The internet has been a bittersweet thing for small businesses. Local shops and services have had to compete with global competition and big brands with budgets to burn on marketing. The rise of SEO only made things worse as the big names in each industry naturally gained big ranking points and dominated organic search traffic.
However, things are different now and search engines are not all about volume or linking people to the biggest brand names. Google in particular is smart enough to put the emphasis on offering its users the most valuable results and other search engines are quickly catching up. Which means smaller businesses finally have a place to fight the big guns when it comes to online search.
Local SEO is a game changer
Google has achieved something of a revolution with the way it handles local search and the continued rise of mobile browsing is the biggest asset to smaller and local businesses. People on the move are more likely to search for local services and Google quickly picked up on this fact. Which means small businesses can optimise their search presence based on location and get ahead of the big guns.
Define your niche
If you’re a small business you don’t have your eyes set on world domination (at least not yet). So don’t try to please everyone and focus on defining your niche. Specify what sets you apart from other businesses and who your niche appeals to most. If you don’t have a niche or think you need something stronger, look at your competition and figure out what they lack. Spot something you can offer that they don’t and capitalise on that.
Target a smaller audience
It might sound counterproductive, but with your niche fully defined you can start to target a smaller, more focused audience. Instead of wasting your time and budget on leads that don’t go anywhere, concentrate on getting more leads from people likely to buy into your services. Forget about getting the most amount of traffic and put your efforts into maximising the amount of profitable leads. This will be much more effective with a strong niche that appeals to a specific audience
Get known as an industry expert
Whichever industry you are in there is a wealth of online communities and people interested in what you do. Which means you have a large audience to leverage and become known as an expert in your field. Publish content on LinkedIn and your other social accounts – as well as industry specific publications and forums. Offer to guest post, appear in podcasts or videos and become a name that people think of when your industry comes to mind.
Market yourself offline
You can tie your online marketing efforts into the real world and attend events, conventions and industry meetups. Not only does this give you the chance to hand out business cards and bag new customers, but you also get the opportunity to make contacts and become acquainted with the right kind of people for your business. Link this to your online marketing efforts with blog posts about the events you attend, who you meet and what you learn. Insider secrets and breaking news will help you establish yourself as an expert in your industry both online and offline.