The Benefits of Local Advertising in an Online World

>local-online-marketing-andadvertisingLocal advertising in online avenues is a gradually evolved extension of traditional advertising methods and media that predate current Internet marketing methods. In light of the global purchasing trends and online activities of most consumers not to mention the extraordinary profit potential that online businesses have wielded for the past two decades. For example, according to a study published on, online sales were projected to exceed well over $200 billion and are currently projected to reach $327 billion in 2016 according to another study carried out by Forrester. As current business and marketing trends seem to indicate, the benefits of online advertising for local businesses will only continue to get better and may well eventually dispel the need for entrepreneurs and business owners to invest in traditional advertising methods altogether in the near future.

Many search engines have implemented geolocation techniques to pair visitors’ search queries with local points of interest, although the specific methods of this process will vary depending on the search engine. For example, Google Maps will supply users with the physical addresses and business listing of a business (which will usually include a phone number a short description), whereas searched-for products will make use of targeted web crawling and direct feeds to obtain information about available products within a geographically specified area. Alternatively, Yahoo! differentiates between its local search results (Yahoo! Local) and its map program (Yahoo! Maps), in which the local search results display business-specific data and corresponding web data while the map features are classified into separate categories.

In regard to how local search is carried, there are two primary scenarios at play: discovery search and recovery search. For example, let’s say that a user knows what he’s looking for (an antique dealer) but doesn’t know how to get there nor who to call (recovery search), whereas another user certainly knows what she wants to buy (sushi) but not where to get it (discovery search). San Francisco-based social recommendation website Yelp has come up with an innovative app that takes care of both by not only providing potential suggestions as to where a certain person could go get a nice meal depending on a specific food preference or where a certain restaurant or entertainment venue is located but by also enabling users to assign ratings to said locales via a simple yet cleverly designed 5-star rating and interactive commentary system, thereby making it far easier to avoid a possibly mediocre experience or sub-par meal no matter where you go! Furthermore, it provides an innovative and easy-to-use navigational system that will either give the user directions to a specific location or point out potential locales based on a user’s given set of preferences. So, if you’re looking for a bar someplace downtown that serves seafood and is not too far from the nightclub or local theater, just plug in your info and Yelp will take care of the rest!

If you’re a business owner who’s interested in advertising your business online, then you should look into getting your business listed on Google Places, Bing Local, and Yahoo Local, which is simply a matter of going through some simple verification steps so that customers can easily find your business. There also may be sources of information about your business on the Internet that you’ll want to collect and consolidate, as this will equip you with invaluable SEO and SEM metadata that you can integrate into your local listings and your website. If you have existing customers or find customers on the web who have given reviews about your business, then make sure you include these as well. Though, if existing customers give your business a bad review on your site, don’t panic! Oddly enough, this will actually give your business some credibility (hey, no one’s perfect, right?), but, of course, you shouldn’t make it a point to get too many bad reviews!

Aside from local listings, what you should obviously also have is a quality website with pictures, eye-catching graphic images, and intelligently written content that are highly appealing to your target audience and effectively communicate who you are and what type of products or services your business provides. The user experience is paramount in this regard and should always be your top priority, so if there’s anything on your site that doesn’t really enhance that user experience or help your customer get the information that he or she wants within a few clicks, then that aspect must be adjusted or eliminated altogether. Your website is essentially your virtual storefront that people will see no matter where they happen to be, and you wouldn’t allow any product or service in your physical store or business that would distract customers or keep them from purchasing your services or products, would you? In that respect, your website needs to display the most relevant and important information that you want your customers to know right from the moment they land on your page and needs to do so in a way that immediately gets their attention and keeps them focused and interested! This can be accomplished with relative ease provided that your website has a smart-looking, clean design that’s fresh and aesthetically pleasing and contains concise, interesting, and engaging copy that quickly informs potential customers about what they’re looking for. Your website copy should also be correctly optimized with the right keywords that customers use to look for the service or business that you deal in. As a local business, you need to make sure that customers have easy access to your contact information and address so that they can get in touch with you right from the get-go once they’re ready to click that “Buy” or “Order” button.

Furthermore, to increase your presence in your local community, you can start a blog (or hire someone to do so) that will allow users to interact with your business in a more informal manner. When properly managed and maintained, blogs can bring you copious amounts of traffic and are an excellent means to diversify your keyword and link building strategy because, according to most search engines, whenever you post a new blog article, it’s essentially tantamount to creating a new website, which you can use to link to pages on your website and enhance the page rank for specific pages.

All in all, as a local business, it’s important for you to understand how relevant and significant online marketing practices and trends have become and how you can integrate them into your business if you wish to remain relevant and keep attracting new customers. Additionally, don’t just think that you can bring customers in by throwing up a few ads here and there. Be unique! Think about what it is that brought customers to you in the first place and create an interactive online place that customers will want to come back to over and over again! The key is having engaging content on your site and pointing to your site and your business, and it doesn’t have to be limited to mere copywriting. You can (and really, really should) upload videos, bright and colorful pictures with useful or meaningful commentary, and pictures of you doing what you do best and making people happy in the process! Those are the very things that will make your business stand way out from the obnoxiously endless hordes of ho-hum, aimless “click-and-buy” ads and plain-jane call-to-action pages that are clicked through, sped-read, promptly dismissed, and forever forgotten about in a mere matter of seconds. As long as you can put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what you would most likely expect based on their perspective, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a successful long-term and profitable online presence!