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Digital marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote local small businesses. It allows a local business to target a local audience with laser precision, and it provides a level of engagement that is simply not possible with traditional marketing techniques.

However, marketing online can be a bit daunting for local businesses that are not used to working with technology. In this article, we will take a look at some of the reasons why local businesses should use digital marketing, and then we will provide some step-by-step instructions on how to get started.

Reasons to Use Digital Marketing

There are many reasons why local businesses should use digital marketing. Here are a few:

1. You Can Target a Specific Local Audience

With digital marketing, you can target a specific local audience with your marketing campaigns. This is not possible with traditional offline techniques such as print or television advertising.

Whether your customer base is statewide or just in your own backyard, you can target customers easily with local SEO, local directory sites, paid ads like Google Adwords or Facebook ads, or even using organic social media marketing.

2. You Can Get More Engagement With Your Customers

Local business internet marketing allows you to get more engagement with your customers than traditional offline techniques. You can interact with your customers directly and get their feedback in real-time.

This engagement can be via your online campaigns, local sites like Alignable or Nextdoor, or on social media platforms. This level of real-time engagement is nearly impossible with print advertising.

3. You Can Save Money on Marketing Costs

Digital marketing is often more cost-effective than traditional marketing techniques. It allows you to reach a larger audience with less money, and you can track the results of your campaigns in real-time so that you can adjust your strategies on the fly.

4. You Can Reach a Wider Audience

Digital marketing allows you to reach a wider audience than traditional marketing techniques. You can target local customers with your campaigns, but you can also reach people all over the world with your website and social media presence.

5. You Can Build Lasting Relationships With Your Customers

Digital marketing allows you to build lasting relationships with your customers. You can interact with them directly and get their feedback in real-time. This helps you build trust and credibility with your customers, which can lead to repeat business and referrals.

How do I market my local business online?

Now that we’ve looked at some of the reasons why local businesses should use digital marketing, let’s take a look at how to get started.

Getting Started With Digital Marketing

If you’re like most local business owners, you know that online marketing is important. But with so many options and strategies out there, it can be tough to know where to start. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to get started with local business internet marketing

1. Create a Website

The first step in getting started with digital marketing is to create a website for your business. Your website should be designed to promote your products or services and to engage with your customers. Be sure to include relevant keywords in your website content so that people can find your site when they search for local businesses.

Search Engine Optimization

If you want to learn more about how SEO can help your local ranking check out my SEO for Beginner Series, where I break down the top 10 SEO ranking factors for the non-technical business owners. If you have a website, you need to at least know the basics of local SEO.

Email Marketing

Using email marketing in conjunction with your website is an often overlooked part of online marketing. Adding a simple email sign-up form to your website and emailing to your list at least twice a month is easier than ever. This allows you to reach out to potential customers about new offers or promotions, keeps you top of mind, and can boost your sales and customer loyalty.

RELATED: How to Get Started With Email Marketing

2. Set Up Social Media Accounts

The next step is to set up social media accounts for your business. Facebook and Instagram are both great platforms for promoting local businesses. Be sure to post regularly and interact with your customers on these platforms to grow your local presence.

On Facebook, you can use local groups, events, and the marketplace to reach your local audience. On Instagram, using local hashtags and interacting with other local businesses can help you get a broader reach and help grow your local business.

RELATED: Which Social Media Account is Best For Business

3 Claim Your Business

One of the most important things local businesses can do to get started with digital marketing is to claim their business on local sites, Google, Bing, and other directory sites and search engines.

This helps you ensure that your business is listed in local search results and that people can find accurate information about your business.

Also, look into Yelp, Trip Advisor, and other review sites if appropriate.

These free business listings, like the one offered by Google, will ensure you show up on mobile searches, which are commonly tied to location. Your Google Business Profile will have your business listed on Google maps.

With Google accounting for more than 92% of search engine requests, be sure not to miss out on your piece of those searches. So be sure to claim your Google listing.

RELATED: How to Set up Your Google Business Profile

4. Create Content

One of the most important aspects of digital marketing is content marketing. You need to create high-quality content that will engage your customers and promote your business. Blog posts, videos, and infographics are all great types of content to create to attract prospective customers.

RELATED: What is a Blog?

Use easy-to-use tools like Canva to create eye-catching and engaging content. They have thousands of templates for things like social media posts, videos, flyers, presentations, invitations, and more so that you can just plug in your information and create stunning designs with no design skills.

You can also show up in local searches by answering commonly asked questions in your content via your blog or YouTube videos. This type of content is indexed on search engines, unlike most social media posts, which are only assessable via the social media platform.

So this means people searching Google for answers can get YOUR blog post articles or YouTube videos shown as answers.

These are two great ways to get more customers and website traffic and should be part of your digital marketing plan.

RELATED: Your First YouTube Video Ideas.

5. Run Advertising Campaigns

Another great way to promote your local business is to run advertising campaigns. Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are both great platforms for running local advertising campaigns. Be sure to target your ads to your local area so that you get the most bang for your buck.

Each platform is self-serve, so you can set up your own ads, have full control of your budget, and see results in real-time. Both also have extensive support and training to help you with the process. You can also hire out to help you get things set up and running.

