You’re a local entrepreneur with a Birmingham-based business, so how is the vast, global reach of digital going to get you more local customers?
As a marketing consultancy that specialises in digital marketing in Birmingham, we know exactly how to leverage digital and social media for local businesses. That’s why we’ve put together this helpful list of 11 specific things that you can do to get the most out of digital marketing in Birmingham and the Midlands region.
1. Local Business Listings on Google
If you haven’t already, make sure that your business is listed on Google. This means that your business will appear in the Google Maps and Search functions; displaying your company name, address (with map location and directions), phone number, opening hours, website, photos and any other information you’d like to include.
For example, you can see our HDK Marketing business listing here.
This is particularly ideal if your business has a physical premises and you’re looking for more footfall. Many people use their smartphones to Google local cafes, shops and more nearby, so a Google business listing helps your potential customers find you easier and compare your business to others in the area.
If you’re a B2B business or offer services in the Birmingham area (as we do), remember that clients will often Google your business for directions, your contact number or opening hours, as well as other information. Therefore, it’s still really important to have a professional business listing on Google.
Take Things One Step Further with Google Reviews
Don’t let your Google business listing sit and gather dust – make the most of the review function. Get your existing customers to review your business on Google, perhaps with an incentive of a discount or freebie, and be sure to respond to the reviews you receive to show that you’re a responsive business that listens to its customers.
2. Register with Local Business Directories
The days of the heavy phone book may be over, but there are still versions of this found online. Depending on your industry, business type, or the products and services you offer, you might want to consider filling out a profile on a Birmingham or Midlands business directory.
Some popular Birmingham business directories include BizMidlands, the Birmingham Post, Yell.com (the Yellow Pages), The Best of Birmingham, the UK Small Business Directory – Birmingham, Rate Local – Birmingham and The Trade Finder – Birmingham.
Take Things One Step Further…
Of course, you can also consider other directory-style websites that are specific to your industry and customers. For example, if your business is a restaurant, hotel or local attraction, you might want to set up a listing on TripAdvisor, so that you can engage with your customers on the popular platform, especially when it comes to reviews.
Similarly, some of our customers in the manufacturing industry are members of Made in the Midlands, and use the network to connect with potential customers and suppliers online.
3. Join the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
There are many benefits to joining your local Chambers of Commerce, and one of them is digital marketing. Upon joining, your business will be listed in the member directory and you’ll be able to connect with fellow members online in a multitude of ways.
The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) is also sub-divided into specific areas, which include Birmingham, Burton and District, Chase, Lichfield and Tamworth, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield. The GBCC hosts regular events every month as a whole and within these smaller groups, including networking, and also holds workshops on many different topics, such as digital marketing and other related subjects.
Take Things One Step Further…
There are sponsorship and advertising opportunities, and even a blog section on the GBCC website, where you can share an original article to showcase your brand and services, or provide discussion on a prevalent industry topic. HDK Marketing have even written an abbreviated version of this article for the GBCC blog.
Chat to a GBCC representative to discover how to make the most out of your membership and leverage the digital marketing opportunities that being a GBCC member provides.
4. Social Media: Get Involved with Local Hashtags
This is such a simple way to get noticed in your local area, but often overlooked. Imagine you run a cupcake business in the centre of town. Which of the following Tweets/Instagram posts do you think will be seen by the most local people?
a) We’re celebrating Birmingham Pride this week with delicious cupcakes with rainbow frosting! Come in and try one! #LoveisLove #Pride #Cupcakes
b) We’re celebrating Birmingham Pride this week with delicious cupcakes with rainbow frosting! Come in and try one! #BirminghamPride #Birmingham #Brummies
Both posts include three relevant hashtags, but the second one is more likely to be seen by local Brummies who are using and following those hashtags too. And as a bonus, those engaging with the hashtag #BirminghamPride may also want to support a company that is supporting the Birmingham Pride event, which could result in even more interest.
Take Things One Step Further with Twitter Chats
You might have already seen us getting involved with #SutColHour (every Monday at 7pm) and #BrumHour (every Sunday at 8pm). These Twitter “meet-ups” are a great way to virtually network and introduce your business to local people. Start by introducing yourself and/or your business, then engage in conversation with replies and retweets with others using the hashtags during the hour.
