One of the biggest opportunities to come along over the past few years for internet marketers has been learning to promote local business online. Most local business owners don’t have a clue about SEO which means there is very little competition for those who do.
If you are a local business owner who understands the need to have an online presence, or if you would like to learn how to help local businesses with their online marketing,(and make some nice money) you will find some very valuable resources within this article.
Google Wants To Help Your Customers Find You
Google has spent (and continues to spend) significant amounts of time and money cataloging every registered business in the United States. Perhaps you have seen some of those Google mobiles with cameras attached to the roof. That’s how they’re able to provide street views when you look for local businesses.
Google has also created a couple of free to use platforms that allows business owners to optimize their business listings. Only 7 business make the first page of Google maps so learning to optimize your listing greatly improves your chances of being found.
This is an example of a Google search for “plumbers in Miami”.
One thing these 7 businesses have in common is the fact that they have claimed their Google My Business pages and most have set up their Google+ pages. Claiming these pages does not guarantee a first page listing, however they are the most important metrics Google will use to decide which businesses make the first page.
Note: Claiming your Google My Business Page BEFORE creating your G+ Page will make the process much easier.
You may have also noticed that all of these business have a website. While you are not required to have a website to be on the first page, it certainly wouldn’t hurt. Especially if you have 7 competitors or more who do have a website.
Optimizing Your Pages
The first thing you want to do is go to Google My Business and set up your business listing. (If you don’t already have a Google account, you will need to set one up). Google My Business provides a dashboard that integrates Google Search, Google Maps and G+ in one place. This makes it easy to update your listing at any time across all Google platforms.
When setting up your local business listing, you will want to be as thorough as possible. You don’t want to miss out on gaining new customers because you didn’t feel like completing certain steps.
I have seen many business listings where the business owner didn’t bother to post their business hours. If your potential customers don’t know when you’re open, they may move on to a business that they do know is open.
If you own the kind of business where your customers come to you, having photos is a great way to enhance your listing. Many people would rather patronize a business that they can see before they actually go there. I know I do.
Note: If you have the kind of business where you go to your customers, or your home is your business address, you do not need to provide photos of your home. Many business owners in this situation will show photos of their service vans (plumbers etc.)
If you don’t want your home displayed on the Google Map, you can simply enter your service area instead.
G+ Google’s Own Social Network
G+ is an easy way to share information about your business in real time. Anyone who is in your Google circles will be notified of any new activity on your G+ page. G+ also has the same kind of viral effect that most social networks have. It’s kind of like Facebook without the drama 🙂
G+ does have one big advantage over other social media. Because it is owned by Google, your posts tend to get ranked well and get ranked quickly!
Citations & Reviews
If there’s one thing Google favors, it’s activity. Reviews are a great way to make your listing more active. People love to read reviews an will often give their business to a business with good reviews. Yet I have never seen a business ask for or encourage people to leave a review.
A citation simply means that your business was mentioned (and linked to) from another site. This is easily achieved by submitting your listing to multiple business directories. There are hundreds of FREE business directories out there. Every link back to your listing provides “link juice” which boosts your rankings.
There are many other ways to promote your local business online including but not limited to:
- SMS Text Messaging
Keeping Ahead Of The Competition
One of the biggest challenges local business owners face when promoting their business online is the time required to keep up with it all. It’s rarely a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. Not only do you have to run your own business, but now you need to update and adjust your online marketing campaigns.
Most business owner simply do not have the time. If you own a local business and you find yourself in this situation, you may want to consider hiring a local marketing expert. Your campaigns can be setup for an initial fee with a monthly fee of some kind. (Usually a couple hundred dollars a month)
As a business owner, the last thing you need is yet another monthly expense, but the revenues you will receive from a well planned and executed marketing campaign will be well worth the investment. A good local business marketer will be able to show you stats on how well your campaigns are performing. Try getting that from a Yellow Pages listing.
DIY Local Marketing For Business Owners
If you’re one of those “hands on” kind of business owners and would prefer to learn how to become your own marketing expert, you can access all the of information you need for a fraction of the cost of hiring an expert.
Video Lessons From A Local Marketing Pro
I have a colleague who makes a great living providing local marketing services to business in his area (including Merry Maids!) and you can access his expertise for only $47 per month (only $19 for the first month!).
You may find that after one month, you no longer need to access these video lessons. That means that for just $19, you can learn what many local businesses pay hundreds (and sometimes thousands!) per month for.
What Else Will I Get?
Your membership doesn’t only provide lessons on local marketing. Here’s what else is included in the price:
- 2 FREE Websites
- FREE Hosting
- Video Lessons To Build & Optimize Your Sites
- Live Expert Help & Advise
Want to take a look around? You can get started absolutely free for 7 days. (Not all training is included with the free starter membership)
Any questions on how to promote local business online? Leave them in the comment box and I will respond