Local businesses rely on local customers and clients to build a brand and become a household name in their community. When it comes to branching out, however, it can be difficult to translate this word-of-mouth marketing into something that can make the rest of the world take notice. If you are trying to expand your market outside of your local area, here are five tips to get you started.
? Adjust your SEO
All businesses these days utilize SEO to help their websites get the traffic they need to succeed. Local businesses tend to rely more on local SEO practices to help nearby customers find their business, whether through social media, Google My Business or AI searches for specific goods and services “near me.” In order to reach a wider audience, you will need to adjust the type of keywords you rank for and improve how you rank for them. You can still incorporate the localized keywords and content that brings your neighbors knocking but strategize ways to expand by showcasing your offerings in a way that people anywhere will want them. When it comes to e-commerce, be sure your SEO includes alt-text for each item you have for sale. This will improve your ranking in image searches, which is a primary source of commerce online.
? Make connections in your global community
Networking is key to the success of any business. If you are community focused, odds are that you have strong network connections with other businesses in your town, neighborhood or city. These may be businesses in the same industry as yours, or in different industries that overlap, like a real estate agent and a loan provider. In order to reach a global market, you need to make these same types of connections with businesses much further afield. Consider attending a national conference, joining online networking groups or teaming up with someone who is also trying to get their name out there. Need new graphics? Team up with a graphic designer in another part of the country. You can promote their business on your social media page, and they can do the same for you.
? Make sure your goods and services are desirable in your target area
Branching out only works if there is a demand for the goods and services you are providing. If you sell winter coats, you might not want to spend a lot of time marketing your company in Hawaii, however, providing the option to ship somewhere that doesn’t have a lot of options can also be a good tactic. At the same time, working hard to promote your IT services in an oversaturated market like the Bay Area is also not the best use of your time. As you search for areas that could help your business grow, calculate the supply and demand metrics that will give you the best return on your time and financial investment.
? Utilize social media
Even brick and mortar local businesses can get a global following with the help of social media. More and more often we see small companies going viral on social media platforms and selling out of mittens or donuts or turning away customers looking for video editing services or music production. Whatever you offer, figure out a unique way to share it on social media so that it attracts the attention of people near and far. Fashion brands could do interesting photoshoots with diverse models, restaurants can take drool-worthy food photos, even a dentist office could put together catchy dance routines that can help you remember to brush more. Whatever you decide to do, be consistent and engage with your following. Looking for a quick fix? Consider hiring a social media influencer who can get your name out to their huge collection of followers. This is a bit more expensive than doing it yourself but is a good option if your monetary budget is bigger than your time budget.
? Contribute content to relevant outlets
An important aspect of off-page SEO is getting backlinks. These are links from one site (usually a high-traffic site with a high SEO ranking) back to your own. Backlinks are a great way to get new visitors to your page and increase your national or global reach. One way to do this is by contributing content. This could be anything from recipes, how-to videos, music or photos for someone’s blog, an article that relates back to your business, guesting on a podcast and much more. Use all the networking you are doing to make connections with people who can benefit from your expertise in the field. Make sure the content you offer is relevant both to the site you are posting on and your own business. Make people know before they even click on your link that you know what you are talking about and you are worth their time.