Look Local First

When you spend $100 at a small local business, $68 stays in the community? When you shop at a corporate chain that number is reduced to $43 and almost nothing when you shop online. This is the kind of message we are spreading- it is crucial that communities understand why supporting small businesses is so important.

Are you a business owner?

Then we would love to spotlight your business for free! Our goal is to elevate the voice of small business owners and encourage communities to Look Local First. One way we achieve this is by promoting individual local businesses and what makes them unique onto all of our social platforms to help them gain much deserved exposure.

If you are interested in having your business featured, please send photos and any messaging you’d like us to include to sara@mypazas.com.

Are you a blogger, influencer or just a lover of shopping local?

Then we would love to collaborate with you on social media! We have various promotional materials in our shop that allow people to show off their love for local and bring the Look Local First initiative to their own community! The best part? All proceeds from our shop go to supporting small businesses.

How to Improve SEO for Your Local Business: 4 Tips

Google is where customers ask questions before they know your business is the answer. 

It’s where they find important information like your business’s phone number, address, or website, get directions to your business and read reviews from previous customers to decide whether or not they should visit your business or your competitor’s. That’s why having a solid presence on Google is key to small business success in the digital marketing world.

Just look at these local SEO statistics:

  • Nearly a third of consumers search for a local business online every day
  • Searches containing “local” and “business” grew more than 80% year-over-year
  • Nearly 80% of smartphone searches for local businesses lead to an in-store purchase
  • Local searches lead to purchases 28% of the time

If you’re new to SEO, the idea of implementing a local SEO strategy can seem daunting and time-consuming. To help, we’ve outlined four ways to improve SEO so your business shows up for the right searches, outranks competitors on Google, and gains local visibility.

1. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Creating a Google Business profile takes just a few minutes and is one of the easiest things you can do to ensure visibility in local search results. When you set up your profile, you supply your business address to Google. Google then sends a card to your business address containing a PIN you use to verify the address. Once that’s done, you should see your business included on the map that Google displays when users in your area enter a search for your type of product or service. 

When setting up your profile, it’s important to include as much information as possible that Google asks for, such as business category, services, products, and hours of operation. The more info you can supply to Google, the more likely it will list your business in local search results.

2. Ensure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly

Most searches are now carried out on mobile devices, and 61% of mobile searchers say they are more likely to contact a local business if it has a mobile-friendly site. So, if your website is not performing well on a smartphone, then your business might not be getting the traffic it deserves.

Ensuring that your website is responsive (i.e., adapts automatically to display correctly on a smartphone) and loads very quickly on a mobile device are great places to start for local SEO success. Google has a great mobile-friendly testing tool that you can use to see how your website performs on a mobile device.

3. Reach Out for Reviews

Did you know online reviews make up 16% of local ranking factors and are the second most important factor for getting found in local search? 

Online reputation has quickly become a make-or-break variable for those looking for a local business online. Reviews have replaced traditional word-of-mouth recommendations for consumers today, with many of them expecting to see multiple recent reviews before being able to trust your business. 

The number of reviews you have, how often new reviews are posted, and the quality of reviews all impact your business’s local search visibility. Google Place IDs make it easy for customers to leave feedback for your business by creating a direct link to your page. You can even share the link on social media or paste it into an email to build a steady flow of online reviews.

4. Identify and Incorporate Local Keywords

Keywords are the words or phrases that people use to find information on search engines. By targeting specific keywords that pertain to your business, you can increase your chances of appearing for those searches. Successful keywords are related to your business, your products or services, and your location so you can target searchers in your area.

Once you’ve identified your keywords, you can follow the actions below to make them work for you.

  • Using the keyword in the title of the page
  • Using the keyword in the URL
  • Using the keyword, and variations throughout the page copy
  • Using the keyword in the meta tags, especially the meta description
  • Using the keyword in any image file paths and in the images’ alt text
  • Using the keyword as the anchor text in links back to the page from elsewhere on the site

A successful local SEO strategy enables small businesses to reach more people, drive more conversations, and build their reputation. With nearly half of user searches on Google having a local intent, local search optimization is your chance to get found by consumers near you that are ready and willing to invest in your business

Gift cards

As a consumer, it’s easy to love the flexibility gift cards afford to giftees. But, why love them as a small business owner?

  1. Gift cards can help to bring new customers through your doors for the first time. Receiving a gift card is an opportunity for someone to try something that may appeal to them, but otherwise would not have gone out of their way to try. They’re a cost-effective way to help build your brand and serve as a wallet-sized advertisement.
  2. They help establish relationships with the consumer. For example, you can give out gift cards to consumers who spend a certain amount at your store or offer a promotion on the number of gift cards customers purchase; like buy one get one at a discounted price.
  3. Gift cards can reduce the amount of fraudulent activity since small biz owners don’t have to worry about things like a cardholder’s information being stolen or someone duplicating a paper gift certificate. They offer a reliable option for consumers when purchasing goods or services.
  4. Besides increasing traffic and brand awareness, customers who use gift cards usually aren’t as price sensitive. They actually consider them as free money or a discount, which means they’ll likely spend more than the value of the card when shopping at your business.
  5. Selling gift cards will give your customers satisfaction in knowing they are supporting your business while giving them a valuable and compelling reason to return and shop with you again. It’s an effective way to create repeat customers! 

Sure, the above is great. But, the numbers don’t lie when it comes to the benefits a small business can incur by offering gift cards. 

  • Over 70% of adults buy at least one gift card during the holiday season.
  • 65% of gift card users will spend 38% more than the allocated amount on the gift card.
  • While redeeming their gift card, 25% of consumers purchased products they weren’t originally planning on purchasing.
  • 11% of gift card receivers claim to have rarely or never visited the business before. Meaning, they help bring in new customers!

Offering gift cards is an easy way for small business owners to build brand recognition, increase sales, and establish a rapport with their customers. The opportunities year-round for small business owners to drive sales via gift cards are endless. If you’re not sure where to start, check out one of our favorite providers to learn more about offering gift cards at your business.

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