I am constantly surprised at the stubborn response I get from some small business owners, especially the ones that depend on local business.

They come to me seeking advice and then reject that the Internet has anything to do with how their potential customers may find them. Yet they will admit that the yellow pages (physical book), direct mail, print ads, billboards and other exterior signage aren’t as effective as in the past.

For local business owners, now more than ever before, you need to increase your efforts to be found online. An outdated, simple website is not enough.

You need to put yourself in your prospect’s perspective. They’ll find you how they want to, using whatever method is most convenient or preferred for them, particularly while using their desktop computer, tablet or mobile phone.

What Does It Require?

Either you have to throw serious time or money at it. Do it yourself, delegate it or hire someone. The choice is yours. But you better expect that if you don’t, your competition certainly will.

What Should You Do?

  • Beef up your website with a Search Engine Optimization strategy.
  • Verify your basic listing on online phone directories is accurate.
  • Create social media profiles on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Linkedin. Then connect to people/customers and promote your special offers. Be willing to engage and interact with these people.
  • Create business pages on Facebook, Linkedin and Google+.
  • Make sure you have a profile on review sites like Yelp.
  • Think about how to give special offers to prospects on social presence sites like Foursquare.
  • Add social sharing functionality to your website to let visitors spread the word about what they like. ShareThis or AddToAny are two that are relatively easy to implement.
  • Consider a mobile-friendly version of your website for people finding you on the go using their smartphone.

Finally, make sure you have methods to track success:

  • Ask your customers
  • Look at your web analytics
  • Keep track of the referring source your inbound phone sales calls.

Have any additional suggestions? Please leave a comment below.