Archive for

Local Internet Marketing for Small Businesses: How to Make the Most of Your Budget

Local internet marketing can mean different things to different businesses, but most small business owners are simply lost when it comes to the technical terminology and methods involved. Whether you call it local internet marketing, local search marketing, local business marketing, local SEO marketing or just plain local marketing, it is all part of the same animal – marketing your business on the internet to people in your local area who will be your REAL physical customers. When done right, it can be a smashing success garnering you more QUALIFIED customers willing to spend money on your product and/or services.

When it comes to internet marketing for local businesses, the ROI is generally MUCH more impressive when compared to the “old” or “traditional” marketing methods which used to be the only options. These include but are not limited to: Yellow Pages advertising, radio and/or television commercials, billboards, handing out flyers, etc. While these methods still work for some types of small businesses, they are generally MUCH less effective than their modern-day online counterparts. Not only are they less effective, but if you’ve ever investigated them (or used them); you know how expensive they can be.

How should your business approach local internet marketing? That depends on your type of business, location and target market as well as the cost of your products. For instance, it wouldn’t make sense for a corner coffee shop to invest thousands every month in every type of online marketing available, unless they were able to handle the insane amount of business those campaigns would create. Chances are they wouldn’t be able to handle that many new customers and still retain their level of customer service (which keeps those customers coming back). However, a company that does emergency flood cleanup, for instance, may charge several thousand dollars for a cleanup job. In that case, even 10 new customers each month sent via their local business marketing efforts online would justify that same expense. That doesn’t mean the corner coffee shop shouldn’t use local online marketing methods – the strategy used would just be different for maximum effectiveness both in cost and outcome.

There are many different types of local internet marketing that can be very effective for small business owners. The one most people think of is organic SEO marketing. This is a method that entails getting your website to show up on as high as possible when people are searching for what you sell. For instance, a person may type “salt lake city television repair” into Google. If your website is optimized for organic SEO, your site will come up at the top of the results. Since 75% of users never scroll past the first page, this is huge for your business. In fact, most people only look at the first 3 results. If you’re there, you’re in, and your phone WILL ring.

Another very effective online marketing method is using online directories such as Google+ Local. When you do a Google search, these are the listings you see at the top of the page with their addresses and markers showing them on a map. Again, if you are in these search results, you’re in, especially since in many cases, these results take up at least half the page. Optimizing these directory listings is also important. Many of these sites have reviews of your business, and you can post videos, photos and other info. It’s almost like a mini-website for your business where users can find out all the pertinent info and see what others have experienced when doing business with you.

One more method that can be VERY effective for businesses both small and large is video marketing. Video marketing works extremely well especially for businesses that offer something people need right away. For instance, emergency lock services, window repair or replacement or trauma cleanup. When shoppers see your video at the top of the search results, if it instills feelings of trust and reliability for your business, again, the phone WILL ring.

When many small business owners think of local internet marketing, they think of their website. The first thing that comes to mind is, “I already have a website. Isn’t that enough?” Good question. The answer I always give is, “That depends. Is it making you money?” Many business owners don’t have an answer, either because they have no way of tracking their traffic and conversions or (and this is most) they don’t even realize a website is SUPPOSED to make you money. If it doesn’t, why have one at all?

A properly laid out website with great information in an eye-pleasing format will pull in business. There are many ways that a great internet marketing consultant can make that happen. They can also make it so you can collect warm leads through your website to market to later and make sure it gets SEEN on the internet. Why have a great website if no one sees it, then when they visit, they leave? If this is the case for your business, your local internet marketing methods really need help. Your website should be making money for you or at least generating leads.

Your Checklist for Starting Your Business

A Checklist to Use When Starting a Business

Many people dream of owning their own businesses, working hard, and reaping the benefits when the profits roll in. If you’re considering a leap into the world of entrepreneurship, you may be making the most important financial decision of your life, and paving the way to a bright future.

We know that nearly 80% of all new business ventures fail within the first five years. If we examine the stats for franchise operators, the survival rate if far higher.

By planning your new business responsibly, and taking the risks and rewards of being an entrepreneur into consideration, you will increase your chances of success.

