You traded a 9-5 life for 14-hour days, so you can help others live a little lovelier.
You open a boutique in your beloved neighborhood and you're starting to get traction because you've worked hard to build a strong reputation in your community - built on value, integrity, and exemplary customer service. Then a national brand moves in next door, and it seems like all that you've done and built may be for nothing. Their deep discounts, huge social media following, and ability to offer free shipping will put you out of business. RIGHT?!
Your business is valuable, and if you learn to convey that value, you have all you need to remain a pillar in your community. It's vital to develop a solid, multi-tiered local Internet marketing strategy that emphasizes what makes you unique and has their best interest top of mind. This is why you became a local business in the first place - so tell them!
TARGET LOCAL CONSUMERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
If your business doesn't have a social media strategy already, it’s time to get one. While networks like Twitter and Facebook are great for connecting with friends, colleagues and customers across the globe, they're just as useful for connecting with the customers in your hometown.
While national brands may have more friends and followers online, you have the freedom to focus only on the ones most relevant to you—local ones. A major company’s social media strategy has more ground to cover, but you can use tools like Facebook graph search and Twitter advanced search to find and engage with local customers.
STAND OUT + PROMOTE YOUR DIFFERENCES
Sometimes, you just can't compete with a national brand’s prices. They simply have more resources. What you can do, however, is differentiate yourself in other ways — and those can matter more to your local audience than their bottom line.
Determine what makes you special, what gives you personality, and what people can’t get from just any competitor, and incorporate these things into your local Internet marketing.
Use your “About Us” page, for example, to articulate your connection to the community, show your personality and put a human face to your business. Focus other strategies, like your ads and social media posts, on the things that make you unique. A business’ value isn’t restricted only to its prices.
IMPROVE YOUR VISIBILITY
You need to stay visible to your local audience, and one of the best ways to do this is by taking advantage of the mobile marketplace.
Studies show that when consumers look for businesses on smartphones, they do so when they're close to conversion — this means they're more likely to act on whatever information they find.
You can take advantage of that with local search engine optimization. Local SEO targets consumers based not only on keywords, but on location, so you can connect to people who are searching for specific terms in specific places.
Mobile visibility doesn't stop with SEO, though. By incorporating responsive design in your website, you ensure that it’s easy to read and navigate for users on mobile devices.
While these aren't the only local digital marketing strategies that help you effectively compete with national brands, they're the perfect place to start, and they can help you establish your business as a community fixture for years to come!