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Small businesses are weighed down with limited capital which is why they have to prioritize their investments in avenues that can deliver faster, better ROI (Returns over Investment). With more and more people turning to the Internet, it is now a gold-mine for many small yet ambitious companies to benefit from local search marketing.
More and more people are comfortable buying products and services online because not only are they usually available at a lower price, they do not even have to waste time and effort in travel.  If you are a business catering to a local audience, you have a much better chance of attracting your target customers easily online. Through the power of local search marketing, you can ensure that your business gets top listings in search engines when people are looking for products or services near their area.  Having high rankings in local search can be amazingly beneficial because you will be able to drive a quantum load of traffic to your website, resulting in high amount of sales and profitability. There are also other successful strategies that should be a part of your local online business model like pay per click and social media. Social media is one of the most effective ways for a small business to gain customers who are looking for products or services in a local market.  Having a growing presence on social media sites like Facebook builds trust and patronage for your brand.
Pay Per Click method includes creating an ad and posting it on ad networks like Google Adwords, Facebooks ads etc You can set the advertising budget according to your requirements and also customize it in such a way that you can ensure that they show up on certain times and cater to a particular niche or age group. There are many other methods also that can give you  better rankings for your local business without burning a hole in your pocket like including your business in online local business directories, Google Pages, Google Maps, Google Places and leveraging the power of Google Plus, the social networking site of the search engine giant.  A smart-thinking business should not be concerned by budgetary constraints because there is a way to get a huge amount of potential customers at less cost through the power of local search marketing.
About The Author: John Shaw is originally from New Orleans and is an accomplished Internet Marketing Specialist with 12 years of experience in the industry. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, John has worked for large technology companies such as HP and Pervasive Software in addition to running the Internet Marketing Department for marketing agencies such as Leverage Marketing. In his spare time, John enjoys drumming, which he has been doing for 20 years, riding motorcycles, and spending time with his son and his dog. Amplify is a cloud based, educational focused local marketing automation toolkit built specifically for the foodservice industry, by foodservice experts with over 15 years of hands-on industry experience.Amplify was developed specifically for regional and national foodservice chains with input from field marketers and franchisees. IdentifyAmplify's local store marketing tools guide local marketers and franchisees through the process of identifying opportunities in their market and building the right solutions to maximize results and meet sales goals. EducateAmplify's local store marketing education guides give users the basic knowledge they need to build the right marketing programs and campaigns to meet their local marketing goals. ProfitEmpower your local store marketing team and franchisees by putting sales building local store marketing programs right at their finger tips. In many conversations I’ve had with business owners, often times they describe their marketing efforts as a series of one-off tactics and measure the value based on the success or failure of that tactic. Content Island – Content Island is where prospective customers will first hear of you and your treasures. And remember, their journey is filled with distracting videos of laughing babies, cute cat tricks, and the occasional stop over at the United States of Facebook and Twitter Republic.
Social media is becoming a very important medium for local businesses to get new clients and customers. Say you want to research a new restaurant in your city, read reviews about that hotel you want to check into, or find a local event to participate in.
This is because they want to become an important part of the local marketing mix, and attract more advertising revenue from local businesses.
Facebook and other social networks have been launching new products and features to help businesses reach out to a local audience.
But not everyone is aware of all these new features, or knows how to use them to get new customers. Yes, Google+ Business Pages have been around for a while, and I believe they will continue to remain one of the most important features of the now defunct Google+ social network, especially for local businesses who depend on Google for a lot of their business leads. Google has recently deprecated the value of Google+ Business Pages, and Miriam Ellis reports on Moz that the Google Places API has stopped delivering Google+ Local page URLs and is rendering Maps-based URLs, instead.
However, customers can and do still write reviews for businesses on Google+, and this is one feature of your business presence that can make or break your online reputation.
For those who’ve created a significant Google+ following on their business pages, I’ve outlined some ways to leverage your Google+ presence. If your business is a retail store, restaurant, cafe, or hotel, your Google+ Business Listing will remain a crucial part of your online presence for some time to come. When you create a Facebook page for your business, you have the option of creating either a brand (corporate) page or a local page. According to a study by Mainstay Salire, in collaboration with Hearsay Social, Facebook pages for local branches of a business generate greater reach and engagement than their corporate counterparts. The study also found that, on average, a Facebook post from a local page reaches five times the percentage of fans as a post from a corporate page, and local posts see engagement from eight times as many of the fans reached compared to corporate posts. The study recommends that, if your brand has local stores in different cities, you should consider maintaining Facebook pages for local stores or branches in addition to a main corporate page. Facebook claims its users are performing 1 billion search queries per day and their queries mostly revolve around local interests pertaining to their city. Thanks to the power of Facebook’s Graph Search feature, this social network is working towards becoming a leader in connecting people to their favorite local businesses.
