Local Advertising

Local customers are the lifeblood of the vast most small and medium businesses. For most small businesses, there is no other type of customer and reaching out to them is the key to success. Luckily, online advertising is an incredibly effective way to reach out to your local customer base, both existing clients and potential clients. Because of the amazing degree with which online campaigns can be narrowed down, you can target your ad campaigns to very specific geographical locations, ensuring that you arenaEUR(TM)t wasting any time or effort on users who are outside of your range.

ItaEUR(TM)s just one more strategic way using the Internet is a great way of ensuring that your marketing and advertising efforts are being target specifically to only the most qualified prospects.

Google Places for Business

One of the simplest and most effective ways of advertising to your local client base is also completely free (and once again, provided by your friends at Google!) Google Places is like the Yellow Pages on speed. ItaEUR(TM)s a directory, much like the Yellow Pages are, but it combines the power of a directory with the amazing reach of Google search. Utilizing the Google Places is incredibly important for a couple of reasons.

First of all, when you enter your business with the Local Business Center, your business will show up on Google Maps searches. Google Maps is the most popular online map and direction site on the net, and a great deal of people use it every day to find directions from point A to point B. But people also use it to look up what businesses are in and around their local areas. For instance, if you type in aEURoeInsurance Agents in Orlando, FloridaaEUR?, Google Maps will provide you with a graphical map with a whole bunch of little pins each representing a local Insurance Agency.

Zoom in further, or put in a more specific search term like aEURoeInsurance brokers near Lake Eola ParkaEUR?, youaEUR(TM)ll get the same results but narrowed down even further. This means when someone does this for your area, if your business isnaEUR(TM)t listed, youaEUR(TM)ll be handing over prospective customers to your competitors that are listed!

But the real power of Google Places comes from the way it interacts with GoogleaEUR(TM)s search engine. That same map that people see when they search through Google Maps also comes up in

GoogleaEUR(TM)s search results when people do a search straight through the search engine. The same map (but smaller) along with a list of the businesses shown (and short descriptions) shows up, and best of all, it shows up at the top! This means that if you can get your business into

a prominent position in these free local business listings, that when people in your area search for a local company providing what your company provides, youaEUR(TM)ll show up right at the top of the search results, even above the normal organic results.

This is extremely powerful because this is where the majority of internet searchers are going to look to when searching for local businesses. Often times, they may not even bother looking further down the page, theyaEUR(TM)ll simply select one of the top businesses in the local search results and click through to that companyaEUR(TM)s website. So you can easily understand why itaEUR(TM)s so important for your business to show up in those local search listings. In fact, getting yourself positioned well in those local business listings might actually be the most important thing your business does to advertise itself (assuming that is that your potential customers are primarily local).

Google isnaEUR(TM)t the only place on the internet that advertises locally, Yahoo and Bing should also be set up. Reviews are still one of the best ways to improve your rankings and conversions. I say reviews are one of the most important ranking factors, particularly from a conversion factor. Who in the world is going to contact your business if it has no reviews and all your competitors have half a dozen or more. The reviews HAVE TO come from a diversified review sites, not just Google Places. It essential to get 5 or more reviews so you get the rich snippet of those 5 golden stars next to your GP listing. And I believe dates of your reviews matter too. If your reviews are 6 months or older, itaEUR(TM)s time to get some new fresh ones.

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