We are officially in the 2nd month of 2012 — the year of the dragon! There’s been a lot of buzz and speculation about this year, from predictions of the world ending to it being an extremely lucky and prosperous year. In order to ensure 2012 brings nothing but good fortune and profit to your small business, take a look at your online marketing strategy this year and make sure it includes these three must-haves:
The most important thing for a small to mid-sized, locally-owned business is to be found among its competitors. The easiest way to make that happen? Adding local onsite SEO to your website, and optimizing your business listings across the web.
We’ve already written about how to claim your Google Places listing, but there are many more online business directories that are as important to keep up-to-date and accurate today as it was to be listed in the phonebook a decade ago. Here are a few other listings you should be sure to claim and monitor:
- Bing Local
- Yahoo Local
You can claim each of these independently, or you can submit one listing to the Universal Business Listing (UBL.org) and they’ll shoot it out to several online directories for a fee.
Just as important as getting your business listed across the web is to make sure your own website has the right local SEO. Make sure your business’s phone number and address are on every page (as text, not in an image), and make sure your title tags, meta descriptions, headers and content include location-based keywords.
2012 could be considered The Year of Mobile for many reasons: half of American adults were expected to have a smartphone by the end of 2011, and those mobile phone users are using them to search and shop locally. According to Google, 1 in 3 mobile searches are local, 61% of searchers call a business and 59% visit a business after searching. What does all this mean? It means optimizing your website for mobile browsers is just about the most important thing you can do to keep up with consumers in 2012.
To fully take advantage of your customers’ shift to mobile, you can’t rely on them simply viewing the desktop version of your website on their phone. For one, it’s likely to load too small, too slow, or too jumbled-up for them to access the important information that mobile searchers are looking for. They want thumb-friendly, easy to read mobile sites that include one-click calls to action, like directions to your business or your phone number to call you. Luckily, a mobile website is much cheaper to develop than a mobile app, and can be easily customized to match your brand. (Tip: Treysyde is offering a special on mobile websites — shoot us an email or call us now to learn more!)
By now you’re well aware that you should have a presence on Facebook, and maybe you’re even on Twitter too. But true to form, the social media landscape has changed and added a few new key players. Visual, image-oriented social networks like Instagram and Pinterest became huge forces in 2011–there are an estimated 15,000 users on Instagram, including President Obama, and Pinterest now drives more referral traffic to other websites than Google +, Reddit, Youtube, LinkedIn and Myspace combined. Now in 2012, brands have started adding Instagram and Pinterest in to their social media marketing tool-kits, along with Facebook and Twitter. Take a look at how big names like Starbucks and Redbull are using Instagram to interact and share with their loyal customer bases.
Smaller, locally-owned businesses should strive to create two things with social media: loyalty and buzz. By letting your current customers know you’re on social networks and interacting with them, you’ll deepen that connection and boost brand loyalty and trust. In turn, those loyal customers might tell their friends — whether in person, in a tweet, or with a check-in on Foursquare — that they like and frequent your business, which creates buzz. Getting your business on the appropriate outlets will increase the ability for existing customers to recommend you and help new customers find you in the first place.
If you’re already on social media, make 2012 the year that you up your social game, whether by sharing better content with your followers or by adding a new outlet that lets you share a new side of your brand. If you aren’t using social media yet, make 2012 the year you log on, learn the ropes, and build a community!
If you’re looking for ways to boost your internet presence this year, or if you’re just getting started and wondering where to begin, make Local, Mobile, and Social your marketing must-haves for 2012.