Ask any local business owner if growing a customer base and increasing sales is a worthy goal and all of them will give you an obvious yes. Ask those same business owners if they are making the most of the opportunities provided by the web and they’re often slower to answer. Local internet marketing can make the difference between barely breaking even and becoming a local sensation.
It isn’t enough just to have a blog or profile on Facebook. Smart business owners have learned how to harness the marketing power available to them on the internet. They have realized that following a few basic guidelines can mean the difference between a bad investment and a fantastic return. Here are some internet marketing tips that local business can use to maximize the power of a web presence.
Get Listed in Business Directories
Consumers are internet savvy and have quickly become accustomed to finding everything online. One of the first places they go is to Google. Local business owners who have not yet claimed their free listing in Google and other search engines are leaving money on the table. Savvy business owners don’t stop there. They go on to claim business listings on other popular directories such as Merchant Circle, Yelp and Hotfrog. Taking the time to completely fill out every possible piece of business profile information is one easy way to make the most of directories. Links from the local business website and the business blogs can help move a local business listing higher in search engine rankings.
Minding the social graces online can greatly influence web presence. Signing up with the social sites is an important part of any local business marketing plan, but participating on those sites is what makes it all worthwhile. Doing so does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. Once a day set aside some time to check on the business’s social pages and respond to any comments or discussions that happen to be going on. This builds trust in the community.
Building and Maintain a Blog
Far too many businesses have blogs that suffer from a serious lack of attention. Business owners who want to stay in touch with customers and potential clientele make sure a new post appears at least weekly. Wise blog owners don’t stop with putting a post on the blog; they use plug-ins or software that sends blog posts directly to social sites.
Communicating via Email
Used wisely, email can be a powerful tool. Email messages keep the business name in front of customers. Ezines and newsletters make it possible to both keep in contact with current customers and reach potential customers. Subscription links included in newsletters make it possible to reach new readers and grow the customer base. Emails don’t have to be text, they can also include videos. Make sure your sign has a subscription form so that interested users can receive emails from you.
Incentives are a powerful method of keeping a business web presence high profile. They’re easy to use in a variety of ways and can be integrated into a wide range of marketing activities. Many business directories offer a free option to include coupons. Offering a free report or coupon in return for customer email is an effective way to gain customer leads. Offering current customers a special deal in return for referrals to others is another incentive technique that gets results.
Business owners often say that it’s easier to sell to existing customers than to find new customers. It’s just as important to keep current customers once as it is to gain new ones. Local business owners can do both by maintaining a web presence.
Smart business owners don’t stop at having a blog or creating a Facebook page. They make blog posts and Facebook connections interactive parts of their internet marketing agenda. They learn to make the most of business directories and blogging to keep their business in front of people. They utilize social services and email to maintain a connection with the public. They realize the power of incentives in making it possible to both gain new customers and reward existing ones. They maintain a living, growing web presence. So can you.