In today’s article from around the web, we visit B2C for an article by Rosalind Henshell about how to market your business on the web if you are a local business. As always, read, comment, share and enjoy!
Whatever the size of your business it’s likely that local customers and your local reputation are very important to you. Local marketing is no longer about leaflet drops and door knocking, the internet has opened many doors with many businesses yet to realize the potential that they can reach in their own area.
So how do you get the most out of your local area via the internet?
1. Optimize your site
It’s often the most basic or obvious steps where people can most easily go wrong and this is no exception. If you want to have your website picked up by people searching in your local area, then you need to add in location specific keywords. For example, if you are a plumber and will travel within a certain area, list the places you will travel to and make sure your site is correctly optimized for local business seo!
2. Consistency is important
If you want to be found, make sure the information you are giving about your own location is clear and consistent. Don’t abbreviate your address, just because a postman might find you if you put “High St” instead of “High Street” doesn’t mean that a search engine will automatically know it’s the same thing.
3. Claim your Google Places listing.
Google is one of the most powerful tools on the internet, and is the most popular search engine. By registering your business on Google places you are effectively putting yourself on the map as far as Google is concerned. This is a free service, yet it offers huge potential and should be something you jump to take advantage of.
4. Build Local Links.
In SEO, Links are important. They show the search engines that your site is useful and interesting enough for others to link back to and add credibility. To stand out in a local search, make sure you have included local links. A good idea would be to link back to other local business, or other sites that include the same geographical keywords.
5. Have multiple pages for multiple areas.
With on page optimization if you use too many keywords, or try to fit in too much information a page becomes unreadable both by humans and the search engines. For that reason, if your business plans cover multiple areas, or if you have several branches or franchises then why not create a local page for each one? This will make it clearer to customers so that they can see what is relevant to them in their location, and provide the search engines with multiple locations to index you against.
6. Make the most of Social Media.
If you want to be known in your local community, Social Media has some great functionality for you to take advantage of. Much has already been written about the benefits of social media sites such as Facebook for business, but it really is the new word of mouth. What better way to get additional local customers through the door than by recommendations from their own friends and family?
6. Remember to Blog.
A website that never changes will soon start to slip down the search rankings. Keep your site fresh by blogging regularly. For Local business marketing you could talk about local events and places, or where you have visited day to day.
8. Encourage Feedback
Reviews and feedback speak volumes. A quick scan of Google will often reveal businesses with stars against their name showing up high in the search. Search engines and more importantly everyone loves social proof! If your business is good enough for people to come back online and leave a comment then the search engines reward that with a better ranking. A word of warning though – make sure you monitor any negative feedback and deal with it promptly and professionally as the last thing you want is for your reputation to be damaged in such a public forum.
9. Think Mobile
When you need to get in touch with someone fast, often the first thing you reach for is your mobile phone, which most likely will be a smartphone. Having the capability to search the web from your phone to find the business or service that you’re looking for, and then use the same device to check out the credentials of that business and then phone them is enormously convenient. As a business owner, you need to make sure that your business information can be found by people searching from their mobile device. This means having a mobile friendly website design that is easy to read and use on a small screen. It’s a simple and effective tactic that so many businesses have yet to really exploit to their advantage.
10. Local offers
Finally, everyone loves the feeling of having discovered a local treasure. Why not give your customers that feeling by putting together local offers? Sites such as Foursquare can help spread this to a new audience, but you can always keep it simple and manage it yourself via Twitter, Facebook or email. Be careful what you give away though and make sure it will always be affordable to you as well as inviting to your customers!