small business’ SEO efforts. At it’s core, local internet marketing starts with local search marketing — but that’s really just the beginning.
Local Search Marketing
‘Local Search’ is kind of a misnomer — we use it as though it means ‘marketing to local search engines’, but there are very few true local search engines. Really what we mean is ‘communicating to the global search engines that we deserve to show up whenever someone searches for a relevant term and uses a local modifier’. For example, instead of searching for “white rapper” and getting lots of Eminem and Vanilla Ice sites, you search for “white rapper Seattle” and get Macklemore — because Macklemore might have hit it big when his album dropped late last year, but he’s still mostly known in the Seattle underground rap scene.
So once you’ve convinced the search engine that you deserve to be in the top listing when someone searches for ‘gator shoes Coon Rapids’, you’re done right? Hardly — local SEO is important, but it’s hardly the last step in local internet marketing.
Local Social Marketing
Once your website is coming up on the searches, you need to take it to the next level: focus on social marketing. Not on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, but on sites that people actually use to find local businesses. Yelp. The Urban Spoon. Foursquare. The kind of social that allows people to review your business — but also shows those people reading your reviews to see where your business is and when it’s open.
You can also get some decent exposure by using sites like Groupon to offer specials, Pinterest to post printable coupons, and other similar ways to get people not only aware of your place, but able to walk in the door feeling like they got a special deal.
There are, of course, thousands of options at your disposal for getting the word out about your business — and that’s just online. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that the goal of all small business SEO isn’t getting visitors to your website — it’s getting feet in the door.