The ability to geo-target marketing has greatly improved over the years, and small business owners need to get onboard with using local search marketing techniques to insure they’re reaching their target market. By fine tuning their targeting, small businesses can increase their conversions by focusing their landing pages or content marketing campaigns to the geographic norms and preferences in the areas where their prospective clients are coming from.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization still matters; don’t let the gossip online tell you otherwise. If you confuse Google, you lose, so make sure your website is correctly optimized for local search. Local SEO means you’re optimizing your website for the local web search so that your business shows up in a location-specific query. For example, “sushi restaurants near me” or “best sushi in Phoenix” would both be considered local searches. In addition to onsite factors, be sure you’re leveraging the main search engines and directories, and that your business is listed correctly. Be sure you have local accounts on all of the major search engines, Bing, Yahoo!, and of course Google, and that you’re using the right local keywords for the target audience and area in your listing as well as on your website.

Get reviews

People buy from people, not companies. Along that same vein, people trust the recommendations of other people more than they’ll trust what a company has to say about themselves, so make sure you’re getting reviews from your clients, and that they’re listed in several different places, both socially and on other websites. Facebook allows people to leave reviews for a company; be sure to ask your clients to leave a review on Facebook so others can see those reviews on your profile.  Yelp, Merchant Circle, Houzz, Amazon, Houzz, Google Plus…depending on the nature of your company, customers can leave reviews in all these places.  So how do you get client reviews?  ASK.  And make it easy by giving clients a link. And don’t forget LinkedIn for recommendations.

Get your business involved locally

If you’re a local business, one of the best ways to get more exposure locally is to network with other local businesses. Small business associations, chambers, professional connection groups, etc. all give you a great opportunity to meet other businesses. Find business that complement what you offer, and perhaps you can set up a referral system where you can recommend services to each other’s clients.

Speak locally

Take your small business support a step further and speak at local events. Speak about a subject you’re an expert in, and find an audience that can benefit from your expertise who also fits into your target audience demographic.

Place targeted ads on social media

Paid ads on social media sites such as Facebook can provide great value to small business owners.  Their targeted advertising options help you get in front of the right people, so you’re not wasting money getting in front of people that likely won’t buy from you. Targeting options include demographics, location, interests, behaviors, and connections.  Start small and study results until you find a mix that’s bringing in the best prospective clients for you.

Google AdWords

If done correctly, Google AdWords can really help bring in targeted local business. Start small, do your research, and be very targeted in your approach until you see what your cost per click and conversion costs are.  One thing to keep in mind: focus on “long-tail keywords,” more specific keywords such as “Phoenix all you can eat wings” that together more accurately describe the user’s intent and match your targeted customer profile. Wasting money on vague, broad keywords is not only a waste of money, but time and energy as well, and who has time, money or energy to waste? Be selective.

A local presence matters for small businesses. If you’re a small business owner, taking the time to invest thought into local Internet marketing ideas and the effect that local marketing will have on your business marketing is critical. If you’re unsure how to implement any of the above tactics, reach out to a small business marketing professional to help.

Patty Hughes
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