Local Internet Marketing for Small Businesses: How to Make the Most of Your Budget

Local internet marketing can mean different things to different businesses, but most small business owners are simply lost when it comes to the technical terminology and methods involved. Whether you call it local internet marketing, local search marketing, local business marketing, local SEO marketing or just plain local marketing, it is all part of the same animal – marketing your business on the internet to people in your local area who will be your REAL physical customers. When done right, it can be a smashing success garnering you more QUALIFIED customers willing to spend money on your product and/or services.

When it comes to internet marketing for local businesses, the ROI is generally MUCH more impressive when compared to the “old” or “traditional” marketing methods which used to be the only options. These include but are not limited to: Yellow Pages advertising, radio and/or television commercials, billboards, handing out flyers, etc. While these methods still work for some types of small businesses, they are generally MUCH less effective than their modern-day online counterparts. Not only are they less effective, but if you’ve ever investigated them (or used them); you know how expensive they can be.

How should your business approach local internet marketing? That depends on your type of business, location and target market as well as the cost of your products. For instance, it wouldn’t make sense for a corner coffee shop to invest thousands every month in every type of online marketing available, unless they were able to handle the insane amount of business those campaigns would create. Chances are they wouldn’t be able to handle that many new customers and still retain their level of customer service (which keeps those customers coming back). However, a company that does emergency flood cleanup, for instance, may charge several thousand dollars for a cleanup job. In that case, even 10 new customers each month sent via their local business marketing efforts online would justify that same expense. That doesn’t mean the corner coffee shop shouldn’t use local online marketing methods – the strategy used would just be different for maximum effectiveness both in cost and outcome.

There are many different types of local internet marketing that can be very effective for small business owners. The one most people think of is organic SEO marketing. This is a method that entails getting your website to show up on as high as possible when people are searching for what you sell. For instance, a person may type “salt lake city television repair” into Google. If your website is optimized for organic SEO, your site will come up at the top of the results. Since 75% of users never scroll past the first page, this is huge for your business. In fact, most people only look at the first 3 results. If you’re there, you’re in, and your phone WILL ring.

Another very effective online marketing method is using online directories such as Google+ Local. When you do a Google search, these are the listings you see at the top of the page with their addresses and markers showing them on a map. Again, if you are in these search results, you’re in, especially since in many cases, these results take up at least half the page. Optimizing these directory listings is also important. Many of these sites have reviews of your business, and you can post videos, photos and other info. It’s almost like a mini-website for your business where users can find out all the pertinent info and see what others have experienced when doing business with you.

One more method that can be VERY effective for businesses both small and large is video marketing. Video marketing works extremely well especially for businesses that offer something people need right away. For instance, emergency lock services, window repair or replacement or trauma cleanup. When shoppers see your video at the top of the search results, if it instills feelings of trust and reliability for your business, again, the phone WILL ring.

When many small business owners think of local internet marketing, they think of their website. The first thing that comes to mind is, “I already have a website. Isn’t that enough?” Good question. The answer I always give is, “That depends. Is it making you money?” Many business owners don’t have an answer, either because they have no way of tracking their traffic and conversions or (and this is most) they don’t even realize a website is SUPPOSED to make you money. If it doesn’t, why have one at all?

A properly laid out website with great information in an eye-pleasing format will pull in business. There are many ways that a great internet marketing consultant can make that happen. They can also make it so you can collect warm leads through your website to market to later and make sure it gets SEEN on the internet. Why have a great website if no one sees it, then when they visit, they leave? If this is the case for your business, your local internet marketing methods really need help. Your website should be making money for you or at least generating leads.