One of the hardest things for a new small business is to get seen by the right viewers. Don’t get me wrong – Google is constantly changing their algorithm to try to show the most relevant sites to the user based on their location, but this doesn’t always mean that your business will show up in the listing.
Thankfully, there are a number of things every small business can start doing to start to get visibility in their community.
So what is a “Local Citation”? Basically, it is a listing of your business information like name, phone number, address and website that you post to various sites such as Google, Bing and Yelp. The easiest way to start is to go to GetListed.org. Not only do they have a list of whether or not your business is listed on these sites, but they have great resources to help you learn more about local citations and other places to get them other than the sites listed in the snapshot.
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Screen Shot Image of GetListed.org
After you go through the GetListed list of local citation sites, you can start to search for more local sites. For example, when I type in “Dallas Business List” into Google it comes up with a list of possible places that I can add a citation for my business.
Let’s Get Social
One way to spread the word about your local business is through social media: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for example. But how do you get social media engagement that will be meaningful to your business? The answer is through influencers. Sit down and research who is talking about your city of business and who has local blogs. These are the people you will want to start the conversation with.
Talk Up Your Knowledge
You started your business because you are passionate about what you do. This makes you a perfect guest blogger. With the research that you did on local influencers, you will have come across people who also have a blog. Since you have already started to engage with them via social media, drop them a line and see if you can write a post for their blog on something that you are passionate about – your industry. You will be surprised how willing bloggers will be to post your content with a link back to your website.
Groupon and Living Social Deals
We live in the day of deals. Since the recession, “retail” is the new four letter word. So, if you can afford to utilize Groupon or Living Social it is a great way to get the word out on your business. You will see a dramatic improvement in your online traffic while your deal is on the site (expecially on the first day that it is on), so you will want to put something on your homepage in order to get these users to come back again after the deal is over. This could be an additional deal or a notice of an event you are hosting.
Pay Per Click Campaigns
Going with the paid ads is a great way to gain real-estate on the page while your site gains the links and authority it will need to start ranking organically. It is also a great way to waste a lot of money if you don’t know what you are doing. The first thing you do when you set up your PPC campaign is to geotarget. This is so you do not pay for any clicks that are happening in Canada – which won’t exactly help your local business. The great thing about Google AdWords is that you can go as local as zip codes. So if you only want to reach the people in a few block radius, you can.
After this you can move forward and start your campaign. Though you may not get a lot of form fills, watch your phone and foot traffic to see if it improves. In my past experience, I have found that adding a PPC campaign will noticeably improve the volume of phone calls your business receives.
These are just a few examples of how you can get your business out in your online community. The most important thing to remember is that your website is the face of your business online and to make sure that it is getting out there.