When you need something nowadays how do you look for it? Let’s say your washing machine breaks and you don’t have a regular repairman. Do you grab the Yellow pages off the shelf and starting looking? (If you even have a phonebook anymore?) In today’s technology based world the more common solution is to just ‘Google it’. Just about everyone has some sort of computer, iPad, or smart phone that they use to search local business listings instead of using a phonebook or calling information.
So how does that impact you and what you do for local advertising? As important as it is to be included in local business listings like a phonebook, you also need to get your business on Google and other internet portals. You need to rethink your marketing strategy in this digital age and consider about how your customers will find you when using the now common search methods.
Information Search – First off you need to get your business on Google. They have Google Places as a basic starting point. Of course having a website is paramount. After you get your business on Google then you will be included on Google Map searches, which is a common application used by cell phones to search for locations. Then you need to be included in local business listings as well as general online yellow pages such as Yellowpages, Yellowbook, and Superpages. There are a wide range of local and niche directories businesses should consider as well. For those with GPS systems, you want to obtain a D-U-N-S number for your business (www.dnb.com). Then, you will need to get your business listed in the main GPS directories and mobile 411 sources.
Review Sites – Local advertising is hardly comparable these days to the feedback provided from review sites such as Yelp or Angie’s List. Customers want the raw feedback from other people, not paid ads. But as a local business owner you can use these sites as well. First you want to make sure you are on the site with accurate information. Some business owners also review feedback and contact costumers to thank them for business or follow up on a bad review to see how to improve. This level of customer interaction you just can’t get from a billboard or other common local advertising methods.
Social Networks – While Yelp is a review site, it is also a social network. Other common networks are sites like Facebook or LinkedIn. But much like there are local business listings compared to national, you can also find smaller social networks. Patch.com has a slew of hyper local sites each dedicated to one town. Along with free business listings, they also have event calendars and other opportunities to promote your business in a place that customers will frequent and utilize to find services.
Listings Offer High ROI Potential
All of these digital methods have a much great reach than traditional local advertising. For example, some people who use the Patch sites check other Patch locations when traveling to find important information. If you are included on the local business listings then you open yourself up to that prospect as well. For many of these resources the investment is time spent to update profiles with little out of pocket cost. But the return on investment you can receive is tremendous. With the constant growth of digital communication these methods will continue to develop in popularity. So get your business on Google, get involved in the various places your customers look for you, and embrace the online age of advertising.