How to Promote your Local Busines on the Internet
If you have a local business -- or serve as a consultant or web designer for local businesses -- then I'm pretty sure you'll want to purchase this 44-page book I published on January 26, 2005.
Question: If I own a local business that sells traditional goods and services, what good is the Internet to me?
Answer: If you live in a city of any size -- especially in an area where new people are moving in -- people are increasingly using the Internet to find local businesses. That may not be your preferred mode of research, but for many, especially younger people, the Internet is their key to knowledge -- both local and global.
In July 2004, Nielsen//NetRatings new MegaView Search service found that 24.4% of searchers on major search engines conducted searches that were local in scope, averaging 4.6 searches per searcher. In September 2004, a Kelsey Group-BizRate.com study found that more than 74% of respondents said they had conducted local searches and confirmed that 20% of all searches among respondents was local. Using the Internet to find local businesses is now mainstream and can only grow in frequency.
Some of the businesses that can be helped by local Internet marketing include: chiropractor, computer retailer, travel agent, locksmith, massage therapist, insurance agent, real estate agent, mortgage broker, maid service hardware retailer, plumber, auto repair, physician, dentist, florist, limousine service, accountant, auto dealer, lawyer, restaurant, and movers, among others.
Fortunately, for a local business you don't need a huge, complex, and expensive website to be effective. You're not competing with the best of the best nationally, you just need to present yourself well to local residents and those within driving distance.
This book will explain how to use the Internet to market a local or regional business. It is not, however, designed to be a dumbed down guide for people who know nothing. I'll assume some understanding of how the Internet works (what a domain name is, etc.) and that you are willing to learn. There are many books that will explain the basics, so I won't cover all the basics here, but focus on the particular Internet marketing techniques that are effective for local businesses.
Nor will this book describe all the traditional off-line ways to market your business. You'll need to use many of these to market successfully locally -- since the Internet is just one piece (though a growing piece) of the local marketing puzzle. If you need a great book on traditional local marketing I heartily recommend Jay Conrad Levinson's Guerrilla Marketing (third edition, Houghton Mifflin, 1998).
But few books approach the Internet from a local marketing standpoint. The book you're reading is designed to be a brief, focused, no-hype how-to-do-it guide to marketing a local business on the Internet. It is meant to be suggestive rather than comprehensive, since every aspect of the Internet is changing -- especially local Internet advertising -- so expect to use this book as a jumping off point for the areas that interest you.
My hope for you is that you'll learn how to do effective Internet marketing for you local business and so increase the number of new and returning customers 25% or so. How's that for a modest, but realistic goal?
Here's the Table of Contents
1. Marketing Your Local Business Starts with Your Website 6
The Purpose of Your Website 6
Writing a Website 7
Your Home Page 8
Domain Name 8
Site Development Tools 9
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Local Sites 10
Keyword Indexing 10
How to Place Keywords in Your Webpage 10
Fine-Tuning Your Webpages 12
Clues to Your Location 12
Gathering Links from Local Businesses 12
3. Local Portal Sites 14
1. Internet Yellow Pages 15
2. Nationally-Based City Guides 15
3. Newspaper-Based Guides 16
4. Other Locally-Based City Guides 17
5. Search Engine Local Portals 17
4. Back to the Yellow Pages for Local Business Advertising 22
5. Local Pay Per Click on Google and Overture 26
A Different PPC Strategy 27
Variable PPC Prices according to Location 29
Yahoo! Local Match 30
Google AdWords Geotargeting 30
PPC Campaign Examples 33
Pay Per Call Lead Generation 33
6. Display Your Local Business URL Everywhere 35
7. E-Mail Marketing to Existing Local Business Customers 38
Begin a Regular E-Mail Newsletter 38
Collecting E-mail Addresses 39
Select an E-mail Service to Send Your E-Mail 40
Renting Local E-Mail Lists 41
8. Resources for Marketing Your Local Business on the Internet 42
Articles in the Web Marketing Info Center 42
Ad Venues 42
Local Business Marketing Services 43
About the Author 44
If you've been around Internet marketing for very long, I can read your mind. You're thinking, "I know all that stuff."
As one who knows my way around Web marketing, let me humbly suggest that you don't. Yes, you'll know the basic principles. But "the devil is in the details," as they say. I spent nearly 40 hours researching local marketing and this is the fruit of my labor. I certainly learned things I didn't know, such as:
- How to optimize your webpages to rank high in local searches.
- How Yellow Pages advertising can dovetail with local Internet marketing.
- How not to waste your money with enhanced ads -- and the exceptions!
- How to use Yahoo! Local Match ads and get a $20 bonus when you begin.
- How to get good results with Citysearch ads and when to save your money.
- What keyword buying strategy to employ with Overture and Google.
- How to take advantage of Google's geotargeting ability.
- And much more ....
If you've read my materials before, you know I don't beat around the bush. Nor do I pad my writing with fluff and hype. You'll find these 44 pages jam-packed with actionable information.