Most local business marketing is shockingly bad – if it exists at all. While a rival’s website may look okay, the ineffective content on it may just inspire you to become a dominant player.
Lack of confidence and/or a fear of upsetting customers often leads businesses to hunker down in silence and ignore marketing. It’s an odd thing, and yet, because everyone has adopted this mindset, it’s become almost, well… normal.
Yes, a website may indeed be online, accessible, fast and optimised, but generally speaking, people might not be paying much attention to it. 🤔
On the other end of the spectrum are websites chock full of low quality drivel that exists for the sake of it and might as well have been vomited up by AI tools or monkeys with typewriters. 🙈
Be Competitive Through Better Communication
When economic shifts occur, the poor communication becomes a hindrance not just for businesses but also for their customers. Warren Buffet said something to the effect of “only when the tide goes out do you see who has been swimming naked.”
If your leads and enquiries dry up, it may be that your prospects are becoming more analytical, being more critical, and ultimately spending money with businesses who actually communicate.
We can learn a lot from the wisdom of old, rich investors! 🧑💼
Less Time Wasters, More Qualified Leads
Communication through marketing is not just about getting attention. It’s about supporting networking as well as both inbound and outbound sales.
If you’re a small firm operated by a skeleton crew of staff, can you honestly afford to be fielding enquiries or attending appointments that don’t turn into business? 🎲
Do you want to waste an hour on a lead that hadn’t been sufficiently warmed up by the content of your website? ⌛
If this describes you, there’s a good chance the same principles apply to your competitors’ marketing. They are missing out on all the same opportunities, so act soon before they figure it out for themselves, or another year will have gone by with no improvement.
Bogged Down in Crap Marketing
This is still annoys me, but I’ll tell you anyway. For a website I created many years ago, the client asked me if I would “come up with a bit of bullshit text, you know, just a few words to explain things a bit.”
This request was apparently inspired by what others in his industry were also doing with their websites: putting bullshit on it.
The point is, everyone is imitating each others’ approach, tone and style of marketing. They are destined to exist in a proverbial trench warfare business stalemate because no one wants to “go over the top.” 😶
So, how can you do some decent content writing to stand out in the local landscape?
The Opportunity is Right In Front of You
Marketing is usually low in the order of business priorities. In larger companies, it’s the first thing to get cut when the budgets are under scrutiny, and in some companies, there is zero marketing to begin with. 📉
With that in mind, here’s a question:
If you sold your stuff at the exact same price as your competitors, how would you differentiate yourself?
This is a useful thought experiment because it forces us to not to play the “lowest prices” game that seems to become the default approach to the market in the absence of decent ideas.
If marketing is undertaken – not as a one-time project but as an ongoing commitment driven by research, trends, knowledge, expertise – then it’s a huge opportunity to outclass rivals by doing what they will not or cannot. 🏆
Cornerstones of Good Content: Expertise, Authoritativeness
Writing useful articles, reports and FAQs should be the bread and butter of your website. Start there. You’ll need to put your thinking cap on and dig deep into your experience, authoritiveness and expertise (known as EAT). 🤓
EAT are attributes rewarded by Google’s search algorithm, as well as being appreciated by the potential customers who need your help. With a deluge of rubbish AI-generated content now polluting the internet, it’s more important than ever to have a human touch.
Side Note: Seriously Consider Video as a Content Format 👇
By the way, if you want some good advice on content, seriously consider YouTube. It’s free, and videos you create can be embedded on your website. 😉
You need to plan, prepare and execute well, obviously, but it’s easier than you think. Especially when rivals aren’t prepared to do it. 🤐
What Is Missing from the Average Business Website?
If competitors are lazy, then get disciplined. If they’re stupid, be clever. Exploit whatever inabilities of theirs have arisen.
This opportunity goes way beyond “low hanging fruit”. It’s much better than that. It’s windfall and it’s everywhere.
Bridge the Gap Between Ads and a Website
I just had a look through a local advertising magazine that gets posted to my house, and I see the exact same businesses running the exact same ads from 10 years ago.
All are boring. All are sales pitches.
Where’s the back story? Where’s the demonstrated expertise?
Use your website. Think about:
📄 Producing marketing content on your website that taps into needs/wants
🧐 Converting the reader of the ad into a consumer of that content
🏅 Converting the consumer of that content into a subscriber/enquiry/sale
Digital Ads Should Point to Specific Landing Pages
Similarly, I’ve seen businesses running Google Ads which, when clicked, just send the potential customer to their website homepage.
That behaviour isn’t leading the potential customers towards taking a specific action.
QR Codes and Short URLs
QR codes and short URLs are brilliant ways to funnel people into your site, especially if you are a company that wants to get serious by designing/printing campaigns with purpose.
This kind of “scrappiness” is inexpensive, clever and tactical whereas bad ads are an expensive dead end. Most of it goes in the bin anyway!
Even business cards promoting certain pieces of content answering common questions and addressing problems in order to build trust is ten times better than your average fare.
Let Tyre Kickers Waste Your Competitors’ Time Instead of Yours
When someone visits your website, what stage of the buying process are they at?
Ready to give you money? Need more info? And how do they get that info? Phone you? Email you?
Take up hours of your time nitpicking and expecting you to give an entire history of your industry, your career… your prices?
Communication: Stop Reinventing the Wheel with Every Customer
By the time people contact you, it’s safer to assume that a decent amount of them have already completed the research stage of the buying process.
That way, you can give your attention to the right customers and get on with processing transactions. When people are closer to making a purchase decision, the entire process becomes more like taking orders for a restaurant kitchen.
The Most Basic Marketing Strategy Blueprint
➡️ Keep notes on the most frequently asked questions
➡️ Produce high-quality content targeting different parts of the buying process
➡️ Optimise all the usual on-page website attributes for SEO
BUILD Website Backlinks for Your Marketing
➡️ Do internal linking between webpages on your own website
➡️ Use your Google Business Profile to link back to key webpages
➡️ Use free local online business directories to link back to key webpages
EARN Website Backlinks for Your Marketing
➡️ Do quality outreach (get to know people over time and earn links back to your content)
➡️ Engage with public relations and industry-related communities (journalists love a good story, and consumer or industry e-zines may mention or cite you)
➡️ Do newsjacking (jump on trends and bandwagons through social media channels using hashtags)
Summary: Lazy, Lazy Everywhere, Cos No One Wants to Think
Good marketing can bring in business for months and years. It’s initially hard, which is why no one bothers to do it, but basic keyword research and data insights will help you figure out what potential customers care about and where to put your effort.
You might even be able to sell your business if you transform it into a fine-tuned lead-generating money machine. Otherwise, it’s just another website banking on chance encounters with the target audience.
Just another brand with the same bland taste as everyone else’s.