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7 Ways to Promote Your Local Business Online

Savvy business owners are catching on to the fact that the
local online market is booming. it's predicted to be a $50
billion market by 2006. There is no doubt that the future of
the Internet is local - and if you don't get your local
business into the act now, it may be too late.

Look at how the big boys are reaching out to consumers, driving
traffic to their local stores. Staples, Office Depot, Wal-Mart
- these guys are all going after the local market in a big way.
Why? Because they know that people spend 80% of their income
within 20 miles of home, and that consumers are turning to the
Internet to research products and services before they buy.

Now, maybe you can't compete with those deep pockets
financially, but it doesn't take a million dollars to have a
successful web presence. Here are 7 easy ways to promote your
local business online, and they don't cost a lot of money.

YOUR URL EVERYWHERE (you do have a website, don't you?)

Any and every thing that may come in contact with a customer
should have your URL on it. Business cards, bags, flyers,
newspaper ads, your store window, free giveaways --as you re-
order your stationery and promotional items, just add your URL.
Simple and painless.


One of the most powerful strategies for promoting your business
is to team up other business owners, especially those who
already have websites. You probably can learn a lot from their
experiences, and there are all sorts of ways you can work
together to benefit all. For example:

Link Exchange - each website can have a special page just for
links to other (non-competing) businesses, giving each business
a chance to pick up new customers at no cost. These links
should NOT be on your main page, unless you want your visitors
to click away the minute they hit your site.

Coupon Exchange - every week or two, each business owner can
send a special mailing to their list with coupons from all of
the businesses. Each business has a chance to get some new
business without spending a cent.

Local Guide - if there's no local business guide in your area,
why not team up with some other business owners and create your
own? You may be able to find a web designer that will go in on
it with your group, just for the exposure and the chance to
sell his services to individual business owners later. He could
help promote the website in exchange for referrals or the right
to sell ads on the site later.


Whether you're selling a product or a service, local business
guides can be one of your best traffic generators. People are
increasingly turning to these local directories to look for
goods and services. Get your site listed in as many local
guides and directories as you can find. Some charge for a
listing, but many are free because they're just starting out
and need to get listings. So get listed for free while you
still can. Many businesses are still not taking advantage of
this great source of traffic, so you could easily be the only
listing in your category. I've heard more than once about
consumers who patronized a business because it was the ONLY
listing in its category.


You've heard that "It's not what you know but who you know."
Nowhere is this more true than on the Net. Whatever your
business or interests, there are others out there just like
you, networking and exchanging information. You might even be
able to find a local message board where you can meet other
business owners and prospects. Join in and share, and you'll
find yourself getting customers and referrals without really


Here is an easy, but often overlooked source of new business --
ask existing customers to tell their family and friends about
your excellent products and services. If they're happy with
you, they'll be glad to make referrals. But don't expect them
to think of it - remind them. And make it easy for them - put a
tell-a-friend script on your website, so they can do it while
they're thinking about it. You may even want to offer some sort
of reward - one local business offers $25 worth of free dry
cleaning when customers refer 3 people who open an account.


This is a real no-brainer. Almost everyone has an email
address, and once you get it, the cost of staying in touch with
them is minimal. There are so many ways you can use email
marketing that a slew of books, software and businesses have
been developed to help you. But it all boils down to persuading
your customers and prospects to give you their email address,
then building trust through repeated contact.


What could be better than free publicity for your business? If
you can find a public interest or news angle to tie into your
business, you should write a press release, including website
and email address so people can get more information. Or your
business can sponsor a local event or volunteer resources to
charity, giving your business (and your website) valuable
exposure while you give back to the community. There are lots
of free resources for creating press releases, and entire
websites devoted to helping you get free publicity.

These are only a few of the many ways you can promote your
business locally. You never know how someone is going to search
for a business like yours, so you should use a variety of
methods to get your name out there where they can see it!

Remember, the consumer is just a mouse click away from your
store - but only if you're online. And with today's
technology, the targeting capabilities and options are
unlimited....even if your bank balance isn't.

About the Author
Sharon Fling wrote "How To Promote Your Local Business On the Internet", and publishes the ezine "Local Business Today." Subscribe and get a free ebook on local marketing. Visit or