Recommended Read: To learn more about using Twitter as a marketing channel, read our previous blog, 6 Reasons Why You Should Ignore Twitter for B2B Marketing (If You’re Crazy).
5. Social Media: Engage with Local Groups and Pages
Hashtags aren’t the only way to reach local customers on social media. You can also use local groups and pages to engage with people in the Birmingham area.
There seems to be a Facebook group for everything these days and from just typing “Birmingham” in the search bar – the Midlands seems no different! There are hundreds to choose from, from generic groups such as Buy, Sell, Swap: Birmingham, Freebie Birmingham and Birmingham Business Network – to niche groups such as Baby Items for Sale Birmingham, Birmingham Vegans and Birmingham Weddings.
First, consider which Facebook groups could appeal to your target customers and also have a good amount of engagement going on already. There’s no point joining a group with thousands of followers if no one is posting or engaging with the posts on there.
When you join a group, make sure that you abide by any rules (there are often guidelines for what you can post, when and how often), be mindful of using your personal profile for business (especially if your profile isn’t private) and above all – don’t spam the group with loads of posts about your products! Instead, use the group to engage in meaningful conversations.
LinkedIn also has a lot of relevant groups to join, though obviously the users and functionality are very different to Facebook. Some great Birmingham and Midlands LinkedIn groups that could work for your business include Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, Brummies and The Midlands Business Network.
Engagement isn’t particularly high in these groups, but LinkedIn is still good place to make local connections, especially if you’re a B2B business in Birmingham.
6. Social Media: Locations Reviews and Check-Ins
You can set your location when you post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Make use of this function and your posts can be seen by more local people, especially on Instagram where users can tap on the location to see other posts from this area. Choose a generic location such as “Birmingham”, or a specific location, such as your premises.
Facebook, like Google, has a five-star review system, where users can rate your business and leave you a glowing recommendation. Customers usually only leave a review when customer service is exceptionally good or exceptionally bad, therefore you may need to provide an incentive for your satisfied customers to leave you a Facebook review – perhaps the offer of a small discount or freebie.
Not only do these reviews do wonders for the reputation of your company, but engagement on your Facebook page also affects the platform’s algorithm, meaning that your posts will be more likely to appear on user’s feeds.
Be sure to respond to reviews and feel free to share them on Facebook and across other social media sites to give your business more authority.
If your business has a physical premises, like a shop or bar, then encourage people to “check in” via Facebook (again, you may need to provide a small incentive or at the very least, put up a poster or little sign). This is a great form of local digital marketing because users are basically shouting about your business to all of their friends.
For more helpful social media tips, get your free copy of 9 Common Mistakes Businesses Make on Social Media (and How to Fix Them) by signing up to our weekly marketing newsletter.
7. SEO: Use “Birmingham” and “Midlands” in Your Website Content
What do you think this blog post is all about? HDK Marketing is a marketing consultancy in Birmingham, therefore we want to write and share content that Birmingham-based users will be searching for and find useful. If we’ve done our job right, perhaps that’s even how you came to this page.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is more of an art than a science, so don’t be tempted to give into keyword stuffing. Instead, make sure that your existing web pages clearly spell out who you are, what you do and where you’re based, in a natural, organic way.
e.g. HDK Marketing is a creative marketing consultancy in Birmingham. We specialise in digital marketing for local businesses and helping SMEs grow in the Midlands.
Then, think about where on your website you want to mention your location: the contact page, the home page, the “About Us” page and perhaps on some of your services pages. Maybe you have a blog section on your website where you could write a post that focuses on your locality.
For example: X Exciting Exhibitions in Birmingham this Summer, The Best Birmingham Restaurants for Vegans, or How to Get the Most Out of Digital Marketing in Birmingham (OK, we might have dibsed that one already).
8. Target Locals with Google AdWords or Social Media Ads
If you’re a little more digital marketing savvy, you might already be trying your hand at paid advertising opportunities, such as Google AdWords and social media ads such as Facebook Ads. If you’re just starting out – don’t worry – they are easy to use. But, if you’d like some help in setting these up, we’re happy to be on hand to help, so don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.
