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Local Search Marketing
03/15/12


At any given point 84% of mobile phone users are within 10 feet of their phone. The convenience of smartphones has created a shift in how we access information. We’re much more likely to do a Google search for “pizza in Naperville” or “Starbucks in Chicago” than consult the Yellow Pages nowadays. And this means that local businesses like restaurants, retailers, home repair companies, and other firms that do most of their business in a set geographic area need to make sure that they can be found in search engines like Google.

 

Is your business getting enough local visibility online? If you are ready to start marketing your business locally (or if you are ready to take your current strategy a step further), here are 5 ways to help local consumers find you:

1. Claim your local profiles on search engines and review sites

You are likely already represented in Google Places, Bing Local, Yahoo! Local, Yelp, Citysearch, and other local listings sites, but you should take advantage of the option to “claim” these profiles. Basically what this means is that you now have editing rights over the listing. Which leads us to...

2. Optimize your local profiles

Once you have claimed your listings,  it’s time to share a little bit more about your company. What services do you offer? What are your store hours? What does your business look like? Do you accept personal checks? The more you include the better.

3. Utilize Google Shopping

When a consumer searches for a specific product in Google they have the option to search through “Google Shopping”. Within the descriptions Google offers a link for consumers to find the product in nearby stores. Talk about convenient! Consumers know what they are looking for and can drive right to your store purchase it rather than waiting for the order to be processed and shipped.

4. Ask your customers for reviews

Think of this as asking for a testimonial for other marketing pieces (brochures, website, magazine ads, etc.). An easy way to ask is to add a note to your receipt, “tell us how we did on your FourSquare/Yelp/Google Places page”. Motivate your consumers to write a positive review by adding a greater emphasis on customer service.

5. Submit to new local listings

If you don’t find a listing for your business on a local listing site, see if you can submit your own. Submitting your business to local listings (Yellow Pages, local directories, newspapers, industry directories, etc.) has two main benefits. First, while the majority of local searches are through a search engine’s local page, some consumers will find you through a more specified directory. Second, a listing in directories will provide you with an inbound link to your website and will positively affect your search engine ranking.

 

There’s a lot more you can do to ensure that your business is at the top of the list when your customers are searching for you, but these five ideas are a good first step towards claiming your local online footprint.

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