There is no doubt that people are searching online before making local purchases in real life. According to a study by Google, consumers search for local business information throughout the purchase process. They divided up the process into four parts: information, research, purchase and post-purchase. A large percentage of consumers perform local searches on multiple devices throughout the process.
What can you do to make sure that potential customers find your business when going through this process? Here is a list of helpful articles on the basic components of a local search marketing strategy.
In the information stage, your potential customers may not even be aware of your business or how your business can help them solve their problems. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are crucial to get you in front of potential customers who are in the information-gathering stage.
- PPC 101 or Pay-per-Click in Simple Terms – Pay-per-click advertising explained.
- Getting Started with Online Display Advertising for Local Business – The basics of display advertising.
- SEO Myths – Do Google Ads Help SEO? – Will buying Google Ads help you rank higher in the search engines?
- Joining Forces: Can Social Boost Search? – What impact does social media participation have on search results?
- Where am I? A Guide to Google Results – Why does your site show up in different places in Google search results?
- SEO: Semantics, Semantics, Semantics – The basics of current Search Engine Optimization.
In the research phase, consumers have figured out what they want and are trying to find the best provider. While SEO and SEM are essential to help consumers find your site, it is essential that your website have the information they are looking for. You also need to make sure that your website conveys a professional image on both desktop and mobile devices and doesn’t scare potential customers away.
- Building a Business Website Your Customers Will Love – What are people looking for when they visit your site?
- 8 Ways Your Website Can Hurt Your Business – What not to do on your business website.
- Responsive Web Design – Make sure your website works on all devices.
- What is Web Accessibility and How Does it Affect Your Website? – Can visitors with disabilities easily access the content on your site?
- How to Display Prices on Your Business Website. Or Not. – This is important in the research phase, as price is a major component of what people are looking for when researching products and services.
After consumers have done their research, they’re ready to pull the trigger and buy a product or hire a service professional. Do you make it easy for that to happen either online or at your business location?
- Guide to Appointment Booking Software for Small Business Websites – Someone wants to book an appointment. Can they do it on your website or do they have to call you?
- Is YOUR Business Ready for E-Commerce? – Do you make it easy for customers to purchase from you?
- Social, Local, Mobile Commerce – Combine marketing methods for more effective commerce.
After the sale has been made, what type of relationship do you have with your new customer? Can they reach you if they have issues with your product or service? or if they want to buy from you again? Do you maintain the relationship to give them more opportunities to do business with you? This is where email marketing and social networking really come into play for local businesses.
- Social Media: Trends and Best Practices – Find out the basics of using social media to help promote your local business.
- 5 Tips for Providing Outstanding Customer Service on Social Media – Social Media is an ideal avenue to provide excellent customer service.
- Why Consumers Become Brand Fans on Facebook – How to turn your customers into your best marketers.
- The Benefits of Email Marketing and Social Media Marketing – Both social media and email marketing can help you retain customers and keep them coming back for more.
- The Golden Rule of Online Marketing: Don’t Be Creepy! – Use common sense with communication and personalization.
There you have it – a basic introduction to local search marketing and how you can make it work for your business. I’d love to hear what you think. Do you have any other suggestions or is there anything on this list that doesn’t sound quite right? Let me know in the comments and we can discuss.
For the second part of the Local Marketing 101 series, check out “Content Marketing Explained“.