Three Pillars of Local Online Marketing
No Longer a Doubt
People are hyper-connected. They’re accessing the internet on a myriad of devices to find local products and services. Every demographic group is in the act including the service providers themselves as well as corporate and government types. There is no longer any doubt. These folks are finding answers and solutions. The only question is, from whom?
Maximize the Possibilities
The fundamentals of local online marketing involve maximizing the possibilities in the three pillars of local: Visibility, Traffic, and Results. Local business owners are very familiar with this concept as the traditional offline business model incorporating these same three pillars has been ingrained into their DNA for centuries. The difference is the support structure. Each of the pillars gains support from a set of variables such as, in the case of a brick and mortar business, location.
Who’s Coming to Dinner?
People, especially those who know their way around a kitchen, can gather ingredients, prepare a meal, and cook all in what seems like one motion. All that’s left is the eating. Similarly, SMB’s who operate in the brick and mortar world are naturally inclined to combine the process of generating traffic into their efforts at creating visibility. For example, a restaurant owner automatically considers traffic potential, signage, and parking when choosing a location.
The internet is young and the online marketing process is often misunderstood in the local business community.
In the offline world consumers and business operators instinctively know how to complete a transaction; we’ve all done this before. In the online scenario a business operator must take control of the entire process so they can guide and direct interested parties every step of the way.
Individually, the three pillars of local online marketing draw strength and support from various elements and just as in the offline model some crossover exists. Every local business is different so some operators never have to think about location or parking while others don’t find it necessary to advertise or even use a telephone. One thing is for sure in online marketing; visibility and traffic are absolutely necessary which means that every business must pay attention to keywords and of course Google.
Who Can See You Now?
Possible traffic in the offline world consists of interested parties and other folks who just happened along. While it is possible to receive online traffic from visitors who stumbled into your domain the vast majority is from your target market. Very often these visitors are ready to buy and we know this because of keyword selection.
People go to Google and other search engines with a specific request. If their ultimate aim is to find a business like yours then your task is to anticipate the request so Google displays your content in response. That query is one of your keywords and if you take the necessary steps to optimize content for that keyword and others you will achieve superior visibility. Google is the #1 factor in the visibility puzzle but by no means is it the only one nor are keywords the only driving force. The image illustrates some other factors that influence visibility.
That Song in Your Head
Every local region has advertisers who have produced a memorable jingle. It might be calling you to do something like “come on down” or it could be a phone number set to a catchy tune so you’ll not forget when you need that product. Marketing requires imagination and persuasion so simply having visibility is often not enough to drive traffic to your domain. The good news is that the internet is loaded with free tools and platforms to help local business owners bring targeted customers to their home turf.
Think Inside the Box
The ultimate goal of your online marketing plan is whatever you decide. Once you’ve made the decision though a strategy should be developed to accomplish the particular goal or series of goals. Often in local this goal means having visitors to your website fill in some type of form, such as a contact form. That is the box and since there is no greater thing visitors can do for you at your website this box is the equivalent of your checkout counter or whatever finalization procedure you use back at the ranch.
Local businesses all over the world are making use of the internet to attract and connect with customers and prospects. Some markets and segments seem to have it figured out pretty well while others don’t appear to be trying. In some cases this is driven by competition which threatens to extinguish a local player that refuses to compete online. I love to see examples of sleepy little mom and pop’s like Taxidermists that have been able to grow a tiny backwater operation into a worldwide business using resources available for free or at little cost online.
Since you now have an understanding of visibility, traffic, and accomplishing your objective, we’d like to help you achieve your goals. Two options you have are to contact us for a free consultation or find out what level of confidence Google has in your online footprint.