RELATED: The Best Marketing ROI

6. Analyze Your Results

Finally, be sure to analyze the results of your digital marketing campaigns so that you can adjust your strategies as needed. Google Analytics is a great tool for tracking the results of your digital marketing campaigns. Each social media platform will also have built-in analytics so you can track your performance there.

By tracking, you can adjust to do more of what works, keeping your costs down and taking maximal advantage of each online tool you’re using.

Get Started with Digital Local Marketing

Your digital marketing efforts can be a great way to reach local customers, but there are some things to keep in mind.

Up-to-date Information

One of the biggest mistakes I see with businesses online is not keeping their data up to date. Be sure to regularly check your profiles for accuracy or to catch any new fields or changes. If you make a change to your hours or contact info, be sure to update it on your social profiles, your Google Business Profile, and your website.

Mobile Searches

Another important thing to remember is that local customers are more likely to use a mobile device to search for businesses. So it’s important to have a mobile-friendly website and make sure your digital marketing campaigns are designed with mobile users in mind.

Mix in Traditional Advertising

Finally, don’t forget about traditional local marketing channels like print advertisements, flyers, and word-of-mouth. A well-rounded local marketing strategy should include a mix of digital and traditional tactics.

Digital Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid common mistakes that can derail your digital efforts and make you feel like digital is a waste of time. Some mistakes to avoid are:

  • Neglecting local search optimization
  • Not being mobile-friendly
  • Not responding to reviews or comments
  • Not keeping information up to date
  • Not testing or reviewing results
  • Committing to more than you can do
  • Not getting help when you need it

By getting a little help through digital marketing courses, hiring a small marketing agency, or getting a digital marketing coach, you can make sure your local business is getting the most out of its digital marketing campaigns.

Another way to maximize your local digital marketing strategies is to use software and tools to make reaching your local audience even easier.

Reviews and Local Marketing

As a local business, it’s important to have a strong local digital marketing strategy – and part of that is making sure you have plenty of reviews. Reviews act as social proof, showing potential customers that other people have used and enjoyed your products or services. They can also help improve your local search ranking, helping more people to find your business.

RELATED: What is Social Proof?

Get More Reviews

Reviews can be a powerful part of internet marketing for local businesses, but you’ve got to be proactive in getting them. To get more reviews, start by asking your existing customers for feedback. You can also offer incentives, such as discounts or freebies, in exchange for a review.

Once you have some reviews, make sure to respond to them – thank customers for positive reviews, and address any concerns raised in negative reviews.

Review Mistakes

There are a few things to avoid when it comes to reviews. Don’t buy fake reviews, as this can backfire and damage your reputation. And don’t delete negative reviews – instead, use them as an opportunity to show that you’re responsive and care about your customer’s experience.

Overall, reviews are an important part of local digital marketing – so make sure you’re getting plenty of them!

Best Digital Marketing Tools

There are a number of different digital marketing tools available to local businesses. Here are some of the best (and they are free!):

Google Business Profile

This platform allows local businesses to manage their online presence and interact with customers. It is a free service from Google that lets businesses create and update their listing, as well as track customer reviews and insights.

✅ How to Set Up Google Business Profile

Facebook Business Page

A Facebook Page is a great way for local businesses to connect with their target audience on the world’s largest social network. Pages can be used to promote deals, events, and special offers, and can also be used as a customer service platform.

✅ How to Set up Facebook for your Business


More than just a photo-sharing app, Instagram can be used as a powerful marketing tool for local businesses. Businesses can use Instagram to showcase their products and services and to build a following of potential customers.

✅ How to set up Instagram for Business


Yelp is a local business directory and review site. It is an important platform for businesses to manage their online reputation and interact with customers. Yelp also provides valuable insights into customer sentiment.

✅ How to set up Yelp for Business 

Other Sites and Directories

Depending on your type of business, you can use sites like:

Other tools include:

By using the right tools, local businesses can reach new customers, build relationships, and grow their business.

Your Digital Marketing Strategy

I hope you see that online marketing is a great opportunity for any small business to get more eyes on their business and see how it opens up opportunities that were only available to big businesses in years past.

Digital marketing for local businesses works!

With access to social media, review sites, local directories, and precise advertising, you can reach more customers, build deeper relationships, and stay more engaged with your local audience.

With online marketing, the barrier to entry is low, many tools are free, and you can have more control than ever over your marketing. So take advantage of this powerful time in business and grab hold of the power the digital world has to grow your small business.

Want to learn more about digital marketing for your local business? Get started here.

About Digital Marketing Expert Torie Mathis

Torie Mathis helps entrepreneurs, like you, use digital marketing to grow your business without wasting time, money, or your sanity.  She is a best-selling author, Army veteran, speaker + trainer, and your digital marketing coach. You don't need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. In fact, you don't even need a lot of time. What you need is to be SMART.

Torie hosts SMART AF, a show for non-techy entrepreneurs looking to grow their business, with her husband Sean and is the creator of SMART AF Magazine. Learn from Torie at the Smart Arsenal and on her channel.

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hi im torie
I help entrepreneurs  learn digital marketing.
And I make it easy! 

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.

Is YOUR marketing SMART?

Find out here.


Hi! I'm Torie!

I Headshot of Torie Mathishelp entrepreneurs (like you) use digital marketing to get more clients + make more money. And I make it easy!

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.

Get Smart AF

from your Digital Marketing Coach Torie Mathis!

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