As the name implies, AdWords’ primary focus is on creating ads that are triggered when certain keywords are typed into the Google Search Bar e.g. marketing consultancy in Sutton Coldfield. These ads appear at the top of the search results when someone types in these search terms.
Google AdWords is a great tool for localised digital marketing because there are also specific targeting options you can use to reach a local audience. You can set a parameter, so that only people in a certain area will see your ads, and even set the ad so that it will only appear during your opening hours, when you’re available to take a call.
This means that you can choose to bid on keywords such as “marketing consultancy in Sutton Coldfield” as well as “marketing consultancy” when it is used by people in the Sutton Coldfield area and you’re free to take a call from them.
Boosted Posts and Facebook Ads are great ways to reach your target audience online, even moreso if you’re a B2C company with a good Facebook following.
Boosted Posts turns something you’ve already posted on Facebook into a “sponsored” post (giving it an extra boost) – meaning that it will appear in more of your Followers’ feeds, and potentially in the feeds of their Facebook friends too. If your Facebook following is mostly made up of local people, then this is a great way to reach more potential customers in the same area.
Facebook Ads are where you create an advert from scratch that will appear as a post or in the ad space on the sidebar. Facebook has some incredible targeting options for creating ads, so you can be really specific with the demographic you would like to see your ad – from geographic location, to interests, to age and more.
9. Start a “Refer a Friend” Scheme With Your Local Customers
Who better to recommend your services to a wider circle of local people than your current, satisfied customers? Run a digital campaign through social media, email marketing and your website, to let everyone know that you have a “Refer a Friend” Scheme.
Offer an incentive, such as a discount or a freebie, for referrals and watch digital marketing turn into old-fashioned word of mouth as people share your business with others.
Take Things One Step Further…
Why not hold a contest or competition on social media that requires someone to share your post in order to enter? This is one way to take your business viral! It’s essentially a “Refer a Friend” Scheme for the 21st Century.
10. Buy or Start an Email List of Local Contacts
If you don’t already have an email newsletter and newsletter sign-up on your website, why not? Encourage customers to sign up to receive regular emails from you, which inform them of special offers and the latest news to do with your business or industry.
(And as mentioned above, you can sign up to our newsletter for weekly bite-size and actionable marketing tips).
Another option is to buy a list from a third-party list supplier. This is a good option for B2B companies looking for the email addresses of named contacts within their industry or niche. A list supplier must be GDPR compliant and should be able to give you lots of options for segmentation, including location.
11. Reach Out to Local Digital Media for Publicity
Is your business celebrating a landmark, going through a re-brand, or organising a special event? Then reach out to local digital media to ask if your story is something that could be featured on their website. This doesn’t just have to be newspapers or magazines with websites either – look for local pages or profiles on social media that may wish to share your story too.
Two advantages to digital media are that it can be updated instantly, rather than waiting for a print publication to be printed and circulated, and it can be shared online too; a feature on your business can be shared on their website, their social media, your social media, via email and more.
Take Things One Step Further…
Ask if you could add a little “company bio” to the bottom of an article with links to your website and social media accounts. A link to your website from a reputable media website will give your SEO a boost, while social media links could increase your online following for future digital marketing opportunities.
12. Work With a Local Marketing Consultancy
Of course, this is a lot to do all at once, which is where a local marketing consultancy can come in and handle everything for you. A local marketing consultancy already has the expertise and the contacts to take your digital marketing to the next level, with a focus on the area of Birmingham or the Midlands where your target customers are based.
For more about the benefits of working with a local marketing consultancy like ours, read our previous blog This is How a Marketing Agency Can Make Your Business Successful.
Take Things One Step Further with a Free Midlands Business Consultation
As proud and professional Brummies ourselves, we’re passionate about Birmingham business, which is why HDK Marketing offer free marketing consultations to companies based in the Midlands. To claim your free consultation, contact us today.
We hope this article has been helpful in providing advice for getting the most out of digital marketing in Birmingham and the Midlands, with a focus on thinking local. If you have any questions about the digital world or marketing in general, don’t hesitate to contact the HDK Marketing team.