8 Tips: Free and Smart Marketing for Your Practice

When it comes to local SEO (search engine optimization), it’s more important than ever that you optimize your on-site and off-site SEO strategies for clients and prospects who may be searching for your practice. Local competition is heating up, and if you’re not on top of your rankings, you can bet your competitors will be.

For local SEO, think about keyword phrases instead of single keywords.  What search terms would you use to find your practice? For example, “naturopathic health in Scottsdale” will be less competitive than simply “naturopath.”

Make sure your address is on every page in text format

Before you start, check to make sure your physical address and phone number is on every page of your website in text format, not as an image. This makes it easy for the search engines to develop relevance to your local area for each of the topics you discuss. The easiest place to do this is in the footer, although you may find that in very competitive situations, putting this information at the top of a sidebar might work better for you.

Claim and optimize your listing on Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is considered a directory, but it’s a biggie, so it deserves its own section. It’s very important for local businesses to claim their Google My Business (and Bing Places for Business) page. It’s free and can get you incredible exposure.

To claim your Google My Business page, visit google.com/business.

The next step is to optimize your GMB listing with a solid description, categories, business hours, types of payments accepted and so on. You also want to make sure to upload your logo and photos of your business, products or services. (It’s generally recommended that you upload at least three photos.)

Fully populate each and every relevant section so that your listing is complete. If you’re a service business and don’t have a location customers or clients can visit, don’t worry; you can choose to hide your physical address as you’re setting up your Google My Business listing.

As mentioned above, Bing also has a comparable page for local businesses called Bing Places for Business. The process is very similar to GMB, and you should definitely have your business present on Bing’s local directory, too.

Incentivize positive reviews

Businesses are finally starting to realize the importance of online reviews from their customers. According to a recent survey, 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and seven out of 10 customers will leave a review for a business if asked by the business.

Whenever a review is left about your business, positive or negative, be sure to respond to it. That shows other people reading the reviews that you, the business owner, care what your customers think.

Two places where you should focus on getting reviews are your business’s Facebook page and Google My Business page. These are big ones. Many people turn to social media to see what their friends and family think about a business, so having good reviews on your business’s Facebook page can help to draw in prospective customers. Getting positive reviews on your Google My Business page is crucial because these reviews show up on Google when someone searches for your business.

Google also notes that “[h]igh-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility,” which implies that reviews might factor into rankings on the local pack.

Show off your expertise – Create a meetup or Healthy Living group

Become a frequent speaker at events around town, or organize your own event. Explore the kinds of events that businesses are creating on meetup.com and consider what type of event would be good for you to showcase your expertise. This is usually not a selling time… it’s a give away great information time.

And be sure to tell them they can get more information about your specific topic at a specific page on your website.

Get involved in your local online community

Participate on local websites and forums. This continues to show Google the relevance of your business to a specific area, especially if you can use one of your local search keyword phrases and link it to a particular page of your website.

Get involved in your offline community

Get active in your local area by participating in local charitable events and community campaigns. Post information about these on your website and blog about your participation. You can also write press releases about these events (be sure to link back to your website) and gain some newspaper or radio coverage. All your online posting about local events strengthens your relevance to the local area in the search engines.

Trade links with other non-competing local businesses

Ask other local business to link to your website in return for you linking to them. Be smart about this, and ask them to use your keyword phrase as the text for your link. Or better yet, provide a little snip of code that their webmaster can simply copy and paste into their website.

Use email marketing

Email marketing is a great way to get new visitors engaged with your practice, as well as maintain relationships with your existing clients.

budget marketing tactics

Get new website visitors to sign up for your newsletter by offering a bonus content piece for subscribing (e.g. get your free ebook detailing how to make a healthy homemade pizza when you sign up for our nutrition newsletter). Slowly nurture your subscribers via email until they are ready to become paying clients. Start your email campaigns with a free email marketing service like MailChimp.

Any low-budget marketing tactics I missed? What works for your practice?