What good is a business if no one does business with you? Whether your business is all online or has a storefront, local traffic is key to your success. But, if people aren’t visiting your website or store, it could leave you scratching your head on what to do and how to attract local customers.
Even if your business is in-person, attracting local customers starts online. With our growing dependency on technology, most shoppers will “window shop” before visiting, including looking up directions, reviews, photos, and more.
How to Attract Local Customer Online
From optimized content to social media to networking, here’s how to start increasing local traffic both on your website and in your store.
Have a Website
Even if you aren’t selling products online, having a website lets folks in your area know you exist — including customers that may not have visited your store before.
When it comes to attracting customers online, it starts with having a website and a presence.
At Exposure One, we specialize in affordable and functional websites that let your small, local business shine.
Locally Optimized Content
If we have said it once, we have said it 100 times: great SEO should be a website priority.
Search engine optimization tells Google (and users searching on Google) what you offer. So, why not let them know what you provide and WHERE you offer it.
And remember: start small and grow.
If you own an electrician company in Clermont, Florida, don’t put Florida Electrician Company. That means anyone in Florida will find you from Tallahassee to Miami, and those aren’t customers who you want (and frankly, they don’t want you).
You’re wasting everyone’s time.
Instead, optimize your SEO to include “Central Florida” and “Lake County Florida,” and “Greater Orlando Area.” Think local, to find local. That way, you aren’t wasting your time and efforts only to find folks in need of an electrician who are 4+ hours away.
Another tip? Write to your CUSTOMERS, not to Google. Don’t fall trap to any of the big SEO no-nos.
Create Google Business and Yelp! Listings
Gone are the days of positioning yourself with the sun and setting off in a new direction. Now, we all follow Google or Apple Maps.
Do you know where those directions pull from?
Google Business Listings and Yelp! Listings. And you’re going to want to play their game before your competition starts beating you. While Google Maps and Apple Maps may find your business from the address on your website, why not make it easier for them (and for your local customers)?
Creating a Google Business Listing and Yelp! Listing is easy — and free. A little information goes a long way. Have your name, address, contact information, hours, business type, and a short description at the ready.
Be ACTIVE on Social Media
Don’t just have social media for your business; use it!
One of our pet peeves is social media created and never touched again — that’s free marketing going to waste. And especially now, with more people killing time online than ever, it’s a great way to connect with your local customers and community.
Keeping customers engaged online means interacting with them like you would your own friends. Answer their messages, comment back, like their posts, share relevant tagged photos, etc. An engaged follower is more likely to remember your brand and share it with others — which means more local customers.
So don’t just have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter — use them.
Make Sure Your Information is Consistent
Don’t have multiple addresses, emails, and phone numbers floating around the Internet — that’s too much work for potential customers.
When it comes to your website, Google and Yelp! Listings and social media profiles make sure all of your information matches. And keep it simple! One email. One phone number. One address. Give the people the information they need, simply.
And if your hours change — update them everywhere. One person may look on Google, another on your website, and that person over there checked Facebook. Would they all find different holiday hours?
So, you change your information in one place, change it everywhere. Don’t assume people will get the memo — make sure they do.
Do you know the saying that you should try everything once? That doesn’t just apply to parents trying to get toddlers to eat vegetables.
When it comes to online networking and groups, don’t be scared to try new things and join new groups.
From community blogs to Facebook Groups to Meet Ups to Reddit Threads, get involved. Help grow your community while also networking. If you see another local business sharing a new product, share it on your Instagram stories. See your local government posting new mandates; share those too. Notice a local event coming up? Get involved!
Think community first, and then business. By sharing things with your followers in your area you:
1) show that you’re investing in your community,
2) gain a little clout with other local businesses that will be more likely to suggest you to their customers and,
3) become a bit of an authority figure in your community by helping locals with questions in online groups and forums.
Networking and word-of-mouth were the original marketing tools. Now they are online too.
The question of how to attract local customers online stumps lots of small businesses, but don’t let it stop you. Attracting local customers is as easy as being present and active online as well as in your community.
Have questions about your small business website or online presence? Contact Exposure One today; we’re here to help local businesses thrive!