The economic Grinch is threatening to steal Christmas this year, but there are some things local businesses can do to avoid getting coal in their stockings this holiday season. Here are three tips for punching up your online local marketing presence, just in time for Black Friday and the Cyber Mondays to follow.
For brick-and-mortar stores, everyone knows that the biggest holiday shopping day is typically “Black Friday”, the day after Thanksgiving when many start their gift shopping, helping propel retailers firmly into the black.
For online retailers, the greatest shopping frenzy hits on each of the “Cyber Mondays” following Black Friday, as people turn to the internet to research products and shop from home, work or school. Performics has had some great graphs of the Cyber Monday effect for the past few years:
There’s still some time to punch up your online promotion efforts before holiday shopping goes into full swing. Your internet presence can influence not only internet retail efforts if you’re an ecommerce-enabled site, but also how many customers you may get at your brick-and-mortar store. These tips can help with both.
3 Ways to Kick Up Your Internet Local Marketing for the Holidays:
- Titles – One of the biggest single variables that influences how you rank in search engines for keywords that consumers use to find businesses is your homepage title. Many web designers virtually neglect creating good titles, since they only appear on the topbar of the browser when a page is viewed. However, that title appears in search engines’ results listings in a very visible way, linked back to your site, and the words in the title are one of the main things the search engine uses to decide what your page and website are about. If you haven’t already optimized your homepage title, do so now — it should be relatively easy to do. Your title should contain:
- your business’s name
- your business type or category for consumers who might be seeking any business that does what you do
- your local place name
- the product name in place of the business category or in addition to it, if your title tag isn’t already long.For more info, read these tips on forming good title tags.
- Business profiles – While usage of print yellow pages books may be declining, internet yellow pages (“IYP”) usage is still very healthy, and users referred through those sites typically will “convert” or go on to make a purchase at higher rates than users coming directly to your website through other sources such as search engines. As such, it’s worthwhile to take advantage of the internet yellow pages’ potential by adding in as much detail about your business as possible in the major YP sites. Update your business profiles in each of these sites for each of your company’s locations. You ought to do this in the top online directories such as: Yellowpages.com, YellowBook, Superpages, DexKnows, Yelp, Citysearch, Insider Pages, Yahoo! Yellow Pages, and even Google Maps. Also, here’s more details about optimizing business profiles. (While you’re at it, you might also seriously consider doing a bit of IYP advertising for this year’s holiday season, since this could make your business even more prominent and findable — an edge that could help pump up your business just when you need it most. Some studies have suggested that good placement in IYPs can improve rankings in Google. )
- Meta description and special promotions – The economic hard times have driven people to search for deals like never before, and you can still work in some promotions to take advantage of the consumer interest in savings. Adding in some good, meaty coupons, discount codes, rebates, multiple-purchase discounts and such could help your business avoid the Grinch. Mentioning your promo deal in your Meta description tag effectively could drive up clickthroughs to your website when users find your pages in search engine results. Your Meta description text content frequently appears as the description snippet text below the hyperlinked title to your pages in search engine results. This text should be short, easy-to-read, and should mention what the page is about. Adding in mention of your special discount promotion could be just the “call-to-action” that brings more customers to you. Coupons and specials can bring more people into your brick-and-mortar store, while an offer of “Free Shipping” can bring you more online sales. The same discount promotion message should ideally be reflected prominently on the page once the user clicks through as well.
By using these three tips you may be able to rapidly achieve improved findability for consumers seeking your kind of products and services this season, and you may be able to bump up the click-through-rate and conversions for your business. These tactics may help you to offset the economic Grinch this season so you can kick back and enjoy that hard-earned glass of eggnog!
Chris “Silver” Smith is a Search Marketing Consultant and writes for the Locals Only column at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.