They also have some useful tips for optimizing your Facebook page for Graph Search, that include making sure your Page’s About section contains relevant words that describe your business, as well as words that people are searching for. They also recommend that you offer an incentive for people to check-in when they visit your establishment, because the more people check in at your location, the easier it will be to find on Graph Search. Also use your city or town’s name in your Facebook Vanity URL, so that it shows up when someone searches for establishments from your city.
Now your Vanity URL will mean even more on Facebook, because they’re bringing Page usernames to the forefront. Facebook is also rolling out dark gray verified checkmarks for local business pages in certain countries. You can also verify your Page with a business document, by uploading a picture of an official document showing your business’ name and address. This Facebook Help Center entry explains how to get a verified checkmark for your local business page. Facebook’s Page Responsiveness feature for local businesses lets fans see how quickly customers can expect a response from their favorite pages.
So how do you make use of this feature to show your fans and customers that you really care?
As a local business in the food or hospitality industry, you can gain an advantage over your local competitors if you show your fans that you are super responsive to their queries and concerns. Facebook also allows Page admins to reply with private messages, to comments left on their Page.
Facebook’s messaging tips recommend that you use private replies for messages including billing questions, sensitive customer complaints, order statuses and other topics that include personal information. According to Facebook, over one billion messages are sent between people and businesses on Messenger each month, and, as this article on Techcrunch reports, Facebook is adding even more tools for private messaging between business pages and their customers. By adding these tools, says the article, Facebook is giving businesses a heads up that mobile messaging can no longer be ignored. Businesses can use Messenger Links to make it fast and easy for people to start a message thread with them.
Messenger Codes will serve the same purpose of opening up chats, but are instead unique codes that people can scan in Facebook’s Messenger app using the camera on their phones. These are customizable notes from the business that appear in a new message thread before messages are sent. Do you get a lot of queries from fans about the same things, like your business address, hours of work and phone numbers? When replying to customer queries, you can even add images and personalize your response so the customer doesn’t feel like they’re receiving a canned response.
Just don’t overdo this as it will come across as impersonal and impolite if you don’t take the time to understand a customer’s concerns before you respond with a saved reply. Facebook’s Local Awareness Ads allow you advertise cheaply by hyper-targeting people in a certain radius around your business. You can use Local Awareness Ads to target people who live near your local business and let your customers call you directly from the newsfeed.

With a Local Awareness advert, just choose the distance around your business and the age and gender of potential customers that you want to reach.
You can also use Facebook’s “Send Message” call-to-action button for Local Awareness Ads to let your customers start private conversations directly from Newsfeed ads.
According to Rodney Hess, the only problem with using Local Awareness Ads is that they offer limited segmentation, allowing you to only target location, age and gender. However, considering the fact that 60 percent of users tend to view a local business’s Facebook page and read the reviews before visiting the business itself, these ads are an economical and easy way to target people near your business. For restaurants, retail stores and other businesses that depend on a regular influx of local customers, Local Awareness Ads, can become an important part of your social media campaign. If you have a business that depends on regular walk-ins, you can promote it using local events.
So, when you do create an event, make sure that you create a public event, not a private event, unless you want to invite only a few select people. Facebook intends to make even more changes, and show more updates in your newsfeed when a friend RSVPs or joins a public event. Users will also be able to share events within the Facebook Messenger app and allow event hosts to chat with invitees from within the app itself. You can also use advertising to boost your event and target a much larger audience than just your page fans.
Facebook’s Place Tips are great way for local businesses to target walk-in customers with marketing messages. Businesses can write a customizable welcome note that appears at the top of the Place Tips feed and use it to promote items or share facts and tips about their establishment.
The most reliable way for businesses to serve Place Tips is with a Facebook Bluetooth® beacon, which is a device businesses request from Facebook.
Beacons use Bluetooth to send a signal to the Facebook app on customers’ phones to show them the right Place Tips at the right place.
Instagram ads are now available to everyone, in both Facebook’s Power Editor and ad creation. Adding an Instagram account to your Page will allow you to create Instagram ads in Power Editor or Ads Manager without needing to connect your Instagram account to a Business Manager. Local businesses can use Instagram ads for a number of business objectives, including getting more video views, increasing page post engagement, sending traffic to their website or increasing attendance at an event.
Here are some of the options Facebook offers when you click the link to upload a video via your status update. One of the most interesting options is to upload 3 to 7 photos to create a video slideshow that plays automatically as viewers scroll through their newsfeed.
