So you made the leap and started your own business. To survive, you’ll need ways to increase your clientele, but how does a geographic focused startup reach its target audience and position itself on an already competitive map? says that digital marketing offers several strategic opportunities for small organizations to promote and establish themselves in a local community
  1. Pay-Per-Click Marketing
Pay per click marketing drives traffic to websites via advertisements in search engine results pages and from websites via banner advertising. The main concern with PPC campaigns for startups is the cost. However, compared to a free Facebook page, its effectiveness will be seen more quickly. Implement these optimizations for success:
  • Encourage Phone Calls
    • Give customers the opportunity to instantly call before visiting, then use that call to get them through the door. Take this a step further by launching call-only ads on mobile devices, which use “click-to-call” as the main CTA.
  • Obsess over Negative Keywords
    • You don’t want to pay for unqualified and irrelevant clicks. Monitor the queries that are triggering your advertisements and add negative keywords, which will trigger your ads to NOT show.
  • Optimize Landing Pages
    • When they do click, you want your potential customers to stay on your site. Make it easy for them to learn more about your company by closely aligning your landing page copy to your ads and keywords. This is called “message match.” When your message matches the searcher’s intent throughout the conversion path, you’re more likely to meet the desired goal.
  • Test, Analyze and Edit Repeatedly
    • Test your strategy and analyze the results of each campaign, including how prospects are responding to the ads. With these insights, you can determine what works, what doesn’t and how to improve new campaigns.
  1. Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There are several benefits of a well-crafted local SEO strategy. You’ll improve your company’s visibility and enter into the consideration set when your prospects are in “buying moments.” You’ll also increase your company’s awareness and recognition in a local trade area. To optimize your website for local SEO:
  • Ensure name, address and phone number (NAP) consistency on your website and local and trade specific directories. Claim your Google and Bing business listings and keep them up-to-date.
  • Include specific words associated with your local area on your website in key positions like page titles and header tags.
  • Develop inbound links with varied anchor text that combines the keywords you’re targeting and the locations you’re interested in.
  • Generate and encourage online reviews and ratings (see tip #4!).
  1. Social Media Marketing
A company’s social media page provides a platform for two-way communication and adds a human touch to your brand. Considering it’s free to set up a basic page on the major networks, social media is a great solution for start-up companies to generate awareness. Additionally, paid social media marketing campaigns can provide significant ROI, because the targeting options are incredibly specific. However, a company must develop a strategy prior to implementation:
  • Find out where your audience is most active, then integrate it into your robust social media strategy. Keep in mind that the big guns—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn—are built for different audiences.
  • Develop the different personas you’ll be speaking to. These personas provide direction on the language, message and imagery need to effectively reach each audience.
  • Develop a plan for each platform. While it’s important to have an overall strategy aligning the networks, it’s also important to have detailed execution plans for each one, including the persona, message, imagery, timing and budget.
  1. Encourage Positive Online Reviews and Address Negative Ones
Online reviews have a significant impact on revenue for all types of businesses. Expanding the traditional “word-of-mouth” tactic, reviews allow consumers to hear real-time opinions of anyone who has been involved with a company.
  • Engage Happy Customers
o Ask your satisfied customers to visit your website, Facebook page, or other online listings (like Yelp) to share their positive experiences. Positive reviews from real customers establish a level of trust in your product or service. They also can help your business rank better in search engine results pages and online maps.
  • Don’t Ignore the Negative (they’re just as important as the positive)
o Respond to each negative review and work to correct the problem. Any negative review has the potential to be a positive review if the right steps are taken to alleviate the problem. Often, other consumers will understand that some negative reviews are unreasonable and a sincere and courteous response can even build goodwill.
  1. Keep Close Tabs on Competitor’s Digital Footprints
You always need to know what your competitors are doing. Why? You need to continuously optimize your digital marketing strategy.
  • Conduct Research
o What outlets are they using? Where are they gaining the most traction? Dive deep into the digital footprint of each of your competitors to learn what platforms and tools they use to amplify their marketing and business.
  • Analyze Your Findings
o Where are they strongest? Weakest? What’s working well? Analyze the information to enhance your own plan.
  • Bring It Full Circle
o Apply the information you learned and ask the tough question: what could you do better? Develop a through plan for your rise to the top.

When it comes to the success and growth of any company, especially in local markets, digital marketing is a necessity. Take small tactical steps to implement these strategies into your marketing plan, and you’ll gain a competitive edge in your local market.

Alyssa Armstrong is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Sparxoo, an integrated digital marketing agency based in Tampa, Florida. At the Xoo, Alyssa works with project teams to develop and implement social, content and digital PR campaigns across channels to cultivate digital communities across brands.