Do you do online marketing for your local business? You might think that it’s enough to take out an ad in the local paper or in the yellow pages, but you’ll attract more customers if you make it easy for them to find you online.
Why Local Online Marketing is Important
It’s common for small business owners to feel overwhelmed as they juggle the various tasks associated with running a business. In a single day, you might act as the technician, customer service, , accountant, and human resources manager.
For that reason, you might wonder why you should take on another job and learn about online marketing. Your plate is already full! However, there are some compelling reasons to make online marketing a priority. According to HubSpot:
72% of consumers who do an online search visit a business within 5 miles of their home
30% of all mobile searches are location-based
50% of mobile users who find local business online visit the business within a day
The numbers don’t lie – and small business owners will agree. 83% say that they believe their digital marketing efforts pay off in increased revenue.
While there’s nothing wrong with offline marketing, you’re likely missing out on opportunities if you’re not allocating part of your budget to local online marketing.
Local Online Marketing Starts with Your Website
If you’re convinced but don’t know where to start, you should focus on the basics. If your business has a website, you’ll need to audit it to make sure that it’s helping people find you online.
Here are some quick steps you can take to get your website on track:
Whenever possible, include local keywords in your URLs. For example, if you’ve got multiple locations, you should think about dedicating a page to each location and using a local keyword in the URL. Good options include the name of the city, or – if you have several locations in the same city – the name of the neighborhood.
Use your local keywords in your web content and in your tags. You don’t want to go overboard with keyword density – your readers won’t appreciate it – but you do want to make it easy for Google to understand where your business is. Using local keywords in your H1 and H2 tags, title tags, and alt image tags will help Google index your site properly.
Include local keywords in your meta description. That’s the brief description that appears under your page title on Google.
You may also want to think about adding a blog to your site if you haven’t already. You can use it to highlight local events and ensure that Google is re-indexing your site regularly.
Standardize Your Online Listings
Even if you haven’t put any effort into online marketing before now, your business still has a presence online. People may have left reviews on sites like Yelp or Google or mentioned you on social media.
One of the best ways to get a handle on your online marketing is to standardize your NAP listings. NAP stands for Name, Address and, Phone number. Anywhere your business name and information appear they should be identical to what you have on your website.
Keep in mind that identical means identical, down to the punctuation. If you have one listing that spells out Avenue and another that abbreviates it as Ave, your online presence gets diluted.
You can standardize your listings by claiming your pages on review sites and directories and correcting the listing yourself. If you can’t do that, email the webmaster of any site where your listing appears and ask them to correct anything that’s not perfect.
Mobile Search and Local Online Marketing
The next thing you can do to jump start your local online marketing is to optimize your site for mobile users. Google started penalizing sites that weren’t mobile responsive with its so-called Mobilegeddon update in 2015, but many small businesses haven’t truly embraced mobile search as a way of attracting new customers.
To be useful to mobile customers, your site must be:
Mobile responsive, meaning that the content on your site adjusts to the device being used to view it, whether it’s a laptop, a tablet, a smart phone, or an Apple watch.
Mobile friendly, meaning that mobile users can easily navigate your site. If users need to scroll horizontally to read your content or your buttons are too small to use, you’ll lose people before they have a chance to check out your business.
Remember the statistics at the beginning of this article? Mobile search is extremely important for local companies. Someone who’s looking for a business like yours may search while they’re on the road. Optimizing for mobile search guarantees they’ll be able to find you.
Voice search has become increasingly popular and impactful in online marketing. According to Bright Local, 58% of mobile users used voice search to find a local business in 2018.
People use voice search when they search with the help of virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa. They also use it on their mobile phones. If you’ve ever started a search by saying “OK Google” then you’ve used voice search.
The key thing you need to know about voice search is that it uses longer, more specific keywords than traditional text searches. People are more likely to ask questions or issue commands like:
Where is a dentist near me?
Find me a plumber in Stuart Fl
What are the opening times for (business name)?
You can optimize for voice search by taking some of your most important keywords and turning them into questions. You can then use these longer keywords on your FAQ page, web content, and blog posts.
Online Marketing is a Must for Local Businesses
It might feel overwhelming to start, but the four things mentioned here are a good (and reasonably quick) way to get your online marketing efforts off the ground. From there, you can expand into social media marketing and paid advertising.