Whilst most businesses are inevitably looking for international and global success, it’s important to consider your local audience – who can sometimes hold the key to success. No one knows your business better than your local customers. So my advice would be to reach out to the local community first. Local business will provide new opportunities and goals for business owners looking for success in 2015. One of the most common objectives for many businesses this year is to obtain a better local presence. There is no better time than now to evaluate current marketing tactics, and implement new ones to reach your local goals.
Your online presence is the key to being found. Being found online is now often the key to offline revenue too. Below are 5 tips on how you can use the internet to get web visitors and boost local sale.
1. Review your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
According to Moz’s David Mihm, search engines are the preferred medium for local search – 7.5 billion local searches are made on a monthly basis. What does this tell us? Ensuring your website is properly listed online is important for local visibility.
51 per cent of shoppers research online for a variety of local information such as directions, and then go on to purchase in store. Accommodate such searches by ensuring your website includes business information clearly and visibly. Contact us pages are a great way of sharing this basic information however, for increased visibility share contact information on your homepage.
Many business owners are aware of the benefits of an optimised website but often struggle with the mechanics to reach their desired audience.
For a great number of users, Google is the first and most important Internet resource with nearly 12 billion searches conducted each month. Implementing SEO tactics as well as partaking in Google specific services such as Google Maps helps place your business at the forefront of users’ results pages. It’s also a great resource for sharing the business information consumers are searching for.
Think like the consumer: To achieve optimal SEO for Google, publish relevant and unique content with language your customers would use in their search. Create a clear navigation structure on your website and make sure that your website is easily accessible.
2. Consider using online business directories
With the rise of technology, comes the rise of the Internet and all things virtual. Paper directories have almost become obsolete as consumers are drawn towards the more convenient medium of online directories. Special check-in services, social media directories, portal recommendations, and navigation services are just a few great ways to let the local community learn about your business. Not only does it boost local awareness, but being listed on several online directories positively impacts your SEO ranking.
For business merchants, listings in online directories is absolutely key. Failing online directly correlates to failing offline. A businesses online presence consist of the following key items:
- Your website
- Directory listings, Search Engine Listings
- Your social presence
- Reviews of your business
Consistency is key throughout your online content. Be sure that the details on your website and each listing (such as company name, address and description) are the same. Otherwise, Google will find it difficult to properly recognise your business and rank it accordingly –making it even more difficult for customers to find you!
Stay current: Ensure that your data in all directories is always up-to-date, complete and correct. Having a strong connection between the online world and the offline world is critical. Often free company listings will be overwritten by the directories themselves or, even worse, competitors. Search for ListLocal services that take care of the maintenance of your online directory listings for you, saving you time and money.
3. Ensure your site is mobile friendly
As predicted, mobile searches and traffic have officially surpassed those from desktop devices as a comScore study reported, smartphones and tablets now account for 6o per cent of all online traffic. Specifically the traffic originating from mobile search, “about 23 per cent of organic traffic to websites now originates from Android or iPhone devices while 12 per cent comes from tablets.”
In case you need more convincing, 78 per cent of mobile searches end in a purchase. 88 per cent of smartphone owners use their handset to find local information. We’ve all been there. Using our handset to get us to that restaurant or shop. Or searching for the number of an outlet. Local amenities are commonly searched for from devices such as mobiles and tablets. So it is an obvious mistake if your online strategy is stuck in the desktop age.
Your website, newsletters and other digital strategies have to be adapted to the unique requirements of various mobile devices. Take the necessary steps to ensure that you are reaching this market. Especially for local customers, a mobile optimised presence will make it easier to find your physical location and develop relationships while on-the-go.
In fact, mobile has really grown in SEO significance. For example, Google has marked responsive designs for websites as an important factor when people are searching via smartphone or tablet. If done correctly, you may be better placed in results over those competitors that do not use this method.
Be responsive: In order to tailor the content of your sites to mobile reading habits and reduced attention span of visitors, adopt responsive design. Created to automatically adapt an online presence for the specific device being used, a responsive design can ensure consumers are receiving a positive user experience no matter how they are reaching you.
4. Concentrate on your best channel for customers
There is never a standard recipe for success that fits each and every business. While it will work to your benefit to be present across various online directories, clarify which online channel delivers you the most clients and place a larger focus on that channel.
You don’t need to create a listing on all of them right away, but eventually you should try to get your business listing updated and accurate in as many directories as you can. Remember the following:
- Ensuring your business is included in the right categories can be the difference between appearing on the first page of search results and being buried many pages in.
- Search engine ranking is largely determined by the number of inbound links (links on other websites to your website). An easy way to improve your SEO, consider exchanging links with suppliers and partners.
- Enhanced content like photos, videos, and a detailed business description are a great way to get searchers to choose your listings and convert to customers.
- Include your most important keywords in both the title and business description in order to increase the rank of your listing.
With the above tips, you will be well equipped for increasing the local visibility of your business online.
Photo Credit: © 1& Internet Ltd.