There is nothing more important to a local business than generating local leads.  Gone are the days of pinning colored flyers to telephone poles and local community boards and hoping for the best. Following are 10 online marketing tips for building a local brand that will help increase local online leads:

1. Dominate local SEO: In order to offer yourself the best chance at success, be sure to advertise your address consistently on all pages you manage. Be sure to include keywords on your homepage that describe your business or services. -Claim every local listing for your website, or create new business listings on websites where you’re not already listed. At minimum, you should have local listings for your business on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and the Yellow Pages.

2. Consider the use of specialized websites to generate local leads. If you are an HVAC company that does business all over Columbus, OH, for example, you may create separate websites to generate local leads for different suburbs.

3. Be worthy of positive customer reviews: Local businesses will have a hard time attracting local leads if the business is not painted in a positive light. These can make or break a local business and have far more power than some give them credit for. According to the 2014, local consumer review survey,  88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

4. Respond to online reviews of your business: Whether it is a positive or negative review, engage with the conversation. Responding to negative reviews as well as positive reviews does a couple of things for local businesses. First, it shows the reader (the potential customer) that the local business owner cares about the experiences of his customers regardless if they are positive or negative. Being able to see how each of those issues was handled will go a long way to neutralizing the negative.

5. Talk about local stuff on your social media pages: Highlight stories that will be of interest to local readers. Skip the industry news. That “shop talk” is interesting for your colleagues or competitors, not your customers. In addition, talk about local events that don’t even relate to your business. Tweet about a local sporting event. This does a couple of things. First, it shows your support of local teams and second, this can increase your reach when “re-tweeted”.

6. Develop relationships with and connect with local media:  This is far more reaching than the local radio stations, tv stations and newspapers these days. Each market tends to have its own “niche” local publications and even “resident” local experts. There are people locally that are trusted for their opinion of a local establishment. They may be a “nobody” in the next city over, but in your local community they are seen as experts. Find out who these people are and the local publications that rank highest and connect with these people. If you are a business that offers a service, consider offering them a free “whatever”. Just do what you can to get them talking about you in a positive light.

7. Be mobile friendly: If your website isn’t mobile friendly, get that done immediately. A recent Google study found that 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone, visited the store within a day and 34% who searched on a PC or tablet, visited within a day. This emphasizes the importance of SEO in the local search.

8. Utilize local ads: The same Google study found that 67% of smartphone users want ads customized via city and ZIP code, and 61% want ads customized to their immediate surroundings.  61% will use the address or phone number in the ad as well.

9. Getting them to purchase local instead of online: 30% will buy in-store if they know the store is close, 35% will buy local if they know they can get it quickly and 31% will buy local if they can get a better deal. Make this information readily available in a mobile search.

10. Utilize location extensions: You should use location extensions and location bid adjustments to fine-tune bids for specific areas including cities or zip codes.  The success of your local business hinges on being able to attract local leads and convert them to loyal customers. Consider the tips discussed here and continue to find new ways to connect locally and build a strong local network. For more information or to find out ways we can help you, contact us contact our online marketing experts today! 

 

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