Has the internet taken away some of your business? Do you not only want to get it back but also attract new customers?
If you’re a Nottingham-based business looking for customers from the local areas of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland or Lincolnshire, then you really need to be targeting local clients online!
The only way to do this is by appealing to the customer – people no longer reach for the Yellow Pages when they look for a local business, so you need to be making your online presence felt.
Because you’ll now find most of your potential customers online, there’s become a greater importance in internet marketing methods; this article is going to help show you both where to start and what it takes to get you visible on the top search engines such as Google in your local area.
Google Adwords - and why it’s good for you
AdWords is a Google run online advertising platform, which enables you to display adverts for your business across the search engine and Google’s various other websites and services.
AdWords works on a pay-per-click advertising basis, whereby you only pay when somebody clicks on your ad (see How much does Google Adwords cost? for more information). You can set up your own budget and your own geographic boundaries; you write your own adverts and can refine them over time to ensure you get the best results.
AdWords is a brilliant tool for small business owners - it's fast, it's flexible and it's very measurable.
But what if you are only looking for local customers?
If you are a small to medium sized company targeting local customers what makes AdWords such a key marketing tool is the location targeting feature. This feature allows your ads to appear in the geographic locations that you choose, as well as any additional areas that AdWords may suggest. Location targeting helps you focus your advertising on the areas where you'll find the right customers, so for you it may be targeting customers within the Nottinghamshire area or maybe you want to target Derby, Nottingham and Leicester.
This feature allows you to only display adverts to people who are located in the specific areas you choose. This is a very targeted approach, and the best news is this: you set the budget. With a Google pay per click campaign you decide how little or how much you spend per click, and how much you spend per day - so you are totally in control.
Google's recent upgrade to 'Enhanced' Camapigns is ideal for local businesses - it allows you to increase or reduce bids by location, but also by device (ie mobile phone or desktop computer). A high percentage of local searches are now done on mobile phones, and Google Adwords allows you to target mobile searchers where the click-throughs and conversions are often much higher.
So how can you improve your local Google ranking with SEO?
So you are a local Nottingham business but enquires are beginning to drop, what options are out there for you to bring those customers back and even attract new business? SEO or search engine optimisation, simply put, is the process of boosting your website traffic by using a range of proven techniques to help boost your ranking. This can be achieved by employing a range of different approaches. Some of these include:
This includes a search of your industry and what keywords are consistently getting the best results. So in the local Nottingham area we can see what your direct competition is doing to boost traffic, and therefore plan a campaign around that to help you get ahead of them.
A single keyword often lacks accuracy and in some cases may even apply to too broad a topic. A keyword phrase on the other hand, is often more successful in boosting website traffic.
Put yourself in the position of the prospect, what would they search for to find your business? ‘Joiners in Nottingham’ would be more successful than simply ‘joiners’ on its own because it is more geographically specific, helping you appear much higher on the list.
You'll notice that when you search for local services (e.g. 'Joiners in Nottingham') that the first page of Google is filled with map results - these used to be called Google Places, now Google+ Local pages.
Google puts a high importance on hyperlinks, links both to and from your website. It is often advised that you use links as not only a way to boost site traffic, but also to help emphasise your keywords i.e. ‘read more about our service as local Nottingham joiners’ with this key phrase being a link to your website.
These are a great place to add links back to your website. A local directory listing will help boost your ranking, especially if your keywords are linked to the listing. A strong presence on a range of local Nottingham and Nottinghamshire directories will only further aid your local listing position. Most of these directories offer free listings to local companies. Some prominent Nottingham directories include:
Using Social Media For Local Marketing
Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn are a great way to interact with your customers and get your brand across.
Facebook ads are a great way to target local customers - like Google Adwords you can show ads only to people from within the Nottingham area (see How to set up a Facebook advertising campaign). Twitter can also be very effective - you can use services like http://www.twellow.com/ to find people on Twitter in Nottingham.
Whilst it is a great way to promote yourself, with the exception of Google+, it may not directly affect your Google ranking; it does remain a fantastic tool to get you noticed, particularly if you are a small Nottingham business attempting to build clientele.
Online marketing has now opened up a new avenue whereby we can communicate and keep up to date with clients. It has become vital that you efficiently market your business on the internet to raise your profile and help see a significant increase in business, if you play your cards right you will even start to prise away business from your local competitors.
Article by Mark Siniara