Online Hacks for Local Businesses

Online local business hacks video

Small businesses are the backbone of local economies and communities, but it can be hard to stay competitive in an increasingly digital world. However, with the right online strategies, local businesses can remain profitable and relevant and grow their business.

A solid online presence is essential for all small businesses. This can be achieved by creating a professional website, building a presence on social media platforms, and engaging with customers through online reviews and feedback. This will help to establish credibility and trust with potential customers.

According to a study by digital marketing agency BrightLocal, 99% of consumers searched for local businesses online in 2022.

The obvious conclusion is that local businesses must have an online presence and be optimized so people can find and choose them over the competition.

Website Optimization

Most small businesses now have a website. In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the number of firms who decided to create a website for the first time out of a necessity to keep operating and reach more customers.

Here are some tips to optimize your website using the example of a plumber:

  • Contact Information: A local business website should prominently display your contact information, including your phone number, email address, and physical address. This makes it easy for potential customers to get in touch with you.
  • Services Offered: The website should list the plumber’s services, such as emergency repair, installation, maintenance, and remodeling. It’s also a good idea to include a brief description of each service and the areas you cover.
  • Portfolio or Gallery: A portfolio or gallery section can help showcase past work, including before-and-after photos of completed projects. This can help to build trust with potential customers and show them the quality of your work.
  • Customer Reviews: Including customer reviews on the website builds credibility and trust with potential customers. These can be in text form or video testimonials.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): A FAQ section can help answer common questions that customers may have about plumbing services, such as pricing, scheduling, and guarantees.
  • Blog: A blog can be an effective way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. You can write about common plumbing problems and how to prevent them. You can also share tips and advice on simple maintenance and repairs.
  • Easy to navigate: The website should be easy to navigate, with a clear and straightforward layout. In addition, it should be optimized for mobile devices and load quickly.

Bonus tip: A way to differentiate yourself from the competition and generate leads is to offer a free report that potential customers can opt-in to receive, for example, “5 Crucial Things you Should Know Before Choosing a Plumber”. In so doing, they provide you with their contact details, and you have a lead you can follow up.

Implement SEO Strategies

Unfortunately, it is not a case of building a website, and they will come. So how do potential customers find your website when there is so much competition?

The answer is to improve your visibility when consumers search for your type of business, which is SEO’s task (search engine optimization). Optimizing your website for search engines can increase the likelihood of your business appearing at the top of search results and reaching more potential customers.

Here are some tips for SEO strategies to implement.

  • Optimize for Local Search: Local SEO is crucial, as most of your customers will be searching for businesses in your area. Optimize your website with location-based keywords and list your business on local directories and Google Business. This will increase your visibility in local search results.
  • Optimize your website content: Make sure your website content is optimized for search engines by including relevant keywords in title tags, meta descriptions, and throughout your website’s content. Also, ensure that the content is informative and appropriate for your target audience.
  • Use alt tags for images: Use alt tags to describe the graphics on your website. This will help search engines understand the images and improve your website’s visibility in search results.
  • Create Quality Backlinks: Backlinks are links to your website from other websites. Quality backlinks assist your website to rank in search results. Reach out to other websites and get them to link to your website.
  • Use Google Analytics: Use Google Analytics to track your website’s performance and gain insight into how users find and interact with your website. This can help you identify areas for improvement and optimize your SEO strategy accordingly.
  • Use schema markup: Using schema markup can help search engines understand your website’s content and improve its visibility in search results. Schema markup is a type of code you can add to your website to help search engines understand the information on your pages.

Optimize Your Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is provided free by Google for local businesses to appear in Google Search and Google Maps. By setting up a Google Business Profile, companies can provide important information to customers, such as their hours of operation, contact information, and reviews, and allow customers to find and navigate to their location easily.

According to BrightLocal, “The average local business receives 1,260 views each month – 943 on Search and 317 on Maps.”

