It’s 2014 and no longer is it a question of whether a local business needs a website. Not only do local businesses need high quality, up-to-date websites, but there must also be a solid Internet marketing campaign put in place in order to compete with other local businesses. Ten years ago when many business owners rejected the idea of having a website it opened the doors for those who did to dominate and grow their businesses; oftentimes without ever having to do much marketing work outside of creating the site itself.
Fast-forward to today where acronyms such as SEO and PPC are pretty much known by anyone remotely involved in the business or tech world. The reality in today’s world is that in most local niches if a business owner wants to show up at the top of search engines and spread word of their business they will need to engage in Internet marketing.
This leaves business owners two options:
Speaking of goals and objectives what are they and why are they so important when it comes to Internet marketing.
Websites are created to serve a purpose. Is that purpose to make it easier for pre-existing customers to interact with your business, or is that purpose to attract new potential customers who are online searching for help?
This information is crucial to setting up an Internet marketing campaign successfully.
Is the site intended for new customer acquisition? Or lead generation? Perhaps a business simply needs further branding in the local community, or maybe to lower sales resistance. All these things play a huge factor in how one will go about setting up their campaign online.
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Once a goal is defined how does one go about getting these potential customers to their website?
Traffic is the key to online success, and not only just traffic but TARGETED traffic! Would you rather get 100 visitors a day from people somewhat interested in yours service? Or would you rather get 10 visitors with strong BUYER intent?
The most effective source of targeted traffic comes through the medium of “search”. To give an example of targeted traffic with buyer intent vs. research based traffic lets compare two search terms.
Since iGreen Marketing is located in South Florida lets use a local example. Let’s say this imaginary business is a family care doctor and they are located in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The two keywords to compare are “family care doctor” vs “family care doctor fort Lauderdale”.
The first keyword phrase would be considered a top-level keyword, thus it will generate more traffic, and also be much more difficult for a local business to rank for. The reason it will be more difficult is that it is a keyword that can be competed for on a national or global level.
This means assuming a local family care doctor in Fort Lauderdale did achieve a #1 ranking for the keyword they would be getting a lot of traffic, however this traffic would come from people all over the country; considering they are a local business that serves people living in the South Florida community, getting visitors from Arkansas or Texas really serves no purpose.
Let’s assume instead they ranked #1 for the second keyword in comparison. This keyword phrase would no doubt get substantially less traffic as typically only someone would type in that phrase if they live in or around the greater Fort Lauderdale area.
The first phrase may potentially drives hundreds or more visitors each and every day from ALL over the country; meanwhile the second may drive only 5 visitors a day.
The key difference is those five visitors may all turn into new patients for that practice. What situation would you rather be in? Most savvy business owners would say the latter!
So how does one go about getting local targeted search traffic?
SEM can be further broken down into two categories A) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and B) Pay Per Click (PPC).
Both have their benefits in driving potential customers to local businesses. Lets start with SEO.
Search engine optimization is the art of getting a website to rank in the “top ten” of Google’s organic results (top ten means the non-paid ads, that are always on top usually with a darkened background). No one can pay Google or any other search engine to rank #1 organically, instead an active targeted SEO campaign is what is needed.
With most local businesses their SEO efforts will be targeting “localized organic” search terms, such as the “family care doctor ft Lauderdale” example used above. Not only will the localized organic traffic be easier to rank for, but also, it will be very targeted and offer higher conversion into leads/customers.
The most popular form of PPC is Google Adwords. Google ads are displayed right up at the top (usually only three show there) and also on the right hand side of any given search results page.
To get traffic from this source you must create an Adwords account and then create a campaign. All of the traffic via this medium will be paid. As you will literally pay per click, every visitor that comes to your site through Adwords will cost something.
This medium of SEM allows a local business to target the “top level” keywords but do so in a local fashion. Lets take the example we went over earlier, the keyword “family care doctor”, as mentioned this word will drive more traffic than the localized organic version.
PPC allows us to target such keywords, HOWEVER the kicker is to ensure within the Adwords campaign creation that the ads will be geo-located. Meaning they will only show up when someone types in “family care doctor” in a pre-defined area.
So this doctor may feel they offer the best care in all of Southern Florida and decide to set the targeting to show ads running in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Coral Springs, etc. The targeting can be set up by city, zip code or even a radius from the business address.
This therefore allows the local business to still have a presence for top level keyword searches, but only ones that are done where the visitor will live close enough to turn into a new lead/customer/patient.
For businesses that are serious about soaking up as much potential new business via the Internet than doing campaigns in both SEO and PPC are recommended. This will offer the greatest possible outreach to the community.
Prior to the Internet Age most local businesses used a number of marketing tactics to grow their business. Some of these include: location, radio advertising, print advertising and word of mouth. All of these tactics are still sound for the most part and can still play in crucial role in growing a business.
HOWEVER almost all of these tactics are still affected by the Internet; take for example radio ads. Most people listen to the radio when they are driving in the car. Therefore most people listening to radio ads cannot take immediate action if the ad piques their interest.
Many of these people will forget the brand, forget the 800 number and will only remember hearing the ad that solves a problem of theirs’ or whatever about the ad excited them.
In return when they get home or somewhere they can safely browse their smart phone and they will go search the Internet. Oftentimes they will enter a search term that is not brand specific and may very well end up going to a competitor who is ranking higher in either SEO or PPC.
Countless numbers of times throughout my years internet marketing have I heard clients’ of mine say they get calls and leads from people who have heard their radio ad, even though they have never paid for a radio ad once! I bet the business paying for those ads would hate knowing they are paying for a competitor to get business, and would also invest dearly in ensuring they do raise their rankings up for relevant terms.
The same can be said for print advertising as well, someone may see an ad and not have Internet access at the time. Then later when at the Internet may very well have forgotten the specific brand they saw in an ad.
Many local business owners do not have extensive Internet marketing knowledge; even those that do usually do not have much time to dedicate to applying it. And make no mistake without dedication to Internet marketing its’ success will be marginal. At this point there are two options for the business owner who wants online success, either take the time to learn about it and then take the time to apply it. Or you hire a company that has extensive experience with it.
Most business owners are busy people and simply do not have the time or energy to learning essentially a whole new business (which internet marketing is), simply to promote their current business. If you are in such a position than contact us here at iGreen Marketing. We have a combined 20+ years experience in Internet marketing, website design and graphic design. We can help you get a beautiful website designed that elegantly shows off your business, all the while being optimized and marketed to actually attract new customers and expand your business.
We offer free consultations and evaluations of your business and or current site before accepting you as a new client. We will help to evaluate you current level of online promotion and help to not only expand your presence but increase your conversions as well.
Our full service internet marketing service is designed to increase business for your company. Improve your online visibility & have your website appear first on popular search engines such as: Google, Bing, & Yahoo!
Our in-house graphics team provides a full range of services from logo development and stationeries to brochures and newsletters.
Our websites are not only attractive and inviting on the front end, but also customizable on the back end. The architecture of the websites are easily found and indexed by search engines.
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