3 Marketing Strategies to Reach Local Customers
In today’s digitally-driven world, marketing strategies for businesses have taken on a whole new look. However, digitally-driven marketing strategies aren’t just for online businesses: even local businesses can reach more local and nearby customers by educating themselves on what great online marketing strategies are and how to use them to draw in more local customers. Finding a balance between still offering great in-person service and yet keeping up with today’s technological advancements is key for local business owners who want to stay competitive.
Here are three ways local businesses can reach local customers by utilizing specific marketing strategies geared toward drawing in nearby tech-savvy consumers. At the same time, by utilizing these techniques, businesses can increase their online presence and make their business more well-known to locals who might not frequent their store’s specific part of town.
Utilize an Optimized Business Listing with the Google Maps App
The Google Maps app is one of the most popular apps in the world of smartphone users today. If you are a business owner, it’s a smart idea to make the time to employ an optimized business listing on the Google Maps app, and by doing so you’ve just expanded your online presence exponentially. Simply having your business on the Google Maps app isn’t all that’s necessary to attract potential clients, however. It’s also vital to business success that you create a business listing that contains correct and prominently displayed information as well as a link to your company’s website. Having thorough and accurate information on your optimized business listing with the Google Maps app helps to ensure that potential customers have all of the information they need to visit or contact your company and determine whether or not your business offers what they need.
Implement App Advertising Strategies
In-app advertising strategies are the latest, greatest advertising tool in today’s smartphone-wise world. More than ever, smartphones are gaining in popularity and smartphone use is increasing. In line with that tidbit, it’s useful for businesses to know that the majority of the time smartphone users spend on their phones is spent in an app. This is where an in-app advertising strategy can help you as a business owner grow your business by offering in-app ads geared toward local customers.
New apps worth checking out: Deal Spotting, Google Offers, Lantern, DealChicken,
Old Standbys: Living Social & Groupon
In-app ads help customers find the businesses that might be of interest to them in areas closest to where they currently are. The in-app ads offer coupons, deals and information on local businesses that are geared to draw local clients to your business now as opposed to later. In-app ads are to today’s smartphone-driven world what mailer coupons were to yesterday’s business world. This up-to-date technology can go a long way in increasing your advertising reach, so be sure to take advantage of in-app ads today as you work to spread the word about your business. By working to keep up with the latest in advertising technology such as in-app advertising, you can ensure your business grows in a way that helps it keep up with ever-changing customer needs. At the same time, in-app ads offer information to potential clients on how they can get the best deals from your business when they’re ready to buy.
Start Using Google’s New Nearby Ad Program
Google trends data tells us that 80% of “near me” searches originate from mobile phones in today’s world. Along with that, “near me” searches have doubled in recent months. This is where Google’s Nearby ad program comes in. The Nearby ad program helps “near me” searchers to not only find the specific business they’re looking for in their area, it also gives them access to click-to-call links and other pertinent information to help them reach the desired business within seconds. Provided your business has updated and optimized the information available on their Google business listing, the click-to-call feature in the Nearby ad program can use your area code to help nearby customers find your business quickly and give you as the business owner the ability to close a potential deal in a timely and efficient manner, making that once-potential customer turn into a customer for life.
Today’s quickly changing and advancing world where technology is concerned means that businesses – especially local businesses – need to advance their methods for reaching potential customers just as quickly and consistently as the world of technology is advancing.
The accelerated growth of online business is something to keep an eye on, but it’s doubtful that online businesses will ever fully replace the local brick-and-mortar stores and business that keep people connected in such a real and tangible way.
Having ice cream delivered to your door through an online grocery delivery company is great, but it still can’t beat hanging out at the local mom and pop malt shop with family and friends. There are great deals to be had by shopping online retailers, but it isn’t quite the same as perusing the racks of the latest and greatest fashions in person. Ordering meds on line might save money, but then you’d miss out on chatting with the local pharmacist that’s been serving your family’s medical needs for generations.
