A local marketing campaign is ideal for any business that relies on a local customer base. Flower shops, medical and dental offices, veterinarians, retail stores – these are just a few examples of small businesses that may require a local marketing focus. Regardless of what type of business you run or plan to run, the following steps will give you a good head start on your first local marketing campaign.
You Don’t Need a Website – But It Helps
If your small business doesn’t have a web presence to speak of, that’s ok. You can get started building a local marketing campaign and you can always add a website to it later. There are many platforms and local marketing techniques that will help you get by without a fully functioning website. However, you will get far greater results if you do have a site.
What Type of Website?
If you already have a website or if you want to start your local marketing campaign with a website, make sure it follows this basic format.
- Home: Tell your customers about your business and what they can expect from your services.
- About: What sets your business/products/services apart from the competition? Why should customers choose your small business?
- Services: List all your product/services and entice your customers to buy.
- Contact: List your contact information and make it very easy for customers to get a hold of you. You will also want to place a map, hours of operation and any other pieces of info your local marketing audience might find useful.
Your website should be basic if you hope to get the most out of your local marketing campaign. The purpose of your site should always be to get more leads, to entice more phone calls or to get more people to buy. Keep the design simple, navigation easy and the content high-quality and your small business will generate more local marketing customers.
Local Marketing – Google Places
Google offers many free tools for businesses to use and one of those is Google Places: a free platform that provides your small business with its very own local marketing web page. You may find that your business already has a Google Places page. Go to Google Places and search for your business. If your small business is listed on a yellow pages or any other kind of local marketing directory, Google might have already populated a page in your name. All you have to do is claim the page in order to control the information.
Whether you are creating a new local marketing page or you are claiming an existing one, you will have to verify that you are the true owner. This can be done by SMS, snail mail or in some cases it can be handled over the phone.
Fill out all available space on your Google Places page. Don’t leave anything blank. Fill your small business page with photos, videos and all the information you can think of to help customers find your business online. The more populated your page is, the more information local marketing customers will have to make a positive buying decision.
Superpages.com, Yelp, Citysearch, WhitePages, MapQuest – these are just a few local directories that can help local marketing customers find your small business online. You can do a search for all local directories or you can take a shortcut.
Yext.com is a platform that will allow you to see a free report of where and how your small business is listed online. You can pay Yext to populate all the local directories with your information (at the tune of a thousand dollars) or you can use the information Yext provides to do it manually.
The More Directories the Merrier
Once your business is listed on Google Places and on several local directories, your local marketing campaign will finally start to rank in the search engines. Make sure you keep all of your information the same across the board. Don’t list your Street as St. somewhere else. Keep Lane as lane and not Ln. This will avoid search engine confusion, which can hurt your small business rankings in the local marketing search results.
Never Stop Marketing
Your local area may have specialized websites that you will want to rank with. This might include the Better Business Bureau, niche-specific organizations, the local chamber or commerce, etc. Get your website and/or Google Places page ranked on those sites and you will bring in far more local marketing customers.
Once your local marketing campaign is ranking in the search engines, you will want to improve your rankings by encouraging your current and future customers to visit Google Places and various local marketing directories in order to leave comments.
Google Places gives your local search engine listing yellow stars each time you get a certain number of positive reviews. Fill up with reviews and your listing will have five stars. How can your competitors expect to compete with that? Get more reviews and you’ll earn more local marketing customers and your local marketing campaign will yield you a hefty return on your investment, guaranteed.