My theme today is local marketing techniques, with the emphasis on local online techinques. I’m covering local directories, local review sites, local ads, local social media strategies (i.e., how to use Twitter to promote locally), local blogs, and local search engine optimization.
Think of these links as a crash course in local target marketing on the internet. If the list overwhelms you, read only the first link in each section for key points.
But first, look at the table in this post, which document the shift from print to the web:
Relying On Print Yellow Pages? Most Local Customers Turn To The Web! - Search Engine Land, Greg Sterling. One takeaway: “Local business needs to ensure they’re measuring the web’s impact in their real-life activities. When people call by phone or visit a store — the top two actions after an online local search — is someone in the store asking about this? Asking about whether particular online sites were used may help local businesses better understand the potentially “invisible” drivers of traffic that they’re not aware of.”
Check your business listing for free at GetListed.org. See how your firm is listed right now on Google, Yahoo, Best of the Web and LiveSearch. If it isn’t, I suggest you use the links to those directories to add a listing now. The first of your local marketing techniques is to be sure you are listed in relevant directories.
Google Autofills Photos & Videos in Local Business Profiles - Small Business Search Marketing. Matt McGee. As of April 2009, “Google is auto-filling local business profiles with photos and videos pulled in from other web sites.” He concludes, “If you don’t optimize your profiles, Google’s gonna do it for you.”
The Definitive List of Local Search Directories You Need To List With. – eMarketing Matador. Links to 38 local search engines, directories, providers and 5 data suppliers. Discussion of the importance of online local listings. Instructions on how to write for search engine directories.
Online Directories And Review Sites: Intro, Video and Links – Web 2.0 for Small Business, Peg Corwin. My earlier blog post on the topic, with many how-to links and examples.
Twibs A website that “gives Twitter users a place to find businesses on Twitter.”
Local Review Sites
“Your Pizza Sucks, and…” Getting Positive Reviews in Local Search Directories – Duct Tape Marketing. Go on the offensive: get listed on major review sites, promote positive reviews, publicize positive reviews, and add reviews of other businesses, especially your strategic partners.
Leveraging Small Business Customer Reviews and Testimonials Online - Search Engine Journal, Steven Brier. Why reviews and testimonials are effective, how to use them in ads, 5 steps to get testimonials, how to make it easy for clients to provide them, and SEO benefits.
Yelp Will Let Businesses Respond to Web Reviews – New York Times, Claire Cain Miller. Yelp’s recent change in policy allows businesses to comment on negative reviews.
The Masses on Yelp.com Eat and Tell – New York Times, Donald McNeil. How customers are using review sites like Yelp, CitySearch, Insider Page, Zagat, OpenTable and ChowHound sites.
Local PayPerClick Ads
To get local business, you may find that local online ads are the most important of your local marketing techniques.
How local ads can help you survive the recession – iMediaConnection, Jean Eric Penicaud. “The key to marketing success in the economic downturn is to get in front of the right-sized audience, from the right demographic, when they’re willing to buy.” Balance targeting, traffic and intent to hit the sweet spot, he advises.
Search Advertising Geo Targeting Options - Search Marketing Communications, Tim Cohn. Comparison of geo ad targeting options of Google, Yahoo and Ask. “Google’s advertising product and its geo-targeting capabilities have one distinct yet obvious feature the other’s lack: An actual map for geo-targeting the location of your ads and where they will be shown.”
Google Adwords details for local business - Google. Click “For Local Business,” lower left to see local and regional targeting, how local Google Ads work, including ads on Google Maps.
Yahoo Small Business Paid ads for targeting potential customers in various ways.
Microsoft Ad Solutions “Entry-level” ad solutions, social media ads, shopping ads and more.
Extinction Threatens Yellow-Pages Publishers - Wall Street Journal, Emily Steel. Discusses niche local search websites like ReachLocal, Yodle, Spotrunner and Marchex. Further, she reports, “Local business is chopping ad spending amid the recession.”
Local Web-Ad Market Cools Down - Wall Street Journal, Emily Steel. In February of 2009, she reports “”As small businesses cut outlays, ReachLocal refines ad-targeting methods.”
Local Social Media Strategies
8 Social Media Sites for Local Networking – Small Business Search Marketing, Matt McGee. Discusses how to use the websites Flickr, Facebook, Stumbleupon, Twitter, Yahoo Answers, Outside.in, PlaceBlogger, and Linkedin in local networking.
Harness The Power Of Twitter For Local Marketing – Search Engine Land, Chris Smith. 7 Tips on how to use Twitter locally. Real world examples of Twitter use by a group of 4 local authors, taxi company, hotel chain, casino, excursion business, theater, church, grocery store, and attorney.
Twitter Local – Find Out Who’s Tweeting Near You – Mashable, Stan Schroeder. Twitterlocal.net “takes a location, postal code or a state, together with a mile radius, and spits out an RSS or XML feed with tweets from that area.”
Twitter and Local Search – Loc@l SEO Guide. About using Twitter locally, including Summarize.com. Key point for us promoters: He recommends only 10% of your Tweets be about your business.