To create your Business Story, you need to choose up to eight photos that represent your business, add an audio track and – Voila! To create a video using YouTube’s video creator, go to your channel’s Creator Studio and click the Create link. Once you’ve added a number of photos (there’s no obvious restriction on this), you need to click on the plus sign on the right hand corner of each photo to add it to the timeline. The advantage of YouTube’s video creation tool is that you can also choose from a list of audio files to add an audio track to your video. Now that you have created and uploaded your videos to Facebook, you can use them to create Facebook ads.
Facebook recommends that you include a Call to Action button to encourage people to take action from your video. If you organize regular events at your business venue, you would do well to create a Meetup Group for your city.
It’s easy to grow a targeted network of local followers on Twitter once you know how to use it’s advanced search function. According to AdWeek, it’s as easy as putting in a phrase that you think potential customers would tweet, entering your city in the “Near this place” field, and watching the tweets stream in. Use Twitter to get your business on the radar of the local influencers in your town by interacting with them and retweeting their content.
But one of the best uses of Twitter, is to monitor what is being said about your business and to respond to your customers, especially the unhappy ones. 22% people between the ages of 26 and 36 prefer to use Twitter for customer service support more than any other platform. If you are not providing customer support on Twitter, you might soon alienate a major portion of your customers, says the post here. To do this, you can set up a Twitter alert for your business using a tool called Warble. Enter your Business Name as the alert criteria and you will receive an email every time your business is mentioned on Twitter. Use this tool to respond to customers or Twitter users who mention your brand and deal with complaints and negative publicity as soon as you learn of it. Local Marketing & Social Media Expert, Carlos Silva, recommends becoming a local Expert in your chosen market on LinkedIn, by focusing only on your target local market. He also suggests searching for local groups in your industry and becoming an influencer in them, to create instant credibility and exposure. According to Kristi Hines, Facebook Professional Services is a local business directory inside Facebook, that helps customers find local businesses with the best Facebook reviews and ratings.
As more businesses become savvy about their Facebook presence, the use of this directory may grow among Facebook users. Basic information about local businesses, such as their description, address, phone number and ratings, is also accessible to users who search and browse the directory. With social livestreaming going mainstream in 2015, companies are planning to livestream influencer briefings and product launches in 2016, among other activities.
Starting a livestream for your Facebook fans using Facebook Live, can help you connect with your fans and foster authentic brand engagement, according to Kimberlee Morrison. For local businesses, Facebook Live can help you create a more intimate connection with your fans, while you promote your products, services and events on Facebook. As Mari Smith explains, Facebook Live lets you connect with your fans, friends and followers by sharing real-time video of what you’re seeing and doing.
She also recommends repurposing your Facebook Live livestream by writing a blog post with some of the highlights and embedding either the Facebook post itself or just the video. Facebook has also announced that it is making a small update to News Feed so that Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in News Feed when those videos are actually live, compared to after they are no longer live. People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live.
Foursquare is a free app that allows users to share location-based details about their activities, such as shopping or dining. Consumers leave brief tips and photos at their favorite local businesses to let others know what they love most at each place. You can also offer specials to thank customers for choosing to visit your business, write tips to tell people what they should know about your business, and use their analytics to learn more about the customers coming through your door.
As one of the first mobile check-in services, Foursquare remains very popular because of its fun, game-like features, quirky badges, and points system, writes Erik Folgate. He recommends you offer a “first-time” check-in special, and loyalty check-in every 3 times customers check in to the location.
More than a social network, Yelp is one of the more influential review sites for restaurants and other local businesses. The most important thing you can do for your business on Yelp is to make sure your business listing is 100% filled out and your photo galleries are uploaded and available to users of the network. This article by Brian Casel on Social Media Examiner offers 7 ways to use Yelp to improve your local business. Including a strong geographic focus in your Pinterest marketing can help you create more visibility with people who live or are interested in your locale, writes Alisa Meredith. She recommends you enter your location and add more geographic cues, like mentioning what areas you serve or where your business is located, in the About You section.
You can also include your town or state name in a board or two, as well as any applicable pins, she says.

Jilly Badanes recommends spending some time learning about what your target audience is doing on Pinterest, who they follow, and what kinds of things they’re pinning. Engage with your local customers, business partners, or favorite local hangouts on Pinterest, sharing their content, and mentioning them, in the hope that they’ll notice and share yours. Create and share content that is useful to local clients and use Place Pins to create a board with your favorite local places. You can also use Pinterest’s Promoted Pins option to target a local area, while tailoring your promoted pin’s content and keywords to each area you target. Priya Florence Shah is Founder and CEO of Blog Brandz, an author and social media marketer. Most companies state that they wish to advertise as much as they want to but they are limited by the cost of advertising as well as the inability to attract the potential buyers or subscribers. He is especially adept at analyzing, developing, and facilitating strategic marketing plans for his clients, who include hundreds of corporations and local businesses in the Austin, Texas area where he currently lives and works.
