So we know purchasing on the internet is on the rise, but how do you get an online advantage if your company provides a service instead of a product? Sure, you can throw lots of money at Google and pay-per-click ads but you'll be fighting against everyone else for one or two keywords. Let me tell you how to level the playing field: Local searches.
Local search platforms work just like an online directory. Many are free, some have a nominal fee. You sign up very simply, by filling out a form about what your business does and your location, website etc. There may be a wait period and then -wha-la!- you're listed.
So why do this instead of just adding yourself to google local? For one thing, adding another viable link won't hurt your SEO. Also, many google searches will bring up local search platforms and directories on the first page. So if you don't show up there naturally, this could be a boost. Also many local platforms perform extra services and analytics.
Once you're ready to try a local search platform, you need to choose which ones. Remember to always consider your target market. Are you an electrician mostly working with stay-at-home moms during the day? Then pick a female-friendly site. You can also pick industry specific sites. A recent article at TechCrunch Europe discussed two sites for Builders/Handymen; MyHammer and MyBuilder. Both have very user-friendly designs and provide places for reviews and general feedback. Or you could just go with some of the basic local platforms out there.
Even if your customers can't buy online from you, make sure they can get to know you there!
If you are a service-based business, how do you integrate the internet into your marketing plan?