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Official Guide to Building an Online Presence for Your Local Business

7 Chapters

You did it! Your social media is set up, your snazzy new website is live, and you have listed your business on all the popular online directories. Now what? Once you have completed these tasks, it’s time to put a smart system in place to keep tabs on your online presence – responding to reviews, ensuring your information is up-to-date, and adding new content to keep things fresh.
In Chapter 7, we outline all these digital marketing next steps, including:

  • How to respond to reviews and keep your directory listings fresh
  • How content creation and digital advertising can help your website stand out
  • Our best practices for driving leads using social media

How do I keep my online directory listings up-to-date?
Here’s another good reason to claim and optimize all your directory listings: If you don’t, it’s likely that users or platforms will create listings for your business without any involvement from your end. That could lead to any number of complications – reviews that you can’t respond to, errors on information like hours or phone numbers, and sloppy-looking feature images.
The same technology used to create listings without a business owner’s involvement allows users and platforms to update these listings. For example, Google users can “suggest” updates using the form below. Google will also scan your website and update data like your hours or phone number based on what they find. This happens automatically through their system and you may not be notified. While sometimes this can help correct mistakes, it can also result in unintended changes to your listing.

For this reason, it’s important to check in on every listing you have at least once a month and make sure the information is still correct. You should check any site that accepts reviews, such as Google My Business and Yelp, even more frequently in order to respond to reviewers and stay aware of your star rating.
How do I make my website work for me?
If you simply “set it & forget it” with your website, you may have limited success. A website is a marketing tool you can use, which means you have to put it to work by driving traffic and keeping it sharp. Most methods used to drive traffic fall into these three categories:

If you want to supercharge your traffic, consider paid options such as Facebook ads or Google AdWords to get things moving.
Of course, if you’re paying to send people to your website, you should probably make sure that website is converting. Some ways to conversion-optimize your website include:

How do I use social media to drive qualified sales leads to my local business?
The formula for successful social media marketing looks like this:

Let’s break that down:
First, you should develop buyer personas to understand what content your audience would like.
From there, you’ll want to create and post some valuable content to make audiences inclined to follow you.  That usually means adhering to the 80/20 rule (no more than 20% of your content should be directly “promotional”) and encouraging engagement through conversations, contests, live video, and other interactive social media tools.
Once you have a page you can be proud of, target the people you want to connect with using social media advertising – Facebook and Instagram ads are particularly effective for local businesses. After that, keep posting great content that your audience will love.
The Bottom Line
Once you’ve established an online presence for your business, you should be sure to monitor the appearance of your profiles and the performance of key pages (such as Facebook, Google, and your website). To drive leads, you should focus on improving your website, keeping compelling social media accounts, and investing in social media and search engine marketing options that can drive leads.

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