Best Online Channels to Promote Local Business

To someone who’s already run a local business for some time or someone who doesn’t need the know-how of online marketing yet, it might seem it’s not important to get involved with internet advertising, but that’s not entirely true anymore. Approximately 6 out of 10 people search for local businesses online at least once per week. Search engines have a vast database and almost every business is promoted online. There isn’t a simple answer to the question of what’s the best way to promote a local business online. It largely depends on the kind of business. Not every online channel will help every business thrive.

It’s important to focus on the ideal customer. Who is your business targeting? Is your product valuable for women, men or both? Are teenagers more likely to visit your facility than elderly people? Knowing your customers is the first step to choosing the best online channels to utilize for your business’s promotion.

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Google

The one online channel that most people know even before they start learning anything about online marketing is Google. Having your business listed in Google is always worth it, because when people search something on the internet, this is where they usually start. In July 2019, Google had a market share of 88.61%, compared to Bing with only 4.98% or Yahoo! with 2.72%.

Your Google listing should include all of your most important information such as the address, phone number, website link, and possibly, the opening hours and directions. Both, you and your customers, will be able to add photos and they’ll have the possibility to write reviews that are a crucial component to the overall success of your Google listing, as well as the star rating. If you register your business with Google Places, that’ll make it easier for people to find it. For monitoring how people talk about your business, there are Google Alerts. It’s a notification service that can be set up to send you emails whenever your business is being mentioned online. These tools aren’t the only ones Google offers. This smart platform is definitely one of the best solutions for online business promotion.

"Having your business listed in Google is always worth it, because when people search something on the internet, this is where they usually start."

E-mail

Is e-mailing still effective and could it really help a local business? YES! For example Gmail has currently around 1.5 billion active users worldwide. People still read e-mails every day and if you use it right, it can be very profitable. Making the e-mails attractive and responsive is key.

These are some of the most effective strategies in terms of e-mail marketing:

  • list segmentation (dividing e-mail subscribers into smaller groups based on set criteria),
  • individualized e-mail messaging (they perform much better than blast emails, because their content depends on the customer’s behavior and interest — this gives people a more personal feeling) and
  • behavior-triggered e-mails (for example a registered customer leaves an e-shop with some products still remaining in their shopping cart — they’ll receive a personalized e-mail about it).

Just like any other marketing strategy, e-mailing can work well. Although, whether or not it’s the way to go for you relies on the compatibility of e-mailing with your business and customers.

Social media

Social media is an enormous space full of great opportunities and inspiration. And when I say enormous I mean all of the 2.82 billion social media users. How can that help your business?

Establishing an active presence on multiple social media platforms is almost essential today. Being on Facebook is good, but it’s not enough. Platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Twitter or even LinkedIn are used by more and more companies and small businesses every year. But in order to get the best results and not waste your time, it should be efficient. Learn about your audience and what they might want to see on your social media.

For example If you’re a café, managing an active Instagram account with nice pictures of the interior, food and drinks offered, it will get more traffic, and therefore likely more customers, than if you had an account which was inactive, with only a few pictures that don’t really flatter the establishment. However, if you want to spread ideas or stories, it might be more useful to have a Twitter account and share your words in tweets or even record videos and share them on YouTube. It’s all about your business’s philosophy. There are also great tools that can help with social media management.

These days, one of the social media trends is live video. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all platforms that use it. Live videos allow you to communicate and get real time feedback from your customers.

Website

Having a website isn’t that crucial anymore but it can be useful. It can be even more useful, when you encourage users to register in it. This helps you monitor their habits, so that you can make the communication with customers more personal and give them special offers according to their browsing pattern or previous purchases.

Whatever the size of your brand, a local business is playing in a narrow sphere and if it the aim is to be successful, it has to answer the needs of a local community. What are the things people might look for in your business? What services that you provide they should, but might not know about? Talking about all of this on your website and including some extra information and resources (such as a local event calendar or lists of “best (…) in your local area”) linked with the product you’re selling could increase your traffic rapidly.

