23 Mar

How to market your local business online

Your first venture into online marketing can seem scary. All these websites offering ad space – how can you know which one is right for you? And what about the costs – do you really need to spend big bucks to establish an online presence?

Well, that depends mostly on how good you are at selling yourself. Let’s face it: those with a knack for spreading their brand will do so with minimum investment while others can pour big money into one failed campaign after another and see very little results. In the end, it all comes down to finding a demographic and relating to it on a personal level.

Some of the most common ways

As you might have imagined, ads continue being the bread and butter of marketing even deep into the digital age, although the rules have changed a bit.

For starters, there are many more ways to advertise now than there were just a couple of years back. Most people consider Google ads to yield the best results: after all, you can’t get much better than ranking above numero uno on the search page of the most visited website in the world, can you? As effective as they are, Google ads have their limitations and can cost a pretty penny without doing all that much. The same goes for Facebook ads: while somewhat cheaper, using them requires an understanding of your demographic and what the people in it are looking for. It’s even harder with Google: while Facebook only makes you choose an age group, location and similar broad parameters, you’ll need a thorough understanding of what niches are in order to get the most from your Google ad campaign.

Likewise, most websites out there feature some amount of advertising space for those looking to market their brand. Advertising on the right website can lead to a massive increase in traffic in a matter of hours while advertising on the wrong one really won’t amount to much aside from emptying your pockets. Again, you’ll need to figure out the group you’re targeting, find out the websites they visit most often and see about placing your ads somewhere in there.

If commercial breaks were never your thing, there are other, less-obvious methods of online marketing to consider.

The road less traveled

An example of a less-common way to market yourself online would be paid-for placement on websites like Yelp – these sites play a huge part in most decisions on who to do business. The reason why we list this method as ‘uncommon’ is that many business owners don’t realize the importance of review websites nor are they aware of the option to get paid-for advertising on them. The ‘ads’ on these websites differ very little from actual search results, which makes them a godsend to those looking for quick traffic that converts.

Another way to market your local business online is to create a helpful site that people can turn to for insight – not just people from your local community but also those from all over the world. If you can create a hub of useful information that’s difficult to find elsewhere on the web – be it on your business website or a related personal blog – you’ll get lots of customers without really paying for any advertising. Keep in mind, though, that creating a site of this kind takes time, effort and dedication.

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