Local businesses might have competition when it comes to online retailers, but local shops still have the competitive advantage when it comes to forming a real-life relationship with clients and potential clients. Seeing that smiling face that’s ready to serve you in person gives greater depth to a purchase than imagining a smiling face on the phone. Local business owners simply need to find a way to keep providing great, personalized face-to-face service to clients, while still keeping abreast of the latest and greatest technology advancements and changes that enable customers to shop better and smarter.
Utilizing add programs such as Google’s Nearby ad program and other online advertising tools helps you as a business owner keep up with the latest technology, which is designed to connect customers with the businesses they need quickly and efficiently, saving them time and money in the process. Choose as a business owner to use these programs and others like them in order to keep your business prospering for years to come.
5 Ways Local Businesses Can Get More Out of Google
In today’s world where international, far-reaching companies have such a large share of the retail market presence, it’s easy for local business owners to get duped into believing that they can’t compete.
However, there’s still a large segment of the buying population that believes in supporting local businesses first and foremost when possible. The key for businesses reaching these local customers can often be found in learning to make the most out of their presence in Google online search engines.
Many customers, when searching for a good restaurant, coffee shop, bookstore or other business in their city or town turn to Google as their first source for available business information. If your business’ information on Google search pages is missing or sparse, however, you just might lose that potential customer to a competitor who has more thorough information available. Here are 5 ways local businesses can get more out of Google, and use it to help become more visible to local and visiting customers.
Locate, Customize and Maintain Your Google Business Page
Any type of a search for your type of business or any other business type in your town will bring up a list of competing stores and businesses in the coordinating market. The Google Business page for your particular company has to be up-to-date, accurate and full of pertinent information if you want it to draw potential clients to your store or company as opposed to your competitor’s business.
Your Google business page should contain your business hours, contact information, location and plenty of positive reviews that encourage people to take a chance on taking advantage of the products and services your company has to offer. By customizing your Google business page with a photo of your store or of your logo, and by personalizing your business page’s information to attract the type of customer you want to attract, you have a better chance of seeing potential customers walk through your door after finding you on your Google business page.
Verify Your Google Location Information is Accurate
Too many times Google business reviews say things like, “I tried to find this place but couldn’t.” or “The location for this store is WAY off – it’s six block away from what their page says!” Avoid turning potential customers away by having inaccurate location information on your business page. Make sure Google sites have accurate mappings of your company location so that when a potential client wants to visit, it won’t take a miracle for them to find your store or business. By doing an occasional check of the location information for your business on Google, you can quickly correct any errors, before a wrong location ends up turning an exasperated customer away.
Make Sure Contact Information is Easily Located
There’s nothing more frustrating for potential clients than wanting to visit a business but not being able to contact the business with their questions about hours, services and the like. When assessing your Google business page, be sure that your contact information is displayed prominently, clearly and accurately. If a potential client wants to contact you in a hurry to find out if you have what they need, they’ll be more likely to count you as a potential vendor if they can easily find your contact information. If not, they’ll simply move on to the next option until they find a business that they can reach easily. Don’t lose out on potential business simply because a client couldn’t locate your contact information. Instead, make sure your phone number and address information is easily seen and accessible to potential customers.
Start and Maintain an SEO-Optimized Online Presence
Even for customers who prefer the coziness and visual attraction of the brick-and-mortar local business, online presence is important. Online advertising is one of the top ways businesses attract customers in today’s device-driven world, and if you aren’t maintaining an SEO-optimized online presence in the form of a website, a blog and social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter, you are potentially driving away hundreds or thousands of customers.
What does an effective online presence look like? It starts with valuable and engaging content. When searching for a business, readers want to see a professional website, complete with engaging images, accurate and helpful information, frequent blog postings and entertaining content. On Facebook, clients want to follow businesses who are actively posting information, education and too-good-to-pass up deals on products and services. On both Twitter and Facebook, followers are drawn to businesses that provide valuable information and work to truly connect and form relationships with customers and potential customers.
