Localized Search Place You Higher On the Page
If you’re like most small local business owners that build a website you probably got a big surprise. When you first posted your website you sat back and waited for the customers to start calling in. But, the phone didn’t ring. You expected to gain a higher position on Google, but you found yourself competing with the entire world. With over 255 million websites in 2010* on the internet, yours was more than just lost. It was “invisible”.
Most small businesses are very local in nature.
If you’re a local plumber, contractor, or an attorney, trying to attract customers from across the country or around the world won’t do you any good. Even if you try to market by email, you are competing in an market of 107 Trillion emails sent in 2010*.
And even if you can take customers from anywhere in the world, many businesses would rather deal locally because it’s so much easier and less costly.
But until the last few years, limiting your online marketing to your local community has been very difficult. There was no way to tell the search engines that your focus is a specific geographic area. But that has all changed! Today, Google Places (used to be called Google Local Business Center), Yahoo! Local, and Bing Local all that has changed. Now, you can define a trade area, a radius, or even specific zip codes to market to without trying to compete with anyone else except those that also advertise in those areas.
Localizing does not stop worldwide access to your site. It simply helps focus your online marketing to your immediate, local market.
Here is what localization does for you. When someone in your service area that searches Google (or the other search engines) for your product or service will show up ranked much higher with no additional effort. And, because of the lower number of “competitors” in the search, it is significantly easier to get ranked on page 1 of Google and even at the top of page 1. Your business will be listed in the local search results which show up before the natural search results.
Your local online marketing efforts should focus on four distinct areas:
Step 1: Identify your ideal customer and develop customer profiles for them.
Who are they? What are they looking for? When are they likely to look? How much will they pay?
Develop a customer profile. Such profiles include demographic information like gender, neighborhood, number of children, their job, how much they earn, etc. Profiles should also include what your customer wants when and why they purchase from you. Are they trying to relieve stress, solve a problem? Are they dealing with a fear, or are they trying to reach a particular goal? The more you know about who your ideal customer is and why they buy, the better you’ll be prepared to have a solid online marketing program.
There are a number of good demographic databases available that can help you define and analyze your customer. And, why not use the power of the internet to help? You will be amazed at the amount of free information and data there is available on line.
Step 2: Build a specific niche website that solicits a specific response,
A single focus website works far better when it is focused on your customer’s every needs and desires. Trying to show everything to everyone will work against visitor conversion. Your website should have a very clear goal and fit what your niche is expecting.
Step 3: Gain trust with your visitors
Localized listings will help you build loyal followers by offering content and products or services that serves your ideal customer’s needs and desires. Become the “local expert” in the niche you choose and provide free advice and information. A great blog or Twitter or FaceBook can help you feed that information to your visitors. However, The more you can get potential customers to return to your site for the “free stuff”, the more likely you will be that they will click through to your services and products when they need them. Try to capture as many visitors to your site as possible to build a strong list of candidates that you can provide information and ideas to them with occasional opt-in Email campaigns.
Step 4: Get found by your potential customers.
It’s often referred to as driving traffic. I prefer to call it Local Business Market Dominance. This is the lifeline of any online marketing strategy. Local online marketing has advantages over national or worldwide online marketing. You can utilize the local search engines like Google Places (used to be Google Local Business Center), Yahoo! Local, and Bing Local and place content in strategic places all over the internet. It will help you rank at the top of both Google local listings and their regular (organic) listings. The more people that find you, the more customers you will get. It’s all about numbers. Remember, 80% of all people searching for something on line choose from a business on page 1. 70% of buyers purchase from a business in the top 5 listings.
Localized SEO can help your business connect with more customers.
* Internet 2010 in Numbers http://royal.pingdom.com/2011/01/12/internet-2010-in-numbers/