How to promote a local business

Posted by Lilach Bullock on 25 Jun, 2019
View comments Marketing
Many people research online prior to buying local. So how can you make sure it's your business they find?

Local Business.

One question that bothers every business owner is:

How do I promote my business online?

Sure, the internet gives you access to people all over the world. But you run a local business that caters mainly to people in your locality. You need a strategy to reach people who will likely come over to your business place.

Think about it:

Almost everybody uses the internet to find products and services these days. Consider a BrightLocal study that found 70% of consumers use the internet to find a local business at least once a month.

Internet search.

Source: BrightLocal

It’s really simple, poor local business promotion means lost money.

In this blog post, you’ll learn some of the best strategies you can start putting into action right now to promote your local business effectively.

Let's get into the details.

Improve local SEO

If I need a particular service in my vicinity, the first thing that comes to my mind is to search online. And the catch here is that people like me are ready to buy a product in a short period of time.

Research by Google found that 50% of smartphone users and 34% of computer/tablet users visited a store within a day of their local search.

Consumers act quickly.

Source: Google

Businesses that show up for these searches are the ones who gain these sales. How do you ensure your business listing or website shows up for these searches?

Local search engine optimization.

Take these steps to optimize your business for local search:

Carry out keyword research

People looking for local businesses on search engines use keywords to find them. If you fail to show up for these keywords, you’re losing potential customers.
Keyword research helps you to find the keywords your potential customers are using on search engines. You can then optimize your content for these keywords to ensure your business shows up to potential customers.

And this is where keyword research tools play a vital role. They reveal details about a keyword such as:

  • Search volume
  • SEO difficulty
  • Paid difficulty
  • Click-through rates (CTR)
  • Conversion rates
  • Cost per click (CPC)

One tool that makes keyword research easy is Wordtracker. It gives you details about a keyword and shows you the opportunities.

It also has a browser extension which makes it easy if you're looking for keyword opportunities on a competitor's page.

Wordtracker Scout.

While doing keyword research, you should find long-tail keywords with clear intent and low competition. You should also add your business location to your keywords to show local intent.

Create high-quality content

If you want to rank high on Google or other search engines, there's no way you can bypass quality content.

But what is quality content?

According to the Google search quality evaluator guidelines, quality content is a piece of content that has a beneficial purpose and achieves that purpose well.

Google quality guidelines.

Source: Google

What steps can you take to create quality content?

  • Understand what your audience is looking for
  • Provide enough details in your content to solve their problem
  • Use short sentences, paragraphs, subheadings, and bullets for easier reading
  • Repurpose your content into other formats like videos, infographics, podcasts, etc.

Add your business to local business listings

Nowadays, people look at local business listings online to find businesses.
Having your business on these listings helps you to present your business details such as:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Website
  • Direction
  • Map
  • Services

Some popular business listings you should add your business to are:

  • Google My Business: this is the most important local listing to have your business in as it helps it to rank in the Google local map pack. Your customers can also drop their reviews here for other potential customers to see.

Google My Business.

 

  • Yelp: this is another popular local listing for your business. You can either create a Yelp account for your business or make a claim if your business is already listed on the platform.

Yelp.

Other local business directories where you should add your business include:

  • Bing Places for Business
  • Facebook
  • Foursquare
  • Yellow pages
  • Manta

Meanwhile, you should also add your business to local listings that are related to your particular business.

One note of warning though.

Ensure that your business details (name, address, and phone number (NAP) especially) are consistent across all local listings. This helps search engines to establish your business’s credibility.

Encourage online reviews

One foolproof way to understand a business's reputation is to see what its past and present customers have to say about it. That's why online reviews are so important.

In fact, BrightLocal found that 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses and 78% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they trust personal recommendations. Without reviews, potential customers will be sceptical of spending their money on your service.

Online reviews.

Source: BrightLocal

But the reality is that customers rarely leave online reviews. Unless you remind them.

You should encourage them to leave a review on pages like Google My Business, Yelp, and other important review sites. This way, your customers will be promoting your business on your behalf.

Make your website fast and mobile responsive

The longer it takes for your website to load, the more visitors you lose. A Google study found that by the time your website loads for 3 seconds, the probability of a bounce has increased by 32%

.Bounce rate.

Source: Google

You can use a service like Pingdom or Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to find your website speed. They also provides recommendations that you can follow to improve your website speed.

Page speed.

Source: Pingdom

More people now browse the internet through their mobile devices than desktop, and sites have to be ready for Google's mobile-first indexing which is now the default for new websites.

To make sure your site is up to scratch, you can use the Google mobile-friendly test tool to check the mobile-friendliness of your pages.

Mobile-friendly test.

Generally, using a mobile-responsive theme can go a long way to make your site mobile-friendly. And you can retain more users on your website.

Social media marketing

With 3.356 billion users on social media, most of your potential customers also visit multiple social media platforms. As a local business, you can connect with your audience to build a strong relationship. And consequently, convince them to check your services.

Social.

Source: We Are Social

Some social media platforms to consider for your social media marketing are:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat

As a local business, you don't have to be active on all social media platforms. Which social media platforms are popular with your potential customers?

Be active on these platforms to get the best out of your resources.

Use remarketing ads

If you want to advertise your business, it’s more effective to advertise to people who already know your business. This is where remarketing ads come in. When someone bounces off your service page or any other important page, you can target them with an ad showing an attractive offer to bring them back.

And it gets better.

You can use geotargeting to show your ads to potential customers in your locality. This gives you a higher chance of a conversion.

Two popular platforms for remarketing ads are Google and Facebook.

Study your competitors

Most times, it's impossible to figure out every promotion strategy on your own. Therefore, you need to spy on your competitors and learn from them about what works and what doesn’t.

Some parts of your competitors' promotion strategy to study are:

  • Website content
  • Website user experience
  • Search engine marketing
  • Local listings where they appear
  • Social media marketing

What are they doing better than your business?  There are many tools available to help you research this.

Wordtracker’s Inspect, available within the keyword tool, allows you to research a niche and the sites within it, giving you data on keywords used and opportunities, as well as an overall picture of ranking factors.

Wordtracker Inspect.

All the data you gather will provide information you can apply to your own local business to promote it effectively.

Conclusion

Marketing your local business online is one of the most effective ways of attracting potential customers from your locality.

Follow the strategies outlined in this post and you'll start gaining new leads that you can turn into loyal customers.

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