Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Business in Sutherland Shire, Northern Beaches and Melbourne's East

How well do you know the local area of your business? Have you lived there your whole life? Are you new to the region? Knowing your immediate client base and the community can be an invaluable insight into the purchasing mindset of those closest to you.

Look at the businesses in your local area that have prospered and those that have been and gone. What was the difference between them? How did they market themselves? And who did they market to?

Some businesses can rest on the laurels of their reputation and word-of-mouth advertising, but the majority of small companies in the Sutherland Shire need to make some kind of effort to get their name out there in these days of mega-corporations setting up shop and under-cutting stand-alone businesses.

3 exposure methods you may not have tried

1. Sponsor a local school or team

Schools are vast networks of people, and they're always in need of money. Contact your local school to see if there is any project they need help funding and ask about the promotion exposure they can provide you. You may make it onto a newsletter that's seen by thousands of local people for just a few hundred dollars.

2. Make it easy for your happy customers to tell others about you

Whether it's through social sharing options on your website, or a 'refer a friend' discount you can offer customers, you want to make sure you don't miss out on word of mouth referrals. These are often MUCH more valuable than most forms of paid advertising.

3. Brand yourself

I don't mean by tattooing your logo to your forehead (although that may also attract some attention), but vehicle signage is great for local exposure and brand reinforcement. Many of our customers have seen our Digerati cars driving around the Sutherland Shire and Northern Beaches, and it's just one more way of reminding people that you're there. You don't need to try and use it as a pitch, or a specific call to action (which can be difficult when people are driving), but you want to become a saturated brand that they will be familiar with when thinking about the services you offer.

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One important thing to remember is that online listings, both free and paid can be invaluable - especially to a market that may not even know you exist. Google, Bing and Yahoo all have paid advertising options that allow you to get some targeted exposure for very little money. This can be a much cheaper option (and/or much less manual work) than trying to increase your search result ranking organically, and means you can be very specific in your advertising to different sectors of the market.

2 free things you can do in less than an hour that can make a big difference.

1. Make sure you have a Google & Bing maps listing.

Many more people are starting to use map services to find local business. It's much quicker to open google maps to find a store near you than to try and rely on the searches to return accurate results, plus, you can see exactly where the business is located.

It's also a good reference point for people using smartphones, or customers driving to find you.

Google Map Listing: https://maps.google.com (look on the left "Put your business on Google Maps")
Bing Business Portal: http://www.bing.com/businessportal

2. List on business directories. The more local the better.

Even though Google is the #1 place people go to look for their information, every listing boosts your online exposure and is reflected in your search result ranking. The more local of a directory you can get on, the better. If your city or suburb has a listing of local businesses with website links, that is a great place to be listed, because it directly ties your business with a location.

Even a free listing on directories like Australian based Hotfrog.com.au, have public listings that can be indexed by search engines.

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At Digerati Solutions, we're always here to chat about ways to be more effective at reaching your audience. Talk to us today.