If you run a local business, you may have thought that internet advertising was not an effective or affordable tool for promotion. This is simply not the case. With local search engine marketing (SEM), you can target potential customers within a small geographic area. In addition, the cost of local search engine marketing can sometimes be a fraction of the cost of other advertising methods.
Businesses within a relatively small, geographically-defined area have mainly used traditional forms of advertising in the past, like the local yellow pages or newspapers. These media are effectively able to control the target audience and limit it to a certain area. However, internet marketing is much too large a segment of today’s potential revenue sources to be overlooked. With local search engine marketing, the internet is now an effective and affordable method to be able to marketing local products and services.
Basic search engine marketing uses more of a shotgun approach to advertising as opposed to local search engine marketing. Basic SEM refers to the placement of search results which promote your business within national and even worldwide search engines, such as Google and Yahoo. These listings will happen automatically if your website is “crawlable”, or accessible to keyword searches performed by search engines. Some placements, however, are “sponsored”, which means that the client has paid the search engine for that particular listing to appear.
Controlling when and where your sponsored ads appear is vital to a local business with limited advertising dollars. It simply makes no sense to pay to advertise a local service outside of the serviceable area. This is where local search marketing comes into play, allowing you to promote your business to very specific, targeted audiences within a defined geographic area. With local search engine marketing, your business name, address, website listing, or even a small advertisement appear on the results page of a person performing a local search.
Google AdWords, for example, is one of the most widely-used services for local search engine marketing. With the service, business owners can set geographic boundaries for their ads to appear, and costs are easily controlled by establishing budgets within a certain time frame. In addition, you do not have to pay every time the ad appears on a search results page. Instead, you are able to “pay per click”, which means that you only get charged for that ad if the visitor actually clicks on the listing. These controls allow you to make the most of your local search engine marketing efforts.
Local search engine marketing can cost a little or a lot, depending on your method of approach. You must consider your return on investment and adjust accordingly. The sale of expensive products, like automobiles or furniture, will warrant a higher budget because the profit returns are potentially higher. If your product has a much smaller profit margin, you will not want to pay as much per click, but you will want to increase the number of times the ad is seen. This is achieved by optimizing your local search engine marketing efforts.
There are many marketing service professionals who are skilled in the art of search engine optimization (SEO), which refers to editing a website’s content in order to have it show up higher or more frequently in internet searches based on certain keywords. In order to increase the results of local search engine marketing, consultants can be hired to optimize a website through methods such as rewriting the title tag and meta description of the site, adjusting the HTML code, or even updating sites regularly so that the search engines will revisit the page frequently. Hiring a professional marketer for your local search engine marketing efforts is not always necessary, but it may help you save money in the long run.