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mr-tulk-yelpI just returned from a short trip to Melbourne and can report that the opportunities for local marketing are alive and well.

If you’re just launching your online marketing efforts, it can be tempting to think the game is over.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Needles in haystacks

I lost count of how many times I ran fruitless searches in Google and even my beloved Yelp, only to find inconclusive or wrong results.

The image, above, is a screenshot of a search in my local area in Yelp for ‘Sunday breakfast’.

Guess what?

Mr Tulk cafe comes up, the reviews read well but when I looked more closely at this listing I discovered what my 6yo daughter and I discovered on foot; it is closed on Sundays.

Inside knowledge doesn’t help

When you consider that I’m someone who works in the field of online marketing and I had trouble finding useful information when on holiday with time and money to spend, heaven help the ordinary punter to find what they’re looking for!

What saddens me the most is just thinking about how many ‘would have been’ customers went home with their money still in their pockets.

How many lost opportunities, how much lost income for wages and businesses?

Please take time to think deeply this week

My yearning this week is for you to find a half hour to stop and think deeply about what ‘needs’ people might lead people to search for solutions, products or services you provide.

This exercise is one of the crucial things we look at in our Fast Track Marketing Plans.

Think about what they might need, when they might need it, who they might need it for, etc.

We’ve been working with a local shopping precinct recently and one of the things I recall is helping local business owners not just think of their regular customers but also about prospective customers who might be close by without knowing it or be flitting in and out of the area with needs most likely being met by multinationals.

Do you have holiday accommodation in your area? Do you have schools? Do you have transit hubs? Do you have health centres and hospitals?

The beauty of blogging on your WordPress website is that you have the platform for helping develop your story and unfold the many reasons the world needs you.

The next step is to find a way to wander around your area and get inside the minds, habits and needs of visitors, strangers and locals so you can understand their particular needs and then work on closing the gap and using Google to bring your worlds together.

I was also surprised that few, if any, local businesses in Melbourne were ethically eavesdropping on me, as we’ve discussed previously.

While away, I tweeted some questions seeking tips on good #espresso in#Melbourne (surprisingly rare despite the reputation) to no avail.

This was a missed opportunity, especially when you consider our little, Adelaide-based team has been teaching businesses how to eavesdrop for many years.

A final word: Attend to the basics

We just had our local government elections where the focus was on getting local issues corrected and so too should we share that focus in our marketing.

Make sure you leave other busy, local business owners behind, by making sure you have claimed or updated your Google+ Business Page.

Your Google+ Business Page is significantly important if you have a physical, public location, because it can hypercharge Google search results listings and ensure you make it onto ‘the map’.

It also makes sense to spend 5 minutes claiming your free Yelp listing to ensure details are accurate and that more seach result positions are taken away from those junk, web content scraping sites and directories that clog Google.

So, if you ever fear that you are behind the pack in the realm of online marketing, please take a deep breath, and head off in search of your ideal customers on their terms. There’s a very good chance nobody else is bothering!

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