If your business has a physical location where customers go to shop or purchase services, most of your customers probably come from your local area. Internet marketing can help get them there, but you need a special emphasis on location to lead them to your website.
You can encourage a following of local Twitter users by bringing up topics of interest in the area. Another way to connect with your Twitter locals is to offer them walk-in coupons for items they can buy in your store. This not only brings in people who are sitting in their nearby homes at their computers. It also reaches the mobile audience using Twitter on their Smartphones.
Google is changing the way they rank the search results for local businesses. Businesses with local information on their websites rank higher for search terms that include their keyword with a location word. For instance, you might have a hair salon in Duluth. If a person typed in “women’s hair stylists Duluth,” the search engine would pick up both the fact that your website optimized for women’s hair stylists and that you are located in Duluth.
To get this consideration, you need to display your location prominently. It should be listed in the title of your webpage if possible. You need to include the location in the META tags. You can mention your location in your webpage content. Finally, you can put a line of print at the bottom of your webpage that has your business name, your service, and your street, city, and state address. Be sure to add a local phone number to gain trust from your home audience.
Make sure you are in all the local online listings. Give your business information to Google Places for inclusion in all their location-based searches. Add your listing to Yahoo Local and Bing Local. Put a map on your website to show people where you are located as well. Good maps can also improve search engine rankings.
Some new social media websites are location-based. These include Brightkite, Gowalla, and Foursquare. These applications and others have gone mobile on Blackberrys, iPhones, and Smartphones. They allow people to communicate with those in their social networks about places they are going or where they are. Getting involved with a location-based social media site will help you call attention to events around town where you will be introducing your products or services.
Even if you are a strictly online company, you service different areas. It is always a good idea to have local phone numbers whenever possible and have them routed to one call center if need be. The more local involvement you can have, the more exposure you can get on a local level.
When people are not sitting at their computer, they are interacting locally. Human contact is far from dead. Many people still like to go into a store and browse, many like to make large purchase in person, and everyone who eats out at a restaurant does so in a specific physical location. Take advantage of where you are and use the online marketing tools that will make your business a success.