Using online marketing and promoting your local business online is part of your overall marketing strategy, not an isolated medium.
It’s true, you can get great results. It does take work and knowledge, you can’t just throw up a website and hope for the best!
I’ll be honest, I get over enthusiastic about how to promote your business online. I do think it’s the bee’s knees and the best thing since sliced bread.
I am not naive enough to think that it’s the answer to all business woes or even that it can totally replace more traditional marketing techniques. Let’s face it, not everyone is online (yet!)
Is it time to promote your local business online?
There are very few local businesses that cannot take advantage of online promotion. If you are an exclusive, high end business perhaps it’s not right for you. If your market is primarily aimed at the older generation, then maybe online promotion is not the best way to reach them directly – although you can still reach their influencers online…
If you decide to promote your local business online you do need these 3 essential elements. Even if you do nothing else, here are the 3 things you must do to build your online foundation.
Not just any website, a local business website. A website created with all the jiggery pokery in the background so that the search engines know what you do and where you are based – better known as on-page SEO (search engine optimisation).
Most local business websites don’t have this information present. Sometimes just having it there takes you from invisible online to being found by local people without further work. It does depend on your area and online competition – and there are NO guarantees.
Another important point about your website – it’s not about you. Your website needs to show what people are looking for and quite frankly “Welcome to Our Website” and “We have 20 years experience in selling widgets” just doesn’t cut it.
Google Places (Google +Local)
Claim your Google Places page. It is a bit chaotic at the moment as Google merge Places into Google Plus (+Local) but the claiming procedure hasn’t changed at the time of writing.
You can get full details of how to promote your local business with Google Places and avoid the pitfalls in my Get Started Online guides – just fill in the box below this post to download your free guides.
Your Google Places page shows your business name, address and telephone number in the local search results. Since Google tries hard to serve local results, you are really missing out if you do not claim your Place.
Citations are mentions of your business name, address and phone number on other sites online. One of the easiest ways to do this is to claim your local directory listings. There’s a list of 20 to get you started in my Get Started Online guides.
There is more involved in promoting your local business online, the three methods outlined above are your foundation to build on. When you are ready to dive in further consider:
- An email opt-in to market your business by email. It may well be considered very 90’s by some but email STILL works very well
- A blog – it’s the easiest way to keep your website updated and current
- Social media – it’s not all mindless chatter and as time consuming as you may think!
Are you promoting your local business online yet? How are you getting on? Ask your questions or leave your comments below.3 Essentials Elements To Promote Your Local Business Online by Jan Kearney