Small businesses across America are trying to find new ways to attract local customers. Search engine optimization professionals can help local businesses with their branding efforts, and experts in consumer psychology are trying to discover why Americans shop the way that they do. Having a strong presence on social media is important, but small business owners may be reluctant to hire full-time staff. SEO marketing companies often accept work on an outsourced basis, meaning that you can access marketing and advertising experts without having to hire for a staff position. The most important question to begin with is: am I reaching my local customers?
If a customer searches for local restaurants, is your business going to show up on organic search results? Take a minute and search for your business’s name, along with the name of your town or city. If your business does not show up on the first page of search engine result, you’re losing customers every day. Any local search SEO efforts can make your business more visible to your target audience; there are enhanced advertising options that list your business’s name and phone number and link to your website. This is the style of advertising that you will need to adopt if you want to win more local customers.
Advertising and marketing experts have conducted extensive studies, and they have found that customers who buy products and services from another state or country are not disloyal: they are impatient. Studies repeatedly show that a customer will jump from website to website if they feel they are waiting too long for a screen to load. Your time to grab a customer is extremely brief: you have about 3.5 seconds to attract a customer and to make them interested. Making sure that local search SEO results are feeding to a mobile-optimized site is important: if your mobile site loads quickly, you’ve just won half the battle for your customers’ attention.
Social media, of course, is also important for attracting local customers: make sure that local search SEO results feed to your website or social media account. There is no easy trick for attracting customers to your social media account, but you might want to start off with a discount coupon or rewards based on customer referrals. The old adage still holds true: people will share and re-share tales of substandard customer service. You want to maintain a strong focus on customer service: return emails within hours, not days. Local search SEO results can drive customers to your website, but great customer service and competitive prices will help keep them there.
Every small business faces competition from other states, or even from other countries, but that fact can be used to your advantage. Focus your marketing efforts on other states: you may offer a product that they cannot readily obtain locally. Advertising and marketing software programs give you the option to focus on other areas: this new era of ecommerce may be changing the very definition of the term “local.” Consumers routinely purchase candy and food from their favorite vacation spots: the lobster export market runs into several million dollars every year. Make the most of your loyal locals, but don’t forget to reach for customers in other locales.
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for attracting customers, but if you optimize your websites for content and for loading speed, you will cut down on customer frustration levels and your rate of “abandonment.” Americans want to shop locally, but they may not be aware of your business due to a lack of marketing and advertising. Increasing brand awareness is the first step, but what keeps customers coming back to businesses is great customer service and competitive pricing. There are hundreds of thousands of small businesses started every year, and there has been a corresponding uptick in the amount of ecommerce sales. There are customers available for businesses of every size: cultivate local connections and do not hesitate to initiate customer outreach campaigns.