Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Media Promotional Opportunities

Local businesses face the task of finding creative ways to connect with their local clientele. Fortunately, local Web marketing can offer a variety of solutions to reach your audience. In the November issue of Website magazine, for instance, Allison Howen discusses the three tiers of local web marketing.

According to a recent study by strategy and communications agency Cone Inc., 85% of consumers research online before purchasing services or products so it makes sense to utiize local search-based advertising, such as Google Places and Local.com, both of which
offer free services and increase both online visibility and foot traffic into a brick and mortar store. This is the first tier she covers in her article.

For those with a budget, tier 1 also includes Google Adwords Express, a locally targeted advertising program designed specifically to increase exposure to local businesses. Other directory-based advertising platforms, such as superMedia and YellowPages.com, also offer cost effective ways for small businesses to be noticed by their local prospects.

Daily deal promotions are the second tier in Allison’s article. Groupon and Living Social are primary examples of deal promotion platforms. These sites have grown in popularity and are particularly trendy during these times of economic difficulty. The article warns, however, of numerous reports of local businesses collapsing under the overwhelming demands that can go along with a successful Groupon promotion. If you are willing to assume the risk, and are able to convert one-time visitors into steady or long-term customers, daily deal vendors should be a part of your web marketing mix. Website magazine lists popular daily deal vendors online at wsm.co/DealDeluge

The third tier includes social media advertising such as a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a LinkedIn group. For example, creating an advertisement on Facebook is straight-forward and relatively inexpensive and can reach targeted audiences (age, interest or location) with little effort. Twitter is still evolving its advertising options, but currently, with a minimum budget of $5,000 a month, it is not a viable option for a small business.

There are many ways for local business to capitalize on the Web. Local Marketing Source provides useful information and lists 10 Tips to Market a Local Business Online. While the traditional marketing tools still have value in a local market, businesses will need to rely more on Web platforms to stay connected in the current market.
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