He is currently a founding partner at Local Superiority, a good SEO company specializing in local search marketing. Giving them the tools they need to react quickly to changing local trends and the competitive landscape.
You need to create that dotted line representing the path they take through multiple websites and mobile apps. They’ll visit Content Island, Daily Deal River, Review Village, Mobile Mountain, and the scariest place of all, Email Lagoon, where they may be scared away at the very prospect of being attacked by the SPAM Pirates! Today, there are 100 million local searches per day on Google, with 40% of those mobile searches.
At each one of these obstacles, the treasure hunter will continue to either deepen their conviction to move on, or be convinced that the journey is not worth it’s weight in gold. You might find them useful to turn that Google+ Business Page into a valuable resource once again. If your local business isn’t on Facebook, your ideal customers won’t be able to find you, says this post on PostPlanner.
This can help you respond to personal requests and handle sensitive queries or customer-specific information more effectively.
For general business questions and requests, where your public answers will be useful to other Page visitors, you can continue to reply publicly. Businesses can use this text to greet people and set a friendly tone while letting people know what types of messages are expected.
Facebook allows you to use canned responses or saved replies to respond quickly to high volumes of messages asking similar questions. Since Facebook bills the ads on a Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) model, it can lead to irrelevant impressions for businesses in a very niche market. Facebook has made significant changes to its Events feature, separating public and private events. They also display a drop-down list called “Related Events” that suggests other events that users may be interested in. As a local business this is all excellent news for you, because hosting local events can now create lots of word of mouth awareness on Facebook. Facebook is now providing free beacons to businesses in the US. Businesses using Place Tips have seen a steady increase in Facebook page traffic from in-store visitors.
With the growing consumption of video on Facebook, video marketing on the social network is now essential to increasing engagement and responses.
According to Facebook, video ads on Facebook can raise more awareness of your business – helping to drive sales and get customers. You can also track your video ads and use the video metrics within Adverts Reporting to improve your videos. But it’s a great tool for local businesses to attract the right target audience for your products and services.
For instance, if you’re a business promoting adventure travel you can create a Meetup Group for fans of adventure sports. The idea of Meetup is to create community and networking in the real world, so make sure you are committed to having regular events for your group. You can help people resolve their problems, messaging them privately and taking your online relationship offline.
As of now, customers can use the search box to find local businesses based on keywords specific to the products or services they need. Read the article here for more information on optimizing your Facebook page so you can be found in the directory.
Using a selfie stick, you can livestream events, showcase your successes, provide product demos and answer questions related to your field of expertise. Before you decide to host a Livestream for your fans, however, read up on Facebook’s best practices for using Facebook Live. You can listen to what your customers are saying and use Foursquare’s tools to join the conversation.
They include reading your competitors reviews, responding to your own reviews, tracking your metrics and analytics and advertising your business on Yelp.
Using keywords strategically can help ensure your business shows up in location-centered searches. Customize the elements with your coupon choices, expiration date, store address, store map and copy line. Moving through each one of these stops further encourages this prospective new customer to continue on their quest – to be further intrigued at what may lie ahead.
By providing a steady flow of content, prospective customers will be more trusting and be willing to go on this journey. Also, 95% of mobile Internet users consult directories & social media before going to a local business, and according to a Google and IPSOS study, 88% take action within a day!
By maintaining regular communication with customers and prospects, you continue to reaffirm your value. Without a combination of some of these experiences, the treasure hunter will abandon their search for you and stop in at a place easier found and more trusted. You’ll see how many views your video had and which parts of your video were most engaging with the Audience Retention Graph. If you’re a business that provides pet grooming and boarding, you can organize a Meetup Group for pet lovers in your city. For example, if someone has never done Yoga before, they won’t even begin their quest searching for a Yoga studio.
They’ll look for others that have been on this same quest and experienced a positive outcome. Whether you notify them of new trends or ideas, or remind them of upcoming deals and events, you will stay top of mind and slowly convince them that there is something exciting in your treasure chest.
If you respond, on average, in less than 5 minutes, Facebook will display an icon like the one below on your page. But, on Content Island, you just might convince them that Yoga is something they’ll want to try. Finding this information is not difficult, and even worse, not having it can work against you. Social proof is a powerful tool, and encouraging your customers to advocate on your behalf can make the difference between a sale for you, or worse, your competitor.

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