SEO optimization is another key to a successful online presence for your business. By learning to maximize your company’s “searchability” through appropriate keywords, you can help potential clients to more easily locate your business. In order to find the right keywords to reach your target audience, utilize a free keyword e-book, and from there, build your content around the keywords that most effectively reach your target audience.
By making your website and Facebook site SEO friendly, web-searching customers have a better chance of finding your business. A prominent and smartly-created online presence is key to the growth of any business in today’s app-driven, device-driven world.
Utilize Google’s Call-Only Campaigns
Google’s Call-only ad campaigns, introduced in February of 2015, provide Google searchers with an immediate option to call businesses as opposed to simply clicking on a link to their website. This form of advertising allows businesses to connect with potential clients immediately on the phone, which gives them a better chance of winning the customer’s business quickly instead of leaving clients with the option to simply put the business and its potential offerings in the back of their mind, or leaving them with the option to move on quickly to a competitor’s site. Call-only campaigns are Google’s newest form of advertising created to help businesses have a better chance of winning customers through successful advertising. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to reach inquiring customers quickly.
Local businesses will give themselves a leg up on the competition by using Google’s well-researched advertising tools in order to have a prominent online presence that helps draw in local customers who may not know about their business as well as visiting tourists who are looking for the city’s best stores and companies. By utilizing all of Google’s advertising tools, you can help your business to reach many more potential clients than you would without the vast reach of the Internet.
25 Local Listing Websites That Will Drive Leads To Your Website
Believe it or not, not all online business searches are performed on Google. Social media websites and online directories will expand your visibility and consistently generate some of the best leads you can ask for – for practically nothing!
Free and paid online directory marketplaces are worth the time and investment you take to list your business.
So… Do I Really Need to Submit To Online Directories?
The short answer – Yes. Listing your business information and website to relevant online directories will increase your business’s reach and is a great source of leads, online reviews, and referral traffic. The key to generating more sales online is advertising and positioning your business where consumers want to be – and already are.
When creating your listings, it’s important that all the information is consistent across all of your directories. Make sure to provide details that are strong selling points that may appeal to new customers.
How Many Should I List My Business On?
As many quality online directories as you can. But it’s the relevancy and quality of the directories that are important. Links from unrelated, and spammy websites can actually hurt your rankings so it’s important to review each site and see if it’s a good match for your business before adding your listing.
How Do I Tell Which Directories Are “Quality” and Which Are Not?
A lot of it comes down to common sense. The easiest way is to take a look at the businesses that are already listed- are there businesses listed that are relevant to yours? Obviously if you run a bakery in San Diego, you don’t want to feature your business on an Canadian home remodeling directory.
Quality is an important factor so stick to the best sites for our business. Your goal should be to make sure that you have accurate, up to date information about your business exactly where your customers are searching.
For your convenience we’ve put together a list of 25 the “must have” local directories that we recommend.
- Google My Business
- Bing Places
- Yahoo Local
The first thing you should do, is to see if your business is already listed on these sites, and if it is make sure to claim control of your existing listing, instead of creating a duplicate listing by mistake.
So there you have it! 25 of the best local directories that will drive customers to your website!
Need help submitting your business to the top directories?
We know that it can be time consuming and in some cases it’s better to delegate important projects like this to someone you can trust. That’s where we can help! Contact us today for more information!
Developing a Social Media Content Strategy for Success
Social media outlets provide customers with an efficient way to move material items (think Facebook buy/sell groups), connect with each other on a daily basis and share information about what services, products and businesses benefit their lives and – possibly even more importantly – which ones don’t.
Developing a social media content strategy that works, however, takes more effort than simply opening Facebook and Twitter accounts. There are specific strategies that successful businesses use in order to help their social media outlets create an engaging community that grows not only their online presence, but their business as well. Social media outlets, when managed effectively, give businesses the opportunity to have a worldwide customer base, no matter where they’re located. Here are 5 tips that can help you develop a social media strategy that will give your business its best chance at being a successful one.
