You’re a new local business.
Or maybe you’ve been around awhile, but you’re just now starting to build your online marketing presence.
A website. A Facebook page. Email. All of it.
One of the great things with online marketing is the SEO.
It means search engine optimization, but we use the term in a few ways. We use it to mean optimizing our site and also to mean getting traffic from Google. Traffic that we don’t have to pay for. Just ranking for important terms and getting the traffic we feel we deserve.
And why shouldn’t we feel that way?
Let’s say you have one of or even the highest rated restaurant in your area.
Wouldn’t it make sense for you to rank #1 for a term like “restaurant in [your city]”?
Google is pretty smart. With little effort on your part Google will still probably figure out that you’re the best restaurant. They’ll see signals like online reviews, mentions and all that kind of stuff.
But even that takes time.
SEO takes time. Google has to make sure that the sites they rank are the best results for searchers. They look for all kinds of signals to figure it out. And it just takes time for all those signals to build. And one signal appears to be time.
Let’s say you want to impress someone with a great meal.
Would you go to a brand new restaurant that you’ve never tried? Or would you go to one that’s been around for 20 years that you’ve been to countless times?
You’re betting on the restaurant with the track record.
Google does the same thing with results. They need prove and the sure thing.
So what can you do in that time when you’re waiting on the SEO to kick in?
Here are some tips…
This means your Website, Google, Review Sites & Directories.
I put this as #0 because even though it will take time to build your SEO you still want to ensure that you have the best opportunity to take advantage of it.
This means giving Google the signals that you exist, what you do and who your customers are.
Your website should say exactly what you offer to customers. Who those customers are. And what your brand name is.
It should have your hours of operation. Pricing. List of products. All the basics.
Next, go to Google My Business and set that up. That’s how you let Google know that you exist.
The same with review sites and directories. Setup your profile on those sites. All the things like Yelp, TripAdvisor and all those. If they let you fill out a profile then do it.
This is my favorite one and the one I feel you should spend the most effort on when you’re starting out.
You have no online audience. Other people and businesses do.
Find the local businesses, media and people that need content and reach out offering them content in exchange for exposure to their audience.
Take your story to the local newspaper. Ask them what you would have to provide for them to write a story on you. Be willing to do anything for them. You want them to look good for writing a great story. You have to provide that story.
On a local radio station here they do a Health Minute or something every week. There was a woman opening a new yoga studio and she went on and offered some great tips.
That’s huge exposure for her, but the radio station also won because they got great content for their Health Minute.
There are opportunities like this online with social media. Every social outlet that your local organizations use.
Building on the last one is the idea of partnering.
What can you do to help out your fellow businesses in the area?
Maybe they need a venue to host and event. Offer your space for free. Offer to moderate their Facebook page during the event.
Look for win-win situations and especially a situation where the other business really wins. In exchange all they have to do is expose you to their audience.
3. Free Content, Answer Questions
Social Media, Forums, etc.
Look for your local people in these places. Even the comment sections of the local media websites. See what questions they’re asking and answer.
Answer as many as you can. Don’t even use your product or service as the answer. Just give the best answer.
You can use this as a partnership and host a Q&A on another business’s Facebook page.
Value for their customers. Value for the business. They look good.
And in return you get exposure.
We’ll talk about advertising next, but I heard something really good a short while ago.
Let’s say you’ve been thinking about spending about $10,000 over the next three months on advertising.
Offline or online or whatever. Doesn’t matter.
What if instead of spending $10,000 on advertising if you just gave away $10,000 of your product.
And it could be even better than that…
Let’s say you’re margins are 50% for argument’s sake. You could giveaway $10,000 of your retail price product, but it really only costs you $5,000. So you can actually double what you can give away for the same amount that you would spend on advertising.
From an online standpoint, look for the influencers in your local area. Chances are good that there are some people with pretty good followings online.
Newscasters. Kids in their 20s with huge YouTube followings. Restaurant reviewers. There are all kinds.
Find those people and offer them free product.
The other option would be to give away your product to everybody and anybody that comes in. You can bet that the local radio stations, TV stations and news stations would cover an event like that.
Or you could partner with a charity event or local even to give away your product for free.
5. Pay For Traffic
Finally, you can buy traffic.
If you have the budget this is a great way to spend your advertising dollars.
Maybe even look for advertising that is pretty new.
In 2000, Google AdWords was brand new and relatively cheap. Those that jumped in early could get some great return.
Facebook was like that 3-5 years ago and still is a little bit.
What’s the current new thing that a lot of people aren’t using to advertise?
You want to work on optimizing your online presence so that you can be in a great long-term position to succeed with SEO. But in the short-term there are still ways to get online traffic and attention so that you can get new customers. Follow the steps above to just that and position your local business to succeed right away.