What is your distinguishing feature? What sets your business apart from the competition, and how do potential customers find out about that?
The real question when it comes to your business is why would anyone choose you over your competitors? This question holds true no matter how you market your business. You can try word of mouth or bombarding the airwaves through your local radio or television station, but when push comes to shove, most people are going to make their selection by what sets you apart from the crowd.
So what does set you apart from the crowd? When Election Day comes around, all of the candidates are letting you know their finer points and also trying to expose weaknesses in their competition. But in business, it is probably better to toot your own horn than to bring up the people you are competing against. Most people are going to do some research, so there is no need to point them toward any competitors. The best offense in this case is a good offense, not a strong defense. Sound off with your message loud and clear.
Many people think that flash and pizazz is going to win you customers. Whether you are online or doing more traditional marketing, this is not really the case. You can set up one of those flapping inflatable dummies in front of your office and it may get some attention, but it’s not going to make the sale. It may get people in your door, but from there it’s up to you. The same can be said for a fancy, flashy website. It’s like the Super Bowl ads. They may be interesting and fun to watch, but how many of the products stick with you once the game is over?
But those are also national ads for big companies, and you want to make an impression locally. The most important aspect of that is being found. The most impressive flashy website is worth absolutely nothing if no one sees it. So what do you need to focus on?
“Search Engine Optimization” is a phrase that is bandied around a lot, but you need targeted results. If someone is looking for “Chevrolet Repair Berks County” in a Google search and that’s your niche, you need to be on page one of the Google results and preferably in the top third of the page. Everything else is secondary. You may be the best mechanic, and you may have the most current software and the best price, but without that top ranking in the search, it means you aren’t reaching most of the people who would do business with you.
So the real challenge in local online marketing is two-fold. First, your website needs to be seen, and second, you need to have a known edge on your competitors. Anything else is superfluous.