Determine Your Target Audience and Connect Accordingly
At the top of the list for a successful social media strategy is determining your target audience. If, for instance, your business’ primary service is to provide child-rearing information to parents and parents-to-be, your best bet is to look for keywords such as mom, dad, father, etc. as you search for whom to follow on Twitter and other social media accounts. The people who will join your social media groups and who will be the most interested in what you have to share (and who will be most willing to share your information with others) are those who have interests that are in line with what your business has to offer. As you begin developing your social media strategy, start by making a list of what types of customers you want to attract and connect with, and then use that list as a map that will help you know how to create your content and grow your social media presence effectively.
Publish Valuable Content
It’s important not to post on social media accounts without a well-thought-out strategy. In order for people to want to be a part of a business’ social media accounts, business owners need to create content that provides value to the reader. Typically, social media account readers and followers are looking for information on social media accounts that will:
- Teach them something they want to know
- Save them something, be it time, money or convenience
- Provide entertainment
- Help them to feel like they’re a part of something
In addition, creating engaging photos to use with your posts, by using a plugin such as the Easy Media Gallery Pro Plugin, will help customers be more attracted to your site. By keeping these tips in mind when creating content for your social media outlets, and by writing content in a way that is engaging and entertaining to readers, you’ll keep followers coming back for more, you’ll encourage followers to share your content with others, and you’ll help ensure you are keeping your business close to the forefront of followers’ minds.
It’s also important for you to publish your valuable content on a regular basis. Don’t let more than a day or so go by without making sure you’re active on your social media accounts. The more time that passes between posts, the more time customers have to forget about your business and move onto other things.
Create an Engaging Atmosphere with Followers
Successful social media strategy also involves creating an engaging atmosphere for followers. When readers feel like they’re a part of a group, and when they can identify or benefit from the content being published, they’re more likely to leave comments, share posts and encourage friends to follow as well. Working to form a relationship with your followers will keep them engaged and active in what your business is doing. Businesses can work to form relationships with followers on social media accounts by responding to comments, asking questions, getting opinions from followers and by sharing content that touches the heart. Work to implement these tips for engaging readers and watch as your social media outlets grow.
Commit to Providing Exemplary Service
All of the great content in the world will do you little good if your business has a reputation for providing less-than-stellar service. Providing a valuable product or service is important, however; treating your customers like royalty will leave an imprint on their hearts for years to come. In today’s up-to-the-minute, information-sharing world, customers no longer have to take the time to write a letter to a company CEO in order to share a story about how they received bad service.
“One complaining tweet can turn into a million reached customers and potential customers in just minutes.”
Don’t give your customers a reason to tweet or post negative experiences about their business with you. Instead, train your team to remember that top-notch customer service, along with your best product, is the surest way to success, and reward team members accordingly when they show a pattern of providing exemplary customer service to your clients.
Utilize Customer Feedback
Too many companies ignore customers who want to share a bad experience, and when that happens, clients are left with a sour view of that company. If the occasion should happen (and your primary goal should be to make sure that it doesn’t) that a customer has a bad experience with your company, it’s vital to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to resolve the issue and make the customer happy when possible.
Replacement products, free products, discounts and heartfelt apologies with a quick and above-and-beyond resolution are all ways in which you can turn a client’s bad experience back into a good one.
The same goes for customers who leave feedback on how to improve your product or service. It’s important when a client takes the time to share an idea or share suggestions about how to make your company better that you as the business owner or manager reply promptly with a positive response. By paying attention to customer feedback and utilizing that feedback to keep customers happy and sharing their great experiences about your company on social media, your business can continue to grow and prosper.
Social media marketing may be the “wave of the future” for some companies, but the fact of matter is that social media is one of today’s top forms of advertisement. Don’t let your company be left in the dust because competitors have a handle on how to effectively gain and keep clients through social media channels and you don’t. Instead, stay ahead of the game by learning to create social media content and connections that allow people to see your business for the gem that it truly is.
How Social Media Impacts Your Search Rankings
Having good search rankings is just as important is getting a line of customers into your business. If you aren’t familiar with how social media can impact your search rankings, read on.
