Local businesses today are under increasing pressure to be able to market their businesses effectively online. The biggest reason why local businesses need to invest heavily in local search is the fact that almost 80% of all the clients they receive will be either people who use a mobile phone to find their business or have found out about them online.
Then there is also the fact that people feel more comfortable doing business with an organization which has an online presence whom they have investigated. So building credibility online does translate into sales offline.
Your online credibility
Most local business owners find it strange how their online credibility has an effect on offline sales. This is also true for offline physical businesses like bars, restaurants and cafes. Consider the effect that an article, Tweet or a couple of Facebook posts that talk about how awful your steak was will have on your business within the next few days. So, it’s your job to police how you are portrayed on the internet and answer any negative feedback or remarks your business receives. Perform a search on Yahoo, Bing and Google using your business name to find out what is most commonly being said. Also search social networking websites like Facebook for remarks about your business. When you come across something negative try and defend your business by using a professional tone. If someone had an issue like their stay at your hotel wasn’t the best, offer them an explanation, maybe an apology & a solution to fix it. This will allow others looking for accommodation see that you’re proactive.
Inviting positive reviews from satisfied clients
All businesses including your own probably have a number of satisfied clients but they don’t really take the time out to review your business. The best way to invite clients to review your site is to offer them a special coupon or a discount in exchange for a positive review. Make a list of all the leading review sites in your area and then ask your clients to post a review on any one of the these or all of these pages. This will not only help you build credibility but also get a valuable backlink.
It is important to keep in mind the fact that disgruntled and angry clients are eight times more likely to post something negative on the internet as compared to positive reviews posted by clients who were extremely satisfied. This type of imbalance is not good for business and so offering satisfied clients an incentive to simply type a few good words about your business via their mobile phone or laptop computer will help upset whatever negativity your business receives.
Start a blog as part of your companies website
You may have come across many business websites that have a blog section that people need to click on to go there. Unknown to many people the reason why the business have a blog is because it helps them post relevant and interesting content that helps create buzz and generate interest from search engines. A blog when combined with a social marketing campaign can help to boost local sales and build credibility significantly faster than regular advertising. Create interest by posting the latest deals, features, even announcements regarding staff members, birthdays and new services.
Engage in discussions
Regardless of if you run a café, a restaurant or sell clothes there are bound to be a number of forums that are frequented by people living in your area. Use Google to search for forums pertaining to your niche. Use the ‘Advance Search’ option on Google just to get results from your city, state, and for your niche. Then sign-up to these forms and engage in discussion with the people there. However, instead of spamming the forum add valuable content, help people with their questions and become a valuable membe. The advantage of this is that you’ll be interacting with people who have either used your service or are deciding to use it. Also posting on forums will help you boost your search engine rankings for local searches.
For instance, if you’re selling formal suits and there are questions about what formal suit style works best with Oxford style formal shoes? You can provide a detailed answer regarding what type of suit styles are great with Oxford style shoes, and what alternatives can also work well. This will help you gain credibility as an expert in your field and so if anyone has a problem they will get in touch with you. This can translate to suit and shoe sales at your local outlet.
Make sure your’re on google maps
The most important thing is to make sure that your store’s location is marked on Google maps, with reviews and a picture clearly visible. This way anyone who types in the term “formal suits” for instance, your business will be shown along with to a few others nearby. Then based on the reviews on Google’s site, the potential client / customer will mostly he may decide to pay your business a visit.
All local businesses that want to boost sales, improve credibility or even let people know that they exist should start with a local search strategy. Best not initiating a local search campaign without first creating a high quality brand image (logo design) & professional looking website, otherwise you’ll run the risk of wasting a whole heap of time and in many cases money, because it is your website that people will visit to find out more about your company. Be sure to regularly update the content on your website and social network to retain people’s interest.