Leading a Local Audience to Your Online Business
If your business provides products or services to specific audiences or specific locations, you can improve your sales and business growth by studying how to use Internet marketing to reach the people who will be the most interested in what you have to offer. Strategies for Internet marketing to a local audience are slightly different from the methods used for national or global Internet marketing, but they are quite simple to implement and maintain.
To rank high in local Internet searches such as Yahoo local, Google local, and Bing local, your website should use keywords and keyword phrases that are local in nature. People in your local area are usually searching for a location, rather than looking up information. So to appeal to these potential customers, you need to use keyword terms that include the city your business is located in, nearby communities, neighborhood brands such as street and local landmark names. Even including your zip code can be important for boosting your search engine rankings.
Search engines such as Yahoo and Google have proprietary directories they use that rely heavily on search terms using keywords. Internet Yellow Pages providers, including YellowPages, Yelp, and Superpages, contain both paid and free listings, which use your IP address as proof of your location. Register your business name with each of the free directories to give them a try. After a few months, you can then decide whether or not you want to pay to be included in a directory listing. Most industries have trade-specific directories, many of which are free. Do your own Google search to find these directories, and signing up to be included in them will also help your rankings in Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Social media networking is a great way to target your business to local traffic. Twitter and other similar networking platforms have specifically designed tools for helping your business develop a following of local customers. Twellow Neighborhood, for example, is just one of the tools for locating new contacts who are tailored to your geographical location and/or industry. By the same token, Facebook helps connect local people to your business. All you need to do to connect with a local crowd of potential customers is to join Facebook and follow your local chamber of commerce.
Personal recommendations are excellent advertising tools, especially online. Yelp and other directories that allow readers to provide ratings and reviews of businesses can increase your site’s placement in other online search engines. If you have customers you love your business, encourage them to write a positive review about your site. You can even include a blog area on your website for customers to write personal reviews and comments about their experiences working with you.
Whether your business is brand new or already established, there are always new ways to market your company online to local customers. Once you build your site, develop a strong online promotion plan using these strategies, and watch your customer base grow and your search rankings increase, while you succeed in beating your competition.
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