When choosing the best online channel to promote a local business, keep in mind that there isn’t just one. It’s also necessary to stay focused on what and who you’re trying to sell to, whether it’s a product people should see in pictures, read about, or a service you can talk about in a video. Make it easy for people to find you. Provide as much information as they’ll need to understand what you’re offering and always speak simply.

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One Channel Dependency Might Kill My Business!?

Is all your revenue coming from one source? That's a huge risk! Using a single sales and/ or marketing channel to market your business might be a fatal mistake for you. Single-source dependency means over-reliance on one thing and that could ruin your business. It's like having no backup. As much as you diversify your effort into various marketing channels and revenue sources, it’s unavoidable that you find a disparity in results. But that’s not to say you should stop doing it. You never know when a small revenue driver can become your main income and vice versa. 


Some businesses are dependent on one revenue source so they make themselves unduly exposed to forces outside their control. What if that source is over?


For lots of businesses this source is Google, when sales are primarily driven through Google Ads. And they take huge hits when a new competitor outbids them. 


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Show Others How Much Your Customers Love You (Leverage User Generated Content)

If you run a social media profile, you've probably thought of what to put on your content calendar. You want to create and publish something that truly brings value to your audience and resonates within them, right? User generated content can help you not just fill your content calendar, but truly bring something that gives a new perspective to your business. 


User generated content, as the name suggests, is content that is voluntarily created by your best customers – brand advocates – and shared so that their audience can see it. It is basically the best thing your customers can do for you – refer their friends to you/ share your product(s) or speak about your service(s)!


Imagine you are an owner of a gym that is visited by dozens of customers daily. What if some of them posted a photo to their social profile, exercising in your gym and saying something nice about your place. Wouldn't that be great? Could that bring you new customers? Absolutely.


79% of users say user generated content has a high impact on their purchasing behaviour. That simply underlines what we've stated earlier.


In 2014, Starbucks came up with a White Cup Contest which, guess what, is focused on user generated content… You can read more about the contest here. The only thing we will say is that they collected over 4,000 pieces of content! That just goes to show the true power of brand advocates. Your business can do that too – probably on a smaller scale, but you can. Remember that every one of your best customers can bring you another one. Your brand advocates grow as your business grows…


User-generated content brings in authenticity

If you say your product is the best, some people might believe you straightaway. But isn't that statement much stronger when made by someone who is already a loyal customer and has no other interest in regards to promoting your brand? User generated content brings true authenticity into your content and, thus, gives others another perspective of your business.


Social proof

People love seeing the product they aim to buy has great reviews! It gives them proof that their purchase won't be a mistake. Social proof – proof by someone other than the business itself – is a strong weapon and we encourage you to use it in your content calendar. Look at Amazon. Their products have thousands of reviews, which makes it far more valuable and far more worth it to buy for new customers.

Amazon reviews

Let us look at some other examples of great user generated content shared mainly on Instagram:

Get your audience on board. Talk to your best customers and motivate them to create a good product review, unboxing video or simply a happy picture while using your product or being at your cosy place (café, gym, etc…). Those who love your product will happily help you get it in front of other customers, trust me.


Micro Influencers

The use of influencers is a trend that has been here for some period of time. Brands work with people who gather an audience that fits their plan. Simple as that. They often collaborate with celebrities who are followed and trusted by millions of people, experts in a given industry, or gamers that record their gaming sessions. If you can find someone who has your target audience, team up!


The fact is that you don't have to work with widely known influencers, pop stars or famous athletes. Find so-called micro influencers who help you reach a smaller audience, but with higher precision. The cooperation won't cost you a fortune and results will follow, as well!


