What is Local Marketing?
People don’t go online to search for my product or service so why do I need local marketing?
97% of consumers use the Internet to find products or services in their local area before contacting an offline service provider or merchant – (The Kelsey Group). If you don’t come up when they search they’ll choose your competition. Who would want to reject the potential for more business?!
What makes for great local listings?
Great local listings come down to four basic principles:
Accurate: The data has to be correct and the message consistent with the brand. For example, is the correct and primary phone number used? Is the ‘feel’ consistent with any national branding?
Complete: Use all available and relevant fields. This not only creates a more informative listing for the user, but drives recall and ranking in the search engines.
Fresh: Make sure your hours and other business details are up-to-date. Take advantage of coupons and ‘specials’ to promote your latest deals. An up-to-date coupon or special can make the conversion.
Ubiquitous: Ensure that all local search sites and data providers have your local listing and that it is accurate. This will mean more inbound traffic and will also have a synergistic effect, driving better rankings at the top engines.
How do I get my listing to rank better for local search?
Here are the items that are most critical to local listing rank:
Business Address: This is local search after all, so your business has to be within a reasonable distance from the user’s searched location. The proximity of your business to the user’s specific search location is less important than it used to be, but you still need to be within the local area to be considered. For businesses that serve a large area, often far from their physical address, Google has rolled out a new Service Area feature that allows you to define a larger geography that your business services.
Customer Reviews: Both the quality and quantity of the reviews matter. While their is still debate on how/if this specifically impacts the rank of local listings, a large amount of quality reviews will certainly increase the likelihood that a browser of your listing becomes a customer of your business.
How do I deal with negative online reviews about my business?
First, always keep in mind that there is a difference between a negative review and a false or inaccurate review. For negative reviews, consider responding using the functionally available at the review site. Most review sites offer business owners the ability to comment or respond directly. When you make the decision to engage with the reviewer remain calm, speak honestly and sincerely and try to make amends with the dissatisfied customer. Take the opportunity to explain the circumstances of the negative review and what you did to ensure there is not a reoccurrence. Refrain from engaging in an argument or provoking the reviewer. Remember that negative reviews are part of running a business; approach them as an opportunity to improve your business or service.
How do I deal with false or inaccurate online reviews about my business?
First, always keep in mind that there is a difference between a negative review and a false or inaccurate review. If the review is posted by a competitor, is done out of malice or just plain made up, use the ‘Report Abuse’ functionality available at nearly every major review site. This process is often slow, but can result in the false review being removed from the site.
Do I need to purchase Local Search Marketing Services or can I do it myself?
Of course you can do it yourself and there are a million resources online and in print that will help you. As with most areas of running your business, it either requires time or money. You CAN build a website, do your taxes, fix equipment and so on, but you may choose not to. Often times hiring a professional (for any task) is more time and cost effective in the long run and frees your time to do what you do best. I encourage you to understand enough about Local Search and the marketing services being offered so that you can be sure you are getting what you pay for. Online service providers are notoriously fly by night scam artists, so be careful when selecting your service providers.
Do I need to have a website?
No. Since local searchers are looking to buy local services and products, they just need to know how to find you. The local search directories provide a wide range of information to the customer so a website is not necessary to benefit from Local Search Marketing. A website is important though so that you can give them more information about your company’s products or services. A website is like a sales pitch brochure that is online 24 hours a day!
Will my business show up on mobile phones?
Mobile and local go together like peanut butter and jelly. The good thing is that you don’t have to do anything special to have your local listings show up for searches done from a mobile phone. The local search engines will use the same listings and listing data, presented a bit differently, for both web and mobile searches.
Is “Local Search” a passing trend? Do I really need to be marketing my business in this way?
Some people thought the Internet was a passing trend too! The reality is that local search technology provides people with fast, easy access to a wide range of information that might otherwise be very time consuming. While the majority of local searches will move off the computer to phones and mobile devices, local search technology will continue to grow.
Do I own the listings?
Unlike other Internet Marketing agencies all the content we create for you… you own – whether you hire us for other services or not. The same goes for any web site work we create for you. You own the copyright for this content not us! If you ever decide one day you don’t need us anymore then everything we’ve created for you stays in place. Make sure whoever you hire to create content for you – you have clear and “no strings attached” ownership of the work!