Local Business Marketing Musts!

Local consumers are going online to find local businesses. It is important to have an Internet presence in order to gain new and to keep existing business. 82 percent of local consumers use search engines to find local businesses.
Traditional marketing doesn’t work anymore. The fact of the matter is that the marketing techniques that worked for local businesses to reach their market in the past (even just a few years ago) are no longer working. This means the “old school”, Yellow Pages ads, newspapers and other types of hard copy advertising are simply not bringing in business, because people simply don’t use them anymore.

Local businesses that are still using those “old school” outdated forms of advertising are throwing away thousands and thousands of dollars on ineffective marketing every month. If you are one of those people still investing in such ads just stop, and then ask 10 people where their copy of the Yellow Pages is. Or I can save you the effort. They put it in the recycling bin shortly after it landed by the front door.

Consumers are looking more and more to the Internet to find information about the local services and products they are looking for. So if local businesses want to reach new customers they must have a quality Internet presence. And that does not mean just a lame website that a kid could have put together!

Ideally your blog will be part of your website. Yes, I don’t care what your business is, you need to blog about your business. Write about your industry, your talent, your services, and promote it in all your social media networks. Blogging not only helps increase awareness of your business, but you will learn more within your field (become an expert!)

The smartphone is the new yellow pages and mobile search, as a percentage of total Web traffic continues to increase. Experts predict that mobile usage will overtake desktop usage by 2014. Local business thrive on mobile searches as conversion rates searching on local terms are higher. This being the case your website must be optimized for mobile and is easy to use. If your website appears cluttered and loads slow, they will move on to your competitor.

Be sure to use Analytics, the best, free analytics tool on the Web is Google Analytics. It takes less than two minutes to sign up and implement the code, and you can start collecting Web traffic data immediately. Data includes number of Web visitors, how long they browse your site, where the visitors are located, and how they arrived at your site.

In addition to your website, Adding your local business to Google+ Local is the next must for a local business to implement. More people search for local businesses online more than anywhere else, and adding your website and business information to the Google local business directory can help. And the best part is it’s free and simple.

When you are establishing an internet presence for your local business, another must is to spread the word about your local business through social networks. Sign up to the business pages of Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to promote your business to your friends and network. Make sure set up your free Facebook Fan (business) page to use to promote your local business with out violating the terms and conditions of your Facebook account.

When properly implemented, blogging, can be a game changer for your business. However, you can’t simply throw caution to the wind and hope everything plays out the way you’re wishing. Instead, you must devise a blogging strategy that uses the best resources of what today’s technology has to offer.

The Benefits of Having a Business Blog

A business blog can be one of the best ways to increase your customer base. There are many benefits to having a blog.

  • Your business blog can boost your reputation as an expert: Customers want to do business with people who are experts in their industry. So by demonstrating you are knowledgeable  and sharing insights about the products and/or services you offer, your business blog can have an impact far beyond having a static website. Having a blog on your website is a terrific way to provide tips and teach visitors about your industry.

 

  • Having a blog gives you more pages to talk about products and services: Having a blog on your website allows you the room to provide more information about the products and/or services you offer.  your blog should be a safe haven of insight and advice not a sales pitch. They expect sales from your other output.

 

  •  A blog on your website helps customers find you with SEO:  Each blog post can represents a new page of searchable content. If you only have a few pages on your website talking about your company and products and/or services, it is likely to mean you have about as many chances at a search ranking. If you have 50 pages about your company and products and/or services, that gives me 50 separate pages that can be indexed.

 

  • Sharing your content: Blog content allows people the ability to share that content with others. Content on static website pages are rarely ever shared. Be carful not to go overboard with keywords in your content. Because blogging allows you to create sharable, linkable content that can help your SEO efforts, many people stuff a post with keywords to help their search engine rankings. Yes, we know you want to rank for certain keywords, but you want to make sure your content is actually worth reading too. Not only will search engines smell spam, your readers won’t be inclined to share such a post.

Blogs are ideal content for sharing through social media. People love to share ideas and useful information on social media. If you have a look at your Facebook or Twitter right now, chances are you will find at least one blog share without scrolling at all. You will not find any shared ads! You don’t even need to look, you know it’s zero. The only ads that appear in social timelines are the sponsored ads. People don’t share advertisements. But they will share an interesting or engaging blog post.

