Internet Marketing for Small Business
Internet marketing for small business has greatly benefited from the popularity of online search engines. For prospective customers, online local search engines have become the most common method of finding services and products within a geographical location. Customers enter specific search criteria, such as the type and location of the business, the particular product or service, postal code, or other such details, and local search engines match their queries against a database of business listings in the specified area. The benefit of online search engines for local business Internet marketing is obvious. However, your small business won’t benefit from the strength of local search methods if your business listing is incomplete or does not have the right information.
What information should your local business listing include?
Your Business Name or Title Use the actual name of your business. If your business name is descriptive, that is even better because it gives the local search engines keyword-specific criteria. You should also be consistent with the name, as search engines might categorize your business as two or more different companies if you feed them different names.
Your Business Category and Description Local business listings usually encourage you to put your business in the appropriate category and provide a short, exact description of your product or service. Though this is standard, a cursory look at several random local search results will tell you that many businesses do not take advantage of this very customer-friendly feature of local search engines.
Your Exact Location and Contact Details You might lose potential customers if they don’t find a means to call you directly or go to your exact location. Even if these details are already in your company website, include them in your local business listing. The street address, phone and email information, website link, and prominent landmarks around the area (whenever possible to include) should be in the listing for your small business.
Links and References from Prominent Sources in your Area What other places, services, or websites are important to your current and prospective customers? Can you lead them to your business through channels like the local or city government website, established local organizations, or publications? If so, then these details in your local listing will prove invaluable.
Genuine Customer Reviews and Consumer Rankings Has your small business received positive comments and assessments from satisfied individuals and consumer groups in your locale? Include these to give your business listing added prominence in the search engine results. This type of information also enhances customers’ perception of the quality of your product or service.
Some Visual Information Do you have quality videos and photographs of your business, or links to them? These will attract more online activity among people conducting local searches for the type of business you are in, and they lead to added exposure for your business.
A 2005 survey by the Kesley Group reveals that 70 percent of United States households use online search engines when finding products and services near or within their local area. You will miss out on the benefits of this, however, if you don’t make an effort to apply effective Internet marketing for small business strategies, such as making your local business listing stand out.