The Entrepreneur’s To-Do List

• Decide on a business – Do you have the necessary skills to run the business you have in mind, and do you have experience in the field? Will you be able to devote the time that the venture will demand? If the answer to these questions is yes, you may be making the right financial decision.

• Do your homework – Starting a business that will succeed in the long term is no easy task, but if you do your market research and find that there is a demand for the products and services you plan to offer you will be starting from a position of strength. You should also research the costs of starting and running the business for the first few months when profits may be low. Do not assume that your venture will have a positive cash flow during the first year of operation.

• Assess your finances – You’ll need to secure the funds that are necessary to start your business, either from your own savings and investments or through a loan. In addition, you will need to cover your living expenses while the business is getting off the ground. For this reason, you will need to ensure that your household can continue to run while the business is growing, without incurring unnecessary debt.

• Prepare yourself for some hard work – Running your own business can be a rewarding and life-changing experience, and like any important process it takes hard work and dedication. The passion you feel for your business will drive you to work hard, even when things are not going according to plan, and entrepreneurs who believe in their businesses definitely enjoy greater success than those who don’t – passion and hard work are great ingredients for success!

Website Names – The Essential Key to Creating a Successful Online Business

Website Names, Also Known as Domains, Domain Names and URLs

When it comes to creating a website and ultimately a business, one of the most important elements to consider is the website name as this is what is going to be remembered by your potential clients, therefore it’s essential to know the demographics of your market.

By the end of 2011 there were 220 million domain names registered, of these less than 50 million are considered a premium domain.

What is a Premium Domain?

* It’s short (shorter the better, definitely less than 30 characters)

* Easy to remember, spell and type

* Only letters – no numbers or hyphens separating the words (as this means the domain without hyphens is taken, if YOUR client types the domain without the hyphens you’ve lost them to your competitor)

* Contains at least one keyword relevant to a Niche, Hobby or Business

*.com is essential

* The keyword(s) has commercial value for advertisers

The domain should clearly define your business or hobby:

example: elephantcharm.com – it can’t be confused with something else, there is a clear finish to “elephant” and clear start to “charm”.

How do you read this one expertsexchange.com?

Was your first thought “Experts Exchange” OR “Expert Sex Change”?

There are so many of these ambiguous type of domains, the business owners probably did not notice when they registered it, or maybe they did. A bit of controversy is sometimes fun!

Fact: a domain name dramatically impacts a business in many ways:

* exact match (a commonly searched term, product or service leads to)

* search engine ranking (which affects)

* both organic and direct traffic (which in turn determines)

* income potential (essential to a Successful Business and ultimately the)

* resale value (a great asset and valuable component for a Business)

How to check the demographics to know if a domain is considered Premium?

Using the above example of “elephant charm” as an exact match two word phrase:

Search 1)

Google Keyword Tool: search “exact” match type there are 390 monthly global searches and 290 monthly searches in the United States.

Search 2)

Google “exact term” search lists 339,000 page results. At the time of writing this article, Google’s first page of the ten organic searches – nine websites were.com and one was.co.uk. Few of them had the exact keywords in the domain (only in the extension). This means when the owner of elephantcharm.com places a decent website on it, they have an excellent chance to be listed on the first page of Google with a few quality back links to the site.

Search 3)

Google Trends: shows a rising market since 2007 and the two main regions for searches are United States and England.

Search 4)

Valuate.com: lists 900 searches, cost per click advertising $1.03, traffic is nil (as presently there is no website attached to domain) and the appraisal for only the domain name (not a website) is $870.

These four easy and no cost searches have revealed that elephantcharm.com is a Premium domain.

The supply of premium domains is limited, once acquired it’s generally renewed by the “owner” forever. Once a.com is taken the only options are to:

* add another word to the keyword(s), remember less than thirty characters and the added word is best at the end. Example: elephantcharmshop.com

* the second tier domains (.net or .org – the only two to consider), as shown in the above example often does not earn the ultimate prize, first page of Google.

As a premium location for Real Estate is its protection and value (i.e. water front properties, best street in suburb etc) securing a premium domain is your virtual Real Estate and a true investment for your business as they are easier to monetize and command a higher value on resale of your business.

How to find premium website names to give your business a genuine competitive edge is as easy as going to the resource box below.