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If you think a hashtag is the breakfast special at your local diner, you’re not alone. The bewildering array of digital marketing tactics available to small business owners grows daily. It’s tough to keep up.

An article on Bluecorona.com says 96% of businesses say they use social media in their marketing, but only 32% invest seriously. Another article on Business2Community mentions a survey that asks, “Which digital channel makes the biggest positive impact on revenue?” 32% answer they aren’t sure.

Digital marketing encompasses a wide range of technologies including social media, mobile ads, internet ads, blogging, and search engine optimization (SEO), to name a few. Uncertainty is understandable. You’re not alone if you’re a bit confused.

Nevertheless, digital marketing is more relevant than ever for local businesses. The five articles from various marketing experts offer SEO insight for local business owners on how to get started.

The good news is you don’t need an in-house marketing expert to apply these tactics. (Click the headlines to go to the articles.)

Virtually Next Door: Local Marketing for Small Business

People still love to support business in their own neighborhood. You can probably name a few of your own favorites.

One great feature of digital marketing is that it gives you access to your entire community. The key is to narrow the focus for best results. Author Eric Wall offers 6 specific tactics you can use as a local business operator to get more customers.

Business Specialty Retailers Can Afford Marketing Research

Author Ron Coulter, Ph.D., writes about marketing research for local small businesses in the Springfield News-Leader. Don’t be frightened by the Ph.D. Coulter brings “marketing research” from the ivory tower to Main St.

His article describes how to use our everyday observations to improve our businesses. When we organize the information we already have available to us in day-to-day operations, we create a powerful marketing tool. Then when we understand where our customers and sales come from, we can go there to get more sales.

Online Marketing Strategy for SMBs

Moz is a search engine heavyweight experienced at helping businesses get found. They also specialize in local search marketing, in part due to these 3 facts:

4 billion desktop queries per month in the United States alone have local intent.

50%+ of mobile queries have local intent.

Roughly 15-20% of all searches are mobile.

Local businesses can’t afford to ignore this.

If you’re new to local search, here are three additional articles that provide a good overview.

Local Search - An Introductory SEO Guide for Local Small Business

The Marketing Landscape talks about which techniques are right for your business.

Your Best Options offers an easy-to-use graphic to help you select from the confusing array of social media outlets available for small business.

Whatever your skill level at local digital marketing, their articles will give you an easy-to-understand education in just a few minutes.

53 Must-Have Features for a Successful Local Business Website [Infographic]

It’s a given that you need a website if you want to be a serious competitor. Yet not everyone with a brick and mortar store knows that.

Writing on Social Media Today, Irfan Ahmad says, “Good products and services are no longer enough to make your local business successful. You must also have a website. It may sound obvious to you. But what may not be so obvious is having an average website is not enough either.”

Even if you know this and have gone through the effort to create one, you’re not quite done. You can’t just check it off your list and move on. Websites for local businesses need a few things that other websites don’t.

When you’re trying to run a business, reading through a bunch of mind-numbing SEO stuff is just that—mind numbing. Ahmad put together a great infographic that visually tells us what works best for local business search. I promise, your head won’t hurt when you’re done looking!

Local SEO & Beyond: Ranking Your Local Business in 2017

If you have an aptitude and want to get your hands dirty with local SEO, read Casey Meraz’s article on the latest SEO strategy for 2017. Or if you avoid the details but you’re working with a marketing or SEO expert, this article will 3-pack-local-search-resultsmake you feel like you’re in the driver’s seat.

In particular, Meraz suggests, “…local businesses should start to look outside of a local-SEO-3-Pack-ONLY focused strategy.” If you don’t know what the 3-pack is, here’s a screenshot of a typical search result for “restaurants near me.” (right)

The “3-Pack” used to be the Holy Grail of local search marketing. Meraz points us in a different direction for 2017.

Although there’s a lot of SEO detail in the article, Meraz asks questions that all business owners should be asking, such as, “Where are my customers looking and how can I get in front of them?”

He goes on to answer how best to do that. His article gives us an in-depth strategic viewpoint on local SEO as well as some gritty details.

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