Most local businesses know they must utilize the Internet to succeed. Some businesses have a storefront, some are virtual, and many are a combination of brick and mortar and virtual. Some have a website and are refining their online marketing and others are just discovering what to do, and when.
Local businesses just beginning with Internet marketing often don’t know the web strategies they need to employ, but they typically know what their business objectives are. They also know their targeted customers, the information those prospects are seeking, and what motivates them to learn, buy, or donate.
Local businesses that are experienced in online marketing must stay abreast of new social sites, new web tactics, and otherwise must decide which are most effective.
No matter where you are in online marketing and its various tactics and stages, all businesses when asked can typically say what they want to accomplish: more traffic, more conversions, greater or fewer phone calls, less calls to customer support, customers using credit cards to purchase or donate, knowing how customers found them, or determining what channels are providing the best return on investment.
The first part of a successful Internet marketing strategy is to decide its purpose, as follows.
- Define business objectives. Provide information, gather leads, receive phone calls, sell products, or get donations.
- Target the right customers. What do they need, why do they need it, where, when and how will they be accessing your content?
- Decide on technical resources and platforms. What device or devices will your target customers use to access your information — desktop, tablet, phone or all three? Who will create and maintain your site?
- Determine your website content. What content do you have, what needs developing, and where are you going to use and reuse it? Content must meet the needs of your customers and prospects, and help achieve your business objectives.
- Develop a plan. How will you disseminate your content so you can attract traffic?
- Determine how you will measure success. How will you measure success?
Crucial Local Business Tactics
The next phase requires implementation of strategies and tactics, not all of which are necessary. It depends on your business’s goals, objectives, resources, people, and your ability to execute the tactic effectively.
- Integrate your online and offline marketing efforts and coordinate a strategy of how you will do so.
- Use analytics to measure basics, goals, conversions and eventually segmentation, behaviors, and attribution.
- Create quality, relevant content with customer needs and intent as focus, weaving in keywords. Content can include text, images, videos, infographics, press releases and blog posts.
- List your contact information on your site like your address and phone number so people will know where your business is located. Maps are also helpful.
- Claim and update your profiles on the local search directories, engines, and aggregators.
- Claim your listing on the local sites and fill out the profile. By claiming your listing, you can assure accurate information and have the ability in many cases to respond to reviews, add pictures, and even announcements.
- Make sure your business name, address and phone number are consistent across all platforms.
- To find a list of local search engines that will list your local business, go to GetListed.org, where you can see a list and click on each link to fill out the profile or set-up an account.