If you think about it, the letters in the acronym ‘www’ have always represented something on a global scale. World wide web, it’s in the name…it’s you communicating to the world. Whether you have those three little letters prefixing your website or not (it’s 2016, plenty don’t – Twitter and Wikipedia being just two examples), your website can be viewed by anyone, anywhere in the world.
Well, so long as they have a suitable internet connection and live in country that isn’t bound by censorship.
Poor internet connections and crazy censorship policies aside, having a website really is a way of putting your message out on a global scale. A way of letting people from Buenos Aires to Bognor Regis know what you have to offer.
But wait, what if you’re a builder in Bognor who will barely even travel to Brighton for work? Surely, it will be beyond your wildest dreams to board a plane bound for a building site in Buenos Aires?
Well if this is the case, you need to make sure your website is relevant to your target audience. This is the same story for so many small to medium businesses. It would be nice to be working all over the world and jetting off to far-flung locations, but that’s just not the nature of your business. That’s not where the work is, simply because we are sure there are plenty of builders in Buenos Aires. So whilst you may be operating on the international stage, you really want to be communicating on a local level.
So how do you get on the path to local fame, you may be asking?
Come up with a ridiculous rap and appear on national TV? No, there’s no longevity in that, and we said local. Honey G, we are talking to you. Just ask DJ Talent (who?). Instead, you need to look at the ways in which you can become relevant to the people around you, the people who will be using your business. Here we look at just a few of the ways that you can put your business in the local spotlight…
1. By ensuring you are locally visible
Whilst you are right in thinking the paper version of the Yellow Pages is dead in the water, you would be wrong in thinking it is worthless online. Being listed on the online version of the Yellow Pages, Yell.com, is a must for local online visibility. As is being listed in various other locations. This is because online listings, known as citations, are a key component of the ranking algorithms in both Google and Bing. Citations essentially help the search engines confirm that your business is exactly what they thought it was so that your contact information is correct and you are correctly categorised. For this reason, it is key that all information is accurate and uniform across all locations.
As mentioned above, it’s not just Yell.com where you should be listed, that’s just one example. Other UK citations, include ThomsonLocal, Yelp, Scoot, 192, TouchLocal and 118 Information, though these are just a few of them.
2. With your content
A website needs content. That’s a given. So a blog is a must. Unfortunately, though, having unique and beautifully written blog content will not automatically mean you are elevated to local hero status. Instead, this copy needs to be locally driven and useful. It shouldn’t just reference the local area, it should represent the local area. Think about the following things to begin making your blog a local destination:
– What’s going on around you?
– How can you incorporate this local news into your blog?
– Can you share your opinions on this local news?
– What local events can you help to promote?
– What can you provide your customers that is of value?
Helpful guides, videos showing simple tips, advice on what requires planning permission and what doesn’t – there are so many ways you can demonstrate your knowledge, provide your customers with something for free and give them something they are bound to share with their friends on social media.
3. By demonstrating your expertise online
Leading on from the previous point, you should be thinking about the ways in which your website as a whole, is a voice for your business. If you are a small to medium business owner, you will have a distinct advantage over larger organisations – your knowledge. You will know the full sales cycle. You will know what your customers want, you will know the questions they are likely to ask. Ensure your website answers these questions and the knowledge and expertise you communicate verbally is translated online. Make it obvious that you are the local expert. However, be sure to always leave them wanting more. Give them a reason to have to pick up the phone and find out what you can offer.
4. By communicating your commitment to the community
Have you recently donated building materials to a local school so that they can build a new bike shed? Then tweet about it, post the pictures to Facebook, share the details on your blog. Get the school to add the details of the new bike shed to their blog and reference you with a link back to your website. Just don’t go donating bike shed building materials for your own benefit, do it for the right reasons…because you care about your community.
What we are saying is continue to do what you are doing, whether that’s donating to charity, helping out those in need or sponsoring local fundraisers, just make sure you are getting the exposure online.
5. Create a local resource directory
Add local relevance to your business by supporting those around you. Who would you usually recommend to others? In the example of a builder, there must be plumbers, carpenters, electricians etc. who you usually work alongside. If you would usually recommend them to your customers verbally, make sure you are recommending them online too. You won’t be doing this as a link exchange with these other businesses, but instead as a way of adding local relevance to your website and helping your customers out.
6. Utilise your local connections
Links from other local websites in your local area will help your visibility massively. As previously mentioned, if there are super-relevant local events that you have some kind of hand in, make sure you are getting the recognition.
And if you can get your website listed on local newspaper websites, local community sites, local education sites, local government sites etc., then even better!
Basically, if it’s local, online and it is going to provide your business with positive exposure, think about the ways in which you can leverage it to your advantage.
So with this in mind, think about the connections you and your business have locally. Are you the preferred supplier of services to a local housing association? Do you provide apprenticeships or internships in conjunction with a local college or university? Think about your connections to the local community and utilise them.
7. By encouraging customer reviews
Get the local recognition you deserve for the hard work you put in by encouraging your customers to review your services. Review platforms such as Trustpilot, Trustedshops and Feefo, and Google’s own Google My Business platform, all enable your customers to be able to review your products and services for others to see. Using Schema markup, These reviews can then be added as ‘rich snippets’ and pulled into your website’s listings in the search results. This means that when people are searching locally for products and services that fit your niche, they will quickly be about to see the online equivalent of ‘word of mouth’ recommendations which state what a good job you have previously done.
Whilst if you are that previously mentioned builder in Bognor Regis, being listed and reviewed on sites like Checkatrade.com and Rated People is a must for local visibility and is definitely somewhere that your competitors will be listed.
If you want to raise your local profile online, get in touch.
We helped Hepplewhite go from a standing start to over 70 local leads per month in just under a year.
What have you got to lose?