Local marketing experts can’t say enough about the power of local search for franchises; it’s a prime opportunity to reach customers who live in your geographic area and are already searching for the products and services that you provide.
For franchise owners who are running the day-to-day operations of their business, however, it can be difficult to know how to begin with local search listings. That’s why we’ve compiled a simple guide to help you know how to get started.
Focus on Mobile
More often than not, people are using their cell phones to find business while they’re on the go. That’s why it’s so important to capture your local audience online. Even if they don’t live in your city, they’re looking for your business while they’re in the area, and franchise owners should make it as easy as possible for these mobile consumers to find you.
Find Out If You’re Already Listed
Before you get started, it’s important to make sure that you’re not already listed on the major search engines. It’s possible that someone else has already entered information about your franchise, which means that you will need to reclaim your business listing so that you can make additions and updates. When you’re searching for your business listings be sure to search for several variations of your company’s name, as it could have been entered incorrectly.
Fortunately, this process of claiming your business listing is not as complicated as it seems. Most likely, you’ll need to verify your ownership status by providing the search engine with a code that is delivered to your physical address or to your franchise’s main telephone number.
Remember the Big Three
When it comes to local search listings, it’s important to claim your space on the three most critical business listings: Google+ Places, Bing Places, and Yahoo Local. Unfortunately, all of these search engines work independently of each other, so you’ll have to create a separate business listing for each of these search engines.
Because Google is the most important among the big three search engines, it’s best to start there. Like the other business listing sites, your listing on Google+ Places will stand out from all of the other search results. Also, depending on your industry, your business listing may be displayed in the new Google carousel design, which features more images than a standard business listing.
Yelp Is Important Too
Although Yelp isn’t technically a search engine, it is one of the top spots for consumers to find out about a business. Plus, they can search Yelp on their mobile phones and share their check-ins on social media. Setting up a Yelp business listing (or claiming an existing listing) is easy and should be part of your local strategy.
Turn to the Experts for Help
Although it’s easy to get started with local business listings, people who specialize in this area can take your local internet marketing to the next level. These specialists are trained to help you plan and implement an online marketing strategy.