Does your company market primarily to a local customer base? Could you do better at reaching your local customers? Perhaps you have searched online for businesses in your industry and your city’s name, only to find that your competitors are beating you soundly by being top-ranked in search listings. If you need to improve or solidify your local market share on the Internet, you’ll need these ten tips to help you get started.
Tip 1: Utilize the full extent of social media. You have already begun using Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to your advantage, but have you considered your presence on location-based social media platforms such as Facebook Check-ins or Foursquare? Customers check in to businesses they visit and share their activities or purchases there with their friends and family, giving you free advertising with a personal connection. You can incentivize social media check-ins by offering a coupon or other reward for visiting your business through these platforms. This encourages repeat business and increases the likelihood of current customers telling more people about your business.
Tip 2: Speaking of apps, a growing number of customers are no longer just searching for you on the Internet; they’re educating themselves about local businesses through their mobile devices such as phones and tablets. It can pay off to increase your presence in the mobile market by running mobile ads as part of your marketing strategy and to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly, so you can ensure a quality experience for your customers no matter where they are when looking for your products or services. Be sure to include your location information, hours, and contact information in an easy-to-access location on your mobile site to make it simple for customers to find you.
Tip 3: You should have a local listing on Google and other search engines. When users, either mobile or traditional perform a Google search, it brings up relevant results based upon the user’s location. The successor to Google Places is Google+ Local. Integrated into Google Plus, Local brings up recommendations based on users’ locations, popularity, and circle activity. It also enhances search by bringing up results that are local to the person performing the search. When you create and update your business profile on Local, you are more likely to be seen by potential customers who are nearby and your website will be listed higher in local customers’ search results.
Tip 4: Build local search results through optimization. Traditional and social search optimization is huge for local businesses. Each piece of content you post to your business website should use both industry-specific and geo-specific keywords. You should also include optimized title tags and meta descriptions to further-guide search results into recognizing your business as local. Build your profile on other websites and links from businesses related to yours as well as local bloggers. Each piece of search engine optimization you do will help build your presence online as a local business.
Tip 5: Actively engage on online reviews. As your presence grows on the Internet for your local customers, you will begin to see reviews popping up about you across each platform we have discussed. You should actively monitor and manage your reputation when people review your products or services. By effectively responding to and resolving the issues listed by a customer who had a bad experience, you show your willingness to listen to customers and accept feedback. When you thank someone for a positive review, you build karma with the community for taking that time and showing that you are actively involved with your customers even after they walk out your doors.
These tips should give you a good start on optimizing your web presence for local business. In part two there will be five more tips to help solidify your local listings and keep your local customer base growing.