It’s all very well for those with a robust marketing budget, but for the average small business owner, the cost of effective local marketing can form a large part of their operational budget. I’ve put together these local search small business marketing tips for those that are willing to go the extra mile and leverage local search marketing to their advantage, while remaining within search engine ‘safe’ guidelines.
Local Search: Small Business Marketing Tips That Work
Many of these cost literally nothing (other than your time!) and form the basis of a robust web presence that you can build upon over time.
1. Get a Google My Business account
Google My Business is a crucial part of small business marketing for those who want to localise their search results, making them much more likely to show up in a locational search (think ‘estate agents Manchester’) and to increase exposure via the ‘map pack’ that you’ll often see in front of the organic search results.
It’s an important part of citations, which the major search engines use as an integral part of gauging trust within the web presence of your small business. Think about all those small business directories that pepper the web; what Google is looking for is consistent business details – this forms the basis of a citation.
Read more about optimising Google My Business here.
2. Ensure Consistent Structured Citations
Structured citations are those that you’d find on traditional web outlets, such as mainstream business directories (Yell, Thompson Local, Scoot), as well as local directories; in fact, local directories can form a very decent citation in themselves, as they increase locational relevancy for your business.
As before, ensure consistency across the web – citations can be, depending on location and competition, the key marketing strategy for small businesses that gets you the coveted Number 1 in local search.
One word of advice – always, always check to see if your business is already listed but needs claiming. Duplicate entries confuse all that lovely consistency. Another tip – ensure that you keep a spreadsheet that contains the login details for all these directories, because you may need to change the details later on, if, for example, you move address.
Here’s a post on the creation of a website citation profile.
3. Ensuring your SEO is bang on the money
What is search engine optimisation? It’s many, many things, but what we’re going to discuss here is the not so complicated art of on-page SEO for small businesses.
Think of what visitors are likely to type when they search for your business. Done that? Now, screw up the paper and throw it away, because you’re running your website on faith and presumption. The very first step is to (at the very least) use a freely available tool called Google Keyword Planner.
Keyword Planner is Google’s own tool that gives you a ballpark figure on who is search for what. Amongst the data provided is:
- The average number of monthly searches
- The level of competition for those keywords
So, rather than run with whatever you’ve decided your visitor must search for, you’re calibrating your website for what people are actually searching for.
Mention these keywords (‘estate agents in Manchester’) a few times down the page. Just a handful – 3 to 5 times is absolutely enough. Ensure that they appear at the start of the page title and mention them once in your meta description.
*Tip* – why do we mention the place name? Because it dramatically increases the relevancy of your website to the visitor by becoming a ‘long tail keyword’. Small business marketing for local search is all about increasing the relevancy of the search term, ensuring that the lead conversion of the search term is increased.
It’s also worth mentioning synonyms at this point – synonyms are variations on your chosen keywords that Google has decided mean more or less the same thing. Perform any search and scroll to the bottom of the page; the search engine has decided that these are discussing more or less the same subject. See any relevant ones that would look good in your copy? Weave them in!
Synonyms are a great way of mixing things up and ensuring that you don’t parrot the same words relentlessly like a censored Tourettes victim, as well as picking up a little more traffic from closely related search queries.
4. Your Website Content
I’m a bit of a grammar nazi. Bad grammar is honestly enough to make me leave your website. If your copy isn’t up to scratch, do yourself a favour and employ someone to do it for you. It creates a bad impression right from the word go and can lower the reputation of your business – in the worst cases, words are misspelt that are crucial for the previously discussed step – SEO keywords.
Use emotion to motivate a reaction in your visitor. Your latest property listing isn’t a ‘4 bedroom Georgian house in Manchester’. It’s a ‘Delightful, secluded, 4 bedroomed period property in Manchester’s most popular district’.
Solve your visitors problem – they have a problem that needs solving, so solve it already. Perhaps a bullet pointed list of your qualities as a business that can solve it for them. ‘The estate agent with the most flexible first time buyer mortgages in the Manchester area’.
5. Up Your Social Media Game
Social media is hard work. There’s no getting past that, although there are one or two ways to make life a little easier.
Social media allows you to connect to your audience on a personal level that a website and email just can’t touch. Together with the vast amounts of time the average consumer now spends online, particularly within Facebook and Twitter, ignoring social media is ignoring an opportunity to engage and convert fresh new customers – as well as forge relationships with associated businesses within your niche.
Also, each platform has its own method of promoting and advertising to other users. Facebook’s promotional capabilities are exceptionally cost effective with a very granular approach to choosing the demographic (and location) of your target audience.
Find out how we used Facebook promotions to advertise another business.
Summary: Local Search Marketing – Small Business Marketing Tips That Work
I’ll be expanding this list of small business marketing tips as time marches on, if you have any requests for specific topics (or just have a query), get commenting and I’ll do my best to serve!