Small businesses fight for every bit of money they earn. Competition for sales is incredible, and businesses must adapt to changing markets or lose out on sales. The Internet can be used as selling tool in one of two basic formats. The first is to use it to reinforce an existing store front. The Internet would be used to help bring in customers at a local store. The second is focusing solely on Internet sales, with no store front at all. In this case all advertising would be undertaken online and all sales would be shipped. For local sales, the online advertising methods must take a different tack. Instead of using broad advertising methods to reach as many people as possible, advertisments should be highly focused and limited in scope.
The Importance of Local Listing
The first thing you will need to do to use the Internet to market your business is update all your local listings. Go onto Google and make sure that your company is listed as a local business. Also check out sites like superpages.com or yellowbook.com and make sure that your information is listed and correct. You will also want to ensure that the keywords listed are directly related to your business. While niche market keyword usage is a necessary part of selling online to the general public, when you are selling locally you can use broader search terms. There is less competition for local business than there is for international. Where a solely Internet based business might need to use more awkward phrases, a local business can simply list their focus. You might also want to place a listing on a site like citybizlist.com to ensure as much local exposure as possible.
Incorporate Social Media
Once you have all of your listings up and running, you will need to start looking at other advertising methods. It does not make sense to pay for preferred listings on search engines to promote local business, but it does make sense to consider paid advertising on social networking sites. Facebook offers tremendous advertising potential. Not only can you create your own business Facebook page, but you can also buy local advertising. Much like advertising in a newspaper that distributes in your area, buying Facebook advertising allows you to keep your focus very narrow. You can advertise locally at a very inexpensive price. Facebook can also be used to create interest using different promotions. You can do give-a-ways, raffles, competitions, and more, all run through your Facebook page. It will take time to build up a large enough audience, but the investment is well worth it.