7-Step Guide to Succeeding with Local Marketing
As businesses start to appreciate the benefits of a strong online presence, local marketing has grown in prominence. There is greater understanding of how your business can be impacted by a high search engine ranking, a wide social media reach, a history of good reviews, and an extensive content syndication network. Across a wide variety of industries, local marketing has allowed businesses to gain a whole new lease of life.
Before you start any promotional work, research will give you a complete picture of your market. Keyword research will provide you with a list of the relevant search terms, including their search volumes and average cost-per-click, so you can build out your website based around these phrases. There is little point targeting broad, competitive terms when you are solely focused on the local market. Research also entails looking at your competitors to see the various ways they are gaining success online, enabling you to gain an overview of the industry you are targeting.
Create a Website
Your website will act as the hub for all your sales and promotions. You might actually be building relationships on other websites, including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, but your website will usually be the place you are actively promoting. While many sites encourage a light touch towards promotional activities, a business website should be focused around generating sales. You can include a blog on your site to show a personal side, and this can often encourage visitors to return.
Claim Your Business Listing
The major search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo, encourage local businesses to promote themselves on their respective business pages. These search engines catalogue local businesses, adding them to their maps and business sections, where they can be reviewed by users. Claiming your listing allows you to edit it fully, adding images, opening hours, a biography, and contact information. A prominent listing, with some additional positive reviews, could bring in customers even before your website is fully optimized.
Build Social Media Accounts
Many local business owners build a variety of social media accounts, but they often end up going unused. There is no point having empty social media properties, so make sure they are managed and updated. Products such as Hootsuite can make social media management easier, and you don’t need to be active every minute of each day. Social media allows you to build relationships with your customers, but you don’t want to be too promotional. Bear in mind, most people are using their social media accounts to socialise and relax, so use your accounts to show personality and brand values.
Citations are mentions of your business that occur in various places across the web. They could be your full business name, address, and phone number, but they might just be a reference to your company name. Of course, having your business referenced on relevant sites gives you exposure, but citations can also be used to provide trust in the eyes of the search engines. You can get citations from many sites, including local directories, local blogs, online newspapers, and industry-specific directories. When you are attempting to build citations, focus your efforts only on sites that have either local or industry relevance to you, rather than unrelated sites that can look spammy.
Put out a Press Release
A press release can be used to announce your new business, website, or any product or service developments. Press releases are liked by the search engines, often giving you additional listings for certain keywords. You might not think you have any news of importance, but a press release can be of niche interest too. If you can write interesting copy, or hire a copywriter to craft it for you, your news can be picked up by many local news outlets and blogs, resulting in traffic and search engine trust.
Syndicate Quality Content
After performing competitive research, setting up your web properties, and gaining some exposure, your next step is to start syndicating content around the web. Quality content allows you to gain a bigger audience, while also building backlinks which help with search engine optimisation. Content could come in the form of articles, videos, infographics, guest blogging, and podcasts, and you can outsource much of this if you don’t want to create it yourself. The key to successful content syndication is to ensure a high quality level that you stay consistent with.
By following these seven steps, any local business should be able to improve its online presence considerably. Local marketing can be un-competitive, depending on the region you are targeting, so you can often see results without much effort. If you don’t want to take on this extra responsibility, hire a company to do it for you. As countless local businesses will attest to, local marketing can revolutionise the way you find your customer base.