Last week we spent some time discussing how you can add local keywords to your blog posts so a greater share of the web traffic that you capture comes from local prospects who are actually capable of becoming one of your clients. This week I want to talk about some additional ways that you can capture those local visitors.
The first step in achieving this end is to recognize that you have dozens of tiny “properties” or mini-websites spread out all over the web already. You didn’t have to create them yourself, because data aggregators created them for you. You don’t have to pay for them to reap their benefits.
But you do have to pay attention to them.
These mini properties are local listings on places like Google Places, Yelp, and Bing Local. You’ve probably seen mini-properties owned by other businesses whenever you’ve searched for a restaurant, a hotel, or any other local business that you can think of.
To make the most of these properties you need to “claim them.” And you’ll need to polish them up and work with them so that they are outstanding spokespeople for you. Spokespeople that never sleep and that you don’t have to pay for. How cool is that?
Let’s take this step-by-step so that it’s as easy and hassle free as possible.
Take your NAP!
No, I’m not talking about a midday siesta (though that would be nice).
I’m talking about your legal business name, address, and phone number. You are going to be using this a lot, and you need to make sure that it is formatted correctly and that you use it the same way every single time.
This starts with your legal business name. If you are registered as “Jan’s Personal Training, LLC” then that’s what you need to use whenever you write your business name any place on the web. Don’t confuse matters by using Jan Smith Personal Training in one place, Jan’s Personal Training in the other, and J.S. Fitness somewhere else.
Next, you need to make sure that you know the actual US Postal Service address for your company. Just visit SmartyStreets.com and type in whatever address you’ve been using. It will automatically format the address the way the postal service prefers to see it.
Your phone number is the easiest of all, but make sure it is the phone number you use, consistently, for your personal training business.
Write this down on a piece of paper, exactly as you see it. Don’t take short cuts.
You can seriously mess yourself up if you write “209 Smith” if the legal address is actually “209 Smith Street.”
And if you accidentally write “209 Smith Avenue” you’re going to cause problems later.
Now, go to your website and make sure your NAP is on every single page on the site. The easiest way to do this is to install a footer and to place your NAP in that footer so that it appears on every page automatically.
But don’t put it aside yet, because we’re about to return to those mini-properties.
Claim your listings.
You’re going to want to visit each of the following sites.
www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness/ www.yelp.com www.angieslist.com www.bing.com/local www.local.yahoo.com www.expressupdateusa.com www.yellowpages.com www.hotfrog.com www.foursquare.com
There are other sites that you can use, but these are 9 of the biggest sites. As you visit each site, do a search for your business. You should see the mini-site for your company pop right up. If you don’t, you’ll have the option to create one yourself.
Look around for the little link that says, “Claim this listing,” or “is this your business?” Click on it.
Usually you will have to go through some kind of easy verification process to prove that the business is yours. Sometimes the verification process is quick and sometimes it’s a lot slower (Google sometimes even uses snail mail).
However, once you’ve proven the business is yours you can start filling out the profile. Start by making sure the NAP that the site is listing matches the NAP you’ve already placed on your website. Then, enhance each listings with all of the information, photographs, and videos that you can. Each site varies in what it will let you put on your listing, and that’s fine. But you should definitely take advantage of every feature that you can.
And that’s it! In just an hour or two of work you have made your business that much more visible to everyone in your local area who is actively searching for someone to help them meet all of their physical fitness needs.