This article is from Clicks Magazine
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2018 should be your best year yet. You’ve learned about local marketing and you’re implementing what you know. But is it enough?

Maybe… but maybe not. The key is knowing which tactics to use – and which to leave behind. That’s why we’ve put together this collection of six things you should be doing in 2018 to make the most of your local marketing.

#1: Local Search Marketing

Local search marketing has a lot in common with local SEO – but it represents an integrated approach to making sure that your company shows up in local searches.

To amp up your standing in local search, do these things. First, seek out and standardize your NAP listings online. It may take a while, but it’s worth the effort. When your listings are all identical, there won’t be any confusion about who you are – or where people can find you online.

Second, create and claim your listings on sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing Places for Business, and Facebook. Make sure to use the same name and basic information for each listing. Choosing the right categories is important too. Be as specific as you can be without going overboard.

Third, get your business listed in relevant directories and make sure to standardize your listings. To find places where you’re already listed, clear your cache and cookies and then use local search terms to find your business. If you’re not at or near the top, you still have work to do.

#2: Build Your List

Email marketing might not be on the cutting edge, but we’re always amazed to learn how few local businesses are using email marketing regularly.

Whatever excuses you may have used to avoid collecting emails are holding you back. It’s time to let go of them and embrace email marketing as something that can make a significant difference in your bottom line.

Create a simple opt-in form to use on your website. Consider offering a lead magnet to entice people to subscribe. And, when people come into your business? Ask them for an email address before they leave. Most people will say yes.

Once your list is in place, you can use it to let subscribers know about new products, sales, and promotions. And even more importantly, you can ask them for reviews or to follow you on social media. These things can all help you improve your online reach and drive sales.

#3: Optimize Your Website for Humans and Search Engines

SEO should be part of your local marketing strategy, but it’s important to remember that your customers are not search engines or bots – they’re people.

Increasingly, search engines like Google and Bing are focusing on the user experience as a ranking factor. It’s why Google has added Rank Brain to its algorithm – because doing so increases the chances that searchers will get what they’re looking for.

In other words, you need to think about Google – and you need to know that Google is thinking about people. Your site can and should use local keywords, but you also need:

  • A site that loads quickly – less than two seconds is ideal
  • Easy-to-use navigation and a site structure that’s simple to understand
  • A working search function that’s prominently displayed
  • A top-notch mobile site that adapts to the device being used to view it
  • Compelling and relevant content that’s readable and actionable

We recommend optimizing for people first and search engines second. After all, a search engine isn’t going to buy your products or use your services.

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#4: Advertise on Facebook

Facebook advertising might already be in your marketing mix, but are you using it properly? Recent changes to Facebook’s algorithms have made it imperative for local business to pay to get their content in front of subscribers.

In addition to traditional image ads, here are some of the Facebook ads you may want to try:

  • Video ads
  • Carousel ads (featuring up to 10 images)
  • Slideshow ads
  • Canvas ads (ideal for mobile users)

Local business can benefit greatly from running mobile ads. You can even use Facebook’s “Call Now” business to make it easier for mobile users to get in touch with you.

#5: Add Video to Your Google My Business Listing

Until recently, Google My Business listings allowed businesses to list their hours and post photos. Now, it’s possible for business owners to add a short video to their listing as well.

Videos are limited to 30 seconds. For that reason, you’ll need to be mindful of what you include – and focus on the things that are most likely to convince people to visit your business.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Spotlight a product or service
  • Give people a behind the scenes tour of your business
  • Feature a menu item
  • Answer a commonly asked question or two

Any of these things could mean the difference between connecting with a potential customer and striking out with them.

#6: Create a Facebook Event

Facebook Events are free to create and provide a way for local businesses to hype upcoming events, connect with potential customers, and increase attendance.

The next time you’re having a sale, try creating a Facebook Event. You can upload a unique image, add details of the event, and post updates to remind people about it. Once the event is created, you’ll be able to send invitations to your followers.

You can also encourage your followers to share the event with their friends. This technique is also good if you’re participating in a community event or sponsoring a charity.

It’s time to turn 2018 into the year that led to your biggest success…

… and these six tips can help you do it. Marketing a local business online isn’t easy. The key is to choose the right techniques – and then employ them to help you connect with your target audience, attract leads, and ultimately, make the sales that will propel your business into the future.

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