Great info graphic on the advantages and benefits of bringing your offline business online. You probably recognize yourself in some of the statistics.
Critical pieces for developing your local marketing online presence are:
1. Web Presence and Blog. At this point in the world of the Internet you must have a website. We recommend a couple of different things. One is a lead capture system using a squeeze page or landing page. This enables you to capture the leads that are visiting your website. You can see our lead capture in the upper right of this page.
But it is also vital to have a blog and be blogging regularly. You can’t just create a website and hope people find it. You need to be continuously engaging and educating your audience. In the graphic above you can see that sales increase when a business blogs. People want to get to know YOU and your company. They can do that through a blog. AND you also build trust and rapport through the process. These both increase your sales in the long run.
2. Social Media — 92% of all ONLINE adults use social media, but only 50% of small businesses are using social media to promote their business. Now these numbers aren’t totally comparable. BUT there is a very good chance that many of your customers and prospects are online and using social media. If you are not there then you are losing business. Social media is another venue for engagement, relationship building and another place to build yourself as an expert in your field.
If you are not currently on any social media then you need to seriously evaluate why. If you just have your head in the sand hoping that it will all go away, then it is time to pull it out and figure out how to best represent your company on social media and use it effectively for increasing your business.
Is it possible that you are leaving thousands of dollars on the table because you don’t like social media or you are afraid of it or you have another excuse to avoid being on….?
3. Local Search SEO — Using Local Listing Sites for More Exposure
Many local business owners are challenged in the same ways: they create a website and their social media presence but they DO NOT succeed in leveraging them to attract new customers.
New foot traffic is the goal and the key is using local directory listings, but is often forgotten or missed in creating an effective online strategy.
The World Wide Web is like a HUGE phone book or yellow page directory. You have to stand out to be noticed.
Local listings are worth the investment of time or money (to hire out). The benefit far exceeds the investment. it means taking the time to fill out forms on different local listing sites. A few of the local listing sites are part of the social media sites you are probably already on, which makes it easier to complete.
Two of the really popular sites are offered by Google. This search engine is in charge of Google+ Businesses / Google+ Local. Other popular local listing sites include CitySearch, Bing Local and Yahoo Local Listings.
Yelp is also another site that you want to claim your profile on. This not only helps you attract web attention, but it provides a place for local customers to review your business. So it’s an effective way to convert potential customers into paying customers.
Be sure to completely fill out the profiles and provide as much information as possible about your company. Include things like: your office hours or business hours, phone number, contact info and website, as well as your other social media sites. If you use a different URL for your mobile site, be sure that that is included too.
Completing a profile on these sites only solidifies your online presence and aids potential customers in finding during their business search.
Often the local listings that are found by web searches are perceived as more authentic and real than the typical web search results. This is because here, they can access maps, customer reviews, videos, images and address verification to ensure authenticity.
Keeping this in mind, and actually taking the time to complete your local profiles can increase the business coming into you.
Comprehensive Local Marketing Strategy
A comprehensive local marketing strategy is needed for both online and offline businesses. The Internet is a resource that is critical for both. Increasing your online presence in ways that truly benefit your business just makes sense. Critical pieces of your marketing plan should include minimally — a website and blog (can be one in the same), consistent social media presence, local listings, mobile friendly website, keyword optimization and SEO. Don’t be left behind. There are more customers out there for you!!