Seven Steps to Local Search Success, Part 1

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As a small business in a lackluster economy, making the most of your marketing dollars is critical to your bottom line. Using a local search engine, you can target customers in a particular region while maximizing your marketing investment. Local search is more targeted and less expensive than other forms of online and offline advertising, which can translate into more leads and customers for less money. In addition to offering inexpensive, relevant advertising dynamics, local search also provides an audit trail to measure results, and other opportunities to increase revenue. As a result, it has enjoyed steady, annual growth and is proving to be a solid marketing tool for growing small businesses. Here’s what you’ll need to know to get started on the road to local search success.

STEP 1: DEFINE YOUR ONLINE GOALS.
Before you begin, determine what you want to accomplish when you go online. Are you looking to garner name or brand recognition for your company? Do you want to grow your business or be found by your customers? Once you’ve defined your online goals, stick to them and keep them as simple as possible.

STEP 2: DEVELOP YOUR PROFILE PAGE.
Think about how you want to describe your business and then use this information to develop your online profile page and advertise your business. What do you want future customers to know about your products and services? How are they better than the competition? Determine the methods of payment, driving directions, maps, product photos and other content. To leverage your efforts, you can also embed your category and keywords into product and service descriptions. Adding this specific information about your business will help you reach potential customers, and improve rankings on the major search engines.

STEP 3: DETERMINE YOUR TARGET CUSTOMERS AND REGIONAL REACH.
Think about who you want to purchase your products or services and what geographical regions you want to serve. Numerous reports cite 80 percent of a person’s income is spent within 20 miles of their home. So there is a good opportunity to reach exactly who you want using the right local search strategy. If possible, consider using market research that supports your industry or have your employees ask their customers how they found your business. Was it an ad or other placement that prompted them to take action?



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