The Internet is where it’s at. Over the last decade, online usage grew at an exponential rate. So much so that the internet is now dictating our social activities, like how we shop, how we work, and how we entertain ourselves. Driven by innovation and 21st century technology, internet life is changing in so many sectors, business being one of them. With these seismic transformations, business owners are really faced with two simple choices: adapt, or die, this is why internet marketing for local business is so vital and here are 10 ways to promote online.
1. Data Aggregators
One of your first points of call should be to register your company with a data aggregator. What is a data aggregator I here you asking? Data aggregators are essentially directories where one can enter company details to be listed within the directory. What’s so special about aggregators is what they do with your details, they will spread or syndicate your information to other information sources within their network (other directories) whilst providing valuable citations for your business, major data aggregators include sites like: Acxiom, Infogroup Express Update, Neustar Localeze, Factual, and Yext.
2. Business Directories
Following very closely on from data aggregators and tailored to internet marketing for local businesses are online business directories. An upgrade or evolution from the pre-internet days of the yellow pages there are hundreds if not thousands of online directories. Of course, there is a hierarchy with some directories having more power than others. As it stands today Google Places for Business is the top directory, followed by the Yahoo business directory, then Bing, Yell, and Yelp. The significance of business directories cannot be underestimated, their importance for citations (i.e. Votes) for your website, and overall search engine rankings are immense.
3. Press Releases
News people love the news. I’ve entered press releases next on my list because their influence or strategic impact is almost the same as the previous two tactics. Extremely powerful press releases once again afford you an opportunity to rack up those citations for your business and website. You can do this because at the end of your press release you can leave your business information, industry speak is called your NAP (name, address, phone). But not only that, press releases offer you a free way to communicate with customers, and tell them things about you and your business plus, the added bonus that if you write really compelling, optimized, press release content you can be syndicated to online news channels.
4. Social Media
Social media is as important to business today as steam was to the industrial revolution in the 18th century. If you want to thrive online having a strong social presence is critical. Your business will not exist online without visible communication channels. However, picking those channels and knowing how best to engage your desired audience is the real test. You may well, think well nothings really changed, for centuries the biggest advertising and marketing tactic has always been word of mouth and to some extent you’d be right. But there are rules to this game, post regularly at least once a day, and second and most important of all, do not try to sell with every post you put out there. Must have top accounts are as follows, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram.
5. Article Marketing
I keep hearing that article marketing is dead which is strange because everywhere you look online content seems to be in written text. Indeed, I saw a video by Matt Cutts (Google’s head of spam) where he intimated that using articles to improve search engine rankings is redundant, and should be abandoned. I disagree, and feel that well written, valuable articles always have a place in the world. As long as people want to read, article marketing has its place and it’s foolish in the extreme to suggest otherwise (I mean you’re reading this aren’t you!).
6. Video Marketing
Video Marketing is absolutely huge! Right now if you are not using video as part of your overall internet marketing strategy you are making a monumental error. Here are some facts that will blow your mind, visitors who watch video on a website stay for up to 2 minutes longer, and are 64% more likely to buy. Of course the granddaddy of all video sharing sites is YouTube, I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but do you know YouTube is the world’s 3rd most used website. It is also the world’s 2nd largest search engine after Google. Every minute on YouTube 100 hours of video is uploaded, every day 3 billion videos are viewed, every week the equivalent of 240,000 feature length movies is uploaded by users and every month 6 billion hours of videos are watched worldwide. However, YouTube is not the only ticket in town there are other hugely popular video sharing sites like Vimeo, Dailymotion, and Metacafe. Using Video when marketing your local business is cost effective, professional and extremely powerful.
7. Message Boards/Forums
A great way to get targeted visitors to your website, build trust and awareness, and gain customers. Using forums to engage prospects offers you a pipeline into the minds of your audience as you answer their questions, offer advice and generally act as a trusted yet knowledgeable friend can boost your online revenues quite substantially. You can also, after adding value to the forum ask the website owner to display a banner advertisement site wide for your business usually at really reasonable rates.
8.Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization or SEO for short, is a powerful aid for marketing your local business online if done correctly. There are two formats for SEO, on page SEO and off page SEO. On page SEO is about building your website in a manner that is compatible with major search engines. This would involve things like keyword research, keyword structure, placement, and optimized content. Internal linking structure plays a part as too does image optimization. Off page SEO deals with the external links used by searchers and other websites to reference your website. Off page optimization must appear natural and be constructed in a logically progressive manner over time.
9. Daily Deal Sites
Voucher sites or daily deal sites as they have become known, are a very ingenious way to do three things: make more profits, build brand awareness, and create new prospects. Groupon, Wowcher, Living Social, and Hot Save are just a few of the options available for a local business. If you search carefully, you can find different types of daily deal sites, for instance, the well known sites are national or even international in the case of Groupon but you can find smaller regional daily deal sites, as well as sites that best fit your products or services. Daily deal sites are perfect for the service industry sector restaurants, spa’s, hotels, theme parks etc.
10. Mobile Apps
Technology moves at an incredible pace, if you stand still for a second you’ll be 2 years behind. Being mobile friendly is an absolute must and here’s why: approximately 1 in 5 internet searches are made from a mobile device, 50% of all mobile searches have local intent, and 63% of all local searches lead to a sale. Having a mobile app opens an additional line of communication whilst creating a portal to stealthily produce more profits. You can use your mobile app to spread your latest online content from your blog or YouTube channel, and at the same time use push notifications to promote offers. These are just a few of the ways of using internet marketing for local business.