4 General Online Marketing Tips to Get Started With
Make Sure Your Company Website is Set Up for Conversion
Converting means that you turned a visitor into a customer. The first thing to look for is an efficient website: good-looking, non-aggressive to visitors (no wild pop-up appearances or heavy flash use), user-friendly (the information is easily found), finished (no half-done pages), and a precise purpose that is consistent with the purpose of the company.
Add a Blog to Your Website
Blogging is a real asset to your website. Not only will it bring in surprising traffic from social sharing and search engines, but it will help create a link between you and your customers. It gives a more “human” touch to your business and no one should ignore that.
Keep an Eye on the Enemy
In his Art of War, Sun Tzu quoted an ancient Chinese proverb: “Know yourself, know your enemy, and you shall win a hundred battles without loss”. That is true for every business around our planet. Competition is good, competition leads to innovation. Take advantage of it! Look at your competitors and learn from their mistakes as much as you learn from their success. How are they managing their online marketing? How efficient is their social media management? How high are they ranked in Google for the same keywords you use in your own website?
Think “Long-Term” Effort
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), marketing and community-related actions take a long time to become efficient. You build your reputation and your community with time: give your customers a chance to get to know you and your business. If you don’t want to have a long-term vision, you should be planting turnips, not doing online marketing. Keep calm and carry on with your efforts.
4 Essential Local Content Marketing Steps
Make Your Content as Local as Your Business Is
Your website and your blog should often refer to what you do in the specific area you are working in. If you are local, prove it! This will pay dividends when it comes to your local search ranking.
Schedule Frequent Blog Entries
Having a blog is nice. But you know what is even nicer? Having a useful blog.
You can easily cultivate a following for your articles as long as you post content that is related to your business or area on a regular basis. Pick some ideas HERE to boost your blog’s traffic. If you always publish the same day of the week, people will start expecting your publications.
For example, this theatre in Ann Arbor uses a blog and posts an article at least once a week.
Start a Customer Newsletter
As long as you don’t send one 3 times a day, newsletters are often welcomed by customers. Once a month might fit perfectly, as it keeps your clients aware of your presence without annoying them. It’s a nice way to create another link between you and your clients. You can show your newest products, promote your latest blog entry, distribute your latest offer, or advertise upcoming events.
Use Pictures … A Lot!
Pictures of your staff, your local business, or even regular clients help create a human relationship between your company and your customers. Using real pictures in your website and through your social media network shows everyone that your company is not only a business but a human adventure. You are local: touch people by showing them local things! A famous local person comes into your business? Take a picture and share it! Everything you can do to make your customers feel like you care about them as human beings is great and worth a lot of effort.
For example, this Café in Ann Arbor uses a lot of pictures taken on its location. We can see real customers enjoying their meals, and the trust given to the website is therefore increased.
4 Ways to Link Online and Offline Marketing
Leverage Calls to Action Online that will Link to Offline Actions
A “call to action” is an invitation for visitors to take a specific action. It can be following you on social media, joining a group, or printing a coupon. The visitor becomes an actor, and he is now linked to your company through this “call to action”. You can use this concept to make your customers take online actions that will have offline repercussions. Let’s say you own a restaurant, a “call to action” could be to ask visitors to complete a quick survey about their favorite meal in the restaurant, and they will win a 20% discount on their next meal. You made the customer take an action towards you, you made him remember what he liked about your restaurant, and you incited him to come back!
Use Local Online Advertising
With Google, Facebook or even Stumbleupon you can target people in a very specific area. If you want only people living in your town to see your ad, you can make that happen! You could even advertise only to people searching on cell phones in your area. Local online advertising can be very effective and is affordable: you invest only in the precise traffic you want!
Use Tools to Bring Offline Visitors Online and Vice Versa
Linking online and offline marketing is easier and much more important than you could think. You can help achieve that by using various tools, such as QR codes. They link your online and offline marketing for anyone who has a smart phone, and they cost nothing! Why should we avoid something free that may help? Learn more about how to use QR codes in your marketing.
Include your social icons in all your brochures and posters, or even on the front door of your business! Make sure every customer is aware of the benefits of joining your online community.
Do not hesitate in taking pictures of some customers (with their permission, obviously) and using them in your social networks. It links the “real” with the “virtual”.