Here are some benefits for local businesses:

  • Increased visibility: Google Business listings appear prominently in Google search results and Maps, making it easier for customers to find and contact your business.
  • Improved local SEO: Having a complete and accurate Profile can help to improve your visibility in local search results, and the likelihood that customers will find your business when searching for products or services in your area.
  • Customer reviews: A Google Business Profile allows customers to leave reviews of your business, which helps build credibility and trust with potential customers.
  • Insights and analytics: It provides valuable insights, such as how many people have searched for and found your business, how many people have requested driving directions, and how many have contacted your company.
  • Easy to update: Businesses can easily update their information, such as hours of operation, phone number, and address, at any time.
  • Cost-effective: Google Business Profile is a free tool, so it’s a cost-effective way for businesses to manage their online presence and reach new customers.

Setting up a Google Business Profile is relatively straightforward, so even small businesses can take advantage of the benefits. However, when people search for a local business, Google typically lists three companies with a link to ‘more businesses.’ This is called the Google 3-pack, and as the majority of searchers do not go beyond the first page, it is essential to optimize your profile.

Here is an article from Hootsuite on setting up and optimizing your Google Business Profile.

Engage Social Media

Social media platforms are a cost-effective way for small businesses to reach a larger audience and connect with customers. Use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to create a presence, engage with customers, and promote your products or services.

Using our previous ‘plumber’ example, here are some tips for using social media:

  • Share Expertise: Use social media to share your knowledge and expertise in the plumbing industry. Create posts, videos, or infographics that provide helpful maintenance and repair tips.
  • Showcase work: Social media is an excellent way to showcase your work and projects. You can post before-and-after photos of completed projects to attract new customers and build trust with existing ones.
  • Offer Special Deals and Promotions: Use social media to offer special deals and promotions to customers. For example, you could offer a discount for customers who follow you on social media or refer a friend.
  • Respond to customer inquiries: Plumbers can use social media to respond to customer inquiries promptly, which can help to build trust and establish a good reputation. In addition, providing quick and helpful responses can improve customer satisfaction and increase the chances of repeat business.
  • Create a sense of community: Plumbers can use social media to create a sense of community among your customers. You can post interesting and relevant content that encourages engagement and interaction. This can help to build a loyal customer base and increase brand awareness.

Manage Reviews

The study by BlightLocal referred to earlier revealed that 77% of people regularly read online reviews in 2021, and more than half say they are not likely to use a business that does not respond to the reviews they receive.

People can leave reviews on your Google Business Profile, Social Media, and other places on the internet. It is a good idea to respond to all reviews, but how do you respond to a negative review online?

Here are some tips for responding to a negative review:

  • First, respond quickly: It’s essential to address the negative review as soon as possible. The longer you wait to respond, the more damage the comments can do to your reputation.
  • Stay calm and professional: Remain calm and professional when responding to a negative review. Avoid getting defensive or argumentative.
  • Show empathy: Show the reviewer that you understand their concerns and that you’re sorry for any negative experience they may have had.
  • Take responsibility: Take responsibility for any mistakes made and assure the reviewer that you’re taking steps to fix the problem.
  • Offer a solution: Offer a solution to the problem and invite the reviewer to contact you directly to discuss the issue further.
  • Follow up: Follow up with the reviewer to ensure that the issue has been resolved to their satisfaction.
  • Continuously monitor and improve: Monitor reviews, feedback, and ratings to identify areas where you need to improve.

It’s important to remember that negative reviews are an opportunity to improve customer service and demonstrate your commitment to providing a positive customer experience. Responding quickly, professionally, and empathetically can help turn a negative situation into a positive one and improve customer loyalty in the long run.

Conclusion

In conclusion, online strategies can effectively target your ideal customers, build stronger relationships with them, and increase profits. Social media allows you to understand customer interests and needs better and create a personalized experience for your customers. With these strategies, local businesses can increase visibility, reach more customers, and grow revenue.

This is the final article in our series on Business Hacks. Other articles in the series include:
The 80/20 Rule: A Powerful Business Productivity Hack
Marketing Magic: Use a Marketing Calendar to Boost Your Results
90 Day Business Goals Journal
Unique Selling Proposition: Why Your Small Business Must Have One

Data443 Privacy Safe Privacy Management Service by Data443
WPO Image