The Best Tools You Should Be Using to Market Your Local Business
[Note: This post originally appeared on the QuickSprout Blog with the title: “The 5 Best Tools You Should Be Using to Market Your Local Business” but since many of the sites referred to in that post don’t apply to South Africa, I had to adapted it for our purposes]
Mobile devices and local searches go together like peanut butter and jam.
If you’re a local business, guess what method people use to find you?
They’re looking for your business on their mobile devices. If you’re not aware of this or optimizing for it, you’re leaving money on the table.
Smartphones and tablets have made it easier than ever before for prospective customers to search for businesses in their areas and to find any pertinent information to influence their purchasing decisions.
Furthermore, “50 percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34 percent who searched on a computer/tablet did the same.”
Within seconds, potential customers can see what product/service a business offers, get directions, and find contact information.
I do this myself all the time. I live in a big city. There are always great new places to discover, and I know I can find these places, check what they offer, and discover their ratings with just a few taps on my phone.
Because of the simplicity and convenience of the local search, one thing is true for smart local businesses who capitalize on it: increased sales.
In theory, one out of every two individuals who find your business through their smartphones will actually visit your business that very day.
Studies have even found that “18 percent of mobile searches lead to a sale within one day.” That’s pretty impressive!
But we need to ask a question: how do you capitalize on this sales-ready segment of the population? How can you make sure your business is placed front and center before their eyes?
It doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, if you use these tools, you’re virtually guaranteed a position at the top.
I’ve seen businesses rise from having zero online presence to dominating their local markets simply by using these tools. You can do it too.
Here are the tools you should be using.
1. Google My Business
Did you know that 46% of all searches on Google are local searches?
That’s right. Nearly half of the people checking out your business online will be located within your immediate geographical area.
To ensure that prospects are finding your business, you’ll need to be active on Google My Business.
I personally can’t even count the number of times a week I use my smartphone to search for business info via Google.
I also find myself using the “Okay, Google” voice search feature more and more. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s hands-free. By and large, it’s quite accurate in matching my voice commands.
Getting set up on Google My Business is simple. First, visit the site: https://www.google.com/business/.
Next, register and fill out all pertinent business information.
I also recommend including plenty of pictures (at least five) so that prospective leads can get a better sense of what your business is all about.
Once you’re set up, you can painlessly manage everything from your dashboard.
More specifically, you can:
- Stay updated on customer reviews
- Get insights on the way people are interacting (e.g., the number of views and clicks you receive)
- Check the number of requests for driving directions to your business
- See the number of people ultimately visiting your website
For me, the more data, the better.
The more information I can accumulate, the easier it is for me to spot patterns and trends so that I can make necessary adjustments.
That’s why I really like this tool. It gives me comprehensive data so that I can make highly informed decisions.
Like most platforms from Google, Google My Business is intuitive and user friendly, so there shouldn’t be much of a learning curve.
You can also update your profile when necessary to ensure your information is always current.
2. Facebook Pages Manager
The fact that I mentioned Facebook probably doesn’t come as any surprise.
Facebook is a huge deal, so it only makes sense that you’ll want to use Facebook Pages Manager. Visit this page to download the app.
Simply download the app for your iOS or Android device, and you can manage your business’s presence on Facebook with the utmost level of control and efficiency.
Use it to do the following:
- Post updates, photos, and videos
- Respond to comments on your page
- View and reply to messages
- Get push notifications for page activity, tips, and reminders
- View your Page Insights
- Manage your settings and page roles
This app serves as a streamlined way to manage your Facebook account from your mobile device and stay in close contact with your customers.
I like it because I can stay on top of things no matter where I’m at—even if I’m out of the country.
Having a presence on Facebook and advertising on Facebook matters.
For better or worse, people trust Facebook. Facebook serves as a tool for people to discover new friends, keep up with the news, stay in touch with family, and, yes, discover new places to eat, drink, shop, and play.
Not being on Facebook is the 1980s equivalent of not being in the phone book. I’m not going overboard when I say your business needs to be on Facebook.
To get your business in front of potential customers, you must have a presence on the key sites mentioned above.
Because people are using these sites so frequently, taking the time to register your business and fill out your profile in its entirety can pay good dividends in the long run.
Don’t forget the key statistics, correlating searches, and sales.
That’s huge! If you’re a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment, you can most definitely cash in by featuring your business in the right online places.
The bottom line is that there’s a growing trend of people using their mobile devices to search for local businesses.
Being active on these sites not only allows you to be more competitive and claim your piece of the pie but can also be the catalyst for your business thriving in the long term.
Which of these tools do you find yourself using the most to find info on businesses in your area?