Seven Steps to Local Search Success, Part 2

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STEP 4: SELECT THE RIGHT TARGETED CATEGORIES, KEYWORDS AND SEARCH PHRASES.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes when promoting your business. Where would you look for your type of company online? In what category and section of the directories should your business be listed? Think about what keywords you would type into a search engine to find your business. According to The Kelsey Group, 61 million local search inquiries are conducted online every day. This means your business listing needs to be optimized to appear on the first page of results in your region and categories.

STEP 5: BROADCAST YOUR COMPANY’S PROFILE PAGE TO THE WORLD.
With everything in place, it’s time to let the world know about your company using multiple platforms, including top-tier search engines. Not every directory has your business information, so be sure to submit to multiple online directories. Also, keep in mind that, according to a 2007 TMP Directional Media survey, 82 percent of online local searchers contacted a business offline and 61 percent of those people made purchases. Therefore, make sure you have as much relevant information on your profile page as possible. The more unique your content, the more opportunities you will have to both improve your presence online and be found by all of the search engines.

STEP 6: DEVELOP A PROGRAM TO SECURE CUSTOMER REVIEWS.
When a customer finds you, they will also find your competitors. Positive reviews that validate your company will help persuade them to choose your offerings over the competition. According to Jupiter Research, 77 percent of online shoppers use ratings and reviews when making a purchase. Develop a customer review program by reaching out to satisfied customers and asking them to rate your business or write a review. Also consider providing incentives to your employees who solicit reviews from customers and offer discount coupons to potential reviewers. You can also promote your reviews program on customer bills, your website or even your business card.

STEP 7: TRACK YOUR LEADS.
To measure the results of your local search campaign, you’ll need to track your leads. You can do this by using call-tracking phone numbers, which will tell you how many potential customers picked up the phone and contacted you; profile page clicks; page views on your site; or impressions to the SERP page. The goal is to track how many times people clicked on your ad (clickthrough rate) or were able to see it online (impressions). If you have many impressions but few clicks, you will need to make some changes to your strategy.

MULTI-OFFICE ORGANIZATIONS
If you have more than one location, be sure to promote your business in each of these areas. Don’t assume that if you have one location listed they will be able to find all of your locations. They may see a location that isn’t near them and move on to the next business listed, likely your competition.

Local search is an effective way to market your local business, especially if you have limited marketing dollars. The low-cost entry point, tracking capabilities and solid ROI have made it a popular marketing tool for businesses that want to costeffectively target customers in a specific region. There are many opportunities that can help deliver local customers to your website and through your front door.

About the Author: Jennifer Black is vice president of marketing for Local.com, a leading U.S. local search site and network attracting approximately 19 million visitors each month seeking information on local businesses, products and services. For information call 888-857-6734 or visit local.com.

 
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