With so many brands out there these days, small business owners often find it difficult to connect with customers, particularly online. The Web is teeming with potential customers. More than seven out of 10 Internet users are also online buyers, according to the website eMarketer.com, which compiles statistics on Internet usage and trends.
Increasingly, businesses small and large are using location-based marketing to connect with customers. The concept is simple — using social media and mobile technology to target customers based on location. Because so many people use mobile phones, tablets and the geo-location technology that is often built into these devices, businesses are finding it easier than ever to target customer segments by location.
So what does a small business owner need to know to get started with location-based marketing? BizBytes has a list of eight strategies to help you get the ball rolling.
1. Optimize your business blog. If you’re trying to appeal to a local audience, one of the easiest things you can do is to optimize your blog and tailor it to your business location. Be sure to use tags on your blog that reference your location. That way, your business will get indexed by search engines using those tags.
2. Consider a mobile coupon app. Coupon apps have become very popular as consumers use them to find deals in their local area. Apps like Foursquare, The Loop and Pushpins work with merchants to deliver location-based coupons to potential customers.
3. Make your website mobile-friendly. In order for your business to be found on mobile phones, tablets and other GPS-enabled devices you need a mobile-friendly website. If you can’t afford a professional Web designer to create a mobile site for you, check out free tools like Onbile.com to create a customer-driven mobile presence for your business.
4. Get local on Twitter. Use tools like TwitterCounter and the Twitter Maps app on Bing to see what people are tweeting from a particular city or region.
5. Reward customers who check-in at your business location. If you’re on Foursquare or SCVNGR and you find that certain people are checking in often, reward with a special coupon or offer. They will tell their friends and the foot traffic to your business will increase.
6. Optimize your website for location. Make sure your location appears in the title and meta descriptions of the high traffic pages on your website. That will allow search engines to index your website for location-based terms such as your city, state or even your neighborhood.
7. Use local online directories to list your business. Make sure your business is listed on as many online directories as you can. Directories like SuperMedia, CitySearch and ThinkLocal are just a few of the many that help drive traffic to your business.
8. Analyze your competition. Want to know how the check-ins at your business rank with that of your competition? Visit Fourscore, a free tool that lets you see how your customers’ Foursquare check-ins compare to the competition. Get it here – http://fourscore.deepfocus.net/
Want to learn more about location-based marketing strategies? Check out www.BizBytes101.com.