Keep in mind, with online content marketing you are building a complex and long-standing infrastructure that, will grow with time and effort. As important as quality relevant content is also consistency in posting new quality relevant content.

When properly implemented, blogging, can be a game changer for your business. However, you can’t simply throw caution to the wind and hope everything plays out the way you’re wishing. Instead, you must devise a blogging strategy that uses the best resources of what today’s technology has to offer.

Statistically Your Social Media Marketing Efforts for your Business are a Waste of Your Time.

Most business owners I talk with, that use social media for their business, tell me their social media marketing efforts are not profitable and a waste of their time. Almost all of them are managing your social media marketing efforts themselves or have an employee handle it.

Some businesses are in denial about the need to truly embrace social media. Research finds that 72% of businesses that use social media do not have a clear set of goals or a clear strategy for their social media platforms. Some businesses, apparently are not convinced that social media is anything more than a fad or a temporary phenomenon and are unwilling to invest the time and/or resources to acquire the knowledge to manage their social media activities correctly to achieve positive results or make the investment to hire professionals to manage it for them.

Seriously I am really talking to Businesses that still don’t have a Facebook Business Page.

I can’t believe I am still running into some businesses that don’t have a Facebook business page.
Recently I was talking on the phone with a business owner and asked if her social media marketing activities were profitable for her business. Her response was not at all. She has a Facebook business page she said but it was just a waste of time. While we were talking about the details of  her social media marketing activity I was searching for her companies Facebook business page, what I found was just an account in the companies name, no business page.
Your personal page is not a place for your business posts, no wonder she had no results, most of her friends probably blocked her posts so no message was getting out.
Promoting your business on your personal page ( even if it’s your companies name personal page ) is only going to irate your friends and they will hide your posts or unfriend you so they don’t have to see your posts anymore. You end up posting and only you can see them.
With a Facebook business page you can promote your business with integrity as those friends, prospects, customers and anyone else that likes your Facebook business page will see your posts in their news feed but they know it is a business page and expect that, and are ok with that, so they will not be upset with you.

A well run Facebook business page will reflect well on your business but an abandoned page with unanswered questions, comments and few updates can reflect very poorly. Some things to keep in mind when manageing your Facebook business page:

 

  • Stop thinking social is just for marketing people.

A company that tries to keep social confined to Marketing is going to miss out on the big picture. Probably one of the most exciting things going on in the social media right  now  is  how we are on the verge of expanding social across every facet of the organization as a core communications tool. In any area that involves interaction between people, social is relevant and makes sense as an efficient tool for that interaction.

  • You better start to acknowledge that social is going mobile.

Even while many businesses continue to argue over the need for and value of social media at all, a second revolution has been well underway that’s likely leave any company still interacting socially like then did 20 (or even 5 ) years ago several steps behind. And that is the shift of social usage to mobile devices. Effective campaigns, design and content should be crafted with mobile in mind. The customer is showing you where they want to engage and you as a company are absent, you are already losing and may not even realize it yet.

  • Don’t fear change

There’s the fear social will be a passing fad. Yes, it is true that individual platforms may come and go, but human beings have always used available technology to connect and always will.

  • Don’t fail to resource social

As I mentioned many businesses proudly tell me they’re doing social, but as I dig deeper I find a different story. Most companies have approached social with varying levels of seriousness, but that seriousness can usually be directly measured by the financial and human resources allocated to it. One of the biggest, and most common mistakes I see small business social media marketing, do it your selfers make is they have no consistency in their posts.  If you post an update on your Facebook business page, “whenever you remember to” or “whenever you have time to” you’re going to have a problem with engagement. And don’t make the mistake of being too self promotional! Just update your business page wall with news relevant to your industry or relevant to living in your area. You have to understand that social media marketing is not like the “old school” marketing ways of years ago (traditional media ex: tv newspaper etc) and that your Facebook business page isn’t a big commercial for your business in the traditional “interruption marketing” sense. People hate those pages with passion and block their updates.

Don’t make these mistakes, if you don’t have the time or resources to do your social media marketing yourself, then we can help you with your social media marketing.

Next year 47.3 percent of big businesses will be spending more on social media and digital marketing in local neighborhoods. Small businesses owners, take heed and figure something out!

