While online marketing in itself is a long-term project that your business will need to maintain for the long haul, online marketing to your local customers specifically comes with its own set of unique challenges and rewards. First, you need to take steps to manage your online presence, as it is often the first impression potential customers have at your business.
However, you’ll also want to optimise your keyword and address usage on your website and utilise social networks to attract local clientele. Though direct mailings have been a favourite for local marketing, consider the various steps you can take to get the attention of your local customers online.
Your Online Profile
Be proactive. Take control of your business’s online image by claiming your business profile in online business directories. Do a search for your business – you may be listed without your knowledge, on sites you may not have ever heard of. This prevents incorrect information, like your email, web address, or even business type, from being propagated and spread through the web and end up harming your business.
- Check popular business sites like Bing, Yahoo, and Google and either claim or create your business profile. Do the same on business sites that operate within your niche. Finally, check out local directories for your town or city to make sure you are listed and that your listing information is correct.
- Over 80 million Google places pages are being transferred to Google+ local, so don’t let your business get lost in the crowd. It is important for your business to be easy to find in a hyper local search engine.
- Promote your Google+ and Facebook pages by continually visiting them, adding new content, and linking to your business website. Ask your customers to leave reviews for your business on your social media pages.
Remember – being local and being online isn’t mutually exclusive. Your neighbors will use the internet to find your business, but the information they get will determine whether they actually walk through your doors.
Your Local Keywords
Help your neighbours find your business by optimising your business keywords. With 83% of households in the US searching the internet for local shopping and services, it’s important that your Google keyword ranking is geared towards local customers.
- Be sure your local address is visible on your site, and not just in the contact section. While you shouldn’t stuff the information everywhere, it needs to be visible enough for web crawlers to locate your address and find it significant. Try putting it in the alt text of your website’s main photo or business logo.
- Analyse keywords appropriate for your niche at the local level. Place your top keyword and your address in your site’s meta tags to increase the likelihood of their showing up in various searches.
There are a variety of tools you can use to engage local customers in the online marketplace. A combination of social media networks, optimised keywords, and attractive directory profiles can guide local customers to your business and help you enjoy greater sales and traffic.