Local Business Online Marketing 101

As a local business owner, you probably know that you need to have a web presence if not a full-blown online marketing strategy. Do you know where to start?

A Business Website

A mobile friendly business website may not be mandatory but it is highly recommended. If you wish to do well in local search, however, you’d better have a search engine friendly, mobile friendly business website that contains relevant content, customer testimonials as well as information that is specific to your business.

A Five Star Reputation

Marketing agencies and the media have been teaching your customers for decades that a business with a five star reputation is a high quality operation.

The two industries that have used the star rating the longest are restaurants and hotels.

Online local directories like Yelp and Google have adopted the use of a five star rating system for local businesses so there is uniformity across all industries on how businesses are rated online.

Would you sooner do business with an establishment that has a good rating or one that has no rating or even a bad rating? The obvious answer for both you and your customers is an establishment that has a good rating.

The only way you can create a five star reputation for your business is to put a system in place that trains your staff on the importance of the rating, a system where you and your staff regularly ask customers to leave reviews for your business and a system to consistently market your great reputation so it helps attract more leads and customers.

Where You Should Market Your Reputation

Once you achieve a good reputation online and have permission from your customers to use that reputation in your marketing, you should use these reviews on your business website, on your social media sites, on video sharing sites such as YouTube, as graphics on image sharing sites such as Flickr or PhotoBucket and in your off-line marketing.

Online Marketing

In addition to the above, you need to have a presence on as many local directories as possible, especially if they are industry-specific for your business type.

Video marketing on YouTube is becoming a requirement in many industries because YouTube is second only to Google in the number of searches that are done each day, because Google owns YouTube, because your customers often prefer to receive their information by video and because a video that ranks well in YouTube can often show up on page 1 of the search results in Google.

An optimized Google+ business page is another must for many reasons. Some of these reasons are:

  • A link to your Google+ page is shown along with your business name, address and phone number in the local listings section of the search results.
  • Your customers can write a review for you directly from the local business listing that is attached to your Google+ business page.
  • Reviews that have been provided to Google by previous customers are displayed on your Google+ business page.
  • You can link your YouTube channel to your Google+ business page so that you have one place where your customers can congregate and interact with your business.
  • Content that you add to your Google+ business page is indexed by Google and shows up in the search results.

Other Social Media Sites

I say other social media sites because YouTube is a social media site. Many people think Google+ is a social media site as well, which it is in a way, but it is much more than that.

Some of the other major social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest may be good places to have a presence to interact with your prospects and customers in addition to marketing your reputation.

Summary

You may not need to do all of the above to out-perform your competitors in your community.

The more you do, however, the higher your visibility will be and the easier it will be to continue to out-perform your competitors.

As always, share this with your friends then leave your comments below.

Local Business Online Marketing 101
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