6 Tips For Marketing Your Business To Get More Local Customers

6 Tips For Marketing Your Business To Get More Local Customers

 

For businesses that rely on local customers, marketing used to mean putting an advert in a shop window or local newspaper, or maybe handing out flyers. Now, local online marketing has really come into its own and provides businesses with a whole host of different tactics to get in front of new customers.

 

But, to really get the most out of local online marketing, businesses need to make sure they’re doing it right and not just wasting time and effort. Here are our Top Tips on How to Really Succeed in Local Online Marketing.

 

  1. Have a plan and stick to it

 

This should be obvious, but unfortunately it’s a crucial step that many businesses forget. If your marketing isn’t planned out it becomes almost impossible to track and measure any improvements, or lack of improvements that you make.

 

If you have no previous experience of putting a marketing plan together then take some time to do a bit of research, dull as it may seem it is a far better use of your time than going in blind! A basic local online marketing plan could start off by listing your business goals, then breaking down how you intend to achieve them.

 

For example, do you want to increase revenue by 10% across the quarter? How do you intend to get there? Will you employ an additional sales person, or will you sell higher value products? How will you get that message across to potential customers?

2. Invest in a Mobile Friendly website.

  • 40% Of Mobile Searches Have Local Intent (Source: Google: Creating Moments that Matter)
  • In October 2016, mobile internet web usage took over desktop (Source: Telegraph)
  • Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% will visit a competitor’s site instead. (Source: MicKinsey & Company)

Make sure your website is mobile ready

 

With Statistics like these it’s pretty obvious that you need your website to be mobile ready! People who are searching from their mobile are likely to be out and about, looking for what they need at that moment. If your website can’t be opened from their phone because it uses flash, or because there is too much to load then you could be missing out on valuable business leads every day.

 

3. Make Sure Your Campaigns Are Geo-Targeted.

 

geo targeting

 

If you want to attract customers within a specific local area, then it’s no good aiming your adverts far and wide where people from anywhere in the world can see them but can’t take action!

 

Sites such as Facebook and Google Adwords and other Display Ad networks, allow you to target ads using a geo-location feature, meaning your adverts will only be seen by people in the locations that you specify.

 

Think about how far people are likely to travel for your service and then target those areas to find your new customers.

Research conducted by Bright Local conducted a survey asking respondents how far they would drive to for 13 different local services. The results are below.

 

Driving Times to Local Businesses Infographic

 

Interestingly people are willing to travel for 5 minutes longer to visit a Dentist/Doctor than they would a Solicitor or an Accountant.

 

Alarmingly people are willing to travel an extra 2 minutes to go to a Pub then to a Gym. What does that say?

 

Make sure that your location is obvious to anyone who might be searching your kind of service within your area. Don’t leave this information confined to the contact us page. Include your location details on every page of your site so Search engines recognise it and more importantly potential customers know exactly where you are.

 

4. Engage with Customers Online.

 

social media engagement

 

When you’ve spent a lot of time building up your local online marketing you also need to be seen as a real human presence, not just a marketing machine. This means you need to take some time to engage with your customers, respond to comments they leave on your website, have conversations via Twitter, and thank people for their feedback.

 

Social Proof is now all important, and online comments and actions that remain searchable and in the public domain are often viewed as being just as important as recommendations from Friends and Family.

 

Don’t undermine your own marketing efforts by forgetting to be a real person!

 

5. Be Top of the Search Engines

Basic SEO strategies can help generate sales and customers so it’s vital to get it right. If the search engines recognise your site as being filled with valuable information on a subject then it also helps your credibility with customers.

Being at or near the top of search engine rankings will ensure you get the best of the search engine traffic coming to your site on a regular basis.

It’s not just SEO that gets you to the top of the Search Engines. Tools such as Google My Business also help, along with Videos, Images, reviews and a strong social media presence.

 

6. Get 5 Star Online Reviews

 

 

Local search user reviews help build new customer trust. If a person isn’t acquainted with your business, they’re going to want to get an idea that other people, past customers, are happy with the work or service you have provided before spending their money with you.

 

If they do not know anyone whom they can ask about your services they turn to online user reviews to get a feel for how you operate.

 

90% of consumers read 10 reviews or less before they feel that they can trust a business (Source: BrightLocal)

Therefore it is imperative that you have in place a system to get clients to leave their positive feedback online.

 

Local Online Marketing is not complicated but with increased competition for people’s attention, time and money it is vitally important to have a plan and continuously act on it to build a stream of new customers.

