Over recent years, chances are the message about gunning for local search success being a good thing to do has been drilled-home pretty convincingly. We’ve all come to know and accept that with millions of businesses littering the web on a global basis, gunning for large-scale or international success in the early years at least just isn’t realistic. By contrast, trying to succeed in a much smaller locality makes a great deal more sense as is leading to some pretty incredible success stories up and down the country.
So, it’s pretty clear that local is the way to go for newcomers especially, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that success is guaranteed. As is the case in all areas of business marketing, there are certain rules to follow in terms of what to do, or in some cases what not to do to build your business to strength in any given locality.
In the spirit of not laying to waste your efforts invested to date therefore, here’s a quick overview of some of the most important pointers of all for maintaining local business strength:
1 – Look Beyond Your Brand
When you’re out to push your business across a specific locality, you immediately eliminate about 90% of the competition you’d otherwise have to fend-off if you were competing nationally. As such, this in turn means that you don’t have to worry too much about constantly and aggressively pushing your brand as the brand to go with. Instead, it’s far more effective to look beyond your brand and excel in other departments – offer your audience more than your rivals and they’ll naturally flock your way as a result. From industry insights to helpful articles to an entertaining blog and so on, look beyond brand-pushing and sell yourself without the hard-sell.
2 – Become a Go-To Resource
Still on the same subject, one of the keys to success with e-commerce in general is that of building yourself into a go-to resource for the locality you’re targeting. If, for example, you’re selling any given food products or kitchen accessories, you can immediately gain a lead over your rivals by offering regularly updated recipes, nutrition guidelines, money saving tips and so on. In all cases, the key lies in building your e-commerce business into far more than just a web-based vending machine.
3 – Don’t Assume You’ve Covered Every Need
Sure, you know that area and yes, you have a good grip on what sells well, but at the same time you could be missing out on something great by making outright assumptions on what your buyers want. Local business success is dependent on a good degree of flexibility, which means opening up as many channels of communication as necessary to gather feedback and suggestions as to what you could be doing and how to do it better. This kind of close-knit interaction really is the backbone of successful local business.
4 – Push Local Elements Without Overdoing It
Where so many local e-commerce businesses go wrong is by attempting to curry favour with the search engines by going well and truly OTT with town, village and even street names just to bring in the clicks. Sadly, this will do nothing but ruin your content as a result and make it difficult for those finding their way over to take what you have to say seriously. There’s nothing wrong with pushing your pride in the local community or mentioning the places you’re targeting – doing so can both win over readers and help bring in the traffic. But the moment you realise you’re mentioning anything just for the sake of Google, you’re on a slippery slope.
5 – Get Involved
Communication should never be one-way when it comes to running a successful local e-commerce business. The best way of thinking about a local online business is exactly how you’d picture a local, independent retailer that’s set out to become a part of the community fabric. When customers go in, do they want to enter a cold, grey and lifeless box with an automaton behind the counter and nothing more than a few generic slogans on the wall? Or, would they prefer somewhere warm, inviting and where they are guaranteed conversation, interaction and genuine appreciation for doing business there? The answer really doesn’t take a genius and clearly illustrates the importance of getting well and truly involved with the community you’re reaching out to. Use your e-commerce site not only to sell to the community, but to become a part of it.