For a lot of local businesses, you rely on word of mouth – which can do wonders if you get known. But what if you want to expand further than that? How do you make sure potential local customers can find you online?
Make sure your website is top notch – it needs to look modern and be full of up to date information. Paying someone to build it once 4 years ago and then leaving it alone will simply not do any more.
Particularly, it needs to be optimised for mobile users, as more and more people are searching on the go. A new Google Study showed that 50% of mobile users are most likely to visit after conducting a local search – you can read this in depth study about local and mobile search here
So make sure your address is prominent, so they can come find you – this sounds obvious, but sometimes it’s overlooked, and can be tricky to find!
Keeping an active blog (once or twice a week at least) is also integral, as you’re constantly letting search engines know that your site is a great source of new expert information on your company’s industry – and so in turn, you get more traffic.
If you haven’t already, add your business to Google Places.
For any location based searches in Google, for example “hairdressers Wigan”, Google maps results still appear at the top of the listings, before any website listings.
It’s also an opportunity to get Reviews – which (if good!) boost your credibility.
It’s important to make sure you’re not missing here. It’s free add for your business and is quite straightforward.
As a small business, it can seem like quite a lot of hassle to keep posting on social media platforms, but the truth is, that’s where your potential customers are!
There were over 1 Billion users on facebook last week, so get active on social!
You can post a variety of things, not just special deals – think about what your audience would also be interested in (it doesn’t always have to be about yourself). A few times a week should be enough to start with and be sure to include any good photos or videos, as they always get more views.
You also need to make sure your profile is fully filled out, and has all your address contact details, opening times, phone number etc on.
Add yourself to any local business listing websites – for any reasonable sized town there’s usually a few free sites where you can add your company details. This is just a small step, but you want to cover every option.
A few UK wide sites include Yelp, Thompson and Free Index.
Get to know other local business in the area if you don’t already. Local connections, whether online or offline can be invaluable – you never know when something pops up and you’ve been recommended by someone local to you for the job.
A good place to find and connect with other businesses / people is Twitter.
Sponsoring local events is always a good way to get your name known to the local community. As there’s the build up promotion online as well as the printed material etc on the actual day.
However, before you hand out any money, find out exactly how big the event is, what their target market is likely to be, and whether you’ll be added to their website as part of the deal (which is a big plus).
This research will ensure that your business gets seen by the right kind of people, and not time wasters who won’t need your services.
Hopefully these ideas will give you a quick taster of the work that needs to be done to ensure you reach full potential with your local online marketing.
If you need a helping hand, or have any questions, please let us know.