Integrated Internet Marketing: Overview

This is the first in a series of articles on Integrated Internet Marketing.  Integrated Internet Marketing is a process, but more importantly it’s a strategy.

This strategy involves all the features of Internet marketing. Plus, this strategy crosses the entire spectrum of the Customer Lifecycle. It’s complex and it’s involved!  However, it provides a basic guideline to help a small business owner determine their Internet marketing strategies to fit their individual needs and determine how it all fits into their specific business plan.

 

Here is a simplified diagram to show the flow of the Customer Lifecycle.

Integrated Internet Marketing

 

The goal or purpose of developing in Integrated Internet Marketing strategy is to nurture and develop loyal repeat buyers to your business.  By creating loyal repeat buyers, a small business is completing the client lifecycle. More importantly, it is driving new customer to your business through referrals.  Today’s buyers want to be nurtured.  They want to be involved in the process.  More importantly, they base their purchasing decisions on social proof.  Social proof is extremely valuable to small business owners.  People make buying decisions on recommendations by their friends, business associates, family and social/religious groups.

 

Here are the topics that will be covered in this article series:

 Integrated Internet Marketing: Small Business Website

A small business website is critical to a small business’s Internet marketing success.  It’s the first and most fundamental step in developing an Integrated Internet Marketing strategy.  Your small business website needs to be search engine friendly.  In other words, it must include the basic fundamental criteria of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  Every other component of Internet marketing will build upon this premise.  This is a process, and it warrants careful attention, testing and occasional updates.

 

Integrated Internet Marketing: Drive Traffic and Attract Leads

Once you’ve developed an SEO’d small business website, you must learn how to drive traffic to your website and attract leads. Local Search Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Mobile Marketing are key elements to this strategy.  Video Marketing and EMail Marketing are two other ways to drive traffic to your small business website.  Other forms and methods toward list building will also be covered.

 

Integrated Internet Marketing: Nurturing Leads and Converting Sales

There are lots of different Internet Marketing strategies that a small business owner can employ to nurture leads and covert them to sales.  The fundamental concept covered in this article will focus on “providing value” to potential clients to convert them to buyers.  No doubt you’ve seen the explosion of coupon marketing in the past few years.  There’s a reason for this.  It works!  However, it only works in driving customers to a business with the expectation of saving money.  This article will show you how to capture these customers and turn them into loyal repeat buyers.

 

Integrated Internet Marketing: Getting Referrals

Satisfied customers are more than willing to provide referrals, but a lot of businesses just don’t know how to effectively ask customers for referrals.  This is “social proof”and it completes the client lifecycle.  This article will cover easy to use techniques for small business owners to use to generate referrals for their business.

Search Engine Optimization for Small Business Websites!

SEO targeted for Local Search MarketingSearch Engine Optimization or SEO is a critical element toward getting found, indexed and more importantly ranked by the major search engines.  SEO is central to implementing Internet marketing for your small business website. This section is devoted to showing small business owners the importance of SEO for their small business website. Specifically, local search or local search marketing!

Search engine optimization (SEO) is generally broken down into two major categories; 1.) Onsite SEO and Offsite SEO.  This section will focus, if not exclusively then mostly,  on Onsite SEO.  There is good reason for this.  SEO is principally used to drive free, organic traffic to your small business website.  Our clients are most interested in finding local customers, so all they really need is local search marketing for local customers.  After all an attorney, a dentist or a plumber is not interested in attracting potential clients or customers from California.  We are located in the Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland area.  The key is getting targeted traffic to a small business website. That’s local search marketing! So, they need Local Search engine optimization.  If they don’t have a website, we build it.  However, if your business is located in California, we can help you with local search marketing as well!!

The point is, we don’t have to worry about national, or international search.  The focus is on local search! So, national or international search is not going to do any of us any good.  In fact, if our clients spend money on search engine optimization trying to do this, yet don’t need to, they are wasting their money.  The sad fact is, they don’t know they are doing it in a lot of cases.  There is a huge difference between local search and national or international search.  If, on the other hand, one of clients is selling products on an e-commerce website and they need a broader search, then national or international search is important.  Suffice it to say that this is not our focus.  But, if it were, Offsite SEO would prove valuable!

This is as good a place as any a word of caution to small business owners.  We’ve found that there are a lot of SEO companies and other services that do not understand local search.  Yet, they continue to try to sell their rather expensive search engine optimization services to small business owners… services that don’t distinguish between local and national search.  If you ever need a sounding board, consider us a resource you can call upon anytime for advice.  We are only a phone call away (301-752-5909)!

This is a great section for small business owners who do not have a lot of time nor the staff to use Internet marketing for their small business website; yet they want to get an appreciation for some of the things that make this whole process work so effectively!  We have chosen a fantastic video series produced by Manta.  Manta is a business networking website designed specifically for small business owners to grow their business through Internet marketing.  We register all our clients for a free Manta account.

