No matter what field you are in, you MUST market yourself as the local expert if you are a small business owner or independant contractor that works locally. There are many reasons for this (most of them obvious) but you have always heard that you need to be top of mind when people consider you for landscaping, real estate, auto repair, etc. If you aren't, then you have just lost to your competition once again.
How can you make sure that this doesn't happen to you? First, you have to remember that there will always be a time where you are not chosen. This is part of life and no matter how much marketing you do, there will always be someone who goes to someone else for some other reason whether it's past business done with that person or they did a little marketing before you came along!
Since more people are using the internet to look for service providers and products, it is becoming more and more important to be online. This is the easiest way to become top of mind in a consumer's mind because IF they are going to the internet to look for a service provider or store, they don't have anyone in mind yet. This is your opportunity to get in front of them to make a first and most favorable impression on them.
Your Quick Recipe for Marketing Your Business Online
1 Website1 Google Adwords Account1 Google Places Listing
As you know, you must have a website to make any sort of impression on a consumer. Your website needs to state clearly what you can offer me, the consumer. Why are you different? What makes me want to come to your place of business versus one that I am already familiar with? Your webpage is a place to not talk about you and your business but talk about me and what your business can do for me. If you can do this effectively and have a solid product or service that you offer, you will be on your way to gaining new business online.
Your Google Adwords Account
If you are not familiar with Google Adwords, it is a service that the search engine, Google, offers that allows you to place an ad on their search engine and, for example, if you owned an auto repair shop in Miami then if a consumer were to go on Google and search "Auto Repair shop in Miami, Florida" and you had your ads set up to be displayed when someone types in that search then you have not only gotten in front of a consumer, but a consumer ready to call an Auto Repair shop to get some work done. This is why it's more effective than a billboard or magazine ad. Google only charges you if the consumer clicks on the ad and the price is determined by how much competition is online. I encourage you to learn more about Google Adwords.
Your Google Business Listing
Google also offers a spot for you to enter in your business listing. This is almost like a Yellow Page ad and is triggered only when a consumer keys in words that pertain to your business, such as "Auto Repair shop in Miami, Florida". When you sign up for a business listing you have your own dedicated page to put photos of your place of business or yourself, hours of operation, and also a place for people to give you reviews. Reviews are a GREAT thing with google. The more positive reviews you have the higher you are ranked in the search engine. You can learn more about this by going to Google and searching "Places".