For many years, local business owners had the unique ability to rely on word-of-mouth as well as print advertising services in order to gain more customers. If a local business had a product or service that they were looking to promote; they had the option to call the local newspaper and find out about their advertisement rates. As media evolved throughout the years and becomes more sophisticated, it’s a lot harder and even more expensive to stand out with your advertising when using traditional media types and newer Internet promotions.
This is a problem that local business owners continue to find themselves facing. As customers become savvier to the Internet, local companies are actually harming their business by avoiding Internet exposure.
According to information provided by Kelsey Research, 70% of households in the United States now have access to the Internet and use it to research products and services on a local level. As a matter of fact, back in 2007, it’s estimated that local information was searched over 20 billion times. And 75% of people using the Internet have looked for products and services to buy from establishments close to home.
Not to be outdone, there have been studies on the Internet that show us that potential prospects have used search terms on Yahoo and Google and looked up phrases that include cheap, discount, free and local business, as well as other terms that tell us these people are looking for something to purchase.
Even though it’s quite possible that many of these people were looking for inexpensive products that they can only buy over the Internet, it’s also fairly important to note that many of these people looking for things were searching for items or services that they can buy in their local area. Remember, the average person does not consume things over the Internet the majority the time. They need to buy products and services in their local neighborhood, like things for day care, lawn care, tutors, automotive services, grocery stores, plumbers, restaurants, salons and so much more. All of these locations are very close to home and within a few miles.
Local Businesses and Their Advertising Budget
We all understand that many local businesses – especially those just starting out – do not have a lot of money to advertise online. Whether they have the money to build a top-notch website or not, the process itself is also new to these people and can be quite daunting if they do not have experience with the Internet and building websites.
Typically, a business owner will have to spend hundreds, or possibly even thousands of dollars, in order to get a website up and running. Is it still worth it to create one at that cost? Will people be able to find you once the website is up and running?
If you are like most people, worrying about the Internet is going to potentially take away from your customer service experience. It will take away from the daily activities that you need to do in order to properly run your business. There’s no point in spending an extreme amount of money when you feel that you will not get a real guarantee that the Internet can help grow your company. This scares many people away from the Internet because they feel that they will not experience a positive ROI.
If you think this way, it’s time for you to reconsider that there are many low-cost ways to establish a presence online and grow your small business. You can get the attention of plenty of people looking for your products and services on the web without having to break your bank account and go over your advertising budget.
You could simply create a Facebook account, Google Plus account, LinkedIn account or other social media account, and use it to promote your products and services to your potential customers. You could build a following through social media and share information about products and services, discount information, let your customers know when sales are happening and so much more.
The Internet is an awesome way to share content with your potential customers and the people that already frequent your business. Everybody loves to get information for free online, and you can share this content as a way to entice customers to keep coming back for more.
There are great websites on the Internet – including cityslick.net and merchantcircle.com – that allow business owners to create a local listing. You can provide your basic contact information, descriptions of your product, company slogans, customizable coupons, photos, documents, social bookmarking and ways to generate appointments. There’s so much that you can do with advertising in local business directories.
If you feel that it would be great to list your website with a local business directory, pay close attention and make sure that the site is going to get you as much exposure as it possibly can. Have plenty of anchor text within your advertisements because people want to click links. It’s also important to have anchor text for SEO purposes. You can get plenty of custom backlinks when doing local business directory advertising.
By implementing the latest techniques for search engine optimization, you also give yourself the opportunity to rank within the search engines. So not only will you get local advertising and business directory exposure, but you’ll benefit from search engine traffic as well.
As a local business owner, you have many things to worry about when it comes to your company. Use the Internet to post to these business directories and gain massive exposure. You’ll experience great benefits without having to pay a ton of money to rank your website. Begin experiencing these benefits today.
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