Many people think of online marketing as something you do if you want a national or even international audience. However, nothing could be further from the truth. You can use online marketing to create local buzz. In fact, online marketing was made for local marketing. Think about it – if you do a search for a business on Google without even putting in the city’s name, what comes back to you as the search results? That’s right, local businesses.
Your business can end up in those types of local searches too if you work on creating local buzz online for it. Did you know that more than 80 percent of internet searches result in offline purchases? Today, with the proliferation of mobile technology, people are more likely to search the net for your business than they are to open a phone book.
If you want to create local buzz about your business, create listings in the following places:
* Google Places
* Bing Local
* Facebook Places
Create full listings that use every aspect of the system’s features. If there are places to insert pictures, do so. If there are places to insert local keywords, do so. The more complete you are in filling out each of your local listings, the better the results will be. If you can put a coupon up, do that too. Next, actively ask current customers to leave you a review and feedback on these local listings. This will get things started in a positive way.
The next step is to make sure that your website is optimized for local search terms. The way in which you do this is to ensure that your business address is on every single page of your website. If you have not chosen a domain name yet, choose one that has local search terms in it. Consider getting the country-specific extension for that domain name along with the .com.
Now ensure that every page of your website has information specific to your location in text, such as your full address and phone number. But, you can also use descriptive meta tags to include your postal code. The first page should say something like: Gregg’s BBQ | Manhattan Kansas 66502 at the top of the page. The following pages can say something else before the | but after the | put your city and zip code. If each page has this location-specific meta tag information, you’ll show up higher on the search results. Another place to add location specific information is inside the “alt” tags for images.
If your city has local directories, such as the Chamber of Commerce directory that is online, submit your business listing and domain name to each of these directories. The more directories you can submit to that are locally focused, the better. Next, you can ask businesses that offer complementary services to yours, which are local, to consider adding your link to their site. You can also start a local shopping club, asking local businesses to join together and commit to shopping locally.
In addition, find message boards, blogs, and discussions that are happening with a local focus in which you can participate in the discussion. Make well-reasoned comments; don’t try to “sell” but just make interesting comments that make sense with the discussion taking place. In this way you’ll earn a back link to your business website. Remember to participate in every community you sign up with to increase the power of local search results and create a local buzz about your business.