If you’re launching a website or blog, one of your biggest challenges is getting that first initial burst of steady traffic. It’s much harder to go from 0 to 100 visitors than it is to go from 100 to 1,000. But one of the best strategies is to focus on building a local audience in your geographic market.

How to Build a Local Audience for Your Online Business

Why Go Local?

At first, going local might seem limiting and nonsensical. Why would you want to force yourself to only target local people when you have the entire world at your fingertips online? It’s a good question, but it’s missing the point.

Going local doesn’t mean your website is only designed for people in your city or zip code. Rather, it speaks to who you’re targeting. If other people end up on your page, that’s great. But your traffic generation and promotion strategy is focused on local visitors.

Here are three reasons why this is a good strategy:

  • MVP. By going local, you can keep your approach simple and developing a minimally viable product (MVP) before casting a wider net.
  • Specificity. With a local market, you remove so many of the unknown factors. You can improve your ad targeting and marketing. This helps you focus on micro audiences, which makes it easier to communicate a message that resonates with them.
  • Transferable. It’s easier to make a name for yourself in a specific market. And if you ever choose to do so, you can transfer your online business presence into speaking gigs and other offline opportunities in your area.

3 Tips for Building a Local Audience

If you decide that you want to target a local audience for your website or blog, here are a few tips you can put into action to move you closer to your traffic and conversion goals:

1. Optimize for Local SEO

The first step is to optimize your website and content strategy with local search in mind. This helps you send a signal to the search engines that you’re relevant to people in your market. And the more specific you get, the better. (Don’t just target New York City, for example. Use a Long Island SEO strategy to further zoom in on your niche audience.)

The biggest key with local SEO is to use the right keyword and content strategy. It’s not enough to focus on “Long Island” as your keyword. (Continuing with our illustration.) You need to emphasize long-tail, natural keywords like “best source for Long Island news” or “breaking news in Long Island.”

Worry less about stuffing keywords into your content and focus more on developing high-quality content that leverages natural uses of these terms. That’s what Google is looking for.

2. Refine Your Facebook Targeting

Even if your budget is limited to just a few dollars per day, you should be using PPC advertising. More specifically, you should zero in on Facebook ads.

The Facebook advertising platform is impressive. Not only is it intuitive, but the targeting features make it possible for you to zero in on specific types of people within your geographic market. This makes it easier to drive targeted traffic to your page and scale your business over time.

3. Network With the Right People

Finally, spend at least an hour or two per week networking with other people in your local community. This may include other business owners, entertainers, influencers, or people in the PR and promotion world. LinkedIn is a great place for this, but Facebook and various message boards can prove fruitful as well.

The goal of networking isn’t to push your website on these people. Instead, you want to express interest in them and show a willingness to add mutual value to one another. Over time, your relationship will blossom, and they’ll take notice in your business ventures. This may eventually lead to increased exposure and the possibility of partnerships.

Ready, Set, Grow

There’s no concrete formula for generating traffic. It takes time, effort, and a whole lot of creative energy. But if you choose to use the strategy outlined in this article, you’ll increase your odds of generating that initial burst of traffic. And if you treat your traffic well, they’ll become raving fans who advocate for your brand and introduce new traffic to your page.