With beautiful scenery nearby, the mighty Columbia river bordering the South edge, and no personal income tax for Washington residents, Vancouver has become a popular spot for new business owners to open up shop. For most businesses today, having an Internet presence and online marketing is almost mandatory, and Clark county businesses are no exception. There are some pitfalls and issues to be aware of though, if you wish to market your Vancouver business online.
The proximity to Oregon is one of the chief geographical distinctions that can affect your online marketing presence. Web surfers searching for your particular kind of business are likely to be overrrun by offers from Portland, since it is the closest metropolitan city and most online searches display results based on the searcher’s geographic location, That is why you often see advertisements for Portland businesses even when you did not include the city name in your search. The fact that Oregon does not have a sales tax puts Washington businesses that sell physical goods at a distinct disadvantage, particularly since shoppers can cross the state border on I-5 or I-205 just as easily as they can drive to downtown Vancouver. Professional service businesses in Washington (for example, attorneys or doctors) are less affected by the sales tax discrepancy, but still must deal with the larger number of competitors in the city of Portland.
One of the major unique challenges facing Vancouver Washington businesses in their quest to market online is actually the city name itself, Vancouver. As residents well know, we share a name with one of the largest cities in Canada. This makes it extremely difficult to rank for searches that include the city name, and causes confusion to local residents searching for Vancouver businesses, only to be bombarded with ads for companies from the country to our North. For example, a search in Google for “Vancouver attorney” results in a list that includes mostly Canadian attorneys (called “barristers” there).
Oftentimes, looking at the telephone prefix is the only way to determine which “Vancouver” the business is actually in. If you wish to market your small business online, make sure to be aware of this overlap, and always clearly identify that your firm is located in the United States on your website to avoid confusion from potential clients. If you are looking for a Vancouver attorney to help you incorporate your new business,
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