Remember when people used to rely on the Yellow Pages to find local businesses? It wasn’t all that long ago, but those days are gone for good. Today, most people recycle their phone books as soon as they hit their doorstep. Instead, people use the Internet to find information about local businesses. Who can blame them? An Internet search can provide people with an abundance of information in a short period of time. Users can research businesses, compare prices and make an informed decision before they even leave their homes. Therefore, in order for small businesses to generate local leads, it is important to develop an online local lead generation strategy.
While it may seem obvious, the first step to developing a solid online local lead generation strategy is to develop a website. Believe it or not, many small businesses still lack a website. Of those who do have a website, many are not professionally designed and are ineffective. Therefore, if your business doesn’t have a website, the first thing to do is find a reputable website designer in your area. If you already have a website, you should consider having it evaluated by a web designer. It may need to be updated to conform to the latest web standards.
Once you have a professional website for your business, you’ll want to focus on targeting local searches using keywords. There are many approaches to using keywords. At the very least, you’ll want to include the physical address of your business, phone number and keywords that are targeted to your geographic area. The keywords should be integrated throughout your website. Optimizing your website for local searches can be difficult if you want to get it right. Therefore, it is best to work with a web designer that offers SEO services in order to optimize your website for local searches.
In order to turn your visitors into prospects, you’ll need to provide them with a way to contact you. Work with your website designer to integrate a contact form into your website. In addition to a contact form, you should also provide free downloadable resources such as guides, how-to documents and worksheets. You can either provide these resources in exchange for mailing list subscriptions or offer them with no strings attached. These resources will encourage people to return to your website and also establish your business as an authority in your industry.
While physical phone book listings are no longer relevant, online business listings and profiles are powerful and often overlooked tools for generating local leads online. Work with your web designer to create profiles for business directories. You may already know some of the big ones such as YellowPages.com, Google Places and Yelp, but your web designer will be able to provide you with many more. These listings don’t have to be extensive, but they must be consistent with your brand.
Finally, encourage feedback. Work with your web pro to develop a seamless feedback system for your website. You’ll want people to provide you with feedback in as many ways as possible, including via social networking. By integrating social networking into your website, you’ll make it easy for visitors to your site to provide you with feedback. You’ll be able to learn from critical feedback and positive feedback will serve as testimonials to your outstanding service.