This post is focused on the search side of local Internet marketing and I want to start out making sure you understand the difference between the two. Local search marketing is really focused on the search side of the equation – both paid and organic. The key here is to be visible to your searcher when they come looking for you on their desktop pc, tablet or mobile device.
Local Internet Marketing is the entire package that includes paid advertising, PR (news and press releases), social media, organic search, email marketing, and anything else the web can do to help your business.
If you are like most business owners I’ve come across, all they want to do is sell their product or service and if the Internet can help them do that in some way, shape or form – then make it so!
For many small business owners the Internet (especially local search marketing) really seems to finally be catching on. This is especially the case for those enterprises that realize how important the web has become to people who are searching for local goods, services and information.
If you have chosen to market your product or service locally to people in Spokane, Spokane Valley or in Posts Falls and Coeur d’ Alene, then putting some time into local search marketing will increase your visibility and allow more searchers to find you.
If on the other hand you have a desire to make your gadget, widget or info available to anyone, anywhere, anytime – then you’ll need to take a different road and use a much more broad ‘SEO for business’ plan. More on this in a future post.
Ok – let’s get back to local search and how this can help your small business.
There are three different channels to market to and you need to determine which ones are most important to you and your business. I have listed them out by order of importance based on a retail/service operation that relies on foot and phone traffic to keep the doors open.
Channel#1 Is the Local Community (like Spokane or Spokane Valley), so focus on this channel first and work on driving as much traffic as you can handle to your location and phones. As of this writing this is primarily done through Google, Yahoo and Bing. So make sure your listings are current and all pertinent info is accurate with active links. Note: email and social media are important and I’ll dig into this later so you can see how these two interact with your local search marketing plan.
Channel #2 Is the Tourist and Visitor. If your business is more reliant on this channel then we bump it to the first slot and focus more on attracting people to your company through local, regional and targeted search. You can also use third party sites to gain more visibility so always consider what sites you can link to and which ones will link back to you. Note: Think like a tourist when developing this channel. How do you search when you travel?
Channel #3 Is the Regional Community which shops, visits family and may utilize medical facilities and other companies to service vehicles, electronics, appliances and more. This channel is one that you need to think out side the box and network as much as possible to gain additional links to the web pages and social media sites.
Remember, the search engines, directories and social media sites create the visibility so searchers can find you. So basically you have to list your business in directories that show up in the search engines and also optimize pages on your website, so these rank for certain keywords and key phrases. Add Google + Local, Maps, Phone Links and Video to the mix and your local search marketing will come together.
As always keep it simple, stay focused, be persistent and keep in touch with the SmallBiz Mechanic if you get stuck or need help.