Small businesses must compete for attention both locally and online, so it’s important to optimize your small business website to rank well in search results and also to generate revenue. Positioning your website is as just as important as the location of your store. Your website should identify your business as part of the local community.
Optimizing your website is important for both search engines and end users because local search results are based on information in the user query. When each page of your website is correctly optimized, the content creates value that is ranked by search engines and helps your site rise in search results.
There are many different methods to drive local traffic to your website, and to your store. You can use a combination of options below, or even use them all.
Create Digital Listings with Online Directories
Search engines create online directories that are beneficial to local marketing because they allow you to create listings for your business which helps people find you. These directories are easy to update and should be included as part of your local marketing strategy.
Google My Business will include your business in the directory and include your website, physical location, contact information, store hours, and phone number. This directory connects to Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+.
Bing places for Business also lets you claim your listing, set up a business profile along with your products and services.
Yahoo Small Business will allow you to submit your listing to more than 60 local directories, including; Yahoo, Google, Yelp, WhitePages, Bing, MapQuest, and more for $29.99 per month.Online directories allow you to create a business listing, and benefits your local marketing efforts. Click To Tweet
Local Search Queries Generate Website Traffic
Local search optimization helps your website show up in local searches. For example, if someone’s dog ran through a mud patch, you may use voice search for “dog groomer near me.” If you’re the only groomer in town, you won’t have a problem with local competition. However, if there are multiple groomers, then your business will compete for products, services, pricing and even store hours. Your website should tie into your social media accounts to broaden your online footprint, create awareness and most importantly – sales.
If you have a niche business, such as ‘show-dog grooming,’ then make sure that your website lists the breeds you specialize in, the type of cut, the time it takes to service the animal, and your price. Owners that compete in dog shows may covet your services and not want to share, but others will be so impressed that they will create new business in the form of referrals.
Local Video Marketing
There are many benefits to adding video to a local marketing strategy. You can use video to differentiate your business from others in your market, and even use ‘behind-the-scenes’ video to create awareness. More than 50% of video today is watched on mobile devices, and you can use it to drive traffic to your website and store. YouTube is a great channel to post content about your store, events, and should tie into your community. Videos are easy to produce, and can even be taken from your smartphone and then uploaded. Video can be integrated into your Facebook header and tabs, along with your website and other social media channels. No one can tell your story better than you, and video is a great way to do that.
Manage Your Online Reputation
Online reputation for small businesses is now a factor in how websites are ranked by search engines.
Whether you have a niche catering business, a coffee shop in Seattle or you are a wedding planner in Nashville, your name and reputation in the local market are what makes loyal customers. Your stellar reputation with locals is how you generate referral business, and your online presence helps generate repeat traffic to your website and your brick and mortar.
Web reviews is a great way to drive traffic to your website. Your products and services should be listed not only on your website but also on review sites such as Amazon, Yelp, and Consumer Reports. Give your customers an opportunity to provide a review on your website.
If someone posts a negative review on your website, social media or a review site, follow up with them immediately. It is important to solve their problem quickly and to make them feel that you care about them. If you are not able to solve their problem, then offer to resolve it in another way. Whether you need to offer a replacement product, or issue a full refund – make sure that your customer is happy with the end result.
Choosing which social channels to be active can depend on your business and your target audience. If your business is highly visual and you have a variety of different types of clients, it will expand your ability to create fresh images and fresh messaging. Keep your message simple. The fewer words you use, the more likely your followers will read the content.
Most businesses don’t need to have a profile in every social media channel. The time it takes to create images, messages, and related landing pages is time-consuming. Start off with one or two channels that make sense for your brand and create content that encourages people to engage.
The worst way to use social media is to use it as a sales tool. A better approach is to highlight the feature or functionality of your product or service rather than trying to sell it to your audience.
The Difference Between Social Monitoring and Social Listening
Social monitoring allows you to engage with followers in real time. This includes answering questions, responding to complaints and also showing them how much you appreciate them.
Social listening tools allow you to extract insights from those conversations based on keywords and phrases and leverage them as part of your content marketing strategy. When you understand the context of the conversation, it allows you to develop marketing content based on aggregated conversations. If a customer posts a complaint online, it’s important to address that concern immediately. The language you use can calm the situation. Then you can develop new content, and publish online to demonstrate that you understand the issue, and have solved the problem.Social listening tools help you extract insights based on keywords and leverage them as part of your content marketing strategy. Click To Tweet
Use Hashtags to Create Awareness and Grow Your Business
The use of hashtags in social media began with Twitter, then expanded to Facebook and even LinkedIn. A hashtag is simply a pound symbol surrounded by a parenthesis on each side. Hashtags allow you to personalize your brand and grow your business. Hashtags can be used as bookmarks to archive content around a specific topic.
Location-based hashtags such as #bestbootsinhouston or #BestWeddinginBoston can improve your local presence. If you are running a sales campaign, include a hashtag with an online coupon such as #bestboots15 to increase online and offline traffic by offering a 15% discount.
Hashtags frequently create trends in social media, and it’s an easy way to follow a person, a promotion or an event. If you have a Twitter list of your competitors, observe the hashtags they use and learn how to capitalize on the trend.
Sponsor Local Events
Many communities have annual events such as state fairs, festivals, and concerts which are prime opportunities for local marketing. Usually, there are different levels of sponsorships, which can include speaking opportunities, social media posts or a prime advertising spot in the local newspaper or industry publication.
Local Marketing is Good For Business
The goal of local marketing is to create a digital footprint in your area and draw visitors to your website or store. Local marketing creates business opportunities and helps visitors make educated decisions about your product or service.
Local marketing is more than search engine optimization, keywords, and hashtags. Take advantage of networking opportunities within the community to create referral business. Building relationships is much less expensive than advertising and can grow your online business and your brick and mortar.
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