With the marriage of Twitter and Foursquare on the cards, it has, once again, thrown light on a sticky patch that many local businesses encounter, especially when creating their presence online; just HOW do you reach the local populace whilst using global online platforms? What is the point? And why, oh why, do you need a website…?
In our mooching around the Internet, as well as our growing customer base of local, national and global businesses, we have come up with 10 pitfalls in to which local, online businesses can tumble.
Flailing about in the dark is no fun, especially when everyone else on the top side is winning new customers, and seeing old ones return.
Now is the time to grasp the mettle, and understand what is undermining your online, local presence…
#1 It is not ALL about YOU…
Commissioning your website is very exciting but, it can place some businesses in a position whereby they think their online presence is only about them. Although your brand is important, but when it comes to social media, more is a distinct advantage.
Link with other businesses, blogs and the like that are in harmony with yours. If you sell sea salt, for example, look to food based social media shares and the like. Think beyond your own brand bubble!
#2 It is not just about what you sell…
Yes your products and services are the very thing that makes you a business; yup, we all need or want things in our lives, and you have one of those things. But, following on from point 1, think outside the box – who, what or how else can your product be linked to other business, news events and so on?
Take care – linking with news events is great BUT, makes sure you are not pushing the boundaries or sensitive material. It can back fire and, unless you have a suave, fast-acting PR department then you could be sunk without a trace.
#3 Not all people will know what they want…
Some businesses will tell you that people come to them when they know they want their product or service.
Mmmm… might be true but, you could be alienating a group of buyers early on in the process who are in the market for a product like yours but, they miss your site because your SEO etc. is all geared toward the ‘sure-thing-buyer’.
#4 Local signals can reap rewards
We have touched on this many times in recent blogs and, it seems we are not wrong!
Various data-crunching companies and agencies have been analysing 2014 data from various search engines and it seems that local signals are slowly beginning to emerge as the must-have search term.
If your business has a local presence, then you need this somewhere on your website, social media profiles and so forth. If not, you could be missing a trick.
#5 Local signals go beyond your website!
It pays to spend some time checking out pages such as Yell.com and other local listing sites as all these combined create a stronger force when people search for a business, product or service in a certain area.
#6 Your Home Page
Go to it now. Is it really doing its job?
Just it give a clear, succinct paragraph or two about what it is you do, and why the customer needs YOUR business to do these things? Do you have a tagline that explains what it is you do?
Are you sure it is cutting the mustard?
Mini quiz; which websites are these from?
‘live a life less ordinary’
‘melts in your mouth, not in your hands’
*scroll to the bottom of the page for the answers!
#7 The rest of your pages
With this in mind, go to page that talks about your window cleaning service… does ‘call for more information’ really give the customer any value? Nope. They will navigate away to another competitor who will tell them that they “are in the area of so-and-so on Tuesday and a 3 bedroomed semi-detached costs £12 to have windows and doors cleaned”.
#8 One mention of a city, town or village is not enough…
If you determined to win the local business title online then you need to mention your location, county etc. more than once… and this just not mean putting your address on there.
Don’t go too far the other way and over stuff pages but, if your location is key to your business then this is priority information to be included on pages, metatags etc.
#9 Title tags should be 65-70 characters…
…. Or they don’t fit. So, when you search the Internet and you get the business heading, the tag line underneath falls off the end of the gap the search engine has to display results. Looks messy and people are missing key information. Guess what they do?
Yup, that’s right. They hit the next listing down.
#10 Update key information
Just like you don’t use old business card with the old phone number on, you would be amazed at the number of websites that do not have current, up-to-date contact information, addresses etc. on them. Hence, if you are a local business, then you need to ensure that they key information is right (and don’t forget all those other places where your address, phone number etc. is registered too!)
Local businesses are thriving in the global place that is the Internet – are you?
Mini-quiz answers… how many did you get right?
‘live a life less ordinary’ – Not on the High Street.com
‘Think different’ – Apple
‘melts in your mouth, not in your hands’ – M&Ms in the US, or Minstrels here in the UK