What is Local Business?
First of all, let’s clearly define what type of business can be classified as local business. Business can be called local if its customer base is limited to a local area.
Local area could be a town, a county or even state (in some cases). Local business services should be available within a reasonable driving distance from its customers. Usually local businesses sell tangible goods and services rather than digital products. Generally, such services are not suitable for shipment to other areas.
While people could go online and shop worldwide for a huge variety of products and services, it doesn’t make sense to search, for example, a barber who is located father than 30 minutes drive away from your house. Other examples of local businesses:
- Beauty salons and tattoo shops (if your wife wants to do manicure or pedicure, she usually wants it now), and you won’t fly to another state to get a tattoo too (pun intended).
- Restaurants and bars (you have to be physically present to eat. Sure, you can order the food online, but still it should be within a short driving distance, you wouldn’t want to wait for Chinese takeout for more than 30 minutes).
- Dentists and other doctors (need medical help? I don’t think you would be inclined to drive far away to find someone who can ease the pain.)
- Martial art studios and yoga instructors (want to get in shape? You have to train at least several times per week, so remote location is out of the question).
- Roofing services, handymen, electricians, plumbers, landscaping services (umm, let me picture this: you need to fix your roof or your toilet, and you’re searching online for someone thousand miles away…yeah, that’s not going to happen).
- Auto dealerships (while you can buy car online, you won’t go in another state for an oil change or regular car maintenance services).
- Real estate agents (unless you want to buy in another state or country, you would want someone who knows local real estate market).
- The list goes on and on.
I think you get the picture. All these products and services are important for comfortable life, but they are not easily transferrable outside of local area.
Here is the good news for local businesses: due to the very nature of local services, they have less competition. Local business owners don’t have to compete in the world market, all they have to do is stay ahead of competition in their local area. Instead of competing with millions other similar businesses they just have to outsmart a few dozen of them.
Here comes the bad news: the majority of local businesses have rather vague understanding of online marketing, and even those of them who have a website tend to promote their business using traditional methods – newspaper ads, local business listing, local business directories, yellow pages, etc.
The return on investment on this kind of advertisement shrinks every year, yet business owners are still clinging to these outdated promotional methods because it’s hard to embrace, let alone understand “the other world” – the world of digital marketing.
Of course local owners have heard about Facebook and Twitter, may be even about Linkedin or Google Plus. But hearing about these social networks is not the same as making them work.
The Biggest Mistake about Local Business Marketing
The biggest misconception that drives local businesses to the ground is that they think that they have to hire someone local to help them with their marketing problems. Unfortunately the folks in their neck of woods might not have expertise required for increasing marketing ROI (return on investment).
Here is how my initial conversation starts with more local business owner than I care to count: “Yeah, you know a lot about all this new media stuff, and probably could do something for my business, but you’re in New England, and I am in Texas/ Colorado/ North Carolina/ Arizona/ UK/Australia /Fill-in-the-blank/…, so you can’t help me”.
Dear local business owners, local business marketing does not have to be provided by someone from your town. Yes, your services are limited to your local area, but the choice of marketing consultants is not. All this online marketing and new media “stuff” is in the cloud, and it can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
Your social media profiles can be created, optimized, and even managed from any city in the world. The same goes for your website, and your mobile site or app. You just need to find the right company that can take your current monthly advertising budget, and use it to steadily increase your revenue, bring more clients and customers for your business by utilizing the cutting edge online marketing strategies, tools and resources.
Speaking of the “right company”, for a limited time I offer free 15 minute marketing consultations for local businesses (local as in businesses serving location-specific customers, not in local – limited to my current location). So click the link above to reserve your spot, and bring your local business to the new level!