- Published on Friday, 04 November 2011 20:36
The Internet is a big place and getting your local business noticed is not easy. Luckily, the large search engines and directories offer you a lot of free help. Here is the Giant Killer’s guide to what you should do.
- Find your keyword phrases The first rule of marketing is to advertise where prospective customers are already looking. Off line, this may be the local newspaper or a billboard. Online, it means finding out what search phrases customers trying to find your business are actually using. If you think your prospects are looking for “barbeque restaurant” and most of them actually search for “BBQ restaurant”, you lose.
You can’t guess! You must know! You can find out using Google’s free keyword research tools or any of a number of other tools such as WordStream and WordTracker. Spend some time and a few bucks on this. DO NOT…repeat…DO NOT GUESS!
- Establish your online identity- register a domain name
Without a domain name (the xxxxx.com for your business), you don’t exist online. You can’t get email addresses except generic ones (e.g. @gmail, @livemail, etc.) and you can’t set up a website. Domain names are cheap, about $10-$12 a year. Many website services offer to register a domain name for you. That’s fine. Just be sure that you can get it back from them if you ever part company.
- Build a Website
On a directory listing like Google Places you can only show so much information, and only in tightly controlled ways. So build a website that is totally under your control and really show off your business’s products and services. Link your directory listings to your website and now prospects are only a click away. Make sure you put a simple contact form on the website. Just posting your email address is not good enough.
- Claim and optimize your Google Places listing
First and most important, claimoptimize your Google Places listing. Your business is probably already listed, but by claiming and enhancing your listing you get preferred placement in search results. You can add your own text description and up to ten pictures. Definitely do all ten. Link the listing to your website (see below) and get even better results. (To find out how, visit Giant-Killer.com and register to see free how-to videos.)
- Claim your other local directory listings
Next claim your listing with the sites below. Most are free. You’ll have to decide if you are willing to spend money on the paid listings. There are many other local listing services, but these are the ones that seem to come up most often in search results.
-Angie’s List (if you are a service company)
- Get on Facebook Places Facebook Places allows users to find your business through their friends’ check-ins. People who like your business can “like” your page or comment on your page and their friends can see that on their walls. Make sure you claim your business so you have the ability to change its information, as well as merge the Facebook Place with your Facebook Page.
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