One of the biggest black holes for any business, let alone a new one, is marketing – in other words, how to attract and keep customers. Why is marketing so tough? Well, unless your company is completely innovative, and is offering a product or service that no one has ever seen or tried before, odds are, you’re going to have competition. Therefore, marketing not only becomes a matter of making people aware of your product, but effectively convincing consumers why they should choose your product or service over your competitors.
Complicating matters even further, there are millions of ways to market your company, and determining the best way to use your advertising dollars can quickly become overwhelming. Without a doubt, due to the explosion in technology, online marketing is where you want to spend the bulk of your money, but selecting the most suitable method (pay per click campaigns, organic search engine optimization, local search engine optimization, social media advertising, etc.) depends on your goals. Over the next two weeks, we will tackle the various types of online marketing strategies and how to effectively use each one.
The first online marketing strategy we are going to tackle is local search engine optimization (local SEO). What is it? Local SEO is a way for local businesses (small, medium, and large) to connect with prospective customers that are looking for them. For example, let’s say you’re planning on having a big night out on the town this Friday, and want to find a good hair salon in your area where you can get your hair done. First thing you do is go to a search engine (let’s just say Google), and type in “Hair Salons.” In the search results, you will see a list of hair salons in your area, along with a corresponding pin on a map, showing where each salon is located. Each search result not only has the name and location of the business, but shows the phone number, website link, and customer reviews as well. Those search results are a form of local SEO, and make it easy for you to find and select a hair salon in your area that meets your needs.
Local SEO, however, does not just include the search results described above. Databases, such as Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, Yellowpages, Superpages, Mapquest, Foursquare, YellowBot, Local.com, Merchant Circle, and many others are all forms of local SEO. Why? Because each of them helps consumers find and connect with local businesses that meet their search criteria. Are you starting to get the picture now? Local SEO has the ability to help dramatically increase your sales by enabling people to find your business.
The majority of these databases will not only list your business’ relevant location and contact information, but will allow you to provide detailed descriptions of products and/or services you sell as well. In fact, most of them even allow you to run special promotions to help entice prospective customers into giving your business a try. Additionally, as an added benefit, the best databases provide analytics information that helps you determine how much traffic a listing is generating, and which marketing strategies are working the best. If you haven’t figured it out yet, local SEO is a good thing. There are tons of local databases all over the Internet, and the more you can list your business on, the more you will increase your company’s visibility, and increase the odds of a consumer finding you.
In 2014, over a third of all searches will be local, and if you include non geo-targeted keywords that trigger local results, the number is almost 50%!
So who is best suited for local SEO? The answer is quite simple: any local business with a physical office or storefront. If you don’t have a physical office or storefront, and exist solely online, local SEO isn’t the right fit; instead, you need one of the other online marketing strategies that we will discuss in subsequent posts. For local businesses, incorporating local SEO into your marketing budget and strategy is absolutely critical. It is truly one of the best and most cost effective ways to market your business, and failure to use it, or implement it correctly will severely cripple your company’s bottom line. If you would like more information about local SEO, or need help with local SEO for your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us by calling (502) 500-0660 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.