You can have a very successful local business by providing a high-quality product or service and just being a good neighbor. But if you’re not using the Internet to create visibility and drive traffic to your website or business, you are missing out on a HUGE opportunity. Here are seven things you should do to extend that good neighbor concept to your online marketing.
- A good place to start is with links. I think there are two ways to look at links – they need to either be from a website based on a topic that is relevant to your business, or there should be some other kind of similarity, such as operating in the same city or county. For our purposes here, we are more interested in businesses that are local to you.
You can improve your search visibility by having other businesses in your area link to you. If these are people you already know, then it should be easy. If not, just drop them an email or give them a call explaining the benefits of linking to one another. Yes, link swapping ain’t what it used to be in terms of a tool for link building. And if EVERY business with whom you arrange to swap links were to trade links with EVERY OTHER business you are trading links with, then I suppose the whole thing would be a wash. But that is very unlikely to happen. You will end up with many links from other local businesses, regardless of what any of those other guys do.
- Pay local complimentary businesses to place a graphical ad on their site. An easy example would be for an auto dealership to purchase banner ad space from local repair shops. It is difficult to say what you could expect in terms of return on investment. There are just too many variables involved. But it would likely still be much more cost effective than traditional advertising and is much more targeted. You could also do this through Google Ads, targeting geographically. Google content network ads are much more affordable than search ads.
- Promote your Facebook Page to a targeted audience living in or near your geographic market. I’m an old SEO guy, but I find myself digging deeper and deeper into social media – and I’m loving it! Ultimately what you want to do is get people on your email list, but starting with low cost social media ads is a great way to start that process. Set up your ads with interest targeting that would likely attract your correct market and use the correct geographic targeting, and you will get your message in front of a hot crowd. Then as you generate data, you can fine-tune it even more. It may be that those in a narrow age range respond the best.
- Follow, like and comment on other local business Facebook Pages. Most local businesses are dying for someone to interact with their updates (if they even do updates). They will notice if you take the time to do so. Often that will result in their following you back. As those business Pages in turn interact with your Page, their followers will see that, helping you pick up additional followers of your own.
- Be proactive with Yelp, Google My Business, and other local directories. If you haven’t already, you must set up an account for your business in Google My Business. This will get your business on the map (literally, in Google Maps), will improve your local search visibility, and is a means for your satisfied customers to leave reviews for your business. The reviews aspect also applies to Yelp and similar types of local business directories. If a customer leaves you a negative review, the first thing you should do is address them directly to see if he or she can be satisfied enough to remove the negative review. If that doesn’t work, respond publicly to the negative review explaining your side of things. I suggest you actively encourage your customers to leave you reviews.
- Post content often. As you build up your list of social media followers, it is imperative that they see your content regularly. If you can, post something every day. Google My Business also has its own sort-of micro-blogging platform that helps you push your content to the front page of Google. You should take advantage of that to make sure your business is seen by anyone in your area conducting a search for the type of product or service you sell. Also re-post social media content from other local businesses, as mentioned above. They will appreciate it!
- I suppose this doesn’t technically relate to Internet marketing, but I would place it under the general umbrella of branding, and just being a good community leader. Help those in need. Donate. I recently made a small donation to my community church that had suffered major damage from flooding (if you live in Tennessee, you know what I’m talking about with the flooding). I did not even know that the church, AS WELL AS OTHERS ON FACEBOOK, were made publicly aware of the donation. So on top of just helping your community, you can even get some free publicity from helping those in need.
So there you have it. Seven strategies for creating business by just being a good neighbor. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway…be nice. Be a good, honest business person. Nobody likes to do business with jerks, and thanks to the power of the Internet, your reputation and business can get ruined real quick.
If you could use some help implementing an Internet marketing strategy for your business, give Work Media a call today or visit us at https://workmedia.net. We are a small business based in Middle Tennessee, but we have clients nationwide. We would love to work with you.