Get 5 star reviews fast

5 Tips to Get Your Business to Rank in the Top 3 of Google Maps [Video]

5 Tips to Get Your Business to Rank in the Top 3 of Google Maps [Video]

Need to have your business found by more people in the search engines? Here's 5 Tips to Get Your Business to Rank in the Top 3 of Google Maps | www.bigthinkingonline.com

Every Time Somebody Types in a Local Search

With a business identifier, for example, “dentist St Albans”, Google will list the businesses that it deems to be most relevant.  If your business’s client base is pulled from the local community then recent changes to the Google search results, namely reducing the number of businesses listed in the results from 7 to 3 could affect the number of customers who are able to find your business.

 

st_albans_dentist_google_local_search

 

The good news is that if you are listed in the results 3 pack, you will get more calls and more inbound leads for your business. If your business isn’t in that all important top 3, this post and video will give you the advice and tips you need in order to improve the relevance of your Google maps listing yourself.

 

 

#1 Verify Your Business Listing.

The first thing that you need to do is check that your Google+ business page is verified. If your first though is ,“I don’t even know if I have one,”  don’t panic, because you probably do. Several years ago Google created 83 million business pages based upon data that was already on the internet and other business directories, many businesses never even realised the page was there and the features remain unused – until now!

 

To find your page, go to Google and type in “Google my business”.  Click through to the Google My Business page, then click the Get Onto Google button. You will be prompted to enter your Google email address and password to log in. If you don’t have one you can sign up for a password.  In the search bar where it says “find your business” type the name of your business and it should bring up your business listing.

 

Google will tell you whether the listing is claimed or not, and it will also say whether it’s claimed with the email address you are using. If it is, great!  You can log in and edit the page. If the email address doesn’t match then you need to claim your business.

 

To claim your business you will need to verify that you are the owner, which you can either do by having a verification pin sent through to your mobile (immediate), or by postcard (which can take 2 weeks). Once you have that pin, enter it into the verification page and your listing will be claimed.

 

#2 Choose the Correct Category

Once you’ve got the business page verified the next thing you need to do is to check that your business is registered in the correct category. There is no point in your business being listed as a Painter and Decorator if you are a Lawyer!

 

You can see what category your business is listed as by searching for your business in Google. In the search results, on the right hand side underneath your name you will see the primary business category that you are registered under.

 

finding your category on Google+

 

In the Google My Business Centre, check what category is selected and check that it is relevant. If the category that is selected against your business is not correct, then you need to edit the category by searching for a category that better suits your business needs. When you have found the correct category simply hit save.

 

Google always recommend that you select your business category on the premise of “my business is…“,  rather than “My business does..”

 

With that in mind don’t go and select all of the services that you offer as this would be against Google terms of service which could result in a penalty against your listing.

 

Example, If you a private dentist, then you would select Dentist and potentially Cosmetic Dentist, but  not teeth whitening, crowns and implants as these are services that you offer and do not reflect who you are.

 

#3 Name, Address, Phone Citation (NAP)

The next thing that you do is it is check that the name, address and phone number of your business is registered correctly. In local search this is what’s known as a NAP citation and this citation is what Google uses to recognise whether your business is trusted and relevant in the local area.

 

NAP_Citation

 

If your business has been open for 18 years, the likelihood is that it has been mentioned and recognised online by other members of the local community and will also be included in other website and local business directories. Google uses those citations to help identify how trustworthy your business is.

 

That is why it is vitally important to make sure that your Name, Address and phone number are correct.

 

Once you have verified that your NAP is correct with Google you need to check that it is exactly the same as it is listed on your website.

 

For example, if you’re business is 1A Church Road in Google and your website records your address as 1 Church Road, that is an inconsistent citation and Google will consider that in a negative light. This will have an impact on your position in the local listings .

 

#4 Citations listed in Business Directories

Once you have checked that your NAP citation is consistent on Google+ and on your website you need to consider how many citations are online and if they are all consistent.

 

local business directories

 

As I mentioned above, if your business has been around for a long time it is likely that it can be found on a variety of business directories both local and others that are specific to your niche.

 

If your business has moved address, perhaps through expansion or because you have merged with another business then there may be a harmful amount of inconsistent citations across the internet.

 

Some examples of business directories are Yell, Thomsonlocal, Freeindex and Yelp. There are literally hundreds of other local business directories and you need to see which directories have a listing or a NAP citation for your business, then check that NAP citation is consistent with the citation that is listed on both your Google + page and your website.

 

A number of consistent NAP citations in authoritative business directories is a good signal to Google that you are a trusted provider in your area.

 

# 5 Positive Reviews

Reviews are significantly important in terms of local search. Google’s mission is to provide an excellent service experience for its users. 

 

improtance of Google reviews in local search

 

Google’s users are the ones that go into Google and search for what they need. Google then pulls up the most relevant businesses that match that search criteria and then considers the user generated content around those businesses – typically the reviews.

 

If you conduct local searches such as “Dentist in St Albans”, “chiropractor in Edinburgh” or simply a “injury lawyer near me”, you will see that in the listings there will be businesses that have reviews.