Transform Paper-Based Loyalty Cards into an Online Benefit
If you don’t have a loyalty card, you should probably think about developing one. It is an easy, inexpensive way to increase loyalty to your brand. But you can go further and link it to online benefits! With a WordPress-based website for example, you can add a plugin (this one for example) to create membership in your website. You can then rank various levels, according to the loyalty. A higher membership level would give the member V.I.P coupons or invitations to private events.
You trigger here a social and competitive response. People love competition. If you give exclusive benefits and publicly reward the most loyal clients, your others customers will want to have the same benefits. And in order to have these benefits, they will have to demonstrate a higher loyalty!
You can also register to a loyalty online app, like shopkick, that could bring new customers.
5 Tips to Boost Your Local Search Engine Optimization
Make Sure Your Titles and Headers Have Local Keywords
One basic SEO tip is to optimize your titles by adding keywords that match the topic you want to be ranked for. In your headers (<h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc.) make sure you use local keywords to have your site registered as “local”. If you own a Sushi Restaurant in Ann Arbor (MI), don’t hesitate in adding “Ann Arbor” or “University of Michigan south campus” in your titles so people can find you when they search for “sushi restaurant near south campus, Ann Arbor” for example. Do not underestimate the power of keywords in titles.
Make Sure You Appear on Google Maps
Appearing on Google Maps is an easy way to quickly start generating traffic from Google. It will benefit your visibility in regular Google searches as well. It is easy to accomplish this — just register your business on Google Places! You can also add your location to your website, and implement a direction tool on it, so your customers would just have to enter their location, and it would automatically display the directions to your place. It’s a great, inexpensive, fancy trick that you can achieve by following this link.
A good example is this Ice Cream parlor in Ann Arbor that presents a Google Map link in its front page.
List Your Company in Local Listings
This is very specific to your locale — in Ann Arbor, a good example is this directory that gathers and organizes websites from local businesses.
Add Your Address in the Footer of Your Website/Blog
This will help search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo to associate your website with your location. It is very effective as your footer is on every page of your website/blog!
Ask for Reviews on Different Websites
Many websites offers reviews services. The most famous ones are Yelp, Google Reviews, and Travel Adviser. It is SEO gold to have lots of (good) reviews about your services/products. Try to ask your customers to spend few minutes writing one: you can even link it to your Loyalty program! (Cf #12)
5 “Must-Do” Social Media Marketing Steps
Invade the Social Networks (Be Smart About It)
“Invade” must not be misunderstood here. I am not suggesting that you start spamming every single hashtag on Twitter and publish a new facebook update every 3 minutes. But you must start linking your company to your customers through social networks. You can start by creating a facebook page and posting quality content that will interest your followers on a regular basis.
Join Social Groups
On facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or even Twitter you have the opportunity to join (or create) groups. These groups are comprised of other businesses and a large range of potential customers. Use these groups to improve your visibility and reach on the social networks by posting your content and joining discussions. Be an active, contributing member of these communities!
Welcome Group Buying!
If you are not familiar with the concept of group buying, check out one of the most famous providers: Groupon. Are you wondering how you can use Groupon? Check this simple guide.This platform is easy to join, just register here, and set up an offer. Groupon can bring new customers that are looking for your product or similar ones in your area. It is a win-win system, where both customer and company are happy: the clients find good deals, and the company increases it’s business.
Mix It Up with Something Fun!
Think of Marketing as a competition. The main goal is not to be good, but to be better. If you are doing everything perfectly well, but your competitors are doing more, you won’t have a competitive edge. You need to find original ways to be unique, to give your customers something no one else is giving them. The sky is the limit, surprise them!
Many online tools can help you in this exciting journey, for example SCVNGR. Through this site you can create a local game, rewarding your loyal customers and being original! Entertaining while advertising is one major key to success (among many).
Create Google Places Coupons
Google now offers a coupon service on Google Places. This might be exactly what you need to convince prospective customers that your business is the one that deserves their time — it is one of the only ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors on Google search results pages. You will find more technical details in this article.
1 Time and Money Saving Suggestion
If you own a local business, you probably don’t have time to learn all about SEO, web development, content marketing or social media management. Outsourcing these services will provide you a quicker and better result.
At Long Tail Logic, we thrive on businesses deciding to outsource their marketing, but we’re also no stranger to outsourcing our own work. Anything we don’t specialize in, we outsource. Photography is a great example in our case.