Are you confused by all the Local Internet Marketing options? You are not alone…
The typical small business owner does not have the time or expertise to effectively manage all the Local Internet Marketing investment options.
Not only are there more numerous, more complex, directory relationships, but pace of the fragmentation in the marketplace is outpacing everyone’s attention span.
How is a small business owner supposed to keep track of all the different ways to promote their business? Directories, Internet Yellow Pages, Search Engine Optimization, Pay per click Marketing, Blogging, Social Networking, Mobile Advertising, Hyperlocal Advertising Sites–as well as Web Design Issues, Marketing Experiments, ROI Analytics, and all the other time-consuming issues of running a Local Internet Marketing program.
This is the primary reason so many 3rd-party providers have jumped into the Local Internet Marketing game over the past few years. There is a void to fill. And there’s a desire on the part of small business owners to hand off this business of Local Internet Marketing to a trusted advisor.
So who ‘s the Local Internet Marketing Expert?
So who’s the expert in Local Internet Marketing? Your Web Design guy? The local SEO expert? How about the Local Phone Company? Your Local Newspaper? The Company that publishes your Tax Software? Because all of these people also claim to be your best Local Internet Marketing Expert. If everyone is a Local Internet Marketing Expert, the problem is: “Who do you trust?”
Whoever you choose to help you–here are a 7 Things Every Small Business Owner Should Do to launch a Local Internet Marketing program, obtain greater visibility, and drive business through the door. I’m going to share some of the things I have done and that I do to help me drive business for myself, and hopefully by doing that, you’ll pick up an idea or two that will help you with your business.
7 Ideas Every Small Business Owner Should Do to Achieve Success in Local Internet Marketing
1. Claim your Directory Listings
All of your contact information should be consistent on Google, Yahoo, Bing, Best of the Web, Yelp, and the Mobile Directories.
At the very least, you should include your business name, address, phone number, your main keyphrases that someone would type in a search engine to find you, and include links back to your website or blog. Also make sure your Google Map is up-to-date. Luckily you can do this all in one place with a Universal Business Listing.
2. Create a web presence
You can create a free website at WordPress.com. Or Weebly.com. Or even better, get a designer to create a self-hosted WordPress website with a pre-built theme customized to match your logo. You can take a pre-built theme, make it your own, and have a website you can be proud of for a relatively small investment. While you’re at it, create a Facebook Page for your business, and a Company Profile on Linked-in, because these days they’re all connected.
Even then, keep it simple. Regarding your website design, all people want to know is: “Who are you?” “What do you offer?” And “Why should I trust you?” Unless you have an ecommerce website and are selling lots of things online, or you’re selling something very complicated, a simple 5 page website plus a blog should suffice for most small businesses.
Small Business Tip: If you already have a web presence, make sure that it’s easy to optimize your website to get traction with the search engines. Maybe you don’t need a new website, when a simple SEO Makeover with On-page Search Engine Optimization would suffice. If you want to add blogging capability, maybe it’s time for a do-over anyway.
3. Create a Special Offer for New Customers
Keeping your pipeline filled, and new customers are the lifeblood of any small business.
Restaurants regularly offer 50% off one item for new customers, or an appetizer for free with a minimum purchase. Hair stylists offer a free color with a hair style for new customers.
Do you have an offer especially designed for new customers? Use the offer in conjunction with a Groupon, or a FourSquare program.
If you structure your offer correctly you should have no problem driving new customers through your door.
4. Optimize your Website
One of the best ways to maximize the results of your Local Internet Marketing is by optimizing your website for local keywords, for example: Your Product/Service > Your City, Region, State, Zip Code. Also you can add a list of the local communities or municipalities in your service region at the footer of your website to drive additional local traffic. The trick to getting top spots in the search engines is to create pages with high keyword densities (the proportion of the number of times one keyword phrase is used to the total number of words in the page: 3-4% is a very good number to aim for).
I have optimized my website, and in the image below, I’m showing you a top-view screen shot of my Google Analytics Web Statistics from the last 30 Days, so you can see how this is working for me, and how I use it.
As you can see from my Web Stats, my main keyword phrases are: “Direct Marketing Consultant” and “Small Business Marketing” in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. If you looked at the rest of my stats you’d see that I get small “long tail” hits for every combination of those keywords, as well as some great traffic from some my more popular recent blog posts, like “How to Build a Great Website” and “How to Create a Better Linked-in Profile.”
Small Business Insight: I’m also getting a lot of unintended and undesired traffic for how to make an *c-h-e-a-p* (sic) small business website, because in my most popular recent blog post “How to create a great website,” I used the word *c-h-e-a-p* (sic) twice. So now I need to think about a way for me to rephrase that to take advantage of the current traffic, and instead of that undesirable word, use the word “low budget,” which I could actually turn to my favor: small business owners who have a little bit of budget to create a website.
5. Get Other Influential Sites to Link Back to Yours
Your search ranking is determined not only by the web optimization and the quality of the content on your website, but also who links back to you. A great way to create back links is to sign up for local directories, to submit your blogs and articles to other influential websites (like Ezinearticles.com and Bizsugar.com), and to comment on other influential blogs in your area. You’ll see I’ve got some nice traffic coming from BizSugar.com, Linkedin.com, Smallbiztrends.com, and Twitter.com. It all adds up!
Small Business Tip: Linked-in and Facebook are influential sites. Two great ways you can control getting other influential sites to link back to yours are by Optimizing your Linked in Profile and Gaining Likes on your Facebook Page for Business.
6. Create a Small-budget Pay per click Marketing Campaign
Pay per click gives you additional insights into what’s working and what’s not working. Start with $100 or $200 per month on Google Adwords, Yahoo Search, Microsoft Ad Center, and/or Facebook. The trick to Pay per Click is to create a separate landing page for each logical grouping of keywords. The investment will quickly pay off (quickly meaning you can start gettting hits today). Pay per click Marketing is a great way to augment your organic (free) search traffic.
7. Measure your results
Why is it that so few companies measure their results? Google Analytics is Free. WordPress.com Stats is Free. Increasingly, your company website is the focal point through which you can measure the results of your marketing. Each of these tools provides great insights that will help you improve your traffic and your inquiries and sales.
So that’s my bare bones strategy for Local Internet Marketing Success. Whomever you choose to work with to help you with your Local Internet Marketing, it’s going to require some real work, and if anyone tells you it’s easy, then maybe they’re not telling you the whole story.
Every small business owner should be doing each of these things simultaneously, and start doing them now!