Driving traffic to your local business is a marketing animal all its own. It’s true: If you’re a brick-and-mortar business that needs customers to walk in the door, or contact you for a quote, the nuts and bolts of your online marketing plan should be geared differently than an e-commerce website; after all, you are trying to drive people to your door—literally.
If you look in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of optimization is “an act, process, or methodology of making something (as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible.” When applying this to getting your business found online, optimization is the process of making your website as friendly for search engines as possible so you get to the top of search engine results.
An optimized website starts with a well-built website, structured for search engines. Ensure that your website has an easy-to-navigate menu system and adequate loading speed, both for optimal user experience and search engine credit. The next step is adding optimized content, written for search engines and customers. Make sure your contact information is clearly included on your website for customers and search engines to use. Use compelling images on your website optimized for search engines and to get customers’ attention. If this all sounds good, but you have no idea where to start, entrust your website creation to a good web design business.
Search engine optimization (SEO) technology, provided by a reputable SEO firm, is one of the most effective online marketing tools for businesses looking to attract local customers. One of our clients, a local print company, was positioned at the top of search engines just a week after utilizing our SEO technology. Their results were localized, with their company showing up in cities and towns search results within 30 miles of their location, including a major metropolitan area. Better search engine results have meant more digital exposure for their business, and stronger opportunity for online conversions.
The amount of mobile devices is steadily increasing (and isn’t going to slow down any time soon), and it’s time for every business to take notice (search engines do). No matter what the demographic of your targeted audience, build a website that is mobile-friendly with an easy-to-read format and navigation system. Since your aim is to drive customers to your store, make it easy for customers to call, email, or find your address on your mobile site.
Social media has four key advantages for any business trying to get customers to the door:
- A business’ social media page is often listed in search engine results;
- A solid social media page gets your audience’s attention and gets them in the door with specials, examples of your work, reviews, and information (without overselling);
- A social media page full of positive reviews can reinforce your potential customers’ review of you.
- Social media gives your customers an easy and convenient way to start a conversation with you or contact you.
To ensure that your social media site is geared toward driving customers to you or your website, create a complete social media profile with your website address and contact information. Respond to their messages and inquiries promptly. Don’t delete negative comments or questions; instead turn it into an opportunity to showcase your stellar customer service skills. To learn more about creating a solid social media page, use these social media tips to get started.
Use common internet review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List to your advantage. Fill out a complete profile on top review sites and ask your customers to post feedback after their experience with your company. If you have multiple locations, you may have to create numerous profiles.
Search engines look for fresh, updated website pages with relevant content. Customers search for entertainment and answers to their questions. Successful content marketing fulfills both. One of the most effective content marketing tools is a blog. A blog is a website filled with content, such as written articles, videos, photos, podcasts, infographics—the possibilities are endless. A business blog is full of content that should be shared via social media sites, emails to your customers, as guest posts on other blogs, even as customer service when a question is asked.
Successful business blogs contain relatable and regular content. The latter term means you add content to the blog on a consistent basis—without gaps in posting. Unfortunately, many business blog writers start out with best of intentions and lose steam. If you don’t have time for a business blog, contact a content marketing company that can keep your blog updated with content specific to your business—and get you found online and on a road map.