Social Media Dead Already?

It’s clear to me that the way that we communicate and share information as a culture has definitively changed. As such, social media is dead simply because EVERYTHING is social media.
Even if you have no mobile device, and you decide that you don’t want to participate in social media, chances are that someone has photographed you with a mobile device and that image is on Facebook. Case in point: my parents are 74 years old, the only 2 people I personally know without a Facebook account, but their pictures are on Facebook, they are talked about on Facebook. And if you own a business the chances of social media happening to your brand are even greater. The question is are you involved in the conversion or are you not even aware of what is being said?
It’s 2012, there are over 1 Billion people on Facebook, the average Facebook user is 40.5 years of age. Twitter generates 1.6billion search queries per day. I think it is safe to say your customers and prospective customers are there. Are you?
Most business owners I talk with, when thinking about social media are constantly looking at outbound social efforts. Only concerning themselves with lead generation. But listening to what customers are saying about your brand on social media channels is critical. Your company better be listening to what customers are saying on social media channels, because customers aren’t saying things anywhere else.

So does the future hold for social media? Social media will be bigger than websites, call centers and become the number-two way to engage customers (the number one way is still sales reps).

Social media is dead simply, because everything is social media now. We’re surrounded by social media every day in every way. Your business will either actively engage in this phenomenon or become obsolete. You’ve been warned.

If you don’t have the time or resources to cross promote your business through email marketing, Facebook  advertising and social media marketing yourself, then we can help you with your social media marketing and cross promoting though varies channels

Most Small Business Internet Marketing Campaigns Fail to Deliver a Positive ROI (Return on Investment)

90% of small businesses are on FaceBook, 70% are on Twitter, yet most owners of small businesses say their  Internet marketing campaigns fail to deliver a positive ROI (Return on Investment)

“Does your small business have a social media marketing strategy that takes time and effort but find you are in the same boat?

If your business puts more time, effort and money into its social media than the returns warrant, then it’s time to reconsider your internet marketing strategy. Don’t be afraid to make bold changes regarding your social media strategy.
Like any business activity, social media marketing needs to provide some sort of return – don’t  waste resources on it simply because everyone else is doing.
Ultimately, a poorly implemented and ineffective social marketing strategy is a waste of time and money.

I am not advocating that small business dumps social media marketing. What I do suggest is, given that the majority of all Internet traffic still originates with search and that mobile is expected to outstrip PC Internet access in the next year or so, my advice is small businesses, focus on building a high quality content based Web presence by blogging, video, podcasts, etc.and use social media to share, and tweet about your new posts and present interesting facts to your friends, followers.
By focusing on creating high quality content, not only will you build high quality organic traffic from the search engines, you will also be in a position to demonstrate your authority and build trust.
Almost all the business owners I speak with on a daily basis that say they are not having any or little success with social media marketing are attempting to do it themselves, and as a general rule because of time limitations are very inconstant and in many cases are simply doing it wrong which is doing them more harm than good.
Most business owners today understand the importance of having a social media marketing strategy, Facebook has become a home to 1 billion users and brands are well aware of the fact that their target audience is spending a lot of time here. but social media marketing can be very time consuming

Facebook marketing success for example is not easy and has become more difficult than it was one or two years ago. Some reasons for that are:

First of all, social media users are more experienced in using social networks than they were a couple years ago.Too many posts, photos and comments are often the a reason why users now carefully choose how they spend time online (with friends and engaging with brands). There is trend of unlikes right after a Facebook contest on particular fan pages is over. This means that brand must be more creative in their approach and plan for other strategies with attractive awards.

Secondly, People use social media as a place to connect with friends. Most of them do not want to hear about products promotions and watch advertisements. Companies cannot and should not apply the same tactics as in the traditional “old school” marketing.

What do you think, you can develop a great strategy to sustain valuable social media presence on your own? If you don’t have the time or resources to do your social media marketing yourself, then we can help you with your social media marketing.

What a Business Needs for Online Marketing Success.

As a business owner in this century you know you need to market your business online, While it may seem a bit overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be that way! There are 3 basic components you need as part of your online marketing strategy to support your business growth.

