After having talked to many locally based small business owners, many express the common frustration in attracting new business and customers…
Often SMB's will start by expressing one of the following points:
- They know that their customers aren’t really looking in the phonebook or local newspaper to find the services they offer anymore.
- They get the fact that everyone is searching online nowadays and they need to have a website and come up in Google.
The natural next question for them is how do I show up online? I don’t have a lot of time and money to invest in SEO, what do I do? The answer is actually a lot simpler for most than you would think.
Here are 3 things you can do to improve your local presence online starting now:
- Self Shop: Try shopping for your own business services online. Even if you don’t show up in search right now, how does your website appear to you? Remember to pretend it’s the first time you are seeing it! A good method to try is to simply ask someone who hasn’t seen your website to critique it for you. How are you merchandised online? Is it clear what you do? Other questions to ask your self are: When does your customer go online to look for your services? Are they doing it while they are out and about or at home? Can I see what I need to on a smartphone?
- Set up Google Places & other local business listings: Think of these as the new online yellow pages. These types of sites are crucial for people being able to find and contact you. Make sure to include good images of your business and fill out all the options possible like your website and phone number. Take the time to write a good description that describes clearly what you offer. Why not get started with Google Places here?
- Get Reviews From Past Customers: This is perhaps one of the most powerful tactics that will have long lasting benefits. Having your “online yellow pages” listings setup is great. Having customer testimonials on your service is even better. The process is easy. Simply ask a customer once your job is complete to leave a review on one of the “online yellow pages” sites that you created a listing on… simple. It’s surprising how many local businesses don’t employ this very tactic.
There you have it. If you do these three things well it is very likely you will have a very good online presence in the local area – and in many cases better than the majority of your competitors. Most businesses don’t get past setting up a website. Taking these few extra steps can pay dividends to your visibility and ultimately turn into more customers.