The Basics of Local Online Advertising Need to drive more business to your door? Use our practical guide to rev up your local web strategy.
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The promise of the web has been a global one. It connects companies to telecommuters, outsourcers, far-off countries and customers around the world. But a new trend in the web is bringing it closer to home . . . and business. The "local web" is the way the internet helps connect people with places in their hometowns as well as their business and travel destinations. For local entrepreneurs, it's about using the web to reach customers and vice versa.
We're not here to preach the value of having a website. You already know about that. This is a look at how to use your site and the many other internet resources available to help customers find you. It's not so much about e-commerce as it is about getting people to your door. "What we have now is a complicated world where people use many different sources of information to find local businesses. They're using the traditional mediums that they've always used, but now the internet has become a very powerful--and in many cases, [the] primary--resource for people," says Greg Sterling, founder of Sterling Market Intelligence, an Oakland, California, consulting and research firm with an emphasis on the local search marketplace.
"You need to be where your customers are, and more and more customers are on the web," says Sheryl Sandberg, vice president of global online sales and operations at Google. Take a look out over the web. There's no one-stop shop for marketing your local business online. People use search engines, online Yellow Pages, industry-specific directories, referral and review sites and online communities. They follow links from other businesses' sites and click on ads while browsing. So here's a primer to help you plan your local web strategy.