Three tips for marketing your local business online

If you have a business that operates in Indianapolis (or Carmel or Greenwood or Fishers), you might think you do not need a presence on the Internet. After all, you're trying to reach prospects right here in your geographic area. Why would you need a presence on the world wide web to reach people locally? Simply put, your Indianapolis business needs a website because today's customers are using the Internet the way yesterday's customers used the yellow pages.

85% of consumers use the Internet to find a local business.
According to a 2012 Search Engine Land Study

If you don't have a presence online, your potential customers may not find you. Whether they are new in town or have lived here all their lives, more and more people are using the Internet to research their purchase decisions. Both individual consumers and business-to-business clients turn to the Internet to learn about your company and service before they ever consider making a phone call. 

Graph by Myles Anderson, from the Local Consumer Review Survey, June 2013

 
What will those prospects find when they look online for your service? 

One: Your website

Do you have a website that clearly defines your services? Does that website differentiate you from your competition? Does it direct people to a specific call to action so you can establish contacts? Can your prospects easily find your website when searching for it on Google, Bing or other search engines? Just having a website isn't good enough - in fact, a poorly done website can hurt more than help.

Tip: Develop a comprehensive web strategy that benefits your business and delivers results.

Read more about the importance of a great website.

Two: Social Media

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and blogs all have a purpose for your business. In many ways, they have a stronger influence on local business than on a national level. Online reviews and service recommendations are the new "word-of-mouth" standard and it's important that you have some control over how your business is portrayed. 

Tip: Create a Google Places page with accurate information. A Google Map result will often appear above other search results for your prospects. And the map makes it even easier for people to find you.

Check out our blog series on Social Media & Your Business.

Three: A bridge between your online and offline locations

Once you have an active online presence it's time to make sure you tie it all together. Do your business cards refer to your website? Does your Facebook page include your business location? Are you consistently listing your business hours in all places? Your physical office and your online resources should not exist separately from each other. They should help people gather accurate information and build connections.

Tip: Audit all communication pieces. Gather all printed pieces (brochures, business cards, letterhead, etc.) and pull up each of your online presences on the browser. Make sure all key business information is accurate and consistent across all your communication vehicles.


Barb

About the author | Barb Ruess

Barb is a project manager and content editor at TBH Creative and has worked online since there was such a thing. She uses her skills to manage development projects, organize websites, and create and edit content. She likes to blog about content writing, search engine optimization, and offer tips for a successful website project.

View more posts by Barb

Receive articles in your inbox