Once upon a time, businesses had one main place to advertise: the yellow pages in the phone book. Every house had one, and everyone knew where to go to find local businesses. Now there are literally thousands of places to look all across the internet. How can you drive your customers to land on your site instead of with the competition?
Here’s a quick deal:
- List Your Website on Google My Business, Bing, and Yahoo Local
- List Your Website on Local Directories and in Local Search Engines
- Get on Social Media Platforms
- Create Valuable Content
- Get Listed on Tech Review Sites
- Invest in Google Ads and Social Media Paid Ads
- Answer Questions on Quora
1. List Your Website on Google My Business, Bing, and Yahoo Local
Four out of five consumers conduct research about local businesses through search engines, according to a research study by Google. That means when they research a product or service, they turn to their smartphones first. Smartphones let them research not only business listings but also reviews and recommendations from friends, family, and neighbors. If your business does not appear on the search engines, you are missing out on a huge piece of your potential audience. It’s important to include such basic details as your physical address, hours of operation, and contact information to help potential customers get in touch.
Google My Business is certainly the most important of the three most popular search engines. Google is the highest-performing search engine and offers businesses a lot of features. By registering, your business will appear on the local map online, directing customers to your shop. You have the added benefit of boosting your SEO. Google gives higher rankings to those sites registered with them because it means you are a verified business. Also, you can use Google Analytic tools to track your website traffic and even add a printable coupon right to your listing.
The second highest-ranking search engine is Bing. Bing comes as a default on all Windows 8 machines and more recent versions, so the reach is still significant. Add photos, videos, your business’s location, and more details when registering through Bing Places for Business. Registration is free and easy and if you are already verified with Google, adding a Bing registration may reach brand new customers.
Yahoo Localworks is the third largest search engine. You can get a basic listing for free, but the paid subscriptions get you a lot more features. Yahoo offers reports on your web statistics as well as helping you to build relationships with your customers. Registering with all three search giants will help you to reach out to a new client base, generating more leads to your website.
2. List Your Website on Local Directories and in Local Search Engines
Aside from the three major search engines, there are also local directories you shouldn’t ignore. They tend to offer more reviews for your local businesses and are a great place to send your customers for testimonials. Yelp is great with client feedback, allowing your potential customers the chance to read word-of-mouth reviews about your service or your product. Merchant Express is like social media made specifically for small business owners. The Yellow Pages and the White Pages are a trusted name to turn to when looking for a repairman or a good restaurant. Getting your business listed on all these local sites will help to improve your local reach, potentially landing you more business in the process. Here are some examples:
Angie’s List. Angie’s List is the perfect vehicle for increasing local SEO. It began as a review site for local businesses but has since expanded by keeping up with the competition and offering paid memberships to businesses – which could be a boon for yours.
Better Business Bureau. No matter what kind of business you run, the BBB, or Better Business Bureau, is a great one to be listed with. Though it charges businesses to list, it’s the most widely recognized consumer advocacy organization in the world.
Foursquare. Once a site that mixed social media with business reviews, Foursquare has evolved with the mobile and digital revolution. With 75 million businesses engaged, Foursquare is often an untapped source for increasing local foot traffic.
3. Get on Social Media Platforms
Beyond paid social media ads, your business needs a strong social media presence. Social media is one of the fastest-growing ways to promote your business and spread your business through word-of-mouth and personal recommendations. Having a business page on social media means that your clients can tag you, recommend you to a friend, link to your relevant content and find out how to reach you. To stay current, update each of your social media channels on a regular basis. Check out these platforms that can help you manage all your channels in one easy dashboard.
- Hootsuite. Hootsuite offers a wide variety of tools across the platforms to allow you to spend less time focusing on all of your channels individually.
- Buffer. Scheduling your content throughout the day keeps your accounts active and your users interacting with your content whenever they sign on to their social media accounts. Instead of being glued to the computer all day waiting for the optimal time to post, try a tool like Buffer to do the hard work for you.
- TweetDeck. TweetDeck is the solution for managing several different Twitter accounts at the same time. Follow key hashtags, respond to followers and schedule your content all in one place. Note that it is only available for desktop.
4. Create Valuable Content
Google consistently communicates that the number one way to get more traffic to your site is through valuable content. Your readers should learn something from what you have to offer on your website. Make it valuable so that they want to come back again in the future, and you’ll be generating new leads by being a top resource. You can also learn from potential customers who click on your site but don’t interact. Remarket your content toward them to encourage them to return to your site at a later date for new information. If you have trouble creating content, hire a professional content writer. Paying for professional content can only benefit you in the long run and will make your website more desirable to your audience. Add a wealth of knowledge that they can’t resist.
5. Get Listed on Tech Review Sites
Tech review sites are websites put together to connect businesses and people to the right software solutions. Clutch is one solution that provides real customer reviews and also offers to conduct market research projects to help small businesses get ahead. Testers are hired with the sole purpose of visiting your website and using it as a client. Client feedback weighs the responses in this search engine, making gathering reviews from clients even more valuable. Known as the go-to resource for all things related to advertising and marketing, web and mobile development, search engine marketing, IT consulting, and software development, it’s a good idea to have a positive presence on the leading resource in the business.
6. Invest in Google Ads and Social Media Paid Ads
While it’s true that organic and word-of-mouth advertising is the best, it sometimes costs a bit to get it started. Google Ads and social media ads are effective ways to increase lead generation. Unfortunately, many businesses ignore Google Ads because of their criteria for landing pages – but that’s actually one of its strengths.
Social media ads will let you get away with a thinner landing page until you perfect what you’ve got. They’re inexpensive, effective, and offer quick returns, especially on Facebook. When you consider all the time people stare at these platforms, it would be wasteful to ignore them for lead generation – and you don’t have much to lose by trying.
7. Answer Questions on Quora
If you haven’t ventured into Quora yet, it’s worth a test drive. The popular question and answer platform opens up a whole new world of marketing. It is different from traditional social media because while you can follow people, you can’t connect with them directly using messages. You can only either ask a question or answer a question. As someone looking to market a product, answer questions relating to your product or service to spread awareness about your brand.
Being active on as many different platforms as possible gives your business a chance to reach as many people organically as possible. The complicated world of digital marketing requires research to get your business where you want to go. If you are looking to expand your reach, try something new and see how it impacts your sales strategy. Not every marketing campaign is right for every business model or for every personality. But a healthy mix and not putting all your eggs in one basket will help your business have a more rounded customer base.