Facebook — Can Local Business Flourish in Social Networking? – Darby Sieben – Internet Marketing. The answer is yes. Examples of Social Flowers and a yoga teacher using Facebook to market locally.
MySpace Goes Local — Announces Partnership with CitySearch – Read Write Web, Frederic Lardinois. “Users on MySpace can now review, rate, and share content about businesses on MySpace Local, and reviews and ratings will appear in users’ activity stream. MySpace will launch this service with support for restaurants and bars first, though it plans to include a wider range of businesses in the near future.”
TwtQpon A website to create Twitter coupons for your followers.
How to Start a Hyperlocal Business Blog – HyperlocalBlogger. A five part series: planning, setting up, content development, marketing, and successes and failures.
How to Promote a Local Blog – Koka Sexton.Com. Talks about TOPIX, YourStreet, Twitter, CraigsList and getting the community involved.
‘Hyperlocal’ Web Sites Deliver News Without Newspapers - New York Times, Claire Cain Miller and Brad Stone. Opportunities for local coverage at local sites Everyblock, Outside.in, PlaceBlogger, and Patch?
Why Hyperlocal Blogging Works – Hyperlocalblogger. The answers are: growing interest in local “stuff” online, decline of the traditional media, local websites are often lacking, and search engines love a good blog.
5 Ways to Grow a Local Blog – Hyperlocalblogger. In essence: Twitter, CraigsList, letting readers know you care, local content and local ads.
Hyperlocal Blog Posts You May Have Missed – Small Business Search Marketing. Links to 5 posts from HyperlocalBlogger, on what makes a great local blogger, TOPIX, local content, EveryBlock, and Outside.in.
Local Search Engine Optimization (for those technically inclined)
Local Search Tactics for Tough Economic Times – Search Engine Watch, Gregg Stewart. Checklist of 5 tactics in order of priority: local listing management, internet yellow pages, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, mobile/directory assistance.
Local Search Marketing Tips for B2B Marketers - Search Engine Land, Julie Shumaker. Four recommendations are: test local PPC ads, submit and manage your business profile, capitalize on local directories and search sites, and consider mobile search programs.
Small Business SEO: How To Launch That Web site – Outspoken Media, Lisa Barone. Her three-pronged strategy is to localize your content, create and claim your business listings, and build local mentions.
Tracking Local Search Traffic with Analytics – Understanding Google Maps & Yahoo Local Search, Mike. How to use Google Analytics URL builder tool, track 301 redirects, monitor traffic on Google Maps, as well as local search.
50 SEO Tips for Online Retailers – Econsultancy, Ran Nir. “SEO for online retailers is the process of improving a website potential in order to gain more organic non-paid traffic from the major search engines. Normally, SEO uplift doesn’t happen overnight and it can take a long while to rank well for non-brand key terms.” Gives 50 tips to facilitate this.
How-To: Optimizing Business Listings in Local Search – MarketingVOX. Takeaways from SMX West, intended to help small and mid-sized businesses optimize their business listings across local search.
YouTube – [Online Branding] – YouTube video, Patrick Schwerdtfeger. Discusses online branding including Yelp, Yahoo Local, CitySearch and MerchantCircle as a strategy to getting excellent search engine visibility.
The Local Search Ranking Factors: Ranking High in Google Maps and Yahoo Local - DavidMihm. Results of a survey in which “Participants were asked to rate the importance of 47 criteria with respect to their influence on rankings in the Google and Yahoo Local ‘Universal’ search algorithm.” Includes ranking of positive and negative factors.
How To Create Effective Local Business Landing Pages – Search Marketing Insights, Dev Basu. Why a landing page for each location? 10 “Landing Page Best Practices.”
Local Search at SES San Jose - Small Business Search Marketing, Matt McGee. Summary of 4 presentations at the Search Engine Strategies 2008 session entitled “Local 2.0: Evolution of Local Search.”
It’s No Secret…Link Building in Local Search is Different - Convert Offline “The best links for a local service business are those that provide help with conversions…they would come from organizations that have huge barriers to entry and are topically related to the service provided by the business.”
Series of short posts on local mobile search - Local Mobile Search
Loci Series: Signficant Articles in Local Search - Understanding Google Maps and Yahoo Local Search. Various experts choose best articles on local search in 2008.
The List: Local Search Industry on Twitter - Small Business Search Marketing, Matt McGee. 38 people and 27 companies with close ties to local search who are using Twitter, or at least have registered accounts on Twitter.
And One Last Link
The Rise Of Hyperlocal Information – ReadWriteWeb, Alex Iskold. A 2007 post broadly covering the rise of local content, self-organizing local information, hyperlocal classifieds, hyperlocal social networking, aggregating hyperlocal data, monetizing hyperlocal data and conclusions.
Related links and Updates:
Other posts in my Local Online Marketing Series
This is a link to my Delicious group (bundle) on Local Marketing Techniques. As I surf the web, I tag new articles on this topic, so check back.
What informative local marketing links have I missed? Please suggest them in a comment.