If you have a small business that serves a local market, you need the following 5 core marketing tools to be correctly setup in order to succeed: (note: 4 are free)
- GMB (Google My Business) – business.google.com – Arguably the most important web property you can have as a local business. Among free solutions, there’s no faster way to start showing up when people are searching for the services you offer.
- Your Website – A well optimized website will help you attract new prospects and convert more of them into actual customers. Most people will check your website first, no matter how they heard about you.
- Yelp – biz.yelp.com – Yelp has done an incredible job getting many google rankings for local keyword phrases.
- Facebook – facebook.com – While you don’t need to spend hours a day on Facebook, you do want your business listing on there. It’s a key citation (see below).
- Citations – Express Update – www.expressupdate.com – This may be the first tool on the list that you haven’t heard of. One of the key ways to get Google rankings for local keywords is by having lots of citations. In this context a citation is a web page where your NAP (name address & phone number) are listed. Express Update is an syndication service that pushes your business info to dozen’s of online directories and helps build your citations.
For each of these tools, you’ll want to look for the MVS (minimum viable solution). You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 principle. It basically states that 80% of your results will flow from 20% of your activities. The MVS represents that 20% of work required to get most of the benefits from each of the core 5 tools.
For all but the website, you can hit that MVS without any out-of-pocket expense. Note: You can build a website for free, however, in order to hit the MVS for that tool, you will need to spend at least a little money.
In the near future, I’ll the BVR (Business Visibility Review), which will be an audit of how well you are using these 5 tools. This will make it easy for you to bring them all up to that MVS level. If you’d like to be notified when I launch the BVR, shoot me an email and let me know.
A local web designer is someone who builds websites and is geographically close to you, right? Maybe, but let’s look at an alternative concept of what local might mean in this context.
Serving small local businesses
Perhaps it’s about who you serve and your expertise, instead of physical proximity. Since inception, the focus of Justin’s Web Design has been serving small businesses who are local in nature. In other words, if you run a small company with local customers (i.e. roofer, plumber, carpet cleaner, etc.), you have specific needs. Developing the expertise and systems to serve those needs is a big factor that separates JWD from the competition.
Buying local is almost as important as…
…selling local. As a local business owner, one of the best things you can do for your local economy is to sell. Just as buying local helps bring money into the economy, the flip side of the coin is selling local. In order to do that well, you need an exceptional web presence. If you can find a trusted adviser to help you with that locally, great! If not, or if the local solutions aren’t affordable, it’s important that you not let that keep you from doing your part–selling local.
The Beaverton connection
This company was founded and run in Beaverton, OR for the first five years of its existence. Even now, a large percentage of my customers are in the Portland area. A big reason for this is that most of my business comes from word-of-mouth. Additionally, I rank well in the search engines for keywords related to Beaverton web design.
Currently (as of 8/15/2015), I’m in Reedsport, OR. Reedsport is between Florence and Coos Bay on the Oregon coast. I moved here to be closer to family in order to help with a medical situation.
In this day and age, most people are comfortable with working primarily over the phone and by email. That said, I have some other great tools that allow me to work from any location without compromising customer service. I can do screen sharing, and video conferencing for those who want the face-to-face experience. Overall, my systems allow me to get more done in less time and therefore save you money.
This is a good place to explain another key difference between JWD and the competition. Most developers are focused, almost completely, on the ‘big ticket’ initial sale. If your initial budget is too low, they don’t even want to deal with you. If you clear that initial hurdle, it can be difficult to get support once the project is complete. More importantly, those developers are no longer actively involved in helping you keep your site up-to-date and secure.
My packages are configured with a long-term business relationship in mind. The key principle is the necessity for you to have a trusted professional to continually help you with your web presence.
While my physical location varies, I am always here to help you with your local business, and in turn that will help your local community. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
The question often comes up, regarding where I’m located. As of the writing of this article, I’m living on the Oregon coast (Reedsport Oregon). I started my business and spent the first 7 years in Beaverton. A big percentage of my clientele is still in the Portland area, and I maintain my membership with the Beaverton Chamber of Commerce.
I’ve been fortunate enough, to find this vocation, and enough success, to allow me to be location independent. In other words, I can do my work from just about anywhere. So the question remains, “Am I a local web designer?”
The answer depends on how you look at it. If you are asking if we can sit down at a coffee house and have a meeting, the answer is no, unless your close by or willing to travel. That said, I’m a very good local web developer using a different definition.
My whole business has been optimized to serve small local businesses. Not only businesses that are local to me, but all the businesses that are serving a local community in America. If you have a little restaurant, or you’re a plumber, and you need help promoting your business locally, that’s where I can help. And, that’s true whether you’re in Key Largo, Flagstaff, or Beaverton.
So if you are looking for a rock solid business person, to be your webmaster over the long-haul, you can count on me. If you require proximity, I’m probably not your best choice.