6 steps to marketing your local business online
If you run a local business, you may be missing a gold mine of effective online marketing opportunities. Social media is known for connecting people around the globe and successfully promoting international causes and businesses. It is less well known for marketing local businesses in their communities. But there is a whole world of marketing opportunities available for location-based businesses, including search, social, and content marketing options. In this guide, we explore the top six marketing strategies that successful local businesses use, both online and off. Follow these six steps to getting noticed online. ### Step 1: Optimize your website for local search There are a number of ways you can optimize your website for local search that will help attract local clients and customers. The first thing you need to do is identify your keywords. These are the words (usually a short phrase) that describe your business. If, for example, you run a wedding photography business, your keywords might be “wedding photographer.” To localize your business, add the city you target to that phrase, e.g. “Burbank wedding photographer.” Read the Small Business SEO Guide, do some keyword research to make sure the city + keyword phrase has strong search volume, then optimize your website for the best locally focused keywords using the on-site optimization tips in the guide. Next, include a local street address and phone number (with a local area code, not 800 number) on each page of your website. Most businesses do this in the footer. This information must be on the website in text, not image format, so that search engines can crawl the information. If your business has multiple locations, the alternative is to put the primary location on each page and create individual contact pages for each location. Tip: Make sure your website has a contact page for each location that includes the address, phone number, and a map helping customers find it. Adding photos of each location on the contact page is also a good idea. _Actionable Takeaway: Craft locally focused keyword phrases for your business and optimize your website for them. Also, include your local address and phone number on each page of your website._ ### Step 2: Find the right local directories to join Local directories and review sites are often referred to as “citations,” and they can help your business website rank well in local search results on Google. Here are the keys to ensuring each local directory and review site you join counts towards helping your business rank well in local search:
- Make sure your business name, address, phone number, and website are consistent, on both your website and in local listings. Things that will cause ranking problems include having your business name listed as ABC Services in one place and A.B.C. Services in another, or having your address listed as 1500 West First St. in one place and 1500 W. First Street in another, or having your website address listed as abcservices.com in one place and www.abcservices.com/index.html in another.
- Encourage (but do not incentivize, bribe, or purchase) customers to write reviews about your business on the top local directories and review sites. The more positive reviews you have, the better your business is going to rank.
- Complete each of your local listing profiles as thoroughly as possible. If you are given the option of adding additional information, social network links, photos, and videos, be sure to do so.
- Create listings on Google+ Local, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, and Yelp.
- Search for your business name using Google and then claim and complete profiles for any of the listings that appear on the first couple of search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Use the GetListed resource pages to find the best citations for your business based on industry and city.
- Following local stations, news networks, newspapers and magazines on Facebook and/or Twitter.
- Subscribing to newspapers and magazines your ideal clients would read.
- Signing up to HARO (Help a Reporter Out) as a source.
- Optimize your website for local search.
- Create detailed listings on local directories, review sites, and networks.
- Focus your social media activities towards a local audience.
- Target your social advertising locally for less exposure, but more qualified clicks.
- Look for sponsorship opportunities that help your local community while gaining recognition for your business.
- Attract the attention of local media to turn your business into the talk of the town.
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