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  • Back To The Basics - Small Town Business Guide To Expanding Online

Back To The Basics - Small Town Business Guide To Expanding Online

Expanding your business online can seem overwhelming, but you've got to get started somewhere.

Small town business owners, I know you have a full plate just keeping your day-to-day operations running smoothly. However, in today's digital era, you need an online marketing strategy to reach customers and thrive. The days of relying solely on word-of-mouth, print ads or advice from your tech-savvy nephew are gone. To compete and gain exposure beyond just locals, you need to take a professional approach to digital marketing.

Don't worry - you can start small and simple, then build up from there. But you do need to make some investments if you really want to see results. Here are some steps to take:

First, invest in a high-quality website that truly represents your brand identity and offerings. Get a custom domain name, not a free templated site. Work with a professional designer on visually engaging graphics, navigation, and mobile optimization. Vibrant photos, videos, customer testimonials and clear calls-to-action make a difference. Don't just list basic info - create an experience. Ongoing blog content keeps people returning.

Next, optimize your Google Business Profile like a pro. This is often the first result people see when searching for local businesses, so perfection is key. Completely fill out your profile with keywords people would use to find you. Add photos of your space, products, services, and team. Politely encourage happy customers to leave 5-star reviews. Getting to that high rating can really help you stand out.

Pick one or two social platforms where your target audience is active, and put effort into showing up consistently. Don't just post random pictures now and then. Share your expertise through valuable content like how-to's, insider tips, local happenings. Tell your brand's story authentically. Actually interact with followers in a human way by responding, answering questions, sharing their content. Delegate responsibility to keep it updated daily.

Approach paid social media ads strategically like the pros. As little as $10/day on Facebook or Instagram can get results if targeted and optimized expertly. Work with an experienced freelancer or agency to: identify your ideal audience and objectives, A/B test compelling creatives and copy, analyze data to double down on what resonates. Offer an irresistible promotion or hook without seeming salesy. Start small but scale up thoughtfully.

Collect customer emails professionally with enticing opt-in offers, then nurture subscribers with valuable newsletters. Promote sales, events and content tailored to different segments' interests. Automated welcome and birthday emails make people feel special. Just avoid overdoing the inbox bombardment - focus on quality over quantity.

Does this seem like a lot compared to having your niece post something on Facebook every Thursday? Yes, because marketing takes real work! But approaching it strategically will pay dividends. Start with one task per month, but stick to it. In a year, you'll have built a solid digital marketing foundation for long-term success.