The fastest growing category for online marketing is geared to the local market and will continue to increase as much as 10% by 2015. The reason for this is the high search volume of customers that look up local products and services online through their computer or smartphones. As of today 30% of all searches on computers searches, and 80% of all searches from smartphones are done for local products or services.
Luckily you do not need to have a huge marketing budget in order to compete with the larger competitive market in your region. The biggest investment your business should make is to assure the business website is search engine optimized using long tail keywords that has that business’s city address included. For example, instead of a keyword that says “Car Insurance”, you would want to have “Phoenix Car Insurance” or “Car Insurance Phoenix Drivers”. Using a keyword tool to find the perfect keywords will help zero in on the specific keywords that will be most helpful for your business.
When your business website is search engine optimized using the right mix of keywords, including the city your business is in, setting up local profiles is the next most important step. Use the same keywords that you used in your website to create profiles at Google Places, the Chamber of Commerce for your city, review sites for your product or service and Yellow Pages. Ask regular customers to post positive reviews at the review sites. The more positive reviews your business has, the higher it will rank in the engines and the more likely potential customers are to contact you.
When you are adding your profiles, double check that your business is listed in the correct category or you will miss out on important search results. Also, make sure your contact information is current and clearly added to each profile page. Including images can also help. Google for example, will display images in local search results, so having images will increase your rankings and get your business seen more often.
When you have current profiles with compelling images, the right mix of keywords, and a website that is search engine optimized, your site will rank higher in the search engines. Your target goal is to rank in the top three search results in Google, Yahoo and Bing. 80% of those that conduct local searches will contact one of the top three that they find, after the ads by walking in, calling or emailing. If you are not in that listing, you could miss out on a significant number of new customers.