Micro influencers, in most cases, generate higher engagement with their audience and are more passionate about increasing their audience. If you start cooperating with them at the beginning of their journey, your business relationship can grow into something that constantly helps you achieve your business goals and to build a wider (and more relevant) audience.


The best collaborations, nonetheless, are the ones that are natural and not “too obvious”. Give some micro influencers in your surroundings your product, let them play with it and tell you whether they like it or not. Those who do are your best fit. They will happily (and naturally) promote your product within their audience.


In this post we've stressed the strength of your customer base and your audience – motivate them to tell the world about your stuff and let them bring you new business. Find new alliances with micro influencers, let them fall in love with your product and enjoy the fruits of your (hard) work!

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5 Tips to Write Outstanding Texts for Your Facebook Post

Most people have been through the struggle and know how you feel or have felt when writing a piece of content for Facebook, “What text am I supposed to put here?”, “Is this gonna work?”, “Is this too informal?”  Writing an engaging post on Facebook – for your business page, as this is what I will be talking about here (not your personal page where you know perfectly who you represent and what tone of voice to use) – can be challenging. You are trying to get the customer's attention, arouse a reaction and avoid ignorance...


How do you write posts that simply can't be ignored? This is what we will explore in the following 5 tips. Keep in mind, that before you write or produce ANY PIECE OF CONTENT, have your targeted audience in mind. What will be appealing to them? What tone of voice should you use? These are some of the questions that you need to answer.


So, let's dive into 5 tips, so that you know how to become your own best-in-class copywriter. Oh, or not yet… I probably did not stress enough how important it is to catch one's attention! So let's take one step back…


The 21st century offers almost unlimited ways to reach out to your desired audience, your potential or current customers. And that's the problem. There are many ways, many advertisers, businesses (like yours) targeting an audience that has its limits. Especially when it comes to attention span. The more stories we tell and the more frequently we are trying to tell them, the less time we have to draw our audience's  attention.     


8 seconds per one piece of content is on average the time span of a person spending time on social media (by the research conducted by Microsoft). In 2000, it was 12 seconds which only shows how rapidly the span decreases. For some of the placements, like Instastories, it is even less – around 3 seconds. That being said, you truly have to catch the eye or remain ignored…


Luckily, I am about to share some tips for you. If you follow them, your chances will increase!


  1. Keep in mind: Your copy is the bridge between the user's desire and your offer

The user's desire. That is your Holy Grail around which your activities should be tied. When you create a copy, make sure to address it. No one is interested in “just another product”. Need or desires to be addressed first, product/ offer comes afterwards…


  1. Bring your audience in (intensify your text)

Don't speak about yourself. With all due respect, no one is interested (unless you own a big and known brand). Bring your audience into your text, speak about them, use words like “you”, use questions to draw the attention, have a dialogue rather than a monologue... 


  1. Attract users' hidden and unspoken values & beliefs

Everyone has them. Values, beliefs and roles we play or want to play in our lives- we rarely speak about them, but have them in mind every time we make a choice when picking your best suit for a date or arriving at a business meeting in your luxury car. Apple is great at attracting our values and beliefs. Is it a piece of hardware, a PC or mobile phone, or rather something else that increases your status in other people's eyes? The answer is clear, I believe… Be Apple. Leverage on these values and beliefs when describing your offer or when designing a catchy headline.


Note: I do not encourage you to be manipulative. If you cannot help your customers with your product, if you truly cannot satisfy their needs and make their desires come true, stop reading this article, please. But if you and your product can help customers, feel free to show it…


  1. Follow a structure

When creating a FB post, there are certain platforms for which you create the copy. Mostly, it is the text above the picture or video, or a headline that occupies the largest place accompanied by a description. There are few models (continue reading) that – if used well – can help you draw the user's attention more effectively. Follow them and…


  1. Test, test, test…

I know. This has been said thousands of times. But how many of you run AB testing every time you create an ad? Do you think thoroughly before creating the second version that is the copy or do you follow the kind of approach: “Oh, I should do a second version… Let me change one word here… and that's it! I will run the AB test now!” 


