Pay Per Click advertising – This is a method that will bring in the most local customers, but it can also get very expensive if you don’t know how to do it right. You need to take time to educate yourself on how to use this method.
You can find plenty of other free local directories that are run by large national, or international, companies. But beyond those, you can also look for smaller local directories. These may be run by another business person in your area. Lots of them provide free, or very cheap, listings They may even provide a map feature which gives visitors driving directions to your front door! This is a great way to help people find you.
Google Places alone has made almost weekly changes over the past 6 months: changing the brand, offering posts, reducing the outside maximum on the outside pack to seven from ten, now allow links in the listings at two places, came out with a specific list of rules on some issues, created a paid ad called tags, have eliminated the direct link on the short listing to the website, and have added a problem center (albeit as of now it is one way). These are just the major changes. The entire list would be the subject of another entire article.
Businesses often look at their competition and do what they do. If their closest competitor advertises in the newspaper they do it too. If their competitor is on the radio they better do that too.
You want to be in the Pay-Per-Click and/or Sponsored Results up there in the top yellow box and down along the right side. Pay-Per-Click is Pay-As-You-Go — your ad only shows up when somebody searches for your specific key words. Your ad is only shown to your best customers who are searching specifically for what you have to offer. You set how much you are willing to pay, and you only pay when somebody clicks on your ad — the fully qualified buyer.
In addition, a business plan gives you a good road map to refer to that helps you and your team ensure you’re in alignment with your original philosophy and mission when you first began. It also gives you a good reference to see where you’re on or off target when it comes to your local business financial goals and projections.
Keep it simple. For a local business, web design should be consistent with the look of your bricks and mortar store. Use the same colours and fonts as your business card or signage. A plain background colour, basic fonts and some pictures of your shop, site (intensedebate.com) your staff and (if applicable) your products or examples of your services will suffice.
Now you need to go for the fold, in Local Search that means the A ranking, the first one on the list of results. To receive the top listing for your local Google Search Result filling out the Google Places form completely is a must. But even then you may not get you the coveted “A” listing.