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For some San Diego small businesses out there, location-based digital marketing opportunities like Foursquare represent an easy cost-effective addition to the overall marketing plan.

Some local business owners are already deploying their geo-location identity across multiple location-based environments.

Is Facebook still considered a location-based service to the local brick and mortar business owner? 3 Ways Location Based Services Like Foursquare & Facebook Help Recruit New Local Customers

It’s too early for questions, sorry. We’ll address that one in a bit.

Whether or not Foursquare goes the way of Gowalla or Google Places, all signs indicate a digitally recognizable location-based identity will help us better monitor our online business reputation, improve our online visibility, and help recruit more new local customers.

It no longer matters how we feel about digital marketing, the Internet, advertising, or politics for that matter. Local consumers will seek out multiple online environments to communicate the now ubiquitous, online review.

How can we ensure our San Diego small business digital footprint is firmly planted and communicating beneficial digital word of mouth?

A good defense is the best offense.

That holds true for the sedentary, or digitally averse – as it relates to marketing – small businesses out there, just as it does for the dynamic carnival barking marketeers pitching their wares on virtual bus benches and…location based services.

We need to always be ready to defend our online reputation by actively utilizing these proven social media outlets, controlling our small business identity in the local search environments, and enabling mobile connectivity within geo-location based communications.

If something is wrong, as business owners we need to covet that real-time customer intelligence.

In the scope of benefiting from having a business identity throughout these popular, and not so popular, online environments, let’s examine three simple ways how using location-based services in our small business digital marketing plan will result in more new local customers.

Digital Word of Mouth

We need to Crowdsource our digital marketing!

We needn’t wait until we have the time or money. Not for budget sake; Foursquare and Facebook are free BTW. Time is another thing, but when are we going to have more?

Would we rather invest time in digitally marketing our local business or waste time staring at the cash register waiting for it to ring?

Location, location, location.

Earlier this year Facebook discontinued their “Places” realm for something a bit more, timely.

Like in past, present, and future, timely. That’s right Facebook is now changing the shape of time itself, with the advanced continuum of information communicable through our little personal profiles.

Click here to read their gist on the location tagging, sharing, and caring.

But all that really matters when the boots hit the ground, is that it’s all about monetizing these digital connections with our customers

3 Ways Location Based Services Like Foursquare & Facebook Help Recruit New Local CustomersWe need to crowdsource to sow positive online reviews, and broadcast digital word of mouth about our business; and our customers are the crowd.

We must enable them to easily help build our digital small business footprint by actively communicating their online review in their location-based service of choice.

By empowering and possibly incentivizing customers to use these online neighborhoods and join the party, we are immediately communicating the cutting-edge coolness message, along with simply planting another digital signature within an already expansive – and location-based – network.

A check-in goes hand in hand with an online review…and there’s no sense checking in anywhere if people can’t blab something into the social stratosphere, right?

Sign up for these location-based services and add a few more places to elicit, collect, and syndicate positive digital word of mouth.

Any other ideas for additional location-based websites in which to list our local businesses?

Link to Website

Sign up for Foursquare; get an incoming link to our website. Done.

To simplify things, incoming links are a good thing for online visibility as it relates to your website being found when people search for targeted keywords.

The more trusted and highly trafficked incoming links, the better.

Quality, relevance, age, and content all matter when it comes to beneficial incoming links to our small business website, but generally most business owners will only be linking from community specific sites, maybe local schools, some suppliers and manufacturers, or local chambers of commerce.

BTW – any link we can get from our alma mater’s website to our humble little San Diego small business website is a decidedly valuable proposition.

Same goes for your local chamber of commerce or BBB.

Online Visibility

This one goes back to the online reputation management equation, the good defense being the best offense conundrum.

Enrolling our local businesses in these socially adept, digitally connected, online neighborhoods will immediately increase our digital footprint of our local business.

And if we’re effective at executing a simple easy to follow social media plan, we can amplify our existing customer’s digital word of mouth!

Aside from the incoming link to our websites, just having these listings or profiles controlled by the business owner (or suitable proxy) – and the location – allows obscure search engines like say, Google, to go ahead and add another check mark to our digital trust dossier.

Here’s a bonus, this stuff is free. As in no cost to initiate, manage, update, administrate, and procreate.

Let’s hear the negative; launch cruise missiles of doubt and despair at will.

Hear about a story where Foursquare ruined a local business?

Have a friend who almost lost control when customers starting squawking away on Facebook?

Please share with the group…however small it may be at present.

The only way local San Diego small business owners can learn how to effectively navigate digital marketing avenues, is by dead reckoning or GPS.

Who is plotting your location-based services waypoint on your digital marketing course?