Testing is the only right tactic to find out what resonates most within your audience. Who does not test, pretends to predict the future or relies on her thoughts…


I promised to present you some models, structures you can follow to create outstanding Facebook posts. Here you go…


But let us first showcase what a Facebook post usually looks like:


Structure of Facebook Post
Structure of a Facebook Post



  1. Question – Answer + Call to Action – Proof

Ask a question in the text section, answer it (by offering your product, service), use call to action in the headline and add a proof that your solution works (testimonials, number of users, …) in the description section. This model works best if your audience already faces the issue you aim to fix or a desire you aim to satisfy. 


  1. Identification – Call to Action – Urgency

Make the reader feel like you are reading her thoughts when reading the text. Make her feel completely identified with what you write there. Use a combination of short stories and metaphors. After she feels like she just read her life's story, make her complete the action in the headline – offer a way out, a way to improve, a way to get what she desires. In the description, use a sense of urgency. There is something called FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that drives people crazy (make sure to read the article after completing this one). 


  1. Come up with yours (tomorrow)

Try to invent your method of approaching your audience in a way that simply cannot be ignored! There are many approaches that can be followed. Go out with your copy, test it and let me know on my LinkedIn profile what worked for you! 

Note: The structure text, headline and description applies for posts that contain a link. If you share a picture, text is the only editable section. Similar rules apply in that case.

Here are some of the posts that were created in a really smart way:

Example of Facebook Posts
Example of Great Facebook Posts

After your post has been published, make sure to check the results! This may seem like a no-brainer, but not everyone is checking how well the content performs. Do not be one of them. Measure and build on what works. Facebook allows you to see the engagement rate (percentage of people who interacted with your posts divided by the number of people reached) in the Insights tab. The higher the engagement rate, the better your post has resonated within your fan base.

Facebook Insights
Facebook Insights

Final touches:

You have been given very concrete instructions on how to write an outstanding Facebook post. Keep in mind this is a lot about testing and finding what works for your business. There are, nonetheless, some rules that haven't been mentioned yet:

  • Keep your text short – no one will read long stories.
  • If you want people to complete an action, guide them: use a call to action.


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Where Can You Publish Your Ads?

Today's online services have one major advantage. They track users and collect information about them and segment it accurately. This is a huge advantage for advertisers because they can specify their target audience precisely, so that an ad is shown only to a relevant people.


Surely, you come across such ads daily. On Facebook, Google Search… lots of you have probably tried to publish similar types of ads on these platforms.


Facebook and Google are obviously dominants of the PPC ads market. But did you know that there are a number of other platforms where you can advertise in a similar way?


You may think that this is unnecessary, when most internet users are using Facebook or Google and their services. Yes, it is true, but it doesn't mean your ad will be effective on these platforms.


Each user behaves differently on different platforms, which means that he can be immune to your Facebook advertising, for example, because he only goes there in the evenings to watch some funny videos, so advertising for selling real estate is not relevant to him. Maybe, in the morning, when he opens Linkedin, he is in a completely different state of mind and is ready to see the ad and take action.


The goal of this article is to list relevant platforms where you can advertise your services. To find out which platform is most effective for you, read this article.

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5 Common Online Marketing Mistakes That Entrepreneurs Make

Do you want to squeeze more out of online marketing? That's always a good idea. Bear in mind these faults so your effort will not come in vain.

Avoid these 5 things that Entrepreneurs Make
Avoid these 5 things
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How to Market Real Estate on Social Media

One of the main problems of real estate agents, is getting listings. To make it work, you shouldn’t just focus on your website. Social media and the online world, overall, could be a marvelous extension of the brand you present yourself as offline. If you take advantage of its options, you’ll reach more people, build trust and most importantly - sell.


Here are a few things you should know about social media marketing for real estate. 


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