If you are selling products and services within your local community then learning how to get found online in 14 simple steps may be just what you need to help you grow your business and increase your profitability. The steps highlighted below are part of our local marketing program. We call the program “local marketing magic”. It’s a simple, powerful and cost effective way for you to continuously and positively influence the purchasing decisions of potential customers.

We’ve created this step-by-step process because getting found online locally is critically important for people who want to grow their business in our society today. Following the steps in the program make the process work and will help you continuously attract new customers.


How to get found online? Embrace this reality.


That may sound bizarre, but the reality for people and businesses selling products and services in the local community is that consumers are in complete control of the marketplace. Consumers can find information, compare prices and decide what products, services and vendors offer them the best value without ever talking to a sales rep. Consequently they generally don’t pay any attention to local sales pitches or advertising messages.

If you don’t embrace the reality and have a genuine understanding of how people in our society search for products and services, compare options and ultimately make purchasing decisions. Chances are that potential new customers aren’t considering purchasing their products and services from you.

A recent study concluded that ninety seven percent (97%) of today’s consumers use the Internet in some form to shop locally. If you sell products and services locally, you need to have strong internet presence in order to get found online, attract new customers and increase your profitability. Here’s how:


1. Create and print a marketing plan. 


Why? People and businesses don’t fail, they fail to plan.

It’s not a coincidence that 75% of small businesses don’t survive to see their 15th birthday (SBA) and that 74% of small businesses don’t have a marketing plan. (Connect Marketing)

Your marketing plan doesn’t have to be complicated, but you do need one. Airline pilots never take-off without a flight plan, even if they have flown the same route hundreds of times. The flight plan helps the pilots get from point A to B as safely and efficiently as possible. Similarly, a marketing plan helps people selling products and services achieve their marketing goals effectively and affordably.

If you don’t have any idea where to start, don’t worry. This list of steps to get found online and attract new customers is a simple marketing plan. In addition you can download the Local Marketing Magic program workbook for free here, fill in the blanks and wa-la; just like magic you have a personalized, written marketing plan that will help you get found online and attract new customers.


2. Define your goals and objectives.


Your goals are the building blocks of your marketing plan, your business and your life. The goals you set become the starting point from which you develop your personal marketing plan that will ultimately be the key to helping you get found online and attracting new customers.

People and businesses don’t fail, they fail to plan.


3. Categorize your products and services.


Who are your customers? What words would they use to define and describe the products you sell and services you provide? It is critically important that you know how your customers would search for you online so that you can help make it easier for them to find you.

Business listing categories are used by search engines to determine the relevance of local listings on search results pages. As a result it is critically important for anyone wanting to get found online to first identify your target market. Then make a list of categories that would most likely be used by people within that target market to define the products you sell and services you provide.

For example: If you sell commercial health insurance the category list might look like this; insurance, commercial insurance, commercial health insurance, health insurance.

Read Google’s definition of categories here.


4.Create an online landing page.


An online landing page is designed to entice a visitor to take a specific action. In this case you are trying to attract new customers. For most people and businesses selling products and services locally the best use of a landing page is to use it to invite visitors to connect with you on social media sites for the purpose of receiving promotions, newsletters, finding more information, to be part of the group and to share referrals and write reviews.


5. Get your business listed everywhere.


Use a service to distribute your business name, address and phone number to and additional information to local business directories, search engines and social networks.

There are literally hundreds of powerful websites that use local business directories to provide their visitors relevant and valuable information. Its logical and correct to assume that the more places you have your business information listed, the more likely you are to get found online. What makes this opportunity so good today is that most of these websites want more than just your name, address and phone number. They want pictures, videos, descriptions and all sorts of additional information that help make their visitors happy.

To independently find, create accounts, upload information and then effectively manage so many different sites would in itself become a full time job. It’s much more effective to use a professional service to do this for you. Businessdirectory.clickfirst.com


6. Create social networking accounts on at least Google + and Facebook.


If you don’t already have an account on Google+ and Facebook, you need to create one. While there are other very powerful online social networking sites that may be very useful to you and your business, Google+ and Facebook are must haves.

If you don’t think social media sites would work for you, check out these social media statistics from Hubspot  here.


7. Create a YouTube channel.


The use and popularity of online videos is growing at an incredible rate and is project to continue to be a very popular way to disseminate information, communicate and entertain viewers. In addition, YouTube is not only owned by Google, but YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world behind Google.

Download our FREE 2015 local marketing report from this page.


8. Create business cards and/or other printed material.


The Internet is a very powerful and valuable tool to be used to help you get found locally and attract new customers. However the Internet itself does not define who you are, you do that. Business cards, networking cards, brochures and other printed material that you have readily available to personally distribute to whomever you choose is a very important part of personalizing and branding your business. Not only will printed material help you keep the personal touch in your marketing, but it also can be used to remind customers and potential customers to connect and/or reconnect.

Read this article by Sessions College for more information.


9. Focus on what’s important; satisfying your customers.


The most powerful force in marketing today is a satisfied customer. Satisfied customers talk. In our society today that talk isn’t confined to just personal conversations. A customers experience can be shared online in the form of a review, a like, a recommendation, a connection and more. That makes satisfied customers an important part of your online marketing strategy today. In fact, satisfied customers are the key to profitability. Read more here. (clickfirst article)


10. Start conversations.


When you start a conversation with a potential customer, there are no limits to where that conversation might lead. Initially, keep your conversation short, clear and simple. How can I help you? If you are going to ask the question, be sure you listen to the answer.

Conversations with customers and potential customers will also help you understand what additional information would be best to attach to your business listings, website and/or landing page.


11. Make offers.


Value is one of the key elements of marketing. Offers create instant value for your customers and people you know. Each individual customer may have a different perspective on value. As a result value has different meanings for different people. When you truly listen to your customers, they will tell you what they want and it will be easier for you to satisfy a need or a want which almost instantaneously adds value.


12. Invite people to take action.

You can’t go wrong asking people for their business. Not everyone is going to purchase your products and services, but the more people you ask, the more sales you will make.


13 Leave them something to remember you and/or get more information.


When you personally leave your customers and potential customers a business card or some other printed material it helps them remember who you are, where you are and what you do. It also helps personalize the experience and identify your brand.

In addition, when you give printed material to satisfied customers and associates it helps them not only remember who you are, but can be used to direct them to your online business listings where they can help promote your credibility in the form of a recommendation and review if you ask them to.


14. Execute continuously.


The greatest marketing plan in the world will fail without effort. There are 3 basic elements of Marketing Success

1.  Consistent effort – you get out of it what you put in.

2.  Duplication – follow a proven process.

3.  Time – you must make a consistent effort over time to be successful.


Click here to learn more about our local marketing program or here to return to the local marketing blog. 

Author: Jim Merrick