In today’s world where international, far-reaching companies have such a large share of the retail market presence, it’s easy for local business owners to get duped into believing that they can’t compete.
However, there’s still a large segment of the buying population that believes in supporting local businesses first and foremost when possible. The key for businesses reaching these local customers can often be found in learning to make the most out of their presence in Google online search engines.
Many customers, when searching for a good restaurant, coffee shop, bookstore or other business in their city or town turn to Google as their first source for available business information.
If your business’ information on Google search pages is missing or sparse, however, you just might lose that potential customer to a competitor who has more thorough information available. Here are 5 ways local businesses can get more out of Google, and use it to help become more visible to local and visiting customers.
1. Locate, Customize and Maintain Your Google Business Page.
Any type of a search for your type of business or any other business type in your town will bring up a list of competing stores and businesses in the coordinating market. The Google Business page for your particular company has to be up-to-date, accurate and full of pertinent information if you want it to draw potential clients to your store or company as opposed to your competitor’s business.
Your Google business page should contain your business hours, contact information, location and plenty of positive reviews that encourage people to take a chance on taking advantage of the products and services your company has to offer. By customizing your Google business page with a photo of your store or of your logo, and by personalizing your business page’s information to attract the type of customer you want to attract, you have a better chance of seeing potential customers walk through your door after finding you on your Google business page.
2. Verify Your Google Location Information is Accurate
Too many times Google business reviews say things like, “I tried to find this place but couldn’t.” or “The location for this store is WAY off – it’s six block away from what their page says!” Avoid turning potential customers away by having inaccurate location information on your business page. Make sure Google sites have accurate mappings of your company location so that when a potential client wants to visit, it won’t take a miracle for them to find your store or business. By doing an occasional check of the location information for your business on Google, you can quickly correct any errors, before a wrong location ends up turning an exasperated customer away.
3. Make Sure Contact Information is Easily Located
There’s nothing more frustrating for potential clients than wanting to visit a business but not being able to contact the business with their questions about hours, services and the like. When assessing your Google business page, be sure that your contact information is displayed prominently, clearly and accurately. If a potential client wants to contact you in a hurry to find out if you have what they need, they’ll be more likely to count you as a potential vendor if they can easily find your contact information. If not, they’ll simply move on to the next option until they find a business that they can reach easily. Don’t lose out on potential business simply because a client couldn’t locate your contact information. Instead, make sure your phone number and address information is easily seen and accessible to potential customers.
4. Start and Maintain an SEO-Optimized Online Presence
Even for customers who prefer the coziness and visual attraction of the brick-and-mortar local business, online presence is important. Online advertising is one of the top ways businesses attract customers in today’s device-driven world, and if you aren’t maintaining an SEO-optimized online presence in the form of a website, a blog and social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter, you are potentially driving away hundreds or thousands of customers.
What does an effective online presence look like? It starts with valuable and engaging content. When searching for a business, readers want to see a professional website, complete with engaging images, accurate and helpful information, frequent blog postings and entertaining content. On Facebook, clients want to follow businesses who are actively posting information, education and too-good-to-pass up deals on products and services. On both Twitter and Facebook, followers are drawn to businesses that provide valuable information and work to truly connect and form relationships with customers and potential customers.
SEO optimization is another key to a successful online presence for your business. By learning to maximize your company’s “searchability” through appropriate keywords, you can help potential clients to more easily locate your business. In order to find the right keywords to reach your target audience, utilize a free keyword e-book, and from there, build your content around the keywords that most effectively reach your target audience.
By making your website and Facebook site SEO friendly, web-searching customers have a better chance of finding your business. A prominent and smartly-created online presence is key to the growth of any business in today’s app-driven, device-driven world.
5. Utilize Google’s Call-Only Campaigns
Google’s Call-only ad campaigns, introduced in February of 2015, provide Google searchers with an immediate option to call businesses as opposed to simply clicking on a link to their website. This form of advertising allows businesses to connect with potential clients immediately on the phone, which gives them a better chance of winning the customer’s business quickly instead of leaving clients with the option to simply put the business and its potential offerings in the back of their mind, or leaving them with the option to move on quickly to a competitor’s site. Call-only campaigns are Google’s newest form of advertising created to help businesses have a better chance of winning customers through successful advertising. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to reach inquiring customers quickly
Local businesses will give themselves a leg up on the competition by using Google’s well-researched advertising tools in order to have a prominent online presence that helps draw in local customers who may not know about their business as well as visiting tourists who are looking for the city’s best stores and companies. By utilizing all of Google’s advertising tools, you can help your business to reach many more potential clients than you would without the vast reach of the Internet.