You must have a website for your business. Your website should be the hub of your online activity, this is where you want your traffic to ultimately be driven to. Your website is like a salesperson that generates leads for you around the clock. A good site will make it clear what products or services you provide, and the talents and expertise that you have to offer ( your website is where you brag and boost ).
Of course your website needs be optimized for search engines and online marketing. This requires understanding what your users are searching for, as well as making sure that your website can be viewed on mobile devices. Unfortunately, many websites that look good don’t function as effectively as they can.

You must use Content Marketing. One of the most important components necessary to make your website an effective online marketing hub will be your content, delivering content that is relevant to your prospects. Content can be video, podcasts or business blog. In order to achieve the most SEO benefit and building long term relationship with your prospects and customers new content should be delivered regularly and constantly. I know delivering new content regularly can seem overwhelming.
The best to develop new is to address the questions that your current and prospective clients continually ask you. What are the questions that come up most often?  Addressing questions and issuers people have gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise by addressing these questions and issues.
When you’re writing your business blog, address one issue per post. Choose one or two keywords or phrases (preferably long tail keywords) to focus on in each blog post or resource. Don’t try to cram every keyword in every article.
You must also have Social Media presence.  Social media should be used to share  via  social networks every time you have created new content,  In addition to announcing your latest content, you can update social media sites with helpful relevant, quick tips and links to more information on your site. The goal for your social media activities is to connect with your audience and drive traffic back to your website ( social media is not where you brag and boost or sell products or services) .
People are far more likely to trust a peer recommendation than advertising. According to a Neilsen study, “90% of consumers trust a testimonial from a peer. Compare that to just 14% of consumers who trust advertisements.” Use that to your advantage by encouraging interaction with your company on social media.
Don’t let overwhelm deter you from creating an effective online marketing presence!  You must have a good website, regular, consistent relevant content and social marketing to support your business growth.
There are resources available to help you.

SEO or PPC, Which is Better?

Google’s latest Penguin update brought the hammer down on websites, including legitimate websites, fairly hard making PPC look attractive but is SEO is a better long term solution.
Small businesses understand the fundamental challenges that go hand in hand with SEO, the ever-changing Google algorithms, and the threat of  on their site— affecting their rankings and, as a result, the livelihood of their business. PPC may look to be the “quick fix” for a company, right, with measured results right at your fingertips?
Of course, if you’re looking for short-term success, allocating your budget toward PPC is the way to go.
However, what are your business’  long term goals?
I believe PPC should be used for short term success, until your SEO is successful enough to cut back on the PPC program.
I feel strongly  content marketing by blogging for SEO is the answer for small business the majority of the time. It’s much more cost-effective—most of the time—and provides longer term value.

One of the main goals of online content marketing by blogging, is to drive quality traffic to your website. Traffic that is more likely to convert into leads and eventually sales. This is possible by providing quality content that is useful, content that solves a problem. At the end of the day, the whole point of sales is need fulfillment. Providing your target audience relevant quality content online, is merely a more efficient way.
Keep in mind, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Blogging takes time. SEO results from online content marketing takes time. If your expecting to see immediate results from blogging you’re in for a rude awakening. Keep in mind, with online content marketing you are building a complex and long-standing infrastructure that, will grow with time and effort. As important as quality relevant content is also consistency in posting new quality relevant content.

When properly implemented, online content marketing by blogging, can be a game changer for your business. However, you can’t simply throw caution to the wind and hope everything plays out the way you’re wishing. Instead, you must devise a blogging strategy that uses the best resources of what today’s technology has to offer.

Whats Your Content Marketing Missing?

Content marketing, is more than the latest buzzword. It’s a way to increase traffic to your website and convert to new customers. The reason blogs might position better than a standard website to increase traffic is because blogs are modified ( new content added) more often than full websites. Search Engines love to discover new content, so their interest in your website may be powerful due to the new content you are making available.
Keeping it simple is probably the best advice and for that reason this post is short and sweet on the topic of how to ensure your great content attracts, engages and converts.
Content marketing requires a great deal of effort if you are doing it right. Constantly coming up with new, fresh topics, certainly isn’t the easiest thing in the universe to constantly come up with new topics about which to write, especially if you write as you should, on a regular basis. One of the best ways to approach the writing and coming up with new topics is that you pay attention to what other people are discussing online. Another is to address questions or concerns your encounter on a daily bases talking with prospects and customers.
Effective content marketing is really about creating information that’s useful for specific audiences and with certain outcomes in mind.  While context is often satisfied, the question of finding it is usually underestimated. I’m talking about optimizing for search engines. There are also promotion channels such as email, cross linking from existing content, Facebook advertising and social media marketing.  Are you creating content that’s so good, people will want to share it with others? Have you made it easy for them to share?
If you don’t have the time or resources to cross promote your business through email marketing, Facebook  advertising and social media marketing yourself, then we can help you with your social media marketing and cross promoting though varies channels

Do You Know How Much Business You are Losing By Not Blogging?

