Getting found through search engines like Google isn’t just about ensuring you rank highly at a global or even national level. Focusing on local rankings and reviews can have an incredibly positive impact on your business, especially if most of your customers are coming from less than a 100 miles radius. In fact, according to Google, over 20% of all online searches are local context specific. Leveraging the power of Google, which controls over 90% of all internet search traffic, is therefore one of the best customer acquisition strategies. This blog post outlines how you can do exactly that for your startup or small business.
Create a Website
Your business does not necessarily need to have a website to get customers (you will read more on how to do this below). However, having a website alone, even one that is not curated for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or traffic conversion, can have a lot of benefits for your business such as adding legitimacy to your business, providing more information to your customers, converting interested customers into paying customers, and many others.
If you have the resources to do so, you should get a website for your business. In fact, you don’t even need to hire a developer these days to build a website. You can customize various website templates available on DIY platforms like SquareSpace, Webflow, or Wix to build your own website at the fraction of a developer’s cost.
When creating your website, make sure you structure it so that you increase traffic and conversion as well as eliminate bounce rates. Additionally, you should plan your various web pages such that you improve SEO to rank higher in search results. You might not be able to do all of this optimization, but even a little is better than nothing.
Create an Effective Google My Business Listing
If your business does not have a website, you can still create a Google My Business Listing to attract and acquire customers through Google. This is because Google is making it easier for customers to discover and engage with businesses directly from Google Maps and Google Search results without the need of a website. When filling out yout Google My Business Profile, ensure you fill out as many fields as you can. Not only does this provide your customers with more information on your business, but a more complete profile ranks higher in search results.
Include a Customer Oriented Description
For new customers who do not know your business and are exploring different options, your description can make it or break it when it comes to converting these interested potentials into customers. It is one of the first things they’ll read and it’s therefore incredibly important that your business description speaks to them and is customer-oriented.
Your customers are not machines; you want to write a description for a human audience. You can do this by using the words like “you”, “your” and “yours” to make them feel like the message is directed at them. It’s also recommended you use the active tense instead of passive. Not only does the active tense use fewer words which makes your description more concise and efficient, but it also sounds more inter-personal and engaging.
While there are numerous ways to write good descriptions, learning the basics on how to write good copy/content can be highly beneficial in ensuring your intended message is communicated efficiently while maintaining your customers’ interest.
While these days Google is so wide-spread that your customers will eventually upload pictures to feature their experience in the review section, these are not necessarily the best photos or the photos you might want featured. You should be proactive in uploading photos to your Google My Business listing. This offers potential customers insight into what your product is as well as the customer experience your business offers.
Not knowing what to expect can be a major turn-off for potential customers, and you don’t want to miss out just because your listing had no photos. More photos create predictability and provide legitimacy to your business.
Collect Customer Reviews and Ratings
In today’s digital world, people skim online reviews and ratings to decide between businesses and products. Not only does having good reviews and ratings help convince potential customers to pick you over your competitors, but businesses with positive reviews rank higher in search results.
You can increase the likelihood of someone leaving a review by simply having a Review us on Google Sticker in an obviously visible location at their store. Alternatively, you can provide extra incentive by offering customers a small discount if they rate you on Google (this strategy has worked incredibly well for a lot of businesses).
Run Google Ads
Google Ads are the first results that pop up when you search for something on Google. These are the results that have an “ad” symbol to the left of the green URL, under the blue title of the result.
While you have to pay to run Google Ads, they can be highly effective as they show up at the top of the search results and customers are more likely to click on those top results. If you do run Google Ads, ensure you are tracking Google Analytics. You can use these analytics to tweak your Google Ad campaign and thereby ensure you are maximizing your marketing efforts.