Do you own a local business serving a local clientele? (i.e., most of your customers live within 20 miles of your business location).
Do you know how to leverage the internet and social media to reach more people who want and need your products or services?
The Three Most Important Things for Local Business Marketing Online
In today’s world, there are three things that you can and should be doing to grow your business:
- Create and publish informative and/or entertaining content about your business.
- Use social media to connect with people who will get to know, like and trust you — and eventually endorse you.
- Get links from other high quality and reputable websites back to your website and your content.
Content, social media, and good quality links all work together to increase your visibility online and help you get found fast by your ideal clientele when they are searching for businesses like yours from their computers, mobile tablets or smartphones.
We will be discussing all three pillars of a successful local business marketing plan in a series of blog posts.Today’s discussion topic is:
How to Create High-Value Content That Grows Your Business
Before the internet, people learned about businesses mainly through word of mouth recommendations from friends, the Yellow Pages and other phone directories, and advertisements in local newspapers and magazines.
Today, people still rely on recommendations from friends, family and people they already know, like and trust when searching for local service providers like handymen, auto mechanics, car dealers, home remodeling services, house cleaners, dentists, doctors, plumbers, electricians, and so on. If they have not already decided on a local service provider, people will use their computers, tablets and mobile phones to search the internet for businesses that can serve their needs. This is why it’s important to have a robust web presence that will pre-sell potential customers on your products or services.
Business Boosting Online Content
There are numerous ways that you can create business-boosting content about your business that gets found online:
- Written text on your website, including a page about your business and a page that answers frequently asked questions.
- News updates, also referred to as blog posts.
- Social media updates: clickable links back to your website with current news and helpful tips targeted to your ideal customers or clients.
- Online reviews from happy customers. Online reviews are most valuable and credible when they are published on “authority” websites like Google, Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook, and specialized websites serving your industry.
- Videos. Video testimonials from happy clients and videotaped expert tips about the services or products you provide are just two examples of great video content that can help you attract more customers and clients. See, for example, the videos below:
- Online Press Releases.
- Feature articles about you and your business in online publications such as this article.
- Podcasts. Marianne Clyde’s Mommy Zen podcast series is a good example of effective and consistent podcasting content.
The more high quality content you can get published in a variety of websites and social media all around the internet, the more likely you are to rank high in search engine results so you can get found by — and attract — the ideal customers for your business. you want and need.
Optimized Content is Key
Just as your home needs plumbing and electrical wiring to function properly, so too does online content need to be “plumbed” and “wired” to deliver results for your business. This plumbing and wiring work is known as “search engine optimization.” Simply put, your content needs to be readable and searchable by Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines if you are going to get found online by the people you most want to reach.
It takes considerable study and practice to optimize internet content effectively. Few business owners understand or have the time to optimize their content properly for local search results. A local search engine optimization expert can coach you in how to do it yourself; but most business owners will be better served by hiring an SEO expert to do the tasks for them.
Start by creating and optimizing content to be published on your website and your blog. Once that task is completed, you are ready to choose and create online business profiles and pages in social media sites.
At a minimum, every business should have an optimized Google+ Profile, Google+ Page, Facebook Page and LinkedIn page. A YouTube channel, Twitter account and Pinterest page may be valuable additions to you social media presence, depending on the nature of your business.
One of the most effective and simple ways to optimize your online content is through written and videotaped customer reviews that have been optimized for your products, services, and service area. When customer reviews incorporate keywords that will hep you get found online, you can expand your web presence easily as well as your credibility and reputation.
The best content for local business marketing is useful, engaging, relevant, and unique. What kinds of information do your customers need to know and find useful? Make this kind of content readily available and easy to access for the kinds of customers you most want to attract.
Website, blog and video content should be updated regularly to keep your search engine rankings high. Set aside an hour or two every week to compose a new blog and update social media sites. Weekly blog articles of just 300-500 words each, or 1-2 minute video reviews or tips, are among the easiest ways to keep your content fresh and relevant to search engines.
Good quality content combined with social media posts and links from other authority websites are all necessary to a successful local business marketing strategy. In our next blog post, we will discuss social media strategies.