7 Pillars of Marketing a Local Business Online

7 Pillars of Marketing a Local Business Online

Copyright (c) 2010 Jim Edwards

I wrote my first article for The Virginia Gazette in 1998. Back then, the Web was a giant unknown. Over 12 years later, it’s still a BIG mystery for most local business owners! With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google, Digg, and many additional sites, getting started with digital marketing seems scary. Yet, as prospects log onto the Internet to research local products and services, visibility for your business online is critical. Fact is, online marketing is NOT optional for anyone anymore and you need every one of these 7 local marketing keys to succeed, especially in this economy.

Pillar #1: A Website You Control

You must operate with your own website which enables you to make basic changes to it yourself, preferably right through your web browser. Waiting for a “webmaster” to change text or pictures is not a wise use of your money or time. WordPress, an open-source (free) publishing platform, makes an excellent choice for managing and organizing virtually any size website.

Pillar #2: Google Maps

Google now stands alone as the “900 lb. Gorilla” of the online search world. However, most don’t realize that “Google Maps” is the most basic component of local online marketing with Google. Get all the details at http://Google.com/places/. This tool is one of the fastest ways to get found in Google and, best of all, it’s free!

Pillar #3: Basic SEO

SEO stands for “search engine optimization” – which means making your website relevant when someone searches for your business name or terms related to what you sell. Building all the content, information, and text on your site around a central theme is the #1 thing you can do to increase your chances of ranking well in Google and other search engines.

Pillar #4: Make Value-Added Offers

Most people don’t make offers on their websites. Everyons’s web pages say basically the same things and don’t look any different. You must make offers on your site that spur people to action. Offer a discount or faster service. Give an incentive to come in today. Most importantly: make your offers front and center on your site while giving people a compelling motivation or reason to do business right now!

Pillar #5: Drive Traffic

You won’t make a dime with your website if the right people don’t see it. The fastest way to drive traffic is to buy it, specifically with the Google AdWords pay-per-click program. Pay-per-click means you only pay when someone clicks your “sponsored” ad on the search engine listings, and Google’s AdWords is the largest pay-per-click advertising network. However, make sure you set up a “geo-targeted” campaign when starting out so only people in your local area see your ads (instead of wasting time and money showing your ads to people who could never patronize your local business).

Pillar #6: Local List Building

Building up a local following you communicate with using online tools rates one of the smartest and most cost-effective things every local business can do. Whether through email, text, Twitter or Facebook (or some new tool), communicating with a targeted group and providing value-added information and offers can bring huge rewards. One coupon with the right offer to the right audience can turn a ho-hum Thursday into a blockbuster sales day.

Pillar #7: Consistent Follow-Up

The biggest online marketing mistake I see people make is NOT following up with prospects and customers. Use email and other communication tools to keep in contact with your prospects and customers and give them reasons to do business with you (by making offers) while providing useful information they want. As a wise man once said, “The fortune is always made in the repeat business.”

Small Business Marketing Weekly” will expand
on each of these “7 Pillars of Marketing Local
Business Online” in the coming weeks.
Visit “Small Business Marketing Weekly” Today

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