Growing A Local Business With Digital Marketing: Here's How

  • By Monique Morrison
  • 08 Jun, 2016

An Introductory Look at Sales Funnels for Local Businesses

Sales Funnels for Local Businesses

So, if I had to guess you are like me…

You own a business.  And as a business owner you would like to;

  • increase your revenues

  • retain more customers

  • and in the most cost effective way possible


Sound about right?

Maybe you are a startup or a local business that's been around for a while but haven't really marketed that much or you are starting to see a decline in the effectiveness of your traditional advertising campaigns. Or maybe it’s still working for you but it's just TOO DARN EXPENSIVE!

Well, if you fall into that category, don’t worry. You are not alone. We speak to many local businesses owners daily that are in the same predicament. Many know that they need to start shifting towards a digital strategy but are not sure where to start and there are so many options available it seems confusing.

Well have no fear, Monique is here! (I know that’s incredibly cheesy but I’ve always wanted an excuse to say it.) Really though, if you are wondering how to really make digital marketing work for you local business than you’ve come to the right place.

So you may be wondering what exactly is digital marketing?

Well, traditionally digital marketing is defined as the promotion of our products and services through digital technologies, mainly the internet but can include many different other types of digital mediums.

And essentially that is what we do. We just do it in a very specific way with a very specific process.

What we do is combine digital marketing with relationship marketing (sometimes called inbound marketing). We use digital marketing to tell stories and to build relationships and we've been doing it with great success for many years.

Digital marketing allows you as a business owner to:

  1. Tell current and potential customers you understand their pain points and that you have a solution.
  2. Use different types of content like social posts, a blog or videos to tell your audience that you not only understand and empathize with their needs but that you’ve built a business behind solving those needs.
  3. Get your message in front of a targeted audience that is most likely to buy.
Now don’t run off thinking, I’ve got it! I’ve got all the answers! Because there’s a lot more to it than that. Keep reading to see how we use smart marketing tactics and relationship marketing to build a larger customer base.

So here’s the truth...

There are only three ways to grow a business,

  • Increase the number of customers

  • Increase the average transaction value per customer

  • Increase the number of transactions per customer

So it’s important when planning a digital marketing campaign that your main focus is to set goals that align with one or all three metrics.

What Is a Sales Funnel and How Can a Local Business Implement One?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we need to  stop trying to attain “one hit wonder” ad campaigns. Businesses don’t become successful because they were able to pull off one “viral post”.

“Did you hear? I ran a Facebook ad that went viral and now I’m set for life.”
- Said no one ever


Businesses become successful online when they implement a system.  

This system is not new. It’s been used for decades and is just as effective now as it was then you just need to know how to implement it properly.

So what’s the system?

It’s a sales funnel!

Essentially, there are three stages of a sales funnel (also known as the customer journey):

(There are additional stages but I'm going to keep this high level.)

  • Awareness- People are learning that your company exists and what you are about.
  • Evaluation- They like what they’ve seen so far and are deciding if they should become your customer
  • Conversion- They are at the point where, yes they know you, they like you and now they are willing to buy from you.

So if you are on social media trying to make sales right out the gate and you don’t have a relationship built with your audience PLEASE STOP.

It’s important to be empathetic here. How would you feel in this situation?

Imagine this scenario:

You’re hanging out with your friends getting caught up on each other’s lives and out of nowhere someone you don’t even know joins the circle and says, “Hey buy my product! It has this feature and that feature and is so so cool.”

What would you do? Most likely be like, “Why you be breaking up my flow. Can’t you see I’m chillin’ wit my homies?” Okay, maybe not in those exact words but that may be how you’d feel.

Well... That’s exactly what push sales methods seem like on social media. People are on social media to...wait for it….be social! So if they are in that mindset then coming at them with a hard sales pitch of, “Today only! Buy for 50% off” most likely won’t give you the results you are looking for. Yes, eventually you might make a sale but really you most likely won’t reach the sales numbers you need.

So how do you use social media as a sales too? Well, let me tell you...

How to Sell Without Selling

It’s important to know that  people don’t actually buy products or services they buy what your products and services can do for them . They want to buy from you because you offer a solution to their problem.

And this is where so many businesses go wrong. They focus too much on the product or service and not enough time talking about the potential customer’s before and after state.

