Just because a business is local doesn’t mean people know about it. In fact, there are probably dozens of local businesses in your neighborhood that you had no idea existed. It is important to employ local marketing strategies for your small business to make sure that you are reaching the people who may be, perhaps, the most important to your business—your local customers!
This post will cover different ways to market your local business online, so that you can benefit from location based marketing for small business.
Online review sites and local business directory sites such as Yelp, Merchant Circle, and Google My Business enable people to identify and learn about businesses in a specific area. Customers use these sites to find businesses where they live, where they are visiting, and to review good service.
In order to use review sites and directories for your local online marketing, you need to get listed, encourage reviews, and monitor your listing. Here’s how to do it.
When creating your listing on these sites, be as detailed as possible, and make sure your information is consistent across listings. You want people to be able to use these sites to not only discover your business, but also to learn about, engage with, and become a customer of your business. If it is difficult for people to get to your website, find your address, or call you from your online directory listing, then you are likely missing out on new customers.
Google Maps isn’t just for navigation and geography. It acts as an online directory as well, and is commonly used by people to find local businesses. If it’s not already listed, you need to get your business ranking on Google Maps to boost your local online presence.
Once you setup your directory listing , you can sit back and relax, right? Well, not quite! If there are any changes in your business, even as small as a suite number, you’ll need to update your listing. If people obtain inaccurate or out-of-date information about your business, they will not be able engage with it, and may even lose trust in your business.
It’s also important to monitor your listings to respond to comments and reviews from customers. It’s a good idea to occasionally Google your business to make sure your listing is accurate.
In addition to accessing your website and contacting you, potential customers will also use what other people say in order to learn about your business. If your business shows up in a directory and there are no reviews, they are likely to turn to a competitor who has reviews. Optimize your local online marketing by asking customers to write good online reviews for these directories and make it easy for them to do so.
Though search engines are vast and worldwide entities, they are also extremely effective for local online marketing.
One of the best ways to have a strong local online presence is to optimize your website for search engines. By including local keywords for your business in your website and blog content, you will help get your content found by potential customers in search engine results.
Another way to use search engines for local online marketing is through search engine marketing (aka SEM, paid search, pay per click advertising, or PPC). The advertising platforms on search engines, like Google and Bing offer advanced targeting options so you can get your business’s ads in front of people who are geographically close to your business. These ads use target keywords that users are searching for that are related to your business.
When people search for products or services they need in their area, they also search for promotions and deals to help them make a decision on which business to use. Another location based marketing strategy is to use coupon and deal sites like LivingSocial and Groupon. These sites help to connect people with local businesses in various areas, from beauty and spas, health and fitness, automotive and electronics, and more.
Real time marketing is a great way to boost your local online marketing efforts. When you run events, sales, and other marketing promotions, be sure to inform and update people as the event is happening. Use social media to share pictures and videos live during an event or sale to get more people nearby to learn about and participate, and also to gain more followers who are at the event or participating in the promotion.
While you will find some online marketing channels to be more effective than others, it is important to make use of multiple channels at once. Online marketing works by employing different platforms and strategies to facilitate the same goals. Diversify your online marketing with the above strategies to give your local business a greater prominence in its community.