3 Ways to Take Your Business Online and Attract Local Customers

Competition for small businesses is increasing day by day, and it 's hard to ignore that social media and the internet is adding on to the struggle. Not only do small businesses have to compete with larger multinational corporations, they also have to deal with establishing and maintain a presence online. This is particularly important considering that the consumer demographics for Canadian shoppers have changed drastically over the years. As millennials are entering their prime earning and spending years, they represent the future of the consumer industry, which means that businesses have to start adapting to their behaviors and lifestyle choices in order to cater to them. 

Keeping this in mind, it’s prudent to say that millennials are truly a tech-savvy customer group, who is more dependent on social media and the internet to search for products and services. Therefore, it’s important for small business owners to take their business online and attract their customers locally.  While taking your business online, it is more about grabbing the attention of local customers and competes with the local and online business than just creating a website and social media page.

There are several ways to attract your local customers while having an online business.

1.    Social Networking:

Social networking is one of the best ways to attract local customers. Use platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to attract customers who live close to your businesses or in the area that you serve. You can opt for both paid or unpaid marketing campaigns on each networking website, and use it leverage traffic to your store. Therefore if your online business has a strong social media presence then more local customers will get to know about it, and you can benefit from it.

•    Focus on the active local groups which have similar or different interest, but locals are a member of that group; this will help the client to know about your online business.

•    Many buy and sell local groups provide free posting and membership; therefore, you can reach more customers without spending a penny.

•    Create business social media pages and accounts on different social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc. so that customers can search and get your presence instantly.

2.    Google Local Listing:

If you want to take your business online, one of the first things that you should be doing is listing it on Google Search through a My Business AccountA local business listing is an online profile that contains your business name, address, phone number, and other details.

How does it help you attract more customers? Every time someone close to your shop or business searches for the products or services you sell, Google is likely to suggest your business on the top of the search engine page when yielding results. So in short, the purpose of creating local listings is to make sure that your business is visible online. 

However, in order to make sure that you are making the most out of your local listing, it's important that you also list your business on other directory pages such as Yelp, Weblocal, Gigpark, Ziplocal and others. 

The listing process is extremely simple, and it takes minutes to set it up, but may take a couple of days to get verified. 

3.    Get Reviewed: 

If you are struggling with ranking your business online, then your best bet is to get as many reviews as possible. If you've already gone through listing your business on Google or any other directories, your next aim should be to focus on getting reviews on them. If you customers haven't left any already, you can remind your happy customers to leave a review on any of your social media pages or Google listing. The more reviews you gather online, you're likely to attract new customers because they are likely to trust you based on those reviews.  

You can also sponsor reviews of your product or services through other sources such as sponsored reviews on industry related magazines or publications, or even by bloggers (usually through influencer marketing). 

 How will following these tips help a business owner? 

-          If you plan on selling online, you need to attract as many people to your website as possible. Therefore, business owners need to maximize their online visibility in order to reach their target customer group. 

-          Save on some marketing dollars by leveraging free tools such as Google Local Search or by creating social media pages where they can reach out to customers, garner reviews and interact with their target market. 

-         You get to build a strong presence and authority. The more online business listings or reviews you have, the more authority you are building for your business online. This in turn helps with your SEO and helps search engines such as Google notice you more. Also, with more authority, your business is likely to appear on the top of search engine pages.  

As a Director of Business Development at Kingsmen Capital Investments, Roger works largely in unsecured business lending, mortgages, and private capital lending. On this platform, he'll be sharing his secrets and tips on how he was able to take his business online and tap into a whole new target market.  If you are a broker or small business owner looking for funding, you can contact him here.

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