Everyone’s online now, and that’s good news and bad news for the business owner, or anyone else who wants their product or services to be found online.

The great thing is that you can reach 80-90% of the people in the country; the bad thing is that your competitors will be trying to do that too, and it’s becoming expensive and crowded to reach your target customers online.

Never fear, though! It can be done, with consistent work and marketing coverage in the places that matter. So let’s get started! Here are four strategies to boost your local listing.

1. Understand who you’re targeting

The fastest path to failing online is to waste money advertising to the wrong people. More importantly, who are the right people? If you could fill your business with a certain type of customer, what would that person look like?

How old are your ideal customers, what income level are they, what set of interests and behaviors would they have? What makes them a great customer?

Answering those questions (and refining your definition of “target customer”) is essential for boosting your local listing where it matters most, in a way that your ideal prospects will appreciate.

2. Use keywords

If you’re selling fishing tackle, then use that phrase in the name of your business or at least in your descriptions of your services. For example, instead of “Bob’s Outdoor Gear,” use the name “Bob’s Fishing Tackle,” and mention fishing tackle as much as you can on the various pages of your website.

3. Search like a customer

If a customer searches for your products through Google, Yahoo, locally, or any other method, what does he or she find? If the same sites repeatedly turn up at the top of the search results, figure out how to get your listing there.

It’s much easier to add yourself to these sites where customers are already going than to get customers to find you on a new site.

4. Spread it around

You’ll always want to take advantage of location-based services that might show your business to new customers, and if they’re free or low cost, you can’t be in too many of those places! One good example of a location-based business directory, which can bring in potential customers for less cost than more competitive and crowded directories!