You want to capture local business leads, but you’re worried about the cost.
Then why not give your business a boost with these FREE Local Internet Marketing tips.
Tip 1: Keyword Research like a Pro
Yes I’m afraid so keyword research, that old chestnut.
Why you ask; what’s keyword research got to do with my business?
Well the fact is that most visits online start with someone typing something into a search box.
You do want to improve your Local Internet Marketing right?
Then the trick is to understand what your prospects are typing in to find businesses like yours and use this knowledge to help them find you.
The following tips will get you started:
- Start with a piece of paper and write down the phrases that people might type in to find your business.
- Ask your friends and family for their thoughts, don’t laugh they’re only trying to help.
- Combine the phrases with your main location phrase i.e. “Blue Widgets” becomes “Blue Widgets Bristol” and “Bristol Blue Widgets”.
- Run the phrases through https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal (with exact match selected) pay attention to the “Local Monthly Searches” and download the data for future use.
- You probably shouldn’t target phrases with very low or zero searches.
You can use this data as a starting point for everything else, from creating site content to enhancing your Google Places listing…
Tip 2. How to Add Your Business to Google Places
A listing in the Google Places snippet can be shown above the normal search results and best of all its completely free.
You don’t even need a website.
If you don’t have a Google Places listing you should get one.
If you do have a Google Places listing you should check to see that it’s up to scratch.
Even if you’ve never added a Google Places listing Google could still have constructed one from the data found about your business online. It will almost certainly be incorrect so you should look at improving it.
For info on how to add or modify a Google Places listing see: http://www.google.com/support/places/
Verifying the listing via the telephone is usually the best way to go unless you like waiting around.
Once you have access to the listing pay particular attention to the following:
- Follow the rules set down by Google (see http://www.google.com/support/places/)
- Ensure that your business name is correct, don’t place your target keyword(s) in the business name field (unless the keyword is part of your business name) or you may get your listing rejected.
- Ensure your telephone is the correct local number (i.e. not 0800…, 0845… numbers)
- Include your correct web address (if applicable).
- Ensure that your address is correct.
- Include your opening hours.
- Double check the Map location.
- Add images preferably your logo first (Google by default chooses the first uploaded image for display in the results).
- Add any other detail that you can to make the listing look professional.
- Remember the keywords that you came up with in Tip 1, use these as a starting point to write a decent description (don’t stuff the description with keywords or you may get your listing rejected).
- Use the categories that Google suggests, don’t use custom categories (hopefully you will find ones that match/somewhat match the keywords you discovered in Tip 1).
Also see Tip’s 3 and 4 for more on optimising your Goggle Places Listing.
Tip 3. How to Add Local Directory Listings & Citations
Local Directory Listings and Citations can get your business found on the internet.
They can also improve the results for your Goggle Places Listing.
You can find places to list your business by searching for “[Your City] Directory” in Google
Warning! Beware Incorrect Details
It’s important to both Google and your prospects that your details are correct in these listings.
You can normally fix incorrect details once you’ve found them.
Modifying the following Google searches should uncover your incorrect listings:
- [Old Business Name]
- [Business Name] [Incorrect Detail]
Another Warning! Beware Paid Links
You may find paid listings being advertised while researching the above.
Paid links from the wrong sources can be problematic and can get you into trouble with Google; if you want to look at paid listings my advice would be to consult a reputable SEO.
Tip 4. Encourage Reviews! How to Enhance Your Reputation
One of the best ways to enhance your reputation is by getting online reviews.
Online reviews are also one of the best ways of improving your Google Places listing.
One obvious place to get reviews from is Google Places itself. In addition many of the sites found during your research in Tip 3 will also allow reviews.
There are many ways to prompt / encourage people to review your business:
- Ask your fans on Facebook / Twitter (don’t be too pushy)
- Ask for reviews on your website
- Add review requests in your e-mail signature
- Ask for reviews offline
Remember to link through to the site where you want reviews to be posted.
Warning! Beware Fake Reviews
Google doesn’t like being manipulated.
Please don’t fake / incentivise reviews, you can land yourself in trouble if you do this.
Tip 5. Local Press! Going Offline to Get Online
Getting noticed in the local press is a great way to get your company noticed.
The fact that the coverage is offline is immaterial; lots of local papers have online counterparts.
If you don’t have anything to say, sit-down with a blank sheet of paper and come up with some ideas.
Leverage the differences that exist between you and your competition.
Find out how to write a press release (do a Google search) remember to include all of your business details in your release including; phone number, web address and business address.
Bonus Tips! 6 onwards…
Anyone can action the above tips and they are relevant to every local business (that I can think of).
The following bonus tips either cost money are difficult to implement, or require knowledge that you may or may not have:
- Build a Website
- Start a PPC Campaign
- Get on Twitter
- Get on LinkedIn
- Get on Facebook
- Start a Blog
- Figure out what your competitor(s) are doing and replicate / improve on their methods
How to Pay for These Local Internet Marketing Tips
These Local Internet Marketing Tips are Free.
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