Promoting your business locally, online and via word of mouth, is easy and effective. Many newspapers and TV stations have websites that promote small businesses to cities and regional metropolitan areas (such as Queens, Brooklyn, and other neighborhoods in Greater New York City). There are also thousands of blogs and review websites that provide directories of product/service providers to potential customers. Phone books may be a thing of the past now but don’t forget about Yellow Pages. Yellow Pages also has a strong online presence that contains over 16 million businesses. Another way you can promote your business locally is by becoming a sponsor of a local event or group. You will increase your exposure (locally and online), get a good link on trusted websites and get new clients for your business.
Most local businesses don’t realize how powerful Google My Business is. Google My Business gets your website onto Google Search, Google Maps (so users can find you and leave reviews), and Google+. The power of Google My Business is that your website will show up in Google Search with your map and Google+ profile. In fact, 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles within 24 hours. Take some time to really make sure you have a great profile and really good pictures and your hours and location are current. If you pay a lot for leads consider listing your business as 24 hours a day and having a call center handle the off hours. Leads can be expensive and tend not to stop at 5pm for service businesses – don’t lose them by being closed if at all possible!
Steps to complete this task
If you have a physical location start by developing an SEO strategy that focuses heavily on local terms (city + keyword long-tail combination). Depending on your competition, it may be tricky to rank for your most important phrase or term. It’s normally easier to rank for more specific terms, or “long-tail” phrases. When planning out the keyword phrases you’d like to rank for, think about both the main industry terms and the long tail phrases that relate to them. Understand the language that your customers tend to use when they’re looking for a business like yours and use keyword finders like semrush.com to see how much traffic specific phrases get.
If you live in a smaller city there may not be enough search volume to see the exact phrases people are typing into search engines. Try looking at larger cities keywords like New York or London and applying your industry there. Once you see what people are searching for it is pretty easy to extrapolate what they’d be typing in for your city. For example, if “New York City Pool Table Repair” is a keyword then assume “Fargo Pool Table Repair” is also a term (albeit with less search volume).
Develop good link building strategies by focusing on local directories. There are many different online directories like Google Maps, Yelp, or Axiom you should be listed on. But, don’t forget about local directories too. Make sure your address and contact information is correct and displayed on all your social media channels and on your website. Finding local directories is easy. Just search for terms in your city and scan the rankings for what look like good directories.
Let’s make sure you are in Google maps, a heavily used search tool for mobile users. Go to www.google.com/mybusiness and click start. Type in your business name, if you show up make sure all your information is correct. Google will send you a post card (usually within 10 business days) or call you with your verification code. In the meantime, fill out your contact information (phone number, hours, address) on your Google Dashboard. Add a description, photos, videos, and a virtual tour. Tip: Get on Google Maps and search the keywords you want your user to search for to see if your business appears. Use those keywords in your business description. Once you receive that code, log into your Google+ account to enter your verification code. As soon as you are verified you should start popping up in map results and shortly thereafter see an increase in traffic!
Sponsor local events or groups. Get involved in the community. Create goodwill through supporting the community and the local economy. By sponsoring an event that is for the community, your company will send a message to attendees that your company is invested in the community’s interests. Usually, event sponsors will automatically get the benefit of being promoted throughout the process since some events have local media support while others may offer national campaigns. Consider providing a limited quantity or special discount if purchased at the event offer. The public and other businesses will see you for networking purposes.
Collaborate with other small local businesses. Collaborate on new ideas and resources to offer a special deal to customers locally and leverage traffic and exposure. Try promoting them on social media and likewise having them promote you. This is an easy way for both companies to reach new users.
Ask your customers to leave a review if they had a good experience. And always, RESPOND to your reviews!
- Review the ways to increase traffic to newer websites.
- Create social media accounts and start posting.
- Promote your business locally.
- Master the best SEO practices.
- Set up an email / newsletter campaign.
- Ramp up your email campaign efforts.