In today’s digital age, having a robust online presence is no longer an option; it’s a necessity, especially for local businesses here in Covina and the surrounding area. Your online presence can be the key to attracting new customers, retaining existing ones, and ultimately, ensuring the success of your business. In this article, we will explore some initial, essential steps to building a strong online presence for your local business.
1. Optimize Your Website
No matter what type of business you have, your business website is key to showing validity and confirming the information you want to share with your current and potential customers. Even if you don’t sell anything online your website is your digital storefront–an online marketing tool that should make a lasting impression.
The same amount of effort you put into providing a safe, effective, and memorable experience at your place of business should be applied to optimizing your business’ website.
Here are a few things to consider:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Ensure your website is search engine friendly. Use relevant keywords and phrases that your potential customers might search for. For instance, if you’re a bakery in Covina, include keywords like “Covina bakery,” “fresh pastries in Covina,” etc. Be sure
- Mobile Responsiveness: With most internet traffic coming from mobile devices, having a mobile-responsive site is crucial. It ensures that your website looks and functions well on smartphones and tablets. You can also consider a ‘mobile-first’ design approach to provide a more enhanced experience for your target audience.
- User-Friendly Design: Make your website easy to navigate with clear menus and calls to action. A user-friendly website enhances the user experience.
2. Claim and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business (GMB) is a powerful tool for local businesses. It allows you to appear in Google Maps and local search results. This may feel overwhelming to navigate, but it’s a well-worth-it, cost-free way to ensure your business shows up when people are searching for you.
Before you can engage with potential customers, make sure your profile is set up and verified on Google. Customers can only find your business profile on Google after you complete verification. Here are some of the basic things to do to get started:
- Claim Your Listing: If you haven’t already, create a Google Account, claim your GMB listing, and verify your business information. You can get started here: https://business.google.com/create
- Complete Your Profile: Fill out all the details, including your business hours, contact information, website link, and high-quality photos of your products or services.
- Collect Reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your GMB listing. Positive reviews can boost your credibility and attract more customers.
3. Engage on Social Media
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are invaluable for local businesses. Here’s how to use them effectively:
- Consistent Posting: Maintain an active presence by posting regularly. Share updates, promotions, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your business. It’s important to meet the expectations of your potential audience. This can be time-consuming, so come up with a schedule and consider making it a routine task to do on the daily. It doesn’t have to be too flashy, but consider creating content that is complimentary to your brand, fun, and/or informative to help resonate with your audience.
- Engage with Your Audience: Respond to comments and messages promptly. Engaging with your audience fosters a sense of community and trust.
- Tag Community Partners and Channels: One of the great things about Covina is that the local businesses are supported by great partners such as the @covinachamber , @covina_life , and @covinabuzz . By tagging these partners, you let them know you are sharing something and it increases your chances that they will share your content–expanding your local reach with their already built-in audiences. Note, you can also leverage relevant local hashtags into your posts to increase visibility—for example, use #CovinaBusiness or #LocalEats for a Covina-based restaurant.
4. Content Marketing
Once you have these basics down, and you may want to level up your content strategy. Consider creating more value by showcasing your expertise and drawing people to your website with some of the following activities:
- Blogging: Write blog posts related to your industry, products, or services. Share tips, how-to guides, and relevant news. The goal is to position you and your business as the ‘thought leader’ or expert in relation to the products or services you provide.
- Video Marketing: Videos are highly engaging. You can create product demonstrations, tutorials, or videos that emulate your business’ brand. You are competing with an ever-growing stream of content, so keep your videos brief and to the point. Consider starting with simple, 10-15-second videos, and see how your audience responds.
- Email Marketing: Build an email list and send out newsletters with updates, promotions, and exclusive offers. There are a lot of free and affordable options depending on how large your email list is. This is a great way to share the content you are creating in more than one place–directing your subscribers to your most recent announcements.
- PRO TIP: By consistently producing high-quality content, you can position your business as an authority in your niche. Consider focusing on a specific product or service to help your business stand out. Instead of a Mexican Restaurant sending out generic content that they have the best or most authentic Mexican food, they will find more success by focusing on their most popular dishes or drinks. For example, let’s say this restaurant has customers who love their homemade, fresh chips and salsa. They can create an entire campaign around ‘chips and salsa’, from the temperature, crunch, flavor, taste, and more. Also, consider the crowd you want to bring in. If you are looking for foodies or cocktail enthusiasts, consider promoting uniquely crafted, seasonal drinks and appetizers.
5. Online Advertising
Once you have all of these marketing activities down, and you’re looking to boost your online presence quickly, consider online advertising options such as Google Ads or paid social media ads. These platforms allow you to target specific demographics and geographic areas, making them ideal for local businesses. A little budget can go a long way–the goal is to be patient and try things out to see what works best for your business.