Local marketing online for small businesses | BDC.ca

Local marketing online: Reaching customers in your area

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The Internet is global but it can also be local. Smaller businesses can capture more customers by targeting Internet users seeking information about goods and services in their area.

Here are some tips to help you get started with a local marketing campaign on the Internet.

Claim your listing on Google My Business

Google displays a map with company listings when people search for a local business. Google My Business listings are free and claiming yours increases your visibility on the Internet. That makes this an essential step for any locally focused business. Simply go to Google My Business and follow the prompts.

List your business in local directories

Almost every area has online directories in which your business can appear. Do an Internet search for business directories in your area and add your company to the lists.

Establish a presence on Facebook

Facebook is all about creating and fostering relationships, and can be a means of reaching potential new customers as part of local marketing campaign. When you create a Facebook page with your business profile, you can choose to be featured as a local business. One of the benefits of Facebook is that every time someone becomes a fan of your page all of their friends are notified. Make sure your page has a professional look and offers engaging content that reflects your business's culture and values.

Participate in local blogs and Internet forums

Increase your visibility by leaving comments or writing guest articles on local blogs and Internet forums. Be sure your signature includes your contact information and website address.

Also, be active in online communities, such as LinkedIn and Quora—a question-and-answer website edited by its members. This way, you will position yourself as an expert adviser in your field.

Gain exposure on local websites

Forging relationships with other organizations, such as local charities, professional associations and media can gain you local Internet exposure when they post news about your business with a link to your website.

Make it easy for local customers to find you on the Internet

If you want your website to appear near the top of the list when local users search online for your type of business, you should choose keywords that describe your unique offering and geographic location. Use these keywords in your URL and in the text of your pages. And don't forget your website is the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. Make sure your contact information appears on each of its pages.

Localize your pay-per-click advertising

Most search engines offer the option to localize your pay-per-click Internet advertising. Zero in on the geographical area you want to target and reach your intended audience.

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