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Local businesses that are still using those “old school” outdated forms of advertising are throwing away thousands and thousands of dollars on ineffective marketing every month.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.

A Secret Weapon for Local SEO

More and more businesses are finding, local SEO is about ongoing, consistent online promotion activities. That’s where blogging comes in.
So how is blogging a secret weapon? It is because, many local businesses still are not blogging, so use of it as a search engine optimization tactic is still something of a secret weapon.
Many local businesses in highly competitive categories have already done the straightforward things for optimizing their businesses to rank for local. They may have optimized their websites,obtained back links, optimized their business profiles, created a Facebook Fan page, Google + Local ( Google Places), business directory listings, and more.
Since the majority of these local businesses are doing essentially the same activities, they end up barely trumping the listings just below them in Google local search results, and they may often be  jostling back and forth, month after month, for the same slots.
But, if one of these local businesses begins blogging consistently, that business may rapidly become top dog, having an advantage that the non-blogging businesses lose out on. Blogging gives some distinct advantages, and can become a secret weapon that may allow the first company using blogging to develop a lead that may be difficult for the other non-blogging businesses to quickly imitate.

Blogging also provides a “hub” for developing your social media presence! Blogging is a perfect tool for feeding content out onto Twitter, LinkedIn, your Facebook Fan page and Google + and other social media sites. You can use it to actually reduce your workload by simply adding content in one place and having it show up in your various social media pages if that’s what you want.

Keep in mind, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Blogging takes time. SEO results from blogging 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, 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.

4 Reasons Why Your Social Media Marketing May Be Hurting Your Business!

If mistakes are made with your social media marketing campaign it can easily hurt your business instead of helping. Social media is in real time, so it could happen much faster than word of mouth of the last century.
Since 97% of consumers now use the Internet to research products or services in their local area, local businesses realize it is critical for them to  build awareness of themselves and their company online resulting in most local businesses have embraced social media marketing as a way to connect with more customers and prospects and to drive promotions.
A recent survey of 600 small businesses by Manta that found “nearly 90% of them were dedicating time to social media, Manta also found that many small businesses were overwhelmed by the multitude of social media channels available. With Facebook, for example, 58% of small businesses surveyed said they struggle to find value in having a Facebook page”.

So if you’re using social media for marketing, what can go wrong? How might you be hurting your business rather than helping it grow? Here are four mistakes to avoid hurting your business.

  • Your Spamming

I am amazed at how many local businesses I come across that are using a personal page to do social media marketing for their business instead of creating a Facebook business page to post about their business. I have to wonder how many of the 58% survived that said they were struggling posting on a personal page instead of a Facebook business page. Posting about your business on a personal facebook page is a sure fire way to get your “friends” to unfreind you or to simply hide all your posts ( maybe only you can see your posts, no wonder they can’t see any value) or worse yet you could get a spam warning from facebook risking having your account shut down. This could be avoided if created a Facebook business page for your local business.

  • You have the wrong person doing your social media marketing.

Letting an inexperienced person manage your social media marketing is not a good idea. It’s downright irresponsible. Just because your brothers son may be a college student who grew up with computers and has 2000 facebook friends on his personal page does not make him a good candidate, unless he is majoring in marketing in college of course. For best results, you need a team of trained marketing professionals who understand social media and marketing, preferably digital marketing. If you don’t have the time or resources in house then outsource your social media marketing.

  • Your posts Lack consistency

I have talked with many owners of local businesses that have set up a social media profile and launch programs that start out well but then abruptly end because they lack the time to be consistent and drop the ball. Social media users say a company’s social media activities make the company appear “accessible and responsive”. A businesses lack of consistency in their social media activities can make any company look bad fast, it conveys the impression to prospects and customers that the company is neither organized nor committed, to either social media or the company’s fan base.

  • Your Overposting!

Sometimes less is better when it comes to Facebook. Keep in mind that all your posts on your Facebook business page show up on your fans personal newfeed after they like your Facebook business page, people get frustrated and annoyed by constant posts. According to an article from the social business: “One-to-two posts a day is more effective than fewer or more posts per day. One or two brand posts receive 32% higher “like” rates and 73% higher comment rates compared to posting 3 or more times a day.”

Don’t let your mistakes made with your social media marketing campaign hurt your business instead of helping. Since your customers and prospects are using social media, your business needs to be consistently involved in social media. Bottom line, you need to do social media marketing, but you need to do social media marketing right!
If you don’t have the time or resources to do your social media marketing in house, then outsource your social media marketing.

Searches on Smart Phones bring in the Customers!

Facebook now has 955 million users, according to Socialbakers, 54% of users access Facebook via mobile.
Over 70% of social media users are likely to seek the opinions of others before buying goods or services, and over half of them have changed their minds as a result of those opinions.
72% of marketers plan to increase their marketing on Facebook in 2012 as part of their online marketing statagies. What are you doing?
Local business searches on smart phones can bring in customers, are you getting your share?
According to a survey done by xAD and Telmetrics titled “mobile path to purchase” 89% of smart phone users and 84% of tablet users searching for restaurants take action within 24 hours while 64% and 44% make a decision within an hour.
Bottom line is over half of the smart phone, tablet users made a purchase within 24 hours.
The survey also reported Local Directory apps are most popular for Restaurant and Automotive with Smart phone users, while branded websites were most popular with Tablet users.
The important things to take away here are your websites need to be mobile viewable, you need to be on social media, and you need to be in local business directories as part of your online marketing strategies.