Ultimately, the goal with an online presence for any local business is: make money. Any time or money spent getting your local business online needs to be compared with the return it provides. Sometimes that’s easy to measure, and other times it can get pretty hard. That means you have to be selective about whatever investments you do make.
We decided to take a step back and pretend we were starting our own local business, here’s the hit list we’d put together for generating some revenue via online efforts:
1) Set up a presence – Website, Facebook, Yelp.
Get a basic but solid presence going on the most important sites. Make sure each listing has been claimed, filled out, and is seeded with some initial pictures or posts. Have a good looking, clean, and simple website with no unnecessary audio or Flash.
2) Gather reviews.
Brainstorm a few ways to encourage reviews from any early customers we have walking into our local business. To do that, you could use signs, incentives, or simply bring up that you’re on Yelp and appreciate any feedback online.
Allocate a set budget for advertising. We’d spend on some Google AdWords ads and perhaps a few Yelp ads (only if we had developed at least 10 reviews at this point). And, for Google, we’d focus on targeting keywords specific to our specialties or that were unique to our products and services. The less common a keyword the cheaper it is and the more likely it is to get displayed.
4) Look for Leads on LinkedIn.
If we had products or services to sell to other businesses, we’d setup a company page and start joining groups, messaging potential customers, and gathering recommendations.
Over time, of course, there would be other ways we’d expand our presence. But, if you’re local business owner looking to start generating some revenue online, this list might be a great checklist to use as you’re getting started.