Posted by Erin Meyer & filed under Business Growth.

The buyers who are looking for the products and services you sell are using the internet to find their local options. When they go online, are they going to find you? This is an important question you should ask yourself as a local business owner. Just having a website is not enough to ensure they will. Here are 5 things you should be doing online to promote your local business:

1. Create or claim and verify your local listings.

In order to provide the most useful and relevant search results, Google and Bing now provide users with quick access to local business information with Google My Business and Bing Places for Business listings. It is extremely important for local businesses to claim or establish their business details to make sure prospective customers know you are open for business. The information you provide or verify will include contact information, store hours, location photos, and other details. The more people know about your business, the more likely they will be to buy from you.

2. Make sure your website is mobile friendly

We have said it before, and we will keep saying it because it is becoming more and more important – you must have a mobile friendly website. Last year Marketing Land reported on a study of multi-platform internet user behavior:

“…mobile is now the growth driver, while the desktop is rapidly becoming a “secondary touch point” for a large percentage of the US digital audience.”

Voice search technology is also becoming more popular, pushing search behavior toward mobile. It is important to have a responsive design website, so that your website performs well and looks good on a wide range of devices.

3. Establish an email list and use it.

If you have a newsletter, a blog, coupons or other helpful resources you can offer your customers, ask them to become email subscribers. Email provides a way for you to connect with highly qualified prospects that have a proven interest in your products or services. Be sure to use this valuable marketing channel by establishing a consistent email schedule, and always follow email best practices.

4. Connect with your buyers on social media.

Social media usage is exploding. According to the Pew Research Center:

  • As of 2015, 90% of young adults use social media, compared with 12% in 2005.
  • As of 2015, 35% of all those 65 and older report using social media, compared with just 2% in 2005.

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 messaging is appropriate for the media.

5. Monitor and respond to online reviews.

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