I understand the challenges of running a local business from the perspective of a home-based business owner. Today’s market changes present a major challenge. However, let’s not forget the political factors such as wage rates or possible union issues. Many well-intentioned entrepreneurs face the problem of under-capitalization. These are the challenges that Internet marketing strategies must overcome.
The Internet has been a great tool in the business toolbox. It may not be able ward off the government and its regulations, but it works magic for creating buzz, brand loyalty, and generating new business and referrals.
While I can’t speak on your behalf, my friends, coworkers and even me often turn to the Internet when they need help. You can find any solution. Where can I eat, or order food in? “My back hurts after the car accident. “I should find a chiropractor and possibly a lawyer while doing this!” Let’s review some facts. F
All of these statistics indicate that local business searches are becoming more internet-driven. Real local businesses are now more visible online thanks to mobile devices such as iPad’s and local search tools.
Internet has become a powerful tool for local commerce and e-commerce. Consumers will continue to use the internet to find local information and businesses. This trend will continue as they move online more and more. A local business owner could be missing out on Archers of Diamonds if they don’t have an effective Internet marketing strategy. Let me clarify.
It makes perfect sense to have a high conversion rate for local searches, People won’t look for a local lawyer, dentist, yoga instructor, plumber, accountant or any other local business unless they intend to use it. They are most likely to search for local sellers when they want to buy.
Consider local Internet search as the new way for consumers to “shop around”. Instead of driving from business-to-business in search for the best value, consumers turn to the Internet to search the same value before they make a purchase. Sometimes they even get a referral form an online friend.
Let’s now look at Google and Facebook. Did you know Facebook is ranked second for most daily traffic after Google? You should also know that Facebook has its own search function and advertising.
If you already have an account, visit Google and Facebook. Use the phrase people searching for your product/service would type into Google search. On Facebook, type in your company name. Are any of these top results for your company or link back to you? Are you proud of the listing? Or is it obscuring your business’s true colors? Local search engine optimization can be a big positive for your bottom line.
The majority of the Internet can be used for free, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This will allow you to save thousands of dollars and create long-term value.
The market is experiencing major changes, and local search marketing is here to stay. It is still in its infancy but local search marketing can greatly fuel your local business’ growth. It can help you reach every customer within your service area at a fraction of the cost. The possibilities are limitless. You can offer products and/or services in digital format, or you can ship them. An ecommerce website can serve as an online storefront that is always open to receive payment from your customers.
The power of the internet is what I’ve just shown you. It is an invaluable resource that your local business has at its disposal. You now have a few options for what to do next, once you’re aware of its potential.
Don’t Do Anything: Continue doing what you are doing and pretending that you don’t have the time to read his stuff, while your competitors take your business. You may have a website but it is still a billboard beside an abandoned road. This is important:
Do It Yourself: Learn by trial and error and spend hours trying to figure it out. It’s easy to get lost in keyword research, not communicating well on social media and wasting money by ignoring the ad campaigns. All of your hard work is worth it if you can cross your fingers.
It may be obvious that the Google search result now displays the local map on its right side. The local listings, also known as Google Places at Google, are included in the organic search results. This local marketing tool can be invaluable for any business, if you watch the evolution of local listings in search engines since 2007.
The sad thing is that businesses have yet to tap into this local marketing tool. Although the industry is three years ahead, it is not clear that the local geography can be managed actively by businesses.
First of all, it is not a small company. This will be discussed in greater detail later. But, let’s not forget that national chains that have a local presence are dependent on the local economy to generate their revenue. Local listings can benefit any business, no matter how big or small, regardless of whether you are a Target or a local florist.
Second, Google’s recent changes indicate that they are both looking at Business-To Business (B2) and Business-To Consumer (B2C) respectively. Surprise! B2B is unlikely to have its customers leave reviews. B2B businesses that need to generate revenue through local marketing should tap into the same local listings as B2C businesses.
Google’s most recent search results update does not just display regular organic search results but also local listings relevant to the query. These listings tend to be higher in the results list than organic website results.
It is also very interesting to see the local listings results. They provide quite a lot of information to local consumers or customers. It is standard information, such as the business name, address, phone numbers, telephone numbers, website links, and the location on the map, that are displayed. The searcher will be most interested in the star ratings and customer reviews. Translated, this means local consumers or customers can see quickly if they would like to call or click on your local business listing.
There are two tools for optimizing marketing that businesses now have: their website and local business listing. Local business listings are effectively the interactive yellow pages for the 21st Century. Businesses must stop passively looking and start actively engaging with the listing.
First, claim your local business listing. Then, update it with your first update. Finally, monitor and manage your local business listing.
Although the local business listing may be considered a website, it’s best to use it as an additional tool for your primary website. To ensure your local business listing appears in search results, you need to have all the relevant information about your company, products, services.
This is followed by photos, videos, coupons and offers, discounts, and events.
Manage your local business listing by engaging customers and managing customer reviews. This is not only to ensure positive reviews from satisfied customers but also to build positive public relations for any customers who are less than happy.
Final steps in the optimization process include analyzing local business listing analytics and making decisions about how your listing can be improved.
There are two types of local business listing management service providers. The first type of company that provides “data only” services is not recommended as they won’t be involved in the claim process. Marketing services are offered by the second. But be aware that not all of them have the right staff to provide any other than Google.
This is the same as getting professional help with your website’s search engines optimization. Not only will you need professional assistance in optimizing your local business listing but also someone who can monitor for duplicate listings and customer reviews, update your marketing information, analyze the analytics, and make sure that your website is optimized correctly.
Google Local Business Center is an online tool that allows business owners and managers to better connect with local customers. It gives business owners control over their business listings. It helps them provide authoritative, useful, and timely information about their businesses.
Google’s Local Business Center (LBC), which allows businesses to list their local business as their Web presence, is also useful.
Registering with the LBC, and adding or claiming a local business listing, should be a priority for your company for five reasons.
Google Local Business search engine – which can be found at maps.Google.com and local.Google.com – has an average of 50 million unique visitors per month.
While it is recommended to sign up for local accounts at Yahoo, Bing or other search engines, a Google Local Business Account should be your priority. Google is the leader in local search market share with more than twice as much market share as maps.yahoo.com maps.bing.com and yellow.pages.com.
Note that all images, videos, and links can be found on author’s site – address is in Resource Box.
Despite Google’s best efforts in promoting the LBC – as well as the use of maps.Google.com – there are millions of people still using google.com, even when they search for local business information. This gives local businesses a chance to be at the top Google’s Web search results, which you’ll see in the next section.
Google’s universal search launch in May 2007 allowed content from Google Images and Google Local/Maps to be integrated into traditional Web search results pages.
Google can, and often does, serve up local business listings within the Web search results regardless of location (Google’s search algorithm appears to be able detect “local intent”)).
Google Local Business Listings appear on the first page search results pages, often at the top. These listings are known as the “Google Local Business Seven Pack”, which refers to the fact Google displays seven top local business search results within a cluster of seven.
Google may also show a search box at the top to allow searchers to ask questions such as: Looking for local results related keyword?
A Google Local Business listing can be a great way to get your business to the top Google search results.
A comScore.com study, sponsored by Google, that assessed the impact of search on offline buying behavior found that 25% of users purchased items related to their search queries. Of those buyers, 37% made their purchases online and 63% did so offline after they searched.
The study results confirm that Google Local Business Listings are effective in driving traffic. But, even more important, they convert traffic.