Groupon / GRAB One / Daily Deals sites
These websites allow you to create fires sales of certain products or services by offering a discount. They have their own existing social media networks, search engine optimisation and Adwords marketing that drive traffic to their websites. So why not leverage them to gear up your sales funnel.
Eventbrite / Meetup / event tools
Similar to the portals mentioned above. If you have an online or offline event coming up you could use these networks drive traffic to your sales funnel as well.
OK, so there’s a starter path for local businesses and consultancies to get started online. I’d love to answer any queries you might have around how to go about specific areas like AdWords or SEO or Social Media. Just drop me a line or contact me. Contact Nick
2 thoughts on “Local Business Social Media and Online Marketing – To Generate Leads”
Nick, I own TWO local businesses: a martial arts studio and an on-site window screen and screen door repair business. So, sticks-and-bricks AND come-to-you.
I can tell you that social media marketing for local biz has completely changed my world. I no longer spend any money on ad campaigns… Zip, Zilch, Nix, Nada. And it’s because I’ve learned to identify keywords and create social media posts that drive targeted traffic to a Facebook page or blog post with my phone number on it. BIG difference from years gone by when I would have to wait once a year for the phone book to come out and try and outspend, outposition my competitors. Viva social media!
Excellent, that’s great to hear Kurt. It really is a great way to garner leads and reach a specific target audience!