If you have a physical storefront, you’ll need to harness local online marketing in order to reach customers. Ensure you’re visible to people close to your store by creating a listing in local directories, engaging in mobile marketing and building a local search presence.
The Internet connects businesses and customers worldwide. But if you’re a local business, you’ll want to reach people nearby. One of the best ways to connect with customers online is to get listed in local directories.
a benefit of registering your business in online local listings is the Increased likelihood of being discovered through search engines
Using your favourite search engine, type in a term such as “bicycle shop near me”. Do you see bicycle shops that are near your physical location? Does the search result list reviews? An address? Directions?
So how does a local search work? Let’s take an example.
A man wants to find a bicycle shop near his flat. He does a search for a bike shop, including his city or neighbourhood as one of the terms. Next, he’ll get a list of local businesses, including the address, phone number and the working hours.
If he’s on a mobile, he can click to ring the shop, or he might even use the mapping functionality of the smartphone to can help him navigate his way to the shop, a great perk if he’s already out and about.
So how can you build a local online presence for your business?
First and foremost, be sure your location details are on your website. If you have a shop, be sure to include your address, and maybe even an interactive map so a customer can get directions, plus your telephone number, and your working hours.
And if you have a service area business, be sure your website explains what areas you serve, and how people can get in touch with you.
Sometimes the directories will ask you to prove that you are, in fact, the owner of the business you’re verifying. It makes sense, and every directory is different, but most will verify you by doing things like mailing you a postcard with a special code on it, leaving a voice or text message for you with a code, or sending you an email with verification instructions.
Once you’re approved, you can update and manage your listing any time. That just means regularly reviewing and changing the particulars as needed.
You always want to keep your local listings consistent and up-to-date.
So to get started, you’ll need to pull together the name of your business as you want it to appear everywhere online, your street address, or where you receive mail in the post, and your phone number.
The name of your business seems straightforward, right? But, consistency is key. If the sign in front of your shop says Mike’s Bikes, then you don’t want to list your shop like that in one directory and as Michael’s Bicycles in another.
For the address, you’ll need a physical address or location. Post office boxes and shared locations usually won’t be accepted.
Just like with your business name, enter your address in the same exact way for every directory.
Telephone numbers should be local as well, including area and country code, so generally you won’t want to use a freephone number.
You’ve got to have these three things—name, address, telephone number—to land local customers.
Visit one of the major local directories, such as Google’s, Yahoo’s or Bing’s. Search for your business to see if it is already listed and follow the steps to claim your listing. If you have already claimed the listing, make sure it’s optimised so that your listings are consistent, current and are placed in proper categories.