When planning your SEO improvement techniques and online advertising, you should certainly think about local business marketing. Ensure your online presence drips with locality and potential customers know you are nearby. End your website with .HK rather than .com, though there are pros and cons to that, and put that Hong Kong aspect in everything – your images, profile photos and webpages.

Forget the jokey Chinese type English fonts – they’re kitsch and not serious enough to attract the kind of clients you want. Make sure your company is listed in every business directory for your location and keep things looking professional.

Now in Hong Kong that’s going to include everything from yp.com.hk and 852.com to asiaxpat.com, and if you’re reading this article in English then the expat audience might also be valuable to you. Openrice.com and Yelp.com.hk are vital if you’re in the tourism or food and beverage field. Your company should have a My Business listing on Google, if you are not sure about that then go through our Google Love Checklist, and it needs to be under your control and fully populated. This also applies to Facebook.

Appeal to the Online Crowd

It’s not enough to be offline only these days. You absolutely have to have an online presence else the competition will walk all over you. Connect your offline and online presences. Decide on your primary channel and drive everything there.

Your internet address on business cards is only the first step. Also consider testimonials on brochures, QR codes on beer mats now that iPhones read them directly, and other forms of advertising. Live video streams gain interest, as do quirky commercials and anything local and timely which first gain local attention and then, if they’re good enough, proceed to attract wider attention as well. Search Engine Optimization is of course key here, so your content can be found. After all, if it can’t be found, it can’t be shared. After all, the best company in the world will not achieve success if they don’t advertise so people can find out about them!

Formulate the Right Strategy

Promoting your business locally means you have to come up with a good strategy. Most companies have competitors, so you will want to check out what they’re doing and come up with something better. Social media offers a free platform to promote your services but because it’s free that means there is a lot of competition.

Although there is actually a local search function on Facebook now, it’s still in beta mode and not the very best way to promote what you have to offer. Pinterest and Instagram are alternative platforms, again free, which can engage current and potential customers and showcase what you have to offer. This kind of online advertising is not only useful but free!

Getting onto WeChat, qq, or even discuss.com.hk are all great ideas if your audience overlaps both English speaking and Chinese reading audiences.

Mobile vs. Desktop

It was always forecast to happen and now it has: mobile search has overtaken desktop. This means you absolutely have to have at the very least a mobile-friendly site if you aren’t exclusively mobile. Mobile sites function on desktops (they might not look so hot) but ensure the information you want to share is available to everyone regardless of whether they happen to be using a tablet, cell phone or desktop computer.

Test, test and test again.  People are impatient and fussy, if a website doesn’t work right for them they may just go away and find another one.

What to Share

Giving too much information away too soon is always a mistake. You want to interest people, not confuse them. If you are using an online resource keep the call to action simple. “Make a reservation” or “Find Out More” can lead to an appropriate page which contains relevant information. Ensure you highlight the most relevant information on your website so people find it quickly and keep your choices as simple and streamlined as possible.

Why Local Businesses Fear Change

It’s pretty clear to see that ‘online’ is the way to go. People want 24/7 access to goods and services and they have a ‘now’ mentality. Order today and have SF Express drop it at your door tomorrow. Many small, local businesses have a reticence about overhauling their current systems. Not only does this take time and adjustment but there is also the change-based fear of disruption. Who wants to risk their whole business on switching partly or largely to a web-paged market who might or might not be interested?

Actually, if you look at it logically, anyone who was interesting in your offline business is going to be interested in the online alternative. After all, the offline option is still available. You’re simply offering something new and different, and a lot of people appreciate the option to use your online services, or at least be able to find you online.

Say there are 3 similar businesses in Central or Causeway Bay and they are beginning to advertise online and promote themselves online while you are not. Who do you think potential clients are going to find first? Of course, the competition.

A lot of people check their emails, chat with friends online and browse local Facebook ads before they even get out of bed in the morning (and this is when they are planning their day). Therefore, if you don’t plan ahead and don’t promote your business in Hong Kong, you are really losing out! The competition are doing it and you aren’t? Sorry but you’re setting yourself up for failure in this scenario. SEO optimization is vital to attract not only customers but local ones who are looking for exactly what you offer.

Why You Need Online Advertising to Get Ahead

Local online advertising is worth a lot more than you invest if you choose the right route to go. Word of mouth is very important and although people who happen to use alternative businesses will either praise or condemn those businesses to their friends and contacts, people who find you via advertising are inclined to do the same, which simply means if you can keep up with the demand the advertising will bring, you will get many more review and word of mouth referrals.

If you aren’t sure where to start, consider finding our online marketing consultants to spread the world about your business and attract the attention of potential local customers. Someone who knows what they’re doing is going to be able to expose your company locally and spread the word about what it is you are offering.

Ensure your business provides exactly what your advertisement promises to keep customer satisfaction at an all-time high and keep those top ratings and reviews coming in. Once you’re ahead of the competition, the sky is the limit for your business. Of course you need to attract those customers in the first place so research SEO, PPC, Social and online advertising forms to make sure you are promoting your business to a wide range of prospective clients, in the right light and in the local vicinity.

By Victoria Haneveer, an experienced freelance writer specializing in food and drink, travel writing, fiction and SEO. Find out more here.

 

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