Studies have shown that 51% of U.S. adults go online to find information about local businesses. People just don’t want to use the phone book, they’re tuning out TV, and they’re ignoring the radio. For most local businesses TV and radio ads are cost prohibitive and advertising in the phone book has always put local businesses at the mercy of the phone book company because of the long-term contracts.
Small Businesses Need to Be Online
Amazing as it may seem to be nearly half of all small businesses still do not have a website. The Internet has been around for a great number of years now but still many small business owners don’t see the potential or refuse to take the time to see what the Internet can do for them. The simple fact is if you own a small business you need to have a website, your business needs to be online. And unlike in the past when businesses were known to shell out thousands of dollars for website a small business today can have a professional website for less than $1000. So if you don’t have a website for your business the first thing you need to do is to have one built. If you do have a website but it’s starting to look a bit dated now is the time to upgrade it. Remember you only have one chance to make a good first impression.
The Right Keywords Can Attract Local Traffic
For local businesses keywords are location-based. For example if you’re a plumber based in San Diego, California one of your keywords would be plumbers San Diego, CA. If you’re a carpet cleaner in Dallas, Texas one of your keywords would be carpet cleaners Dallas, TX. And if you sell health insurance in Baton Rouge, Louisiana then one of your keywords would be health insurance Baton Rouge, LA. Without the location your keywords are incomplete because when people need a local business they will include at least the city and often the state that they live in within their search.
Create Every Local Profile that You Can
There are plenty of places to list your business. Of course there’s Google, Yahoo, and Bing, but also SuperPages.com, YellowBook.com, and hundreds of other online directories. In short there are plenty of places to create local listings. As a small business owner you need to create as many as you can. Most will fail to be a significant source of new customers but collectively they can greatly benefit your business. Another benefit of the directories is the fact that they will help boost your presence in Google’s map results. Also make sure that all of your listings look the same. Search engines like consistency.
Encourage Your Customers to Give You Reviews
Word-of-mouth is a great thing and reviews are the next best thing. So encouraging your customers to give reviews of your business online can benefit you greatly. Other potential customers will read those reviews. Search engines like Google will reward you for those reviews with a higher placement in the search results. And your reviews will help set you apart from your competition.
The Bottom Line
If your business is not already online it needs to be. Your customers are online, your potential customers are online, so you really have no excuse to not be online. If you are online but have not fully developed your online presence then you’re only hurting yourself. The good thing though is that it is never too late to rectify the situation.
If you need help getting your business online or you want help expanding your online presence call our office at 615-890-3600 or email us. Consultations are always free and we would be happy to talk with you.