Whether marketing your business locally in Temecula, CA or any other small region across the county, you can give yourself an advantage by following a few easy steps and doing a bit of homework prior to beginning. All too often, I see small business owners jump into advertising contracts with companies such as the Yellow Pages and pay thousands of dollars when their efforts could be better leveraged and the ROI could be much higher with some basic internet marketing.
Here are a few tips for local success online:
1. Identify a Niche Market
Data from Google and the other search engine shows that people who are looking to buy a product or service perform very detailed searches prior to spending their money. For instance, if someone in Temecula is looking to buy a Canon 5D Mark III camera, they are likely to do a search similar to “Canon 5D Mark III Temecula” before they make their purchase. After all, they probably want to find a local location where they can go to see, feel, and ask questions about the camera. If you own a store and happen to carry the 5D Mark III, making an effort to optimize your website properly for the camera will result in sales.
Understandably, you may argue that very few people will actually search for that specific term, and you’d be correct with that argument. However, those who do perform that search have a high “commercial intent”- a term which marketers use to describe a prospect’s readiness to buy. Ideally, you want prospects to come to your website with a high “commercial intent” because they are buyers and not just lookers. Honing down on a specific niche market and a small demographic improves your ROI and brings you more conversions- people who “convert” from web surfers to customers.
2. Optimize for Local Search Terms
One of the biggest mistakes I see small business owners make is that they target search terms which are too broad and have too much competition. The camera store owner learns that the search “Canon Cameras” gets 1,220,000 searches per month (which it does) and right away he/she wants to rank on page one for that search term. Unfortunately, there are 117,000,000 other websites who also are trying to rank on page one for “Canon Cameras” and there is only room for 10. That means Mr. Camera Store Owner has a steep hill to climb. He’ll have to battle BestBuy, Target, Amazon, and Canon (just to name a few) for rankings on page one. It’s going to take a significant amount of time, work, and money to get to page one, and it may never happen. However, optimizing for “Canon Camera Stores in Temecula” will not only bring ranking results faster, but it will bring customers with higher commercial intent. Even if that term only gets searched 10-20 times per month, it’s 10-20 potential customers that are looking for exactly what Mr. Camera Store Owner has- Canon cameras in Temecula. Highly targeted marketing converts to new sales!
3. Get a Domain Name with Local Search Terms in It
Too often, business owners select a domain name based on the name of their business- something like www.bobscamerashop.com. While this might seem like the logical thing to do, more web traffic would be gathered with a domain such as www.temeculacameras.com. A domain that has actual search terms in it will typically rank higher and faster than one that doesn’t. Businesses are starting to catch on to this so if you can find a domain available with search terms in your niche, you’d be smart to grab it asap. Even if you do not plan on using it for a while, having it will benefit you down the road.
4. Google Will Often Localize Automatically
Next time you perform a Google search, pay attention to the left margin. You’ll notice that your location pops up. Google is getting smarter and more complex every day. They are able to use your IP Address and know exactly where you are located and then use that information to customize your search. This means that if you search for “Cannon Cameras” you are very likely to get a few local results pop up on page one or two, even if you didn’t ask for them. The person who performs this search in Detroit will get different results than someone in Dallas. Google is moving more and more towards this type of customization which further supports the case for optimizing your site for local search terms. That potential camera customer in Temecula is likely to be directed to a site well optimized for “Canon camera stores in Temecula” even if they search only for “Canon camera stores”.
Local online marketing efforts can pay great dividends when done correctly. Google is putting more emphasis on local, customized results so properly optimizing your site for local terms will put you one step ahead of your competitors. This may involve making some changes to your existing website or starting a new marketing strategy, but the future of business expansion is the internet. Developing your strategy now can take your business to the next level.