Ask the consultant: How do I build a strong local customer base?

Question is an e-commerce site through which we sell brand-name uniforms for both the medical and restaurant industries nationally. My question is about winning the local market. It would be incredibly helpful for us to build a strong local customer base to help stabilize revenue and provide a platform to continue to expand nationally.

Unfortunately, this has proven much more difficult than I expected. Do the experts have any advice on tips to win local support?



If you want a local customer base, the first thing you need to do is create a "local" presence for your online business. That begins with some basic search-engine optimization (SEO) with the local market in mind. In doing a Google search for "scrubs Minneapolis" the first page lists seven resources -- with street addresses (after the paid ads).

You could also use some help in overall search engine marketing, since searching "scrubs apparel" delivers a number of local businesses mixed in with online retailers, but Scrubadoo is not listed on the first six pages.

This post was originally published in the Star Tribune's Ask the Consultant column, read the rest of the answer there.