I’ve been finding alot of uses for SEO lately in the local business arena. So many small business owners are trying to supplement their marketing efforts by moving online, and many of these owners understand that online search is ‘where it’s at’.
So, because I’m a nice guy 😉 I want to reveal a few of the tactics I use to help small businesses succeed in local search:
First, you’ll want to have a website of course. Most small businesses already have this covered, and hopefully the site is at least somewhat search engine friendly. There is alot that goes into this, but generally, if your site is text based, easy to navigate, and has helpful content, you are probably ok.
Next, you need to get it into your head that your website is more than an online business card. It can work as a marketing tool too. But this means that you have to commit to developing it (which I’ll touch on in a minute). If you’re willing to spend the time writing, marketing the site, and networking online, you’ll stand a good chance of turning your local website into a successful business generator.
4 Local Search Marketing Tips For a Local Business Website
1) Create More Content:
This is a really common tip in the internet marketing industry, but most local business owners don’t realize that they need to spend time writing and developing more valuable content on their sites. Try to write a few new pages per month for the site. Having trouble coming up with ideas? Here are a few:
Martial Arts Studio: Publish up to date class schedules. Take video of some talented students for the site.
Accountant: Articles on new tax code and how it will effect local tax payers.
Real Estate Agent: Publish up to date market reports on local housing market activity.
Plumber: Post helpful home plumbing tips, or seasonal information about maintaining your home.
Dentist: Publish coupons for certain services and write about proper care of teeth.
Local Marketing Consultant: Publish cases studies on previous successes you’ve had with other clients.
Hardware Store: Post on new inventory, or a new tool or equipment line you carry.
Hair Salon: Post pictures of recent customers that had styling done.
Those are just a few… hopefully you get the point. You need to have valuable content on the site in order for local visitors to even consider visiting. It can also work as a great marketing hook and help you drive more search engine traffic based on all of the new content you are writing about.
2) Reach Out To a Local Audience:
Surprisingly, this is rarely practiced among most business owners. In order to be effective locally, you have to connect with a local audience. This is just as important offline as it is online. Local networking groups, clubs, chamber of commerce, recreational groups, etc. All can be effective in getting your name out there. Online is just as important depending on the size of your target market. If you live in a location with less than 20,000 people, it may be difficult to find online communities to participate in. But most of the time, there is alot of opportunity right under your nose in the local online scene…
- Find local blogs and participate by commenting or writing guest articles. Try to reach out to the author of the blog for networking or linking opportunities. (this is where having useful quality content on your website would come in handy)
- Find local message boards. Usually the more popular ones will be on a local newspaper website, or a large national community site like Topix or Yelp. Participate where available and don’t forget to place your website in the signature of your posts.
- Give something away for free to other local business owners to earn their trust. Even if you’re not targeting them directly as a customer, chances are they have a significant amount of influence and have their own client bases. If you can build a solid relationship, they will probably recommend you to others.
- Reach out locally with sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and any social site that allows you to group together with local people.
3) Get Included in Local Directories
Very few people use the text version of the Yellow Pages anymore. That market share has been snatched up by search engines, and other sites called IYP’s (Internet Yellow Pages). These IYP’s are important to be listed on because a large number of people use them to find local business. And when someone is looking for a local business they are usually in the mood to buy something…
You can start with the major sites like Google Local & Yahoo Local, but you’ll want to move on to some of the others such as:
There are a host of others, but ths will get you started. If you’re interested in a service that will create all of these listings for you, try Universal Business Listing. They will submit to about 40 sites for only $30.
4) Market the Website to Current Customers
The often overlooked audience of potential web marketing is your current customer base. They already know you and your business to some extent. They trust you, and they are one of your largest sources of new business.
- Do any of your customers have websites? If so you should be exchanging links with them and talking about how you can help each other market.
- Hand out some small cards with your website address, or social networking contact information.
- Start an email marketing list that continuously offers coupons, special services and reminders.
- Place your website and calls to action to your website on every piece of marketing material you have.
- Provide exclusive web content. Tell people that you have special online only coupons, or some other valuable information that they can only get online.
I hope these tips were helpful. Keep a look out for a special small business marketing DIY checklist I’ll be publishing soon…