Marketing Your Business Locally Online
If you are like most small business owners you may not have presence on the internet for your business. While your local business may have a website (which is good, as over 50% of small business owners don’t). It’s good to have a website that at least is receiving some traffic from search engines which ultimately is bringing you in business.
While people still do use phone books, it’s better to move more towards the internet age and make your business presence online. A small example is when my friends started their own local photography shop, they had the skills and equipment, however they did lack a website. I stepped in and help them create a website with some information and displaying some of their personal work.
The key obviously was to obtain rankings for keywords over the course of about a month. Competing locally for keywords is generally very easy compared to trying to market your business with a national keyword or something common like “Cars”. For example maybe you have a flower shop located in Sprigville, you could most likely rank easy for “Springville Flower Shop”.
Great, so far we have a website and have an idea of what we hope people will search. If not you can use keyword tools to see how popular queries are. With a new website it’s best to stick to low competition keywords only, there is no sense it trying to compete for a keyword like Cars.
There are various ways to promote your business for free. The first method is YouTube. Create a small company commercial and upload it to YouTube using your keywords in the title, add a description and link to your website from YouTube. Videos are a great way to engage with users. If you are using YouTube you can make as many videos as you would like, perhaps showing tips about the services you provide. Just an example: if you are a local car dealership why not make a video sharing your knowledge on the mechanics of cars?
The next way to promote your business is Facebook. You can create a free fan page on Facebook and invite people to “like” or become a fan. The more people you have engaged basically creates a more broad advertising reach as you can post photographs, status updates and videos from YouTube and other sites to your page.
Those are my personal 2 favorite ways to promote a business online. You of course can engage users through other social media sites such as Twitter. The key is really to provide great content with useful information, if you are out online sharing information that people can use they will come to you. Search engines also like seeing a good flow of content produced on a regular basis. Rich content sites with videos, photographs, text that link to useful information tend to do very well in search engines, however your content should be unique, have a special twist or touch that many users can either A: relate to or B: engage with.
Promoting your online business doesn’t happen over night, it doesn’t matter what niche or field of category you are trying to advertise. You can use paid advertising methods as well such as Pay-Per-Click (PPC). PPC allows you to target directly what users are looking for, you don’t actually pay anything unless they click. Most likely if they do click they are going to look at your website and potentially become a customer for your business. I myself have ran a lot of PPC campaigns in the past, some have been successful and others have not. It’s really about testing the waters, spend only what you can afford and never more than what you are willing to lose.
My absolute personal favorite place to advertise is in the free classifieds section. Free classifieds sites are a great way to promote your business or service. Post in the right category of course. When people come along looking for your service they will most likely buy. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to advertise, however it can take time. It basically utlimately comes down to time vs money. In conclusion after a period of time you will build a good customer base and increase your presence online so you can focus more on your business.