Inbound Marketing for Local Businesses

Inbound Marketing for Local Businesses

According to a study by Harris Interactive, nearly 70 percent of adults rarely or never use the phone book. In 2011, a study conducted by Burke found that most people under the age of 55 used search engines more often than any other source to find local businesses. In fact, several years ago, the Yellow Pages Association changed its name to the Local Search Association. The internet is no longer the domain of eCommerce sites and affiliates. It is where consumers go to find businesses just around the corner.

What can you do to make sure they find you, instead of your competitors?

Why it Matters

Even if you don’t have a website, users can find your business online. Searchers don’t even need to use MapQuest or Google Maps to find your business. All they need to do is go to Google and do a search for products like yours. If there’s even a hint that they’re looking for local businesses, Google will display a list of them, complete with addresses, driving directions, and phone numbers.

But if your business isn’t showing up in those search results, most of your target customers are going straight to your competitors.

Is There Really Anything You Can Do About it?

The search engines use a wide variety of signals to measure how influential your business is online. For example:

  • Is your business name, address, and phone number cited in all the relevant directories?
  • Are people leaving reviews of your business online, and are those reviews positive?
  • Are people talking about your business online in blogs and social networks?

These kinds of online activities not only send direct referrals to your business, they send positive signals to the search engines. Contrary to popular opinion, Google doesn’t merely list businesses based on location. Even businesses that are farther away from you may show up at the top of the search results, as long as there are enough of these positive signals. It is possible to improve these signals.

What it Takes to Improve Visibility

How can you send these positive signals?

  • Outreach – A team of skilled outreach professionals is ideal. It takes a great deal of emailing, phone calling, and social networking to build up the relationships necessary to get your business mentioned on popular blogs and websites. Outreach professionals need to consider how they can offer value to their contacts in order to develop mutually beneficial projects.
  • Content – No search engine optimization strategy is complete without skilled content producers. Articles, blog posts, and social media posts are a key part of attracting attention online. This takes a sustained effort that goes deeper than mere advertising. Content marketing is about developing an online media hub around your brand.
  • Community Building – Finally, building an online, local community around your brand takes things beyond sales and into the realm of customer retention. By transforming customers into your biggest advocates, you can grow your customer base through word of mouth, which spreads much more visibly and measurably online. Best of all, these efforts are cumulative, resulting in a growing number of referrals from the search engines each month.


Inbound marketing allows you to target consumers with very specific problems, and offer a solution. The keywords that users search for can tell you a great deal about what they are looking for. Through keyword research, it’s possible to identify what terms your potential customers are searching for most often, what the competition looks like, and how to move forward.

Next Steps

This is a very brief introduction, and we recommend browsing through the categories at the top right corner of the page to learn more. SEO, social media, analytics, conversion rate optimization, and local search all work together to improve your visibility and drive leads. If all of this seems a bit overwhelming, you’re not alone. We’d be happy to talk to you about how this applies to your business and how to move forward. Give us a call at 512-346-5000 to discuss the best way to move forward.

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