Should a local business that only target local customers utilize the Internet to promote its products? We know that when we put our business online, it can already be accessible by anyone, anytime, and anywhere in the world. So if our business only serves people within a city or in a particular place, do we need to promote it on the Internet which is reachable by the world?
Some local business owners consider online marketing as an unnecessary business strategy because they think that there is no need for them to achieve Internet exposure since their customers are just nearby their place. That is not definitely true because we can actually use the Internet to target customers locally. Besides, if your local competitors are already promoting their business through the use of Internet to attract more customers, then how can you compete with them?
We can promote our local business online to reach more customers and to make sure that we are ahead of the competition. If you want to learn how, here are 8 ways to promote your local business on the Internet:
1. Create a website for your business
A company website will serve as the main place on the Internet where people, especially your customers, will go to know your business information, such as your company profile, address, contact numbers, and product or services offered. Although your customers are just nearby your business location, it is still very convenient for them to access your business right through their computers and mobile phones where an Internet connection is available. If you don’t have any idea how to develop your own company website, you may consider hiring a website developer to do that job for you.
2. Create a blog for your business
Blogging your business can further extend your reach on the Internet by publishing useful and relevant blog posts for your target audience. A blog can be incorporated as part of your company website. If you can publish more quality blog posts – Google and other search engines will have more pages from your site to index, causing this to increase your blog traffic. To target local audience, you can make your blog posts’ title, description, and content directed to your local customers. The more blog posts you’ll make to target customers, the more you can hit the bull’s-eye. You can learn more about this in #3.
3. Implement local SEO
To bring your website and blog pages to the right audience, you can implement local SEO or search engine optimization. SEO is the process of optimizing your website content and structure to increase rankings on search engines result pages, reach your target search engine users, and drive more quality traffic from the search engines (e.g., Google, Yahoo, and Bing).
Through SEO, you can optimize your web pages and blog posts by using long-tail keywords that are more specific to your geographic location. For example, if you have a restaurant business located in Makati City Philippines, you can add the words “Makati City Philippines” to your related web page titles, description, and tags to be more specific and targeted to that location. Furthermore, if you are using a generic top-level domain, such as .com, you can use geotargeting in Google Webmaster Tool to set your target to a specific country instead of global targeting. You may also consider hiring a SEO specialist to do this job for you.
4. List your business on Google Places
Most of us are already using the Internet to find local business establishments, their products or their services. Even if a store or office is just within our town or city, we still tend to click the Internet to know some information about that business establishment, like the list of its products, prices, and even the promos they offer. And then we usually use Google. If you want your local business to become more discoverable by Google users in your location, add your business listing on Google Places.
You can add your listing to Google Places for Business for free. Just provide your business information, such as your address and contact numbers. You can even add photos about your business. By adding your business listing on Google, your business information become searchable on Google local web searches and Google Maps.
5. Run a local Adword campaign
If you have the money to fund for your online marketing campaign, you can try Google Adwords. By using this service, you can be able to target local Internet users or potential customers by setting your ads to appear only when people search within your location (city, state, or country). Google has also introduced AdWords Express, a service that hopes to help you reach potential customers online at exactly the right moment — when they’re on their phones nearby and are most likely to call or visit your business. However, this service is still not available worldwide as it is only limited to some countries.
6. Promote your business on Facebook
Facebook, the largest social networking site in the world today, is one of the best online places where you can promote your local business to local Internet users. In your own personal timeline or profile, you can choose and earn more friends and followers who are residing within your city, state or country. You can also create a Facebook Page for your local business for free and start inviting people within your geographic location to subscribe to your page. However, take note that promoting your business on Facebook takes time, as it takes time to earn trust and confidence from real people. Remember that the key to social media marketing success is to always provide value and build good relationships.
7. Promote your business on Foursquare
Today, the Internet is not only accessible from our laptops and desktop computers. The Internet is already mobile, as it is now commonly accessed on tablets and smart phones. With this, you may also consider promoting your local business on Foursquare. Foursquare is a location-based social networking website that uses application for mobile devices. It enables its users to find business establishments nearby, “check in” when they visited these places, make comments, and leave tips and other information about the business places they have experienced. To learn more about utilizing Foursquare, please read our post on how to promote your business using Foursquare.
8. Get listed on local online business directories
Just like the traditional printed Yellow Pages at your home, online business directories list businesses according to their categories to be easily found by people who use them. To achieve maximum exposure of your local business on the Internet, add your business listing on the different online business directories that include your industry and location in their categories. These directories include Yahoo local listings and other online business directories. To find more websites that accept local listings in your area, you can use search engines to search for the term “online business directory in (your city, province or country)”. Take note that in order to make your listing more effective, add your business on the right category.
The business world, together with the Internet, is constantly revolving and innovating. If we don’t act and adapt to the changes happening in the competition, we might be left behind. Thus, we need to constantly keep our eye on any technological and other changes that can significantly affect our business, whether our business is small or big – or whether it is local or global. Besides, when we make our business better, we also make the lives of our customers better. Promoting your local business on the Internet doesn’t only promote your own business, but it also helps your customers by providing them convenience in reaching your business at the comfort of their fingertips.