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As ironic as it seems, one of the most challenging aspects of marketing a small business on the World Wide Web is trying to reach potential customers who are a short car ride away. Having a website and Facebook page that mention the city where you’re based is rarely enough to make you relevant in local search rankings, much less get your website and message in front of local eyes on the Internet. Below are five tips for making sure your business stands out to local web users.

Tip #1: It all starts with great SEO
SEO (short for “search engine optimization”) refers to the myriad techniques for making sure your web presence conveys the proper information to search engines. The first tip-off for us that a local business website isn’t properly optimized is a lack of geotagging in the metadata. And that’s just the beginning. Having an SEO professional go over your entire web presence, make the necessary tweaks, and monitor your analytics over time is invaluable for reaching potential local customers.

Tip #2: Provide original, locally-oriented content
Maybe you haven’t considered blogging before, but providing original content on your website that is of specific interest to your potential customer can do more for your Internet marketing than practically anything else. Interesting content is what drives social media, and well-crafted blogs and videos of local interest are especially shareable. If you’re not much of a writer or don’t have any experience creating videos, hiring an expert can give your marketing efforts a big boost — especially when used in tandem with Tip #3.

Tip #3: Advertise on the web
In the days before the web, local businesses spent a lot of money on print, radio, and TV advertising with only a limited idea of the demographics they were targeting, and even less of a clue as to the effectiveness of their investment. But it made sense, because it was an effective way to reach the local market. These days, not only can you reach an extremely precise geographic area via web advertising, but you can target your ads to very specific demographics and have a surprisingly accurate idea of your ads’ reach and effectiveness.

Tip 4: Reach out to the local community
Sometimes what you do IRL (in real life) can drive web traffic. You may be asking, “Why would I care to ask someone to visit my website or Facebook page when they are standing right in front of me?” Well for starters, if you have interesting content on your website, they may not only be interested in spending some time there, but they will probably share what they like with friends via social media. And if they follow one of your social media accounts, you have a much better chance of being able to reach them later for special offers and incentives to visit your business IRL.

Tip #5: Start tweeting
This last tip catches a lot of business owners off-guard. Of all the social media platforms out there, how could Twitter be a good choice for reaching local people? Well, because the very nature of Twitter is topical conversation, people on Twitter are very often focused on what is happening in their city or town. Twitter’s search abilities make this easy, allowing one to find not only Tweets but users identifying with a particular geographical area. But we are just scratching the surface here. Read our “Twitter: For Locals Only” blog to learn more.

There are many other ways to focus your online marketing efforts locally. What methods have been successful for you?

At Blink;Tech, we synthesize cutting-edge web development with creative Internet marketing strategies to help businesses of all sizes and industries succeed on the web. Talk to us today about how we can make your business, project, or idea own the web.

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