What Search Engines Are Looking For
First, you have to understand what search engines are looking for, so you can see how social media is affecting search results. For instance, the authority of your tweets, how many +1s your URL receives, how many Facebook Likes and shares your URL gets and how many tweets and retweets your URL obtains.
Each and every time someone in social media mentions your local business, it helps to boost your search rankings. How large your following is also has and how much engagement your social posts receive also play a role in this. Here’s an example:
Luigi’s Italian Restaurant in New York City got a tweet from a local newspaper about its delicious dishes. That tweet was then favorited 400 times and retweeted 50 times. Both the newspaper’s and Luigi’s Twitter handle get activity for this. Then because Luigi’s had their URL linked to their account on Twitter, their Web site was able to get a higher ranking on search engines.
How this Can Help Local Businesses
Engagement on social media networks can help boost your rankings even for keywords that are otherwise difficult to rank highly for (those that general). However, it works best with those that have low competition. So if the keyword that is getting social media buzz is “Italian food”, you could end up ranking high for that keyword. Local businesses can take advantage of this because it helps them to boost their business’s search ranks for those general, yet necessary keywords.
Whenever you share content, make sure that you include low competition keywords like “Authentic Italian food in New York”, so when it gets social buzz, it can boost your rankings in search engines. The more content you share from your Web site on social media, the better your site will rank, which means more traffic being generated for your Web site.
How to Optimize Your SEO
Before you begin your SEO social media campaign, you should check out how you’re doing thus far. You can check this by going to LocalVox, which is a free tool. Make sure you know which keywords are the top ones you should be ranking for. You can use LocalCast, which is an SEO tool to help you track your ranking and find keywords you can use to optimize your Web site and social media posts.
A Deeper Understanding of Your Social Signals and their Impact
So you know that the more action you get on social media, the better your search ranks become. Now, let’s look into how exactly this works for the different social media networks:
- Google+: This is still in its early stages compared to the likes of Twitter and Facebook, but it has been having a great impact on social content. The way it works is, the more +1s you get, the better. You should aim to get +1s for your brand profile, Web site and social media posts. When your brand page gets a lot of +1s, it gives you more authority, which helps to raise the ranks of your future content. Your authority is also determined by how many followers you have and how much your content is being shared. Your social media strategy should have a method for generating more and more +1s over time. It’s important to focus on being in a network of people who have great profiles, because who you know can help establish your voice.
- Facebook: There are over 900 million people using Facebook, making it the ideal platform to use for boosting your search rankings. There are studies that show that Facebook actually has more influence over your search rankings than Twitter or Google+ (something to keep in mind). So the more shares and likes your posts receive, the better your rankings will do. The amount of comments you receive also helps — in fact, when you get a lot of likes, shares and comments, it boosts your rankings significantly.
- Twitter: With about 500 million users, Twitter posts boost rankings when tweets have authority, versus amount. The factors that can help you with your search rankings include the authority of your followers, mentions and retweets; how many followers, mentions and retweets you have; and the speed and intensity of your tweets and retweets over time.
There are other social media sites you can use, like Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Reddit, FourSquare and Digg. These are the factors that play a role in getting ranked higher using these sites:
- Pinterest: How many pins, re-pins and comments you receive, and the growth rate of those pins and re-pins.
- FourSquare: How many check-ins and the spread rate of those check-ins.
- Reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon: How many upvotes and comments you receive.
Link Building Using Social Media
Link building isn’t a new concept and is just as valuable today as it was 10 years ago. However, it has been made much easier to achieve thanks to social media networks. In the past, people would try link building using black hat tactics, like leaving spammy comments on forums and blogs. Today, you can implement link building into your social media strategy. For instance, you can include links to valuable content from your blog in the social media posts you submit.
Boost Your Rankings on Google by Using Social Media
There are many benefits that local businesses can receive from social media accounts. They are able to become an authority, gain a bigger following, network with influencers and boost incoming traffic using link building and organic search results. Social media has a grand effect on the way we do business today and if you leverage it the right way, you can steadily grow the customer base for your local business.