 

For your business to stand out in the new 3 pack you need to make sure that your business has reviews. We’re not just talking about 1 review, you need ensure that your business has more 5 star reviews than any of your competitors in and around the local area.

 

The more 5 star reviews you have the better. It reflects on the services that you are providing to your customers when potential clients look upon your business.

 

Reviews are so important in the local search infrastructure that you should consider putting in place a review collection strategy where you ask every single person that visits your business to go to Google and leave feedback about you and the experience of they had. By doing this, each customer is effectively sharing their good opinion of you with everyone they know and also potential clients who might see your business for the first time and need persuading that you are the best in your area.

 

Another benefit of having a large selection of positive reviews from past clients is that if you are unfortunate enough to receive a negative review from a client then it will have less impact amongst all the positives. By proactively asking clients for reviews you are protecting your online reputation.

 

If you follow the advice in this post, you verify your page, you check your business is registered in the correct category, that your name address and phone number citation are consistent both on Google + and your website, that your business is listed in all the major business directories both locally and niche specific, and finally that you ask every patient to leave feedback for you in order to build up your 5 star rating, then you’ll stand a far better chance of ranking in that all important top 3.

 

If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments box below and I will happily respond.

Why Online Business Reputation Management Should be On Your Radar

Why Online Business Reputation Management Should be On Your Radar

Why Online Business Reputation Management Should be On Your Radar

A lot of business leaders are so busy running their businesses that they don’t have time to focus on building marketing systems that get them new clients, let alone worry about their business reputation management online.

Your Business Reputation is Whatever Google Says It Is!

Face it, when someone is looking for your business, or your services they go to Google and type in your business name. The chances are the results they will include your website, amongst several other citations of your business.

Now you might think, “Well that’s ok we have a website and it has positive testimonials on there so we are fine, no need to worry!”

Well I am sorry to tell you that that isn’t good enough and here is why:

Very rarely do people enter your website url directly into the browser, even if they know you. The normal web user goes to Google and types the company name into Google and then hits search.

What the user is presented with is a list of pages that Google believes to be the most relevant for your business name. Now of course your website is one of those pages, or at least it should be, if it is not then you really do have trouble! The other listings will be other relevant and useful information concerning your business. This could be:

  • Press releases
  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Forum sites
  • Blog Posts
  • Local directory listings
  • Review sites
  • Social media sites.
  • Images
  • PDf articles

Do you see my point? If the answer is no, then let me explain some more.

business reputation management - ease of reviews

There are many forms of content that people can place online, all of which can be relevant to your business, your name, your products or services. If you don’t know what is online when someone searches for you then shame on you.

Remember, the internet is not static, so just because you checked what came up in a search 6 months ago it doesn’t mean it’s the same today, or tomorrow or the day after and the day after that.

One negative comment left online, or a negative article, can quickly be syndicated to many sites across the internet. Once this happens then that piece of content becomes more credible in the eyes of the search engines because people are taking the time to comment on it and share it.

That means the piece of negative content moves higher up the search engine listings damaging your business reputation, potentially losing market value and impacting your lead generation.

3 Steps to Better Your Business Reputation Management

Take accountability

Don’t ignore your online business reputation. Make a point of taking responsibility by assigning someone in your business to take ownership. Then go out and proactively work to provide the search engines with useful, relevant and quality content that adds value to your business and to people searching for your company.

The sooner you create value added content, the sooner it can be indexed and shared by the public, therefore increasing relevancy.

Don’t enter a Slanging Match

“He said, she did, I said,” is not going to help you out in this situation. If the comment or content is someone having a good old rant then sometimes it is best not to add fuel to the fire by leaving a response.

Analyse the comment or content that has been posted and think about how best to respond. If the comment is reasonable, for example if the user is talking about an experience they have had with your business and how it was disappointing, then step up to the plate and offer an apology and an avenue to interact with that consumer in order to investigate the issue and make things right. By doing this you get the opportunity to rectify the client’s sentiment about your business and also show the outside world, who are watching, that you really do care about your customers and clients.

Positively ask for feedback

reputation managementGetting positive reviews is another way to counteract the negative press that is online. There are many 3rd party review sites that allow consumers to leave their honest feedback about businesses that then get published online.

Ask your customers to go to these sites and leave honest reviews about your business, this will help build up a series of reviews, hopefully positive, that can be used to push down the negative reviews, provide feedback to your business and increase the perception of your business online.

Ultimately business reputation management is vital. If someone is saying something negative about your business or services they might have a reason to make a valid complaint. Consider all negative comments or complaints seriously and take corrective action where warranted.

If you want to know more how we could help you develop an online business reputation management system, marketing the GREAT work that you do for clients, protecting your business from the bad comments and winning new and repeat business online then call us today. 0161 850 4413