You have just launched your first venture. Congrats! Now, while most of us dream of instant word domination and recognition, at early stages the easiest and quickest win for any e-commerce startup is to gain the initial recognition at the local level. Everyone started locally – even Facebook and Airbnb.
Here are the four essential strategies to help you dominate the local search results, gain the initial traction and feedback and proceed to the successful national and worldwide expansion.
Identify Your Ideal Buyer Persona
While you’ve likely researched and identified your target market (you should have at this point), it’s worth making an extra step and map out the exact persona you’ll be marketing your products and services too.
Having an ideal buyer persona in mind will help you tailor your content, messaging and overall marketing more precisely from day one and bring you better results as you start expanding.
The best buyer personas are usually based on solid marketing research – customer interviews and surveys, so use a good tool to gain the required data e.g. Pollfish for online survey forms; FedStats for all the latest stats in your industry and Loop11 for testing your competitors’ websites.
Get Local Citations
Obviously, you want your name, address and phone to show up in listings of business niches when people search locally. These almost perform like links, because people can click to your site right from that listing, meaning you get traffic and Google gains link signals about your website authority.
Make Sure that You Are Listed in Google+
You will not show up correctly in Google maps unless you have verified your business with Google+. This will also improve your chances of in search result. When you do go through this process, be certain that you fill out your profile completely; you can add photos, in fact you should. Google+ reviews will also move you up on Google Maps results, even though competitors may be closer to the user.
Get the Right Kinds of Reviews
Reviews could not be more important for local search results. And they establish you as a trusted business to potential customers you are trying to woo. Publishing testimonials on your site are no longer believed, so entice your customers to write reviews on Google+, Yelp, Foursquare, UrbanSpoon, SuperPages, and so forth.
What you can do on your site is embed Google+ reviews. These cannot be tampered with, and visitors know this. Be certain that you encourage customers to leave a review and provide an easy link for them to do so through Google+. Additionally, you can offer special perks or discounts to each customer, who endorsed you e.g. a discount code, free drinks or whatsoever.
Take Advantage of Social Media Early On
Set up profiles on at least Facebook, Twitter, and perhaps Foursquare, Instagram and Pinterest. Start with one, probably Facebook, and put lots of effort into creating a community that will spread your word with their communities too. They will spread your brand if what you post is really shareable – very entertaining, very useful, of something of great value.
Your posts should be visual and interactive, not text-based at all. And always have an enticement to link to your site – maybe pick up a really good discount coupon. The other really important part of a post is to get conversation going – not just “likes,” but comments. And you can respond to those comments too.
Be funny, be entertaining, be inspiring on social media – you will grow our community.
Things To Remember
As a local business, content marketing is not as necessary, and it is time consuming and can be expensive. Your goal is to build a local community of customers and followers who see you as a valuable source for the products or services when they need them.
Local SEO does work if you take the steps suggested above. And you can gain an edge on your competitors who may be focusing more on content. Visibility and top results from local searches, along with trust and brand value, are what you are going for.