Posted on 26th February 2021
Category: Blogs

This Blog was written by Assured Marketing.

A Shot In The Arm For All Business Owners: How Small Local Businesses Can Expand Rapidly Online.

Here’s the thing, if you were to ask small business owners 18 months ago “Do you feel that improving your online presence is the number one priority in moving your business forward” only a handful would answer yes. But absolutely no-one saw the Coronavirus Pandemic coming and nearly all small businesses were ill-prepared to deal with transitioning their business and overcoming the challenges presented.

Some have chosen to shut their doors immediately and others are able to prosper because they’ve always been able to serve their market remotely and are needed now more than ever.

Those who have never previously considered digital marketing to attract and retain more customers are now struggling. As of October 2020; 42% of businesses still trading said that they have less than 6 months of cash reserves left. Investing in an optimised online presence may be one of the few ways to generate that much needed income.

So with that in mind, this article will look at the best ways for local businesses to make the online leap.

  1. Local Social Media Marketing

Social Media is by far the most popular choice for businesses choosing to expand online for one simple reason; it doesn’t cost them anything to set up. But with so much competition, how can businesses make sure they’re noticed by the right people? Take a look below to find out!

Social Media Accounts/Pages for a business need to be professional and trustworthy when potential customers come across the. Business owners should make sure that all of the information reads the same across all platforms (i.e descriptions, contact information & posts should be the same on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.)

Local business owners who aren’t using these platforms to promote their business need to start, else they will be soon overlooked by customers who are wanting more and more to engage with businesses here.

Local businesses with a social media presence already should be looking to actively post (minimum 1 post per week) engaging, relevant and professional looking content on these platforms, regular updates keep customers informed and enhanced images/videos of what the business does will help get more people interested in purchasing from the business.

A great method of increasing engagement on a post is to have questions or call to actions in captions directing users to perform the desired actions, such as ‘buy now’ or ‘enquire here’.

Finally, businesses should join social media groups & follow pages relevant to their industry.  Find local groups on Facebook that will increase the page’s reach to the right people.

Once the businesses social media is being seen by the right people they are going to be far more likely to engage with the posts and share updates with people they know. This will increase brand awareness for the business & ultimately lead to more sales being generated.

Local Social Media Marketing Summary

  • Make Sure The Business Has A Consistent & Trustworthy Appearance Across All Platforms
  • Actively Post Engaging & Relevant Content At Least Once Per Week
  • Get Involved With Local Groups/Pages To Make Sure The Business Is Being Seen By The Right People

2. Getting A First Website Advice

Let’s face it, most people don’t use the yellow pages anymore, nor do they pay attention to the sign outside the shop. Websites & Google Listings have all but replaced the conventional forms of branding, so a website is the most important part of successfully launching an online presence.

The issue most business owners face when it comes to getting a website is cost. Unlike Social Media websites aren’t free. Even purchasing a domain name costs a yearly fee of around £10-£15. Then you have to pay for extras such as; web hosting and management, before hiring a web designer to build your new website.

Even though they can be costly, businesses need to have a website to take their business and grow it online. They open up endless possibilities in terms of exposure, lead generation and increasing sales.

In regards to cost, the best approach in getting a high quality website without overpaying is to treat the purchase just as people do with cars and houses. Shop around! Businesses should find local web design agencies with good portfolios and ask about prices. Once they have a few quotes and a bit more information, they can make informed decisions on exactly what they need and which design agency is best for them.

The final point with websites is making sure that visitors/customers stay. Like the social media platforms businesses need to ensure the website is good enough to keep people interested in what’s there. If people don’t stay on the website then they’re never going to buy from or enquire about the business.

To make sure people stay on the website, business owners need to be conscious of what is on it and how people will perceive it. 57% of consumers have said that they will not recommend a company that has a poor website so ensuring a businesses website is credible and user friendly is of the utmost importance.

A Good Web Design Agency Will Always Do The Following:

  • Make Sure Links Travel To Where They’re Supposed To
  • Make Sure That Visitors Can Buy From Or Enquire About The Business Easily
  • Install An SSL Certificate To Keep Data Secure & Make The Site Trustworthy

Getting A First Business Website Summary

  • Understand There’s Cost Involved
  • Work Out How Much The Business Can Afford To Spend On A Website
  • Take Time To Gather Quotes From Local Designers
  • Look At The Designers Portfolio & Choose The One Who Will Do The Best Job For The Business

3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Help

Just having a website isn’t enough unfortunately. Businesses need to make sure they stand out on search engines such as; Google, Bing & Yahoo. Otherwise they’ll be left behind by their competition and have to spend even more money on costly paid advertising campaigns just to be seen. Without quality SEO the website will go unnoticed and generate very few sales/leads for the business.

The good news is SEO can be done for very little cost, so long as business owners have enough time to invest in learning about it and carrying it out on a regular basis. If the business has someone who is technically minded then picking up some basic SEO tips and implementing them will definitely help improve the website’s performance against its local competition.

The main points to action for the SEO of your website are that:

  • All Pages On The Website Contain Keywords Relevant To Your Business
  • Things Like Page Titles & Meta-Descriptions Are Used On All Pages
  • Getting Some Links From Online Directories (like Will Improve Your Google Search Rankings
  • Consider Paying For A Link Builder To Grow Your Websites Relevance On Google

If the business doesn’t have the time or expertise to action the above, then business owners should seek out local SEO specialists who will be able to help. But, just like the web designers they need to make sure they find the right specialists at the right price for their business.

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