Hi Business World!
The year was 2007 when I began studying this field. I began reading free e-books. I watched instructional videos. I wrote articles. I attended seminars and I even get promoted as an SEO Analyst five years after.
Please visit my LinkedIn to see my certification. Today, I seem to realize marketing your business locally allows you to embrace more customers. To start with the basics, I just want to remind you SEO, either locally or globally, isn’t complicated.
It’s easy to learn. It’s fun. Watch the video series below and you’ll realize you don’t need to have a website to spread your local campaign online.
A business site is important. It’s your online empire but it’s not a necessity.
The next video gives emphasis to the flow of events in an online customer funnel. The online customer funnel (3:35) is an inverted pyramid divided into five parts – visitors, engagement, call-to-action, conversion and loyalty.
Your number one goal in a local internet marketing is to increase revenue. You need to sell and sell and sell more. Yet, it isn’t that easy as drinking water. It requires passion, hard work and the right strategy.
The target visitors will come to you if you’re going to offer something. Make sure this offer is something valuable, something unique and something special that they find it hard to ignore.
Moving downward the funnel, interested visitors will reach out to you once the offer captures their curiosity, especially if it gives them a reason to buy. They will either call you if you have displayed your phone number somewhere in the site or go directly to your store if they’re on the road.
Converting people into buyers is a great thing. Conversion means cash, right? However, the story never ends there. You still need to give them reasons to come back.
The third video focuses on customer journey. It asks you the question, how will your local customers find you?
There are two steps. First, there’s viral marketing or word-of-mouth. For example, Matt’s friend recommends ABC (your store) when buying for inexpensive sweaters for Christmas.
Second, there’s the online research. To verify if the recommendation is true, Matt will go online and find your store through:
Social Media – Matt will also look for your presence in Facebook.
Google Maps – Matt searches for your exact address and phone number.
Listing site – Matt visits a site such as Foursquare to read reviews about your product.
Google search – When your site is well-optimized locally, Matt can easily visit your site if he searches for keywords relevant to your campaign. He might put the keywords “inexpensive sweaters in Davao City” in the search bar.
There are more ways to find business information online. The four listed above are the most common practices done by customers.
Considering hundreds of online channels theses days, your local customers might or might not look for your website. Business transactions are done offline but keep reminding yourself you need a site if you want to:
Create an online brand for design and layout
Create pages for branded (About, FAQ, Glossary) and non-branded contents (Blog)
Create expanded functionality if you’re selling items such as clothes, food, discs, etc.
The fourth video outlines the best implementation and best practices once you market your business online. The best implementation for local search engine optimization are the following:
Create a Google+ Page. Google+ is a social networking site owned and managed by Google. Setting up a account is easy because all you need is a G-Mail. Don’t be confused with a profile and a page by the way. A profile is your real name and a page is your business.
Develop a presence on relevant channels. It seems impossible to create an online presence to all channels. You’re not superman. You’re not superwoman. You’re a business person and your time is limited. Therefore, it’s smarter to create a list of channels that you can actively participate in. These channels help your customers find you.
Include the basics. Address, phone number, service hours, service rates and service areas are your call-to-action (CTA). These are the information your customers always want to see.
Let customers know you’re online. Like a virus, spread the good news all over the web. The Internet is your universe.
Build strong engagement. Make sure your customers feel your presence every day. Answer their questions directly.
Cross-link and reference multiple channel. You’ll feel less stress when you’ll come up with a technique to unify all your channels. For example, your Google+ page connects to your Facebook and Twitter.
Consider building a site. There are hundreds of online channels. There are social networking sites, content curation sites, bookmarking sites, news sites, review sites, etc. Yet, there are times these channels aren’t enough. You need a website if you seek to manage all your brand and non-brand contents in one bigger place.
Implementation comes with best practices. The following practices as mentioned in the video will help you get organized every day.
- Facilitate a referral loop with your customers.
- Avoid copying reviews from one site to another.
- Always remember login details such as email addresses and passwords.
- Ask tech savvy family, relatives and friends for help.
The fifth video series shares information on how you can outwit, outplay and outlast your competitors. Competition is good and inevitable. It means you have the ability to get better than them.
There are four common questions to ask yourself when studying competitors:
1. Who are these competitors?
You need long hours of research to find them. Some of them might already established a strong online presence. Some are new. Yet, as you go along with your research, always remind yourself your goal is to exceed the quality of their products and services.
2. What type of online presence do these competitors have?
Your competitors may have built their own site and social media channels. They can be found in Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and more.
3. What’s compelling about your competitors’ online presence?
You might have observed big and small businesses these days have a site, Facebook page and Twitter. Their site is built with a blog that is updated with daily news. Their social media channels, on the other hand, are used to communicate with their customers.
4. Does your value-add distinguish your business from the others?
Answer yes to this question and you’re all set for online marketing. The truth is, customers look for something unique among the crowd. They know they have plenty of choices but they aren’t sure who to pick.
Customers make decisions differently but they do ask three common questions before reaching-out to you. These questions are:
- What makes you the best person for the job?
- Are your previous and current clients happy?
- What are your credentials?
Finally, the video below teaches you how to establish a holistic online identity using social media and review site. There are three channels that are featured: Google+, LinkedIn and Yelp.
You’re going to use Google+ when you want a free social networking site sprinkled with other free services such as G-mail, Maps, Hangout, YouTube etc. that can further enhance your online identity. Your customers will visit your G+ profile to see your updates, announcements and photos.
LinkedIn is your online resume. It reveals your work experiences, scholastic background, skills and reviews from your previous co-workers and employers. Customers look for your LinkedIn if they want to check how dependable you are when it comes to work.
There are other social media sites you can use to effectively communicate with your customers. More on that topic here. The goal is to update your essential business information such as address, phone number, hours of service and site url as needed.
Yelp is a social review site. You’re going to register your business here to earn more customer feedback and reviews. Other popular review sites include Merchant Circle, Amazon and Foursquare.
To keep the conversation going, ask previous and existing customers for feedback. Encourage them to rate and write a short review about your products and services.
More articles to come…