Local search is an inexpensive way to get your business found by prospective customers. In the world of the online business, traffic to your website is the most valuable of assets. And in today's tight economy, business owners are constantly looking for more efficient ways to market their products or services without breaking the bank. One of the most effective ways to market your business online is locally. People tend to trust local businesses more than they do, for example, one on the other side of the globe. Local marketing online is one of the most cost-efficient yet easy methods of which to market on the Internet. And because most companies already have a web site and a blog, local marketing is easier than ever.
Top 10 Tips for Marketing your Business Locally:
1. Merchant Circle - Claim Your Profile on Merchant Circle. If your business is not already listed on Merchant Circle, sign up and within 5 minutes, you can get your business more exposure on the Internet. Be sure to include correct and relevant information such as your legal business name, street address, hours of operation, and business categories. Categories are important because they help ensure your listing is found easier by searching customers. Add deals and promotions to your Merchant Circle listing. Deals include coupons, sales and offers and are a fantastic way to encourage browsing customers to visit your website.
2. Google Places - Claim your business on Google Local Business Center. In a previous blog entry, we outlined the steps necessary to get your business listed on Google Places for free. 97% of consumers search for local businesses online and because the power of Google, many of your potential customers could be looking for the products and services that you offer online at Google Places. Be there when they're looking for you with Google Places for business. Again, this is a free local platform from Google.
Help your business stand out by adding photos, videos, and offers to show customers why they'll want to choose you. Display special promotions, post live updates, and respond to reviews from your Places for business account.
3. Yahoo Local - Claim your business on Yahoo Local. Potential customers from your area visit Yahoo! Local every day and could be searching for your products and services. Yahoo Local is easy to setup and gives you the ability to add descriptive information about your business and upload images from your computer. It is simple to manage. You do not have to bid on keywords and you can edit your listing at your convenience, twenty-four hours a day.
These are the building blocks of getting your business found online. These top three sources of website traffic are easy to use and- best of all - they are free.
Next, we will detail some other strategies for building visibility to your business online. Some of them are free, and some of them require an initial deposit to get started. But all of these sources are excellent ways of which to build website traffic, which as we all know equates to more sales!
4. City Search - Add a Business Listing. If you cannot find your business and your business isn't listed on CitySearch, you can add your business to their directory by completing this form. You need a CitySearch account to submit a new business to them.
5. Local.com - Add a Local.com Business Listing. Setting up your free Local.com business listing is quick and easy and takes just a few simple steps. Get started by entering your business information, preview your listing and edit it with details and special offers to enhance your visibility.
6. MapQuest - Promote your business with MapQuest. The MapQuest Local Business Center listing is free. You can add your business listing within minutes to MapQuest.com by creating a MapQuest Merchant Account. MapQuest powers local search for all AOL properties. You can also buy advertising on MapQuest that gets seen on Yahoo, Yelp and SuperPages business directories.
7. SuperPages - Also called SuperMedia - and is an excellent resource for business owners looking to gain instant access to the millions of potential customers that view the SuperPages business listings each month.
8. YellowBook360 - With a YellowBook360 listing, you are adding your business to one of the top 50 Internet properties on the web. Put your business in more places and reach more customers with YellowBook360.
9. YellowPages.com - The tried and true method of adding your business to the YellowPages is still a strong business strategy. YellowPages has re-branded their business and is now called YP.com, but make no mistake, this directory is still as solid a business investment as ever. Your business can advertise with premium ads and if you are just getting started or are on a strict marketing budget, YP.com offers free business listings.
10. Yelp.com - This website has grown into one of the fastest expanding user communities for reviewing and researching local businesses. Businesses can advertise on Yelp.com with any size budget. Yelp is an excellent website for advertisers to reach an actively engaged audience.
By incorporating each of these steps into your local marketing strategy, you can build a more successful business. Look at these steps and follow through with each one, as your budget allows, and in time you will see more traffic to your website, which will result in more business and sales.
Starting to get the picture? Yeah, you can build traffic, visibility and sales! Give yourself every advantage. Give yourself a better chance to achieve success on-line.
Oh, and don't forget - go green with green website hosting.