Posted by Erin Meyer & filed under Local Search Focus.

Not long ago, online marketing was considered to only be important for internet retailers and large companies promoting high profile brands. Today, as the segment of the population using smart technology continues to grow, online marketing has become essential for nearly all businesses, including local businesses. It is important to have a well-thought internet marketing plan that includes online marketing strategies for your local business.

If you are new to online marketing or have not made as much of an effort to market your local business online as you know you should, it may be overwhelming to think about where to start. The following are four key online marketing essentials for local businesses.

Local Listings

Both Google and Bing provide users with quick access to information about businesses in their area through local listings. It is important for local businesses to create, claim, and verify their  Google My Business and Bing Places for Business listings. Accurate and detailed local listing information lets prospective customers know you are open for business. Local listings typically include contact information, store hours, location photos, and other details. The more people know about your business, the more comfortable they will feel buying from you.

Did you know…

According to a 2016 report, 56% of local businesses had failed to claim their Google My Business listing?

Mobile Friendliness

As we have said before, having a mobile friendly website is a must. According to Zenith Media research, 79% of internet use will be mobile in 2018. Google is responding  to this trend by placing more emphasis on mobile search. The bottom line is that the best performing mobile sites are going to have more preferential treatment in terms of organic search rankings and PPC ad rank. If you are not sure whether or not your site is sufficiently fit for mobile, check out this Google mobile-friendly test tool.

Social Media

Social media usage is exploding. According to the Hootsuite research:

  • More than 4 out of every 5 Americans (83%) have a social media account
  • Nearly half of Americans (48%) have interacted with companies on social media
  • 28% of Americans who have a social media account prefer to engage with a brand on social media vs. visiting the physical location

Much of the social media conversation is about what to try or buy and where to get it. With more and more local businesses using social media marketing, it is especially important to make sure you are not being left out of the conversation about your goods and services. Remember that social media posts are not advertising. Make sure your message is right for the media.

Reviews

Whether they are shopping for products or services, people frequently look to online reviews during the buying process. According to Bright Local research:

68% of people said that positive customer reviews make them likely to use a local business

You should be keeping an eye on all of your online reviews, from your business pages to your social media accounts. Express your appreciation for good reviews and answer any questions or concerns reviewers may have. Responding to negative reviews is especially important for effective reputation management.

Ready to see how much can your local business grow with online marketing? Give us a call!


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