Thursday, March 14, 2013

Guest Blog: Local Online Search Success for Small Businesses

Here are 5 tips for local businesses who want to succeed and grow are always looking for an edge over their competition. 

Unearthing advantages can be a challenge, but the emergence of local online search marketing over the last few years presents new opportunities to create a competitive advantage for those companies who are willing to educate themselves and take the correct steps. This article will examine 5 ways that businesses can use local online search marketing strategies to distinguish themselves as local competition elevates.
  1. Get Your Business Listed: Presenting detailed and correct listings via online directories is essential. You need to display accurate and consistent business information to make it easy for customers (and Google) to find and recognize your local business. Furthermore, since Google has said in the past that a growing percentage of mobile search is related to location and local information, it is important to claim, update, and enhance online information about your business immediately.
  2. Google Photos For Business: Google has designed their Google Business Photos program to offer a 360-degree virtual tour solution to businesses. It uses the same platform as the highly useful and successful Google Street View, so you can walk into a participating business right off the street virtually. Photo tours can be embedded your website and through social media from any number of starting points. They can also be viewed on all mobile devices. Since people search online because they want to know what to expect before going somewhere, utilizing this feature appears to be a great way for you to really showcase your business in a striking way. 
  3. Manage Your Business’ Reviews: Developing a quality online reputation can really help customers validate your business, and reviews are a large part of this. People will seek to gather all the information they can about your reputation before choosing your business. They want to know what you do and how good you are at it. They don’t just want to trust the information on your website; they want to see what others are saying about your business, location, products, customer service, and more. Many businesses have no reputation online at all! To be successful, this needs to change. Actively seeking reviews and interacting productively with reviewers is an essential part of developing your business's online reputation. 
  4. Nurture Your Current Customers: Many businesses tend to overlook their past or current clientele. You need to make sure this doesn’t happen. Once you have a few customers, you should invest in things like remarketing, nurturing and email campaigns. Keeping up with former customers is a crucial aspect to any local marketing campaign. These are people who’ve liked your product or service enough to come to you at least once. Make sure they keep coming back by showing you care!
  5. Be Visible With Mobile Marketing: Americans are using mobile devices at a rapidly increasing rate. The tendency for people to perform local online searches for business and directions while they are on the road means that if your business’ website is not mobile–ready, you are probably missing out on a significant number of potential customers. To get an idea of what changes need to be made, sit down and look at your own site from a mobile device. Navigate as though you were a customer who doesn’t have time to wait around and determine what changes need to be made.
These are just a few of the strategies you can pursue to get your business found at a higher rate online. While online marketing may not come naturally to you, looking further into these tips is a great way to take your local business to the next level.

Ryan Paul Adams is the CEO of PME 360, a BBB Accredited Business since 2012. 

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