Radio commercials do a great job of properly depicting the before and after (but considering that one 30 second radio commercial is the price you could pay for two days of Facebook advertising it’s often out of reach for most business owners considering the amount you need to spend in order to reach the frequency you need for it to be effective).

So how do you tell your story?

Through digital content! This can include blog posts, case studies, white papers, videos, social media posts, ect. There are plenty of options and you need to decide which medium works best for you, your company and your budget.

By providing this content first, you are nurturing your relationship with your audience. They are learning you care and that you are an expert in your field. It drives them from the Awareness stage of the sales funnel down to the Evaluation stage. It gives the information they need to make an educated decision as to whether or not they want to give you their money.

Providing Value First

I cannot stress this enough. In order to truly be successful online (and even in face to face business transactions)  you need to PROVIDE VALUE FIRST. Think of it this way: below are two types of people. Read both descriptions and decide who you would most likely be friends with. (Because business relationships are just the same as personal relationships. You need to give as much as you take.)

John Doe #1: He seems nice enough but every time you talk to him he’s always asking for something. He wants to borrow your stuff, he want to borrow your money, he wants to borrow your partner (that was last one was a joke).

Now onto John Doe #2...

John Doe #2: He seems nice and the very first time you met he told you how to do something  you’ve been wondering about for a while. Every time you have a question he is there to answer as best he can and to date has not asked you for a single thing.

Now, if both of them came to you and wanted something, who would you be more likely to help? If you’re like me, you said John Doe #2 (because we've all had friends like John Doe #1).

So, to correlate that to a business scenario it’s kind of like asking for a sale on every transaction.

“Hey buy my stuff. Hey buy my stuff. Hey buy my stuff!”

“Gosh, why does [insert business name here] seem so needy?”

Get it now? Perfect! Now let move on to the next step.

Making a FREE Irresistible Offer

Did you know that of all of your website visitors only 2% will take the action you want them to on their first visit? I know. It’s crazy (crazy low) but it’s true.

That’s why it’s important when providing them content you wrap that content with an offer for a lead magnet. So what is a lead magnet?

Well it’s a very specific item that provides value that you give for free in exchange for their contact information (i.e. email address). This can be an ebook, a case study, a free quote, ect.

Just keep in mind that this should offer value to your customers and actually be something that they want and are willing to give you their email address for. This is a micro-commitment. This is them moving from the awareness stage to the evaluation stage. They know who you are and like you enough to say, yes you may contact you again.

There is a whole other set of processes on what to do with the contact info once you have it but as this post is already pretty long I will do a secondary post on that.

Making an Irresistible Low Dollar Offer

If we assume that your potential customer has access to your irresistible free offer and it did provide them value the next stage in the relationship is to convert them into a customer. Now, you could go all out and ask them to buy your core offer OR you can make the decision much easier by offering them a smaller, less expensive offer. This offer should compliment your core offer but be a low enough dollar amount that it can be purchased on impulse or without the need for much contemplation.

For example:

Say you own a roofing company. You core offer is shingling roofs. Here's an example of a potential sales funnel:

Content: Blog Post- How To Know How Many Years Your Roof Has Yet

Lead Magnet: Ebook- Your Roof & The Role It Plays On Your Home's Value

Low Dollar Offer: Gutter Cleaning! Have your gutters cleaned for $20

The three benefits of this system are

  • You can now attain and build relationships with more customers (who own a home that has a roof).
  • When you’re doing the gutter cleaning you can quote the roof or at least make a personal connection with them.
  • Use the money from the gutter cleaning to cover costs of running the ads to acquire them as a customer.

PLUS everyone that moves on to the core offer of getting their roof done is converting at little to no additional cost. (Remember, you covered the cost to acquire them through the low dollar offer and you have their contact information so you can remarket to them on the backend?)

So that folks, at a very high level, is essentially what digital relationship marketing is and how it works. There are many other facets to it like email marketing, increasing buyer frequency, psychology based ad design and how to choose the right channels but you can now see big picture what it is and why it makes sense.

Still have questions? Or want to see how this can work for your business? Click the button in the sidebar to book a FREE one on one 30 minute phone consultation. I promise you won’t regret it. You never know, it just might be the change your business has been looking for.

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