First came the many possibilities for marketing your small-business online: websites, social media and more. Then came the mindset that small-business owners had to start thinking globally when it came to marketing. Now that trend has shifted in the opposite direction, as small-business owners are focusing more on the benefits a local online marketing campaign can offer.
Are you making the most of your local marketing? Here are 5 ways you can shift your marketing strategy to the local level.
1. Create local business pages. "One of the most important steps to taking your online marketing local is to create local business pages on Google+ Local Pages, Facebook Pages and Bing Places for Business," says Dan Olson of the marketing company UpCity. "Facebook’s Business Pages are now appearing in local mobile search, making this an increasingly valuable component of your local marketing campaign."
Olson says local business listings help your company show up in the search results when a user searches for your business category and city or region. LinkedIn Company Pages, Foursquare, YellowPages.com and Yelp profiles are also important. These profiles will increase your exposure online and help local customers find your business easily. UpCity offers a free Local SEO Report Card for small-business owners to monitor local business listings, along with recommendations for improvement.
2. Optimize your website for mobile. If you’re trying to draw local traffic to your website, you must have a mobile-optimized site. More local searches are conducted on mobile devices and tablets than desktops, so you want to provide a user-friendly experience. Mobile users are almost 20 percent more likely to make a purchase after conducting a local search, according to MarketingCharts.com, so this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.
3. Encourage reviews from local customers. The great thing about setting up all those local business listings is that many of those websites allow consumers to review or endorse your company. Facebook and LinkedIn both offer this option, as well as Yelp and Google+ Local Pages. The content from reviews is also a boost to SEO, and you’ll establish more credibility off the bat with new prospects.
Encourage your followers and customers to endorse your company on these websites. Offering an incentive, such as a percent discount on a future purchase, is a useful way to encourage reviews.
4. Use local SEO keywords. Whether you’re trying to ramp up your organic local SEO or you’re considering buying some targeted pay per click ads, you’ll want to choose the right keywords. Dev Basu, founder of Web marketing firm Powered by Search, says adding city or region names to your established, industry-relevant terms is the simplest way to generate localized key phrases.
Conduct keyword research to find out which search terms are used most often to search for businesses in your area, and experiment with various keyword combinations on your website to determine which earn you the most conversions. If you’re working with ads, you can use geo-targeting to show those ads only to searchers in the specified areas.
5. Get links from local businesses. Some of the same SEO tactics you use on a regular basis can apply to your local-focused efforts too. Getting backlinks, for instance, easily transitions locally by targeting local websites and asking for links.
The local Chamber of Commerce is always a good place to start, and some have valuable .gov and .org URL extensions. Because local businesses have visitors from the same geographic area, they’re more likely to provide you with local-focused anchor text (e.g., San Diego SEO services), which can enhance your local search visibility.
These five tactics are a good start to a solid local marketing campaign. Supplementing these Web-based strategies with traditional marketing initiatives, such as having local sales and hosting events, will establish your small business as a leading industry authority in your local area.
Read more articles about online marketing.
Angela Stringfellow is a freelance writer, social media strategist and complete content marketing junkie obsessed with all things Web, written word and marketing.