An awesome website that no one sees, is a waste of time and money no matter how nice it looks. But you can do something about that.
You may be like one of the dozens of business owners I talk to every week that have a website that is not providing them Leads, at least not enough to justify what the site costs them.

Now that I got you in a bad mood, why don’t you do something about that cyber brochure out there that you call a website, that can actually help your business. Sounds like an SEO problem. Which is nothing a little blogging can’t help. And yes it can help. According to Marketing Charts “Blogs are the single most important inbound marketing tool. “When asked to rank the importance of the services they use, 25% of users rated their company blog as critical to their business, while a further 56% considered them either important (34%) or useful (22%)” for a total of 81%”.  Social Media B2B reported “B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms”.

Yes blogging can help you get more traffic to your website. The reason blogs might position better than a standard website to increase traffic is because blogs are modified more often than full websites. Search Engines love to discover new content, so their interest in your website may be powerful due to the new content you are making available. It is common for a business blog to actually outperform a main business website with regards to SEO positions simply because there is more new content to consider and that often results in improved trust and rank position. Ideally you should have your blog on your website.

The Biggest Social Media Mistakes Small Businesses Make!

Despite social media marketing now being an essential part of the marketing mix, some small businesses don’t believe their business can benefit from it, so they do nothing. Big Mistake!
A Manta survey of 600 small business owners across the United States indicates “that 90% are actively engaged in social networking sites and 74% perceive social networking as valuable — if not more valuable — than networking in-person.”
According to another recent analysis of more than 300 Chicago-based news sites, Facebook and Twitter drive more than half of all referred visits for small business sites, three times the percentage of larger sites.

Many of the small businesses I talk to say they were or are having limited or no success with social media, whenever a business owner responds in this way almost 100% of the time they are trying to do their social media marketing themselves instead of hiring a professional to manage their social media for them. I find the reason for their limited success trying to do it themselves is a result of many mistakes they are making. Some of the more common mistakes are:
They are using a Facebook personal profile for a business and that is wrong and against the terms and conditions on Facebook. That Facebook account can be deleted at any time. Personal profiles are for people, not for businesses. Period. Facebook allows you to create for free a business page that you are allowed to use for your business so there is a way to promote your business on Facebook, the right way.
So if you have been using a personal profile page for your business, well sorry but all those “friends” you’ve generated for that profile? Well, you’re going to have to do your best to get their attention and get them to “like” your new business page. No time to do that? We can help.

Another problem with many of these small businesses social media marketing activities is the content they post on Facebook. People are on Facebook to see cool stuff.  Period.
Facebook users don’t care if you added a new Terms of Service page to your website.  They don’t care if you just surpassed your sales goal this quarter or the details of all the houses you have listed. Facebook users care about whatever is trending and local news that is relevant to them, useful and worth sharing. Make your status updates on your business page relevant, some how, some way.  Again, Facebook doesn’t care if you get completely ignored.  Post status updates and links to boring, irrelevant stuff, and you’ll simply be hidden by the majority of your fans.

One of the biggest, and most common mistakes I see small business social media marketing do it your selfers make is they have no consistency in their posts.  If you post an update on your Facebook business page, “whenever you remember to” or “whenever you have time to” you’re going to have a problem with engagement. And don’t make the mistake of being too self promotional! Just update your business page wall with news relevant to your industry or relevant to living in your area. You have to understand that social media marketing is not like the “old school” marketing ways of years ago (traditional media ex: tv newspaper etc) and that your Facebook business page isn’t a big commercial for your business in the traditional “interruption marketing” sense. People hate those pages with passion and block their updates.

Don’t make these mistakes, if you don’t have the time or resources to do your social media marketing yourself, then we can help you with your social media marketing.