What is local online marketing? When you create an online presence with your website, local business listings and target customers within a specific location through various online mediums such as search engines, paid advertising or geo-fencing then it is known as local online marketing.
If you own a small shop, a store, a contracting business, a dental clinic or any other business that solely relies on local customers then your entire focus is on marketing your business locally to help customers find your business.
Traditional advertising such as pamphlet distribution and print ads in local newspapers is not enough to reach out to the customers.
Since, we are in a digital age where each consumer is online and searching for something using a smart phone, so you should have a solid online presence to reach local customers.
Don’t confuse between creating an ‘online presence’ and creating a ‘local online presence’ specifically for your local business.
If you are a local business then in this post you will some really good local online marketing tips that you can apply to reach out to the local customers.
Get a Business Website with responsive design – Since, Google now prefers mobile responsive websites and has a mobile first indexing approach, all business need a mobile responsive website.
But for local businesses it is even more important as local customers often search for a restaurant, laundry service, pharmacy, dental clinic, convenience store etc. on their smart phone and not having a mobile responsive website, Google won’t even bother to show your business in its local search results.
Not only search engines prefer a mobile responsive website but customers also find it easy to navigate through web pages that fit their smart phone screens, so start by getting a business website which is also responsive.
Focus on Local Search – Your Website needs to have all the elements for local search optimization.
A solid local online marketing strategy starts with a website that is optimized for local search. Include a location map, address, business hours and your phone number(s) on your website.
Include a Call-to-Action – Once customers are on your website you want them to take action…isn’t it?
Decide what you want them to do next and include a Call-to-Action which could be Contact Us button then redirects to a contact us form or it could be your phone number display so that they understand that a call is necessary before a visit or redirect them to a page that displays your business hours.
Connect Social Media Accounts – Google considers social signals as a ranking factor and it is important to connect your social media accounts with your website.
Connect your facebook, twitter, linkedin and Yelp pages and ensure all have the same and precise business address as on your website.
It helps Google understand that you are a local business operating within a specific area.
Few more powerful tips for Local Online Marketing:
Create a Google Business Listing – Claim your Google Business Listing as that helps the search giant to verify your business location and place your business in the local search results.
Local customers often search for a store, service provider, restaurant, café or shop using Google search and Google displays business listings that are claimed by businesses.
When you create your Google Business Listing make sure that Business Name, Address, Phone number and business hours are correct.
Claiming your business on Google is the single most important thing when it comes to Local Online Marketing.
Collect Reviews – How many times have you noticed while searching for a business in your area that Google often displays those businesses first that have customer reviews?
Customer reviews help Google understand that your business is trustworthy and people are using your services and products.
It also helps Google understand that you are local business servicing the local customers. So, go ahead and contact your customers and ask for a review/feedback on your Google Business listing.
Collecting reviews from local customers can really add a lot of value to your local online marketing efforts.
Optimize your Website’s content – Create content for your website which is focused on local customers and include location specific keywords both in the content and urls.
Including location(s) in keywords and in the content helps you rank locally as it helps Google identify that you are a local business targeting a specific area.
E.g. if you have a restaurant in Houston, Texas and your signature dish is based on fish fillets then you can find keywords related to Fish and add Houston to it like this: ‘best fish fillets houston’ and use the same keywords in url and spread within your content as well.
Whether online marketing for a large business spread across the country or local online marketing for a small business, keywords and content optimization is the key to help local customers find your business.
Use Geofencing – Don’t be afraid of such a new term that you never heard before! Geofencing is a technology that triggers relevant ads and notifications on a user’s smart phone when he/she enters a particular area or location.
E.g. if your ads are set to target customers that come nearby a mall in your area then a notification about your service or product will be delivered on their device. Isn’t amazing?
With Geofencing you can target your ads to people that enter geographic locations relevant to where you do business.
Leverage Online Advertising – Paid Advertising or Online Advertising keep evolving and companies such as Google, Bing and Facebook have optimized their algorithms to help local businesses target local customers through local online advertising campaigns.
You can set specific locations where you want to target customers with your online advertising campaigns in Google, Bing and Facebook.
Learn more about Targeting Locations in Google Adwords
Learn more about Targeting Locations with Bing Ads
Learn more about Targeting Locations with Facebook Ads
Post Local Online Classified ads – Online Classified ads are not a new thing and we come across thousands of local online classified ads everyday while looking for a service or a product in our area.
Local online classified ads have two advantages:
- It helps you reach local customers by posting a classified ad within a specific city/region.
- You can include a link of you website and boost SEO.
Leverage local online classified ads to spread a word about your business as there are hundreds of classified ad posting websites that you can use.
Craigslist.com is one of the best examples of local online classified ads posting websites.
You can find some free eBooks for leveraging local online marketing and building a solid local digital marketing strategy for your local business.
Keep learning and improving your local online marketing strategies to increase sales for small business and revenues and analyze what worked for you in the past and what’s not working at present.