Local consumers and frequent shoppers are the foundation of all thriving businesses. Often times, they are the ones who bring you the most business, promote your brand and can be your best advertisers. This is one aspect of “inbound marketing” which allows individuals to easily find your business and access basic information online by using search engines or social media sites.
This can easily be done by creating an online presence for your company or business. Having a website as well as utilizing many social media outlets can be one of the most basic and effective marketing strategies. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, as well as search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yelp can be extremely beneficial to promoting your business, and they are usually free.
By creating a Facebook page for your business and having it on Facebook Places, you can reach your target audience by combining local searches with social networking. Once people start becoming “fans” of your page or “check in” to your business’ location, it will then appear on their friends’ newsfeeds, providing you with fast, free and effortless advertising. When you take into account that, on average, each person on Facebook has 130 friends, you can see how many individuals your information can reach quickly. Today, there are over 200 million mobile Facebook users, and providing people who are on the go and perhaps in your local area with fast and detailed information about your business can have positive results. You can even advertise specials and discounts on your page as well which can draw in customers.
Foursquare is another social media site that is location based and encourages brand loyalty. There are over 6 million Foursquare users so far, and that number continues to grow quickly. By creating a Foursquare location for your business and setting up specials, your business can attract many local consumers and reward repeat customers.
Another way to make your business more visible online is to list your business on a search engine such as Google Places or Yahoo Places. You can create a basic listing for no cost on both of these sites. This makes it easy to direct more traffic to your website and also level the playing field with other competing companies. You can list simple information such as your address, phone number, hours of operation and accepted payment methods, as well as photos or a video of your business. This is a cost effective way to market yourself and further develop a credible online presence.
One thing that most search engines and online social media sites have in common is that they allow customers to review your business. This can be very helpful as reviews are now considered to be the “currency of the internet”. This means that reviews can potentially make or break how your business is viewed in the online community. They can also build up your online reputation among other businesses. Most of these sites have an option that will send you updates on when reviews are posted so you can monitor the reactions and experiences of your customers . When managing your reviews, however, it is important to understand that not all feedback is going to be positive, but in some cases it is better to have a few negative reviews out of many than to only have a handful of reviews about your business. So, be sure to encourage customers who you know have had a positive experience to go onto one of these sites and write a review. Reviews are a major factor when someone who has never been to your business is searching online.
Google yourself and your company, and see what improvements you could be making today!