For the longest time it seemed that only those who had virtual businesses or digital products were found utilizing the internet for marketing purposes. It’s so easy for virtual business owners to just sit at their computer and integrate online marketing strategies to grow their business or sell their products.
Now, however, there’s a bigger push for local businesses with physical locations to use the internet for internet marketing. Why, you ask? Quite simply, because the times are changing and the vast majority of your market is likely online. Traditional advertising methods can still be used in your marketing mix in order to reach more of your target market but the internet should not be ignored.
Make Facebook Your Friend
Experts predict that the number of Facebook users will reach the 1 billion milestone by August 2012. This is a vast worldwide number and your job is to find those in your target market among these 1 billion users.
First, create a fan page for your business. This is different from a personal profile and it’s very important that you follow the Facebook Terms of Service. Some businesses have lost their Facebook profiles because they ignored this basic tenet.
Once your fan page is created, you have the option of adding a mailing list opt-in box to capture visitor email addresses. This adds them to your mailing list, which is a more direct way of building a relationship.
You can even set up a special coupon code that the visitors receive after they “Like” your page. Everybody loves coupons and saving money so having a coupon will entice people to visit your physical location to redeem it.
Optimize your fan page using your local keywords so your Facebook fan page will show up in the search engines. You can do this in the profile section.
While you’re setting up your page and your special coupon codes, get in the habit of posting updates, asking questions, or offering tips for your visitors. Even though you may not have many visitors at the beginning, the key is to engage them in conversation. Get in the habit early on in this process and it will become second nature.
Buying Facebook Ads
Creating a fan page is free and an easy way to begin your local marketing efforts. The next step to maximizing Facebook is to buy a Facebook ad.
No doubt you have noticed recently when visiting Facebook there are ads along the right side of your newsfeed. These ads are very targeted based on the keywords and other demographic information you used while setting up your ad.
The object of using a Facebook ad is to find more members of your target audience. Facebook also allows you to create 4 different versions of your ad to test ad copy or to simply customize your ads for your different demographic groups.
Once these Facebook users see your ad and are drawn in by the copy, they will land on your website landing page or your Facebook fan page. No matter what the final destination, the object is to have them opt in to your newsletter or make a purchase.
If you need help customizing your Facebook pages or writing compelling ads, consider hiring an internet marketing consultant. These experts can help you strategize the best way to use Facebook and often have graphic designers and writers on hand to design your pages and write your ads while you serve your current customers.