Many local service business owners like accountants, lawyers, plumbers, electricians, and dentists use traditional channels like local papers and magazines, direct mail and radio to promote and advertise their services. This has been true for many years and many have shunned the internet and digital technologies to promote their businesses.
However, over the last 10 years more of these businesses are seeing the benefits of online channels in driving customer acquisition, conversion and retention. In fact, Google research reveals that 97% of people search for local services on the internet, with Google being the primary site being used.
So for local services, both professional and non-professional, the internet has huge potential for creating new customers and building relationships with them. Here are some local online marketing tips to promote your business:
Google Maps Listing
A maps listing is a fundamental part of a local online marketing strategy. As most people are using Google to look for your services, it’s essential that you launch a Google My Business account and add your business addresses. If you have multiple locations, then you can create an account for each location and with your Google+ account you can share content, updates, pictures, contact details and much more.
Also, customers can leave reviews about your services and these will appear alongside your Maps listings and organic listings when people search for your business.
Your maps listing is mostly beneficial to prospects that want to find your offices or shop and even to call you directly from their mobile phones.
Location Extensions in Adwords
Location extensions are a feature in your Google Adwords campaigns under the Ad extensions tab that enable you to display your address under your ad. To add your locations, you first create a Google My Business account and then link it with your Adwords account. You manage all your locations in your My Business account.
It’s important that you use the same Google account for Adwords and Analytics otherwise you will not be able to sync your addresses into your adwords account.
Your competitors will be implementing this and it’s important that you do too and make your ads stand out so your business can be found easily.
Many people looking for local services such as restaurants, parking spaces, cinemas and so on are ‘On the Go’ and their mobile devices, especially Smartphones are important to them finding these services. So, businesses need to ensure that they are easily found on these smaller devices and that the user experience is great. That means the website should be responsive and according to Google’s latest updates in 2015, they are now demoting sites on mobile devices that are not responsive.
Responsive sites create a great experience for website visitors and make it easy to find information and browse from page to page.
Also, the click-to-call functionality on mobiles makes it easy for people to call your business directly from a search listing and you are charged the same price as a standard text link click on Adwords.
Other online channels to promote your service business include directories such as Yell and Touch Local which have different advertising models including pay per click advertising, standard listings, featured listings, banner advertising and so on.