Improve your online presence by taking it local. Your local online presence is the most valuable online footprint a small business can make and have on the Internet. Most small-business owners buy their URL (domain name) create their website post themselves on a few online directories and hope for the best. It’s important that as a small business you make sure you are findable on the Internet in your local area by your street address, phone number and company name. This would mean you should devote some effort to your local online directories. Just think if you are findable in the online local marketplace then global is just extra. I know most small business think globally rather than local but many need to switch that thinking. It’s more beneficial if a small business invest in their local marketplace whether you have a store front or not. The main reason you are more likely to find customers geographically rather than demographically so here’s what you need to improve your local online presence:
I know people like to change their phone number as much as possible but when it comes to establishing an online presence a small business phone number is very important to your livelihood. You want to keep the same phone number for the life of the business and publish it everywhere possible so customers can connect with you. Places to publish your phone number are the storefront, shopping bags as well as any other printed material that you hand your customers. But more importantly, I often suggest that you place your phone number clearly on all of your social media platforms as well as your website. Forget about the 800 numbers they really don’t hold any value in my book as much as that area code attached to your phone number. That area code helps place your business in your local marketplace directories. When you add a clear concise 60 characters or less description of the business with it and make sure to get customer reviews, your local online presence will be sure to generate some business.
Your Street Address
Not all businesses have storefronts anymore. Therefore it is very important as a small business especially if you are an Internet business to have a street address that you can post online to associate with your business. Chose this local address carefully since they can be expensive to maintain but key to being found in local directories. Typically an online business will use this street address to receive mail and place it on all marketing literature. Having a local street address rather than a PO Box bring numerous amounts of benefits outside the key factor of building trust with customers. Not to mention many online directories require a street address and will not accept a P.O. Box. P.O. Boxes say don’t come knocking and I’m not committed. I would rather you use a business address you purchase and clearly tell your customer for “mail use only” since we are primarily an Internet base business in your about us page. Your customers will value this address, level of transparency and find comfort in it, trust me. It is not recommended that you use your home address for many different reasons so make sure as a small business owner to invest in a street address dedicated for business use only, typically located in business districts in your community.
Typically we select a company name and usually do not check to see if it’s being used in some way online or by another company in another state. Even when incorporating the name search is done for the state you are incorporating in not on a national level. Establishing a good online presence requires using a company name on all platforms. When naming your business if you use a name that is in use online already, you may want to add your town so your local marketplace isn’t confused when searching for you online. Being identified within your local community using the town, city or state in the company name on online and offline can be an asset. Especially if your company name is taken on the Internet already, its an opportunity for you to add in your town, city or state to your online company name so that you’re sure to be found in any local search. For example, say your name is American Marble Craftsmen and you wanted the URL Americanmarblecraftsmen.com but this URL is taken on all social media platforms as well as the dot com. You could fine-tune your URL to be NYCmarblecraftsmen.com and use this name everywhere online and offline by filing a DBA (doing business as). Doing this adjustment you would be sure to be found when anyone in your area is seeking something with your skills since now its part of your company name.
Once you establish a permanent phone number, street address and company name make sure that somewhere in your descriptions you clarify your local area or detail the address and phone number so the directories be sure to make that apart of your mix when listing you. If you seek national or international fame, these steps suggested will still allow you access to those markets so don’t be shy about sharing your phone number, street address or company name online to improve your online presence.