17 Ways to Make Your Local Business Findable
One of the biggest advantages small businesses have is their physical presence since people like doing business with people they know. Therefore, don’t make prospects that need your business offering go on a treasure hunt for your physical address or phone number.
Here are seventeen easy, low-cost ways to get your small business on the map.
Employ your website as your virtual sign
- Add contact information to every page of your website. This consists of your physical address, phone number and email contact. Since the Internet makes your business global by default, include your business hours to set expectations.
- Incorporate your business name, address including city and state and phone number in your homepage metadata. It should also be including in your About Us and Contact Us pages. This makes your website appear on search engines.
- Include a map on your website. Don’t leave it to chance that prospects will be able to find your location. Make sure it’s readable on a mobile device. Go the extra step of embedding a dynamic map from Google or other location services provider.
Leverage existing communications
- Put your contact information on every piece of communication. Don’t assume that your prospects will use the same discovery methods as you. Include your name, physical address, phone number, email, social media presence and hours of operation. Think business cards, store windows, company vehicles, hats and t-shirts and emailings. Don’t underestimate the value of your packaging.
Be findable via search engines
- Consider using paid search. Don’t just hope that prospects are willing to go to the tenth page of search results. (They’re not!)
- Add budget for mobile search. Since mobile search is an entry point for lead generation and sales, it’s critical component of your local mix. (Here are other mobile marketing tips for small businesses.)
- Create regular content around your keywords. Write human-friendly information incorporating one keyword phrase on each page of your website or in each blog post.
- Develop video content. Don’t limit yourself to words. Ensure that your business is findable on YouTube, the second largest search engine. Blendtec and Orabrush built their businesses via low budget videos. Of course, it’s critical to add relevant text.
Utilize Google maps
- Get your business on the map (literally). Make sure that your company appears when prospects check Google Maps. Stake your business’s location by following these tips on Google Places for Business. (BTW—it’s free!)
Socialize on relevant social media venues
Regardless of your business’ physical location, you must be present on social media platforms including Facebook and a blog.
- Establish your presence on appropriate social media platforms. This means get your business profile set up with your website, physical address, phone number, email address and hours. While most people don’t use social media to obtain this information, make sure they can find it if they wish. At a minimum, use Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus. (Here’s how to find time for social media for your small business.)
- Integrate a blog into your website. Ensure that you’ve incorporated your physical address and contact information into the blog in the About Us and Contact Us pages. Also, include this information in every blog post so that readers can find it easily. This helps to support your search efforts.
Join other local businesses
- Participate in industry associations. This includes the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and other groups. Often these groups rank well on search. Depending on your business focus, they can be a good source of business referrals. Don’t forget to get listed with the relevant business contact information.
- Get active in your community. Don’t limit your options to business groups. Consider the potential for networking through the PTA and sports groups as well.
Ensure your signage is easy-to-spot
- Make it easy for prospects to find you. Don’t assume that all of your potential customers can find your place of business easily. Build signage that makes your business findable and recognizable but obey the local rules. Also, don’t impede local traffic with signs.
Leverage the power of rating and review sites
- Be where your prospects and customers are. This means different things for different target audiences. For many local businesses, this means being on Yelp. For others this translates to TripAdvisor, Zagats and ChowHound.
Encourage word of mouth
According to Ed Keller, co-author of The Face-to-Face Book, 90% of recommendations that lead to customer action occur offline. The old adage that “happy customers tell two people and unhappy customers tell eight” is probably more skewed in today’s always connected world.
- Deliver great customer experiences. It’s the logic behind Zappos free shipping and handling for purchases and returns. Happy customers yield more sales and great ratings. Understand that the cost of poor service in terms of bad customer feedback can cause greater losses than the actual product or service.
- Encourage customers to rate and review your business. Mention it in your handouts and receipts.
While most of these recommendations are low cost, understand that even big companies sometimes forget the simple stuff. Remember if you make your business difficult to find, you’ll loose prospects before they ever get to your place of business.
What else would you add to this list of making your business findable?
BTW–I’m presenting at IMW at 1:10pm today in New York City. Please join me.
Join me at Social Media Marketing World this coming Spring in sunny San Diego, California, where I'll be presenting a session on Blogging.
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