When it comes to promoting your local business online, it’s easy to get either overwhelmed by all the options, or simply lost with where to start.
Well fear not…
I was speaking to a friend of mine last week (yes, even online geeks like me both have friends and sometimes talk to them). She’s setting up a dance class in London, teaching people how to dance a variety of styles. She’s an excellent dancer, and I know she can teach well too, but in terms of marketing her new business, she had no idea how to promote herself on the internet.
I offered her some help and I figured you might just be able to benefit from it too. So here goes!
OK, the first port of call for you needs to be Google Places…
Click the ‘Get Started Now’ button on that page and set yourself up with an account. It works with a Google account so you can use your current e-mail address (Gmail) for sign up.
Essentially, you need to create a listing for your business. Now, here’s some ninja stuff:
- In the title of your listing, use the words that people are looking for rather than just the name of your business/classes e.g: ‘Ballroom Dancing Classes London’ instead of ‘DanceWorks’ or whatever it’s called.
- Make sure you use photos on your listing and video if you have them. Again, make sure that the file names of the photos and the videos isn’t just ‘Dance video’ but ‘Ballroom Dancing Classes London’. Doing this along with the previous bullet point will mean Google sees you as more of an ‘authority’ in your niche of ballroom dancing.
- In order to be absolutely sure about which words people are searching (known as ‘keywords’) Make sure you target words related to your local area, instead of just targeting ‘Dance Class’ as that could apply to anywhere in the world.
- In the listing on Google Places, make sure that you put the address of the dance studio as the business address with the name of your business or classes. You’ll almost certainly need to receive a postcard from Google UK to prove that you are who and where you say you are. If you don’t actually own the office or studio space, see if you can get them to either keep it for you or forward it to you.
- Once you’ve set up and confirmed your listing and address, go to Fiverr.com. It’s a genius little site where you can get people to do stuff for you for $5 (about £3.20). Go to the search bar and type in ‘Manual social bookmark’. Sort the results according to ‘Rating’ (near the top of the results). Then hire a couple of people to bookmark your listing on Google Places. You’ll need to tell them the URL (the address of the listing page for your classes), a description and some tags. The tags should be your keywords (e.g: Ballroom Dance Class London).
This will build links back to your listing and mean that you will rank higher in Google as a result. This should mean that you’ll appear on the first page of Google for the words you target in the map section.
It may take several weeks for your listing to reach the top of the Google Places listings, but build links to it and get your customers to leave reviews for you as well as this all helps.