There’s a big trend in digital marketing that is good news for local businesses trying to compete with national advertisers: the Internet is becoming more local. As reported in this article from Mediapost, Google has found that 73% of online activity is centered on local searches and content. Offline businesses know that their customers by and large are finding them first online. Going forward, it’s important to find as many ways as possible for your local business to be found online. Here are 12 ways that a local business can put itself in front of local viewers.
Website: Google AdWords
Service: Utilizing pay-per-click ads, you can zero in on your target market by selecting the regions you want your ad to run in. This helps keep search marketing cost within budget.
Website: Google+ Local
Service: Replacement for Google Places, businesses can create a Google+ page that includes localized information such as map, address, phone number and hours of operation.
Website: Yahoo! Local
Service: The Yahoo! Small Business Dashboard helps identify additional places to list your business online (some for a fee). Also helps keep track of your online present.
Service: Classified ads can be directed to customers by region or city. Many categories of listings are free. Craigslist listings are like the online version of a bulletin board at the local coffee shop. Many small business owners find their first customers this way.
Service: Yext has a dashboard that helps businesses view their listings across multiple directory sites to ensure that information is correct.
Website: Vantage Local
Service: Online display advertising service that places your ads on top online destination sites while showing them only to viewers in your targeted geographic region.
Service: CitySearch is still alive and kicking, drawing at least 7 million viewers per month, according to Compete.com. Their CityGrid advertising options include premium listing spots, display advertising, and deals.
Website: Ask.com’s AskCity
Service: Allows customers to establish one-stop destination plans. Advertising includes featured listings, display advertising, and homepage takeovers. Interestingly, their local listings pull from CitySearch.
Service: Promotion opportunities include directory listing, business website, enhanced business listings, and a search marketing service.
Service: Businesses can list for free or do an advanced pay-per-click advertising scheme.
Service: Online version of the well-known directory (YP stands for Yellow Pages) for everything under the sun. Advertising solutions include packages that offer listing in both the online and print versions of the directory. Also offers online and print coupons.
Service: Similar to YP, this site offers paid profile listings with a variety of extra information that gets shown to visitors searching their site for local service providers. Enhanced package adds a video slideshow and top placement.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. For example, there are many sites that are devoted to listing and showcasing businesses within a single region, or within a single category. Can you suggest additional places to list local business?