In the digital age, one of the most important and often most overlooked areas of marketing is geographic web marketing. Think about it: The majority of people go online first when looking for a service. If your business depends on people coming to your location to do business then this tactic, also known as local SEO, is critical to capturing new business.
The truth is you can build brand awareness in your community and drive additional traffic through your door without spending a lot of money. In fact, you can do it yourself for free. It involves claiming and optimizing all your listings on local search websites. These are the sites that people in your community are most likely to use to find your service online. A few of the most important sites are:
- Google Places
- Yahoo Local
- Facebook Local
There are many others but these are the big ones. It is important that your info be up-to-date, consistent across all sites and that you have uploaded photos and are using keywords in the descriptions.
Once you are visible on the web, it is very important to manage your online reputation by doing two things. First, encourage satisfied clients to post a positive review on one of these sites. Second, you must respond quickly to any negative reviews. The negative reviews will rarely occur, if ever, but you can’t ignore them. You should strive for a minimum of ten positive reviews posted every year. This will distinguish you from the majority of your competitors online. When someone is searching for your service online, this will help you stand out and ensure that the prospective customer chooses you over your competitor.
Make it easy for satisfied clients to sing your praises by printing up business cards with links to a few of your online listings. Keep the cards at your front desk or some other high traffic area. It will take them less than five minutes and they can do it right from their smartphone. You might be surprised at the positive reviews that start showing up.
Where do I start?
It sounds like a lot of work to build a positive image, and it is. But the first step is easy: do a self-assessment. Go to each of these websites and look up your business category. For example, go to Google Maps and type in your service and the town to see the results (e.g. “Plumbers near Pasadena, CA”). See who shows up at the top and mimic what they are doing.
There are wrong ways to build an online reputation such as paying for reviews or posting fake reviews. These websites guard their reputations by punishing those that break the rules. Don’t fall into this trap by cutting corners. It could come back to haunt you.
Of course, if you don’t have the time or would feel more comfortable having someone manage all your listings on a monthly basis, that is something we are very good at handling for you. Contact us for a free consultation to see how this service can drive new business to your door.