If you're a small business owner or marketing manager, you need to understand marketing in Raleigh, NC is more than just simply print advertising. In a connected city likes ours, you must manage your online reputation. As your marketing partner, we'll combine services like local search (Raleigh SEO) and social networking to ensure your small business's success.
Did you realize that social marketing includes more than just Linked In and Facebook? Chances are if you're a restaurant dentist, landscaping company or most any other local business you already have an online reputation. There are a number of sites that were created specifically to act as a place to find and evaluate local business. Patrons leave reviews and businesses interact with their customers all in one place. Well, almost one place. Actually, there's hundreds of directories out there. Some of which are better than others. Really it's about finding the directories where your customers hang out and make an impression (a good one!). Not all directories hold the same weight (or offer the same kind of return on your investment - remember time is an investment:-)
Check out the following list of local directories just to get an idea of the possibilities:
- Google Local
- Bing Local
- Yahoo Local
- Angie's List
- Think Local
- Triangle 411
- Merchant Circle
- Service Magic
- Judy's Book
As you can see, the list is long and we're just getting started. You may choose to go it yourself (if so at least use a listing service like ubl.org). However, you may also enlist a firm like x4h to help you with the effort. Okay, I had to...but I think you'll see what I mean once you get started.
After you determine the directories best for your business, go ahead and create a consistent message. Your business description, hours, services and product offered and photos should reflect well upon your business. Take the time to get good digital photos because a bad photo can be a serious deterrent for would-be customers. Get rid of that cheesy website and get someone to create a custom site that also acts as store front online (you don't have to sell things to spend money on a good website). Most of all make sure your business name, address and phone number are EXACTLY the same across each directory and your website. Use a local phone number for your listing and the officially registered legal name of the business (drop the LLC, Inc., etc. unless it's how you would say your company's name).
Once all that information is ready, then go ahead and start claiming or creating your business listing (each directory has its own process). Make sure you search for your business name and separately for your phone number to ensure you don't create a duplicate listing. Aside from that, get to cracking and remember to come up for air. It's a long, hard journey to get all these listings in working order but well worth it.
Now that your listings are ready for new customers make sure you thank reviewers and respond to any negative press (where legally advisable). Last but not least, collect email addresses from your customers and encourage them to leave a review. The better you do this activity the more business you'll get. Social media is here to stay. So don't wait any longer before you at least check out how your business is represented across the internet.