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5 BEST PRACTICES FOR MARKETING A LOCAL BUSINESS ONLINE



As a local business, growing your company using the Internet doesn’t always seem like a complete necessity compared to a business that runs solely online. Contrary to this belief, marketing online should be a local business’s main focus, continually increasing that focus as we rely on the Internet more and more every day. Most people spend more time on the Internet than in the real world. It is not going away. Technology advancement can’t be stopped, and the only option is to ride the wave.


The Internet is no longer a fad or an emerging technology. It is a technology that is in its mature stages that has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Many businesses have started, grown to new heights, or have been saved by having the ability to market online. Marketing online is often not the main focus for a local business because they can still survive without making it so, but for how long?


Prioritizing what matters when marketing a local business online can be confusing, daunting, and unclear at times, especially when your business is changing the stage that it is in (e.g. startup, growth, maturity) or your online marketing is in different stages. Regardless of where your business is at, if you can check off these 5 best practices, you are in great shape.


1. WEBSITE

Your website is your home base, your digital storefront, your digital business card. Most marketing today leads back to your website. If it doesn’t, chances are your prospective customer or current customer will visit the site.


It’s very easy for a local business to let their website slip up since they have their physical location to constantly worry about, may be doing very well on social media, or simply do not think websites are still important. Whatever the reason may be, it’s a mistake if you care about growing your business or even staying in business since most customers prefer working with a business that has a website that is beautifully designed that has a seamless user experience.


Make sure that your website is running on the latest technology, is secure, optimized for all devices, has a great user experience and user interface with proper calls-to-action, and accurately reflects who your business is.


If you have the budget to hire a company to build it for you, don’t even think twice (unless you or someone in your company has previous experience). A website is an investment, not an expense, as it will impact the decision of potential and current customers from working with you.


The initial build of the website is just the beginning. A website requires constant maintenance and management to ensure it’s successful. Things break, technology evolves over time, and even your business evolves over time. If you don’t have a designer/developer managing it on a regular basis, your investment will quickly go to ruin. The second best investment you can make after building a website is managing it. Once your website is live, the next step is to make sure that people can actually see it.


2. SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)

Most people who search for any local business on Google (especially for the first time) are looking for a place that they would like to go to (even if they already know the business) and usually end up visiting it.


If I am in New York City and I am craving sushi for lunch, the first thing I will do is open my phone and head to Google. Next, I will search for a place nearby that suits what I am looking for (the closest place to me, has the best online reviews/reputation and maybe the price point), using a term like best sushi near me, or sushi in midtown. Unless a friend suggests otherwise or I remember of a place nearby that I want to go to, I am usually always going to go to one of the places that I find on this search result.