The days of local business promotion and online marketing being separate entities are long gone. The popularity of smartphones means consumers can research a business and then visit the store in quick succession. In fact, the content company Nectafy found that 88% of consumer local business searches on Google, when conducted on a mobile device, led to either a store visit or phone call. While it is clearly important for local businesses to have an online presence, many are still lagging behind. Using the following strategy, though, a business can quickly develop an online presence that gains attention and serves its target audience.
Create a Website
Creating a website is far easier today than in the past. Platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix make it possible to design a site that perfectly suits your needs. While you can easily build an attractive site, your priority should be to focus on branding and lead generation. Visitors should be encouraged to join an email list, contact you directly, or purchase a product. Also, your site needs to be accessible to mobile devices, as many of your visitors will be using smartphones. Consider adding live chat to answer questions and encourage people to visit your store.
Use On-Page Optimisation
On-page optimisation will ensure your site can be found by Google, with the greatest chance of ranking for target keywords. Use the Google Keyword Planner, or a similar keyword tool, to find the most relevant keywords for your location and industry. You can use these keywords sparingly in the title, description, and body copy. Structured data markup can also be used to present key factors like location, industry, opening hours, and more. If you operate in multiple towns and cities, consider creating individual landing pages for each location.
Set Up Google My Business
Google My Business lets you add and update a profile, with the possibility of achieving a prominent ranking in the local search results. You will either need to claim the existing listing or add a new one, including all important details like name, address, phone number, opening hours, category, and images. It is also important to get reviews on your profile, so encourage customers to leave a response. The Google Posts feature lets you add upcoming events, product launches, and similar notifications. Additionally, you can follow the same process for Bing Places for Business.
Build Local Citations
Citations are an integral part of promoting a local business. Citations are important backlinks for SEO, while they can also assist users in finding out about your business on directory sites. You need to maintain a consistent name, address, and phone number (NAP) profile across all directories, so it is worth starting with a complete audit. Tools like BrightLocal can help you uncover all your existing citations along with syndicating information to the many other directories that will accept your NAP data. A comprehensive list of accurate citations should lead to a better ranking in the search engines.
Create Your Social Media Platforms
Promoting local business online, with the help of social media is often seen as a global approach to communication, you can always find an audience local to you. Start by building social accounts on major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You then need to post updates consistently, focusing on your brand values and what you want to represent to followers. Facebook will have local groups for finding relevant followers, while hashtags can also help put you in touch with the right people. Follower numbers are a major part of social media, but local businesses can focus on targeted and engaged audiences over impressive numbers.
Reviews are an effective promotional tool that need to be encouraged as many customers will not naturally think to offer a response. Searchers have got used to researching businesses before contemplating a purchase, often using their smartphones in the local vicinity. A collection of positive reviews can, therefore, lead to an increased number of visitors and an improved conversion rate. Get used to asking customers to leave reviews, linking to the site to make the process as easy as possible. Additionally, it is important to respond to reviews, either to resolve issues or make happy customers even more loyal.
Use Targeted Ads
The most sophisticated ad networks offer high levels of targeting. Facebook, for example, lets you narrow down to local areas and add additional filters based on demographics and interests. This targeting ensures you can reach people who either live or have recently visited the location of your business. You may find that your target audience is relatively small, not allowing you to reach a significant audience. Sites like Facebook, though, can use their collection of data to uncover similar audiences likely to be interested in your brand. You can then set goals based on new email subscribers or calls and messages to your business.
Focus on Content Marketing
Content marketing helps to build brands and create authority for SEO. While many local businesses struggle to come up with content ideas, there are always opportunities. Even if your niche might seem boring, you can focus on the wider industry or a related trend. There is also the option to focus directly on your business operations, providing behind the scenes access to customers. Tools like BuzzSumo can help you research what has already worked, highlighting both the popular posts and the styles of content used. Social media is usually the most effective way to promote your content, using relationships to build a group of people willing to repost your links.
Local business searches make up a significant portion of Google traffic. Social media and news sites also generate interest in local content. If you own a business and are not tapping into this traffic, you are missing out. You can no longer rely on offline marketing techniques, with mobile device users often turning to online searches before visiting a store. Using these methods, though, it is possible to build a solid base, start to consistently generate interest, and grow your brand. Online marketing for local businesses is only going to grow in importance, so get in touch with us and start the process of promoting your local business online today.