When coordinating your company’s SEO endeavors, it pays to think big. After all, your ultimate goal is to get your site noticed by as many prospective clients as possible. However, if your business is locally-focused and doesn’t operate nationally, there’s no sense in trying to appeal to a national audience. This isn’t to say that you should devote any less time or energy to getting noticed by Google and its contemporaries – rather, you should focus these efforts on a local audience. If local SEO is a relatively new concept to your company, the following pointers will serve you well moving forward.
Create Profiles on Local Business Directories
If you’re looking to bring in local search engine traffic, take care to create profiles for your company on sites dedicated to local business listings. Sites to focus on include Angie’s List, Yellowbook, Dexknows and Google’s very own business directory. For best results, make sure each listing includes your website URL, as well as assorted photos, videos and testimonials from satisfied clients. You’ll also need to list your company under the appropriate categories, as this will ensure that the right people are able to find it. As Search Engine Land points out, the more directories you place your profile on, the more likely search engines are to take notice, so when looking for relevant directories, it pays to go all-out.
Place a Heavy Emphasis on Your Location
Since you’re aiming for local clients, make a point of emphasizing your company’s location at every available opportunity – on your site’s contact page, in your feature articles and blog posts, in your “About Us” section, etc. This will help search engines pick up on the fact that you’re locally-focused and alter your search ranking accordingly. You can also appeal to the local pride of prospective customers by talking about how much you love your current locale, as well as things your business has done to make it a better place.
Rework Your Keyword Strategy
The prospect of reworking your keyword strategy may strike you as daunting, but there’s no need to fret. Odds are you’ll be able to use the same keywords you used before – provided you put a local spin on them. For example, if you’ve been using something along the lines of “affordable professional graphic design,” simply change it to “affordable professional graphic design in Phoenix, AZ.” When attempting to reach a local audience, any keywords you incorporate should make reference to where your business is based. Furthermore, the less local competition you have, the more likely Google is to assign your site a favorable ranking.
A surprising number of locally-focused businesses waste a considerable amount of time trying to appeal to a national audience. Not only is getting your site noticed on a national level quite difficult, it’s also utterly pointless for companies that only take on local clients. Businesses interested in restructuring their SEO efforts with the intent of reaching a local audience are sure to benefit from putting the previously-discussed tricks to good use.
New business both large and small, both online only and brick and mortar, have one thing in common: a need to build and sustain a large online brand presence. Unlike businesses that have been around for a time, they may have no word of mouth to help them out. When both your time and budget are limited, you need a digital marketing strategy in place that works quickly to draw visitors to your site and convert those visitors into buyers.
Profile Your Audience
You’re right not to ignore the online medium when it comes to advertising, even if your business is largely going to be a local offline company. According to Media Post, Internet advertising is estimated to grow 12.9 percent in 2016, becoming the largest medium for advertising. Your first step to advertising online effectively is to come up with a profile for your target audience – which is basically your business’ targeted demographic in general. Define the following about the people most likely to buy from your company:
- Age range
You may have several targeted demographics. Focus on the top two or three to start. The “interests” and “occupations” can include a number of items. These will give you ideas for which sites and social media platforms to target – sites that are popular with the same audience you hope to reach. For example, if you sell shoes primarily to people between the ages of 18 and 25, you’ll know to focus more on Instagram than Facebook ads.
Allocate Your Budget
When you’re starting up a business, you have a lot of promotional costs. From newspaper advertisements to TV ads, there are other things besides the Internet to consider. However, Business2Community reports that businesses plan to allocate 35 percent of their marketing budgets to digital marketing in 2016. Allocate a sizeable portion of your budget to digital marketing – prioritize it over TV and radio ads. There are so many facets to online marketing, you’ll be sure to reach a lot of potential customers, even if you’re focused on local customers only.
The most important tool in the online marketer’s tool belt is new content. Content allows you to update your blog or social media pages on a regular basis and entice repeat visitors to your site. It offers the chance for your posts to go viral and for people to share links back to your site without you having to pay for it. Content can include:
- Written content (blogs, how to articles, industry news, company or staff spotlights, tips)
- Video content (ads, tutorials, interviews, momentous occasions in your business’ history)
- Visual content (graphs, photos, gifs)
The most important thing to remember when producing content is to offer original material your potential audience will find helpful.
If you don’t have a marketing team on staff, outsource marketing to a firm of professionals who specialize in online marketing. That way, you can focus on everything else you need to do to get your business off the ground and let the experts do what they do best. However, it is possible to oversee a digital marketing business launch plan even with limited staff and funds.
Between social media and blogging, it sometimes seems redundant to website owners to add an e-newsletter to their marketing tools. Marketers often worry if e-mail is still relevant. However, a newsletter is especially effective for businesses looking to increase local web traffic and target local consumers. Build an active e-newsletter list, provide compelling content and watch your local traffic numbers grow.
According to The Social Habit, 70 percent of newsletter subscribers who open a newsletter hope to find a discount or coupon code. Offer a special discount for new newsletter subscribers and include semi-frequent discounts for those who stay on the list. This can range from a small percentage off any purchase (even as low as 10 percent) to free shipping for a limited time to savings on a specific product or service. If you want to keep it specifically to local shoppers, make it a coupon code that’s only good in-store if the shopper shows the cashier the newsletter on her phone or states a discount phrase.
Don’t make your newsletters entirely written content. SyndaCast reports that simply using the word “video” in a newsletter email subject line reduces unsubscribes by 26 percent and increases open rates by 19 percent and click-through rates by 65 percent. Create videos to showcase at least once a month in the newsletter and include pictures and infographics throughout every newsletter. Make the newsletter more interactive so the readers have to click on a link and be taken back to your website or the newsletter won’t service the purpose of converting reads into visits and then into purchases. Plus, you’ll be able to link to videos on your social media profiles and create a YouTube channel specifically for your videos, so this content will prove useful in multiple ways.
Balance Both New and Recycled Content
It might seem like a hardship to come up with new content for yet another avenue of marketing, but an e-newsletter is easier to maintain than you might think. It doesn’t have to be entirely new content, but it should include something extra to entice busy readers to read the newsletter and click through to your site. Showcase half of a recent blog post, for example, and end with “click here to read more.” Plus, you actually shouldn’t send it out more than once a week – or perhaps even twice or once a month. Unlike other forms of marketing, which a business engages in daily, a too-frequent newsletter can get viewed as spam.
Promote your e-newsletter in your store locations or connect it to shopping reward program to increase the number of subscribers. More importantly, you’ll get local subscribers who are more likely to actively engage with your content instead of unsubscribing after a few emails. Reward local shoppers and focus on a local demographic when advertizing your newsletter sign ups and you’ll see a higher percentage of local visitors to your website. Periodically send out optional surveys to your newsletter subscribers to see how it’s ranking with local shoppers.