Hear that? It’s the deafening sound of whining, grumbling and all around fist pounding coming from the people of Facebook. Scroll through your newsfeed today and you’ll see that no one is excited about going back to work after the holidays.
But it’s a little different for business owners.
With the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” comes new opportunity. You might have already started thinking about your 2016 marketing plan, but how do you know you’re on the right path?
Let’s look at some of the top local marketing strategies for 2016.
Be Smarter About Local SEO
The way people are finding your business is changing. Consumers aren’t cutting out your ad in the local paper. They’re not jotting down your number when they see a cheesy commercial on television (God, please end those awful commercials – they’re destroying your brand’s good name!).
Consumers today are way more tech savvy. They hold down their “home” key on their iPhones and ask Siri for help finding a local business. Or, they ask their friends on Facebook for recommendations before hitting Google to search for details about your business and your competition.
SEO (search engine optimization for those of you who aren’t up on the lingo) is the best way to get your business in front of the people who need you the most.
Forget vanity metrics, such as subscriber numbers and viewers. Most of these people won’t ever actually see or engage with your ad. It’s wasted money.
Focus on getting your business in front of the people who need you – the ones who are already looking for you online.
There’s a lot that goes into local SEO. If you don’t have a strategy, you need one. And if your website isn’t getting found, you need a new one.
*Plug, plug* I’ll be talking a lot about this in the coming months. Sign up for my newsletter to get the tactical info you need to stay on top of this resolution.
Social Media Marketing Starts to Take Center Stage
I’m going to get very vocal about this this year. Business owners cannot afford to keep ignoring social media. That includes setting up a personal profile because they don’t like the platform, or not having a business account because they don’t see the ROI.
In 2016, social media marketing will be even more important than ever.
In my 2016 marketing predictions, I shared that more people are starting to turn away from Google and start using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as a search engine. For your business to get in front of people in your area, you need to show up on these platforms.
Resolve to start having a bigger voice on your profiles so your customers can instantly connect with you as soon as they find you.
React When Your Customers Take Part in Your Success (or Downfall)
Google named 2015 “mobilegeddon.” This year, mobile marketing is still a top priority because mobile and Internet remains the preferred method for how customers are finding you (see resolution #1).
Taking flight in 2016 are reviews. Let’s call it “review-o-geddon” for fun.
Yelp, Facebook, Google, Angie’s List. These are only a small handful of websites encouraging people to leave reviews and share experiences with your business. With the tech-savvy world we’re living in today, people are taking advantage. Your customers want to have a voice. More importantly, others want to hear. This one-two punch makes monitoring your reviews even more critical than ever before.
And reviews might not be in plain site. Let me give you an example.
In my small town of Vail, Arizona, there’s a forum dedicated to our little area. There are about 5,500 people in the forum and almost everyone is active. The ones who are not are lurkers who like to hear the stories others are sharing.
Very few business owners use these forums as a way to thank the people who give them unsolicited public reviews. They’re rarely seen supporting fellow business partners by giving them a public review. Some chime in with unwelcome obvious promotions. None have taken advantage of this area as a way to build their reputation with the people they need to grow their business.
This year, make it your resolution to jump into these conversations. Pay it forward with public shout outs to your fellow business partners. Your customers want to hear and they want to take part.
Worried you won’t have time to make this resolution work? Sign up for a service, such as Mention. You’ll be notified whenever someone talks about your business so you can spend your time responding instead of wondering what’s being said publicly about you.
Your Community Needs You
It’s all about community in marketing.
Community is such a broad term, though. A community could be the circle you build around your brand online. Or, it could be the people in the town where you live. Or, it could be the Chamber of Commerce (I love my local Chamber of Commerce) with a community of like-minded professionals.
No matter which community you’re focusing on (and you can focus on multiple communities in your marketing) these people need you.
They need you to show up online. They need you to be excited about improving the area where you live – not just your business. They need you to be involved.
This year, make your community a priority. Post more on social media. Write more content on your website. Donate more to local fundraisers. Show up at your local Chamber of Commerce meetings. Be present.
Now it’s your turn.
What are your resolutions for 2016? Will you implement any of these hot 2016 local marketing strategies?