Manta recently started a new and free video series on SEO.  We want to thank Manta for doing this great support work for small business.  These videos are part of the Manta Minute series.Plus, we devote an entire section to “Local Search Marketing” that offers you the most current trends and refined ideas on marketing your small business online using local search marketing.

Go to Understanding Keywords and What they Tell You

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10 Elements of Google Place Listing Optimization

Google offers the small business owner a fantastic opportunity to get on Page 1 of their Organic search listings in local search!  This is free search and free traffic for your business! However, failure often comes from a business’s inability to optimize their local search listing. Google Place listing optimization is one of our specialties. Google Place listing optimization involves many components and proper optimization is a living-and-breathing science.  We highly recommend Google Place listing optimization as an ongoing management service!

Here is an example of an optimized Google Place Listing:

 

Google Place Listing Optimization: 10 Elements

 

We have indicated that there are 10 Key Elements of Google Place Listing Optimization.  Here is a brief explanation of each:

1. These are all the “Required Fields” that Google needs for your Place Listing. Make sure that you include the proper and accurate title for your business.  Do not try to improve your search results by placing your business city location in the Company/Organization section!  Include your full address and company’s main phone number!

2. A company website is optional for Google, but it is extremely important to have an optimized business website that is connected to this account. Please see the SearchEngineLand article at the bottom of this post for more explanation.

3. The Company Description is very important!  It’s important for your Google Place Listing Optimization, but a carefully constructed description has another huge value for search engine optimization.  You probably have your business listed with various listing services, some you might not be aware of.  As you come across, or we find them for you, your company description needs to be updated with one central business description.  We recommend you use this description in your Google Place Listing. Always remember, one of the prime goals of the major search engines is to ‘enhance their user’s experience!’  In other words, the user’s experience is not enhanced if the search engines find multiple descriptions about your business.

4. The Category section is your “keyword” section.  And, “keywords” are extremely important for any type of search. Google has predetermined categories for all businesses.  Choose them wisely and choose them accurately!  If you do not find a category that you feel adequately describes one of your services, you can create a custom category. We also recommend that you double check your website’s Meta Keywords to ensure that your category ‘keywords’ are included!

5. The Service Areas and Location Settings are self explanatory.  Just remember, you do not want to try to fool Google.  For example, if you are a dentist, Google knows that you probably do not service customers at their locations.

6. Complete the Hours of Operation section.  If you have a business, make sure your customers know when you are open.

7. Specify how customers pay you in the Payment Options section.

8. The Photo Section is very important!  This is an opportunity for you to show-off your business.  One of the key elements in search for photos is file name and tags.  We like to create keyword rich file names and tags for the 10 photos we submit for our clients.  This can significantly impact local search in favor of your business.  Again, anything that enhances the user’s experience is going to favor the search engines.

9. The Video Section allows you to upload video… again, to highlight your business.

10. The Additional Details Section is a final way for you to inform your potential customers about your business.  Google uses several examples. We have done several things here as examples for you in this section.  We show you how you can use links to provide value added to potential customers.  One example shows how our client is simply telling people about his service area; and another is pointing them to a very credible and authoritative website that explains to them how they can save money on their heating and air conditioning bills.  Passing additional value to consumers enhances the user’s experience.

 

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Google Defines Local Search Marketing, then Refines It!

Google place page managementIn a previous article, we showed how Google defined local search (see Google Defines Local Search).  Well, they continuously refine it as well. Local Search Marketing is a moving target!

We believe this is particularly important to your business!

After all, isn’t it a whole lot more profitable for you if you can deliver more customers to your business simply by adhering to Google’s changes? This is free advertising! Here is a great success story on how a storage company boosted it’s sales by using local search marketing: The Store House Company’s Story.

Of course, this is absent indirect costs in time on your part; or contracting to an outside agency, like us.  In either event, both still offer a considerable savings to your business advertising budget.  And, the return can be outstanding.

Let’s briefly review this valuable advertising space and how it’s changed. Recall from the above cited post and the picture in it, the space included two components: Organic or Free Search Listings and Sponsored or Paid Search Listings.  Local Search Marketing is a discipline that drives to dominate the Organic or Free Search listings.

 

 

Local Search marketing in Waldorf,

 

 

The major difference in this picture from the previous article’s, is that Organic Search is now dominated by local businesses. You are seeing the Google 7-Pack, or the top seven business in your local area based on a particular keyword search!

Previously, it was dominated by businesses that either paid a ton of money to Search Engine Optimization firms or were those extremely large companies that have had websites for years. Granted, this is a bit simplistic, but this is not the topic of discussion here.  Suffice it to say, it would be extremely difficult for any small business owner to get listed or occupy any of this space on the first page of Google.

The take-a-way here is that, NOW, all the top listings go to local businesses!  The whole idea behind local search is that Google knows where it’s users are searching from!  So, in order to add value to the user’s experience, Google takes their search right to their local business community.

Again, we run the risk of being overly simplistic.  Google still ranks these businesses.  It’s always best to be at the very top of the 7-Pack. Local search marketing addresses this very issue.  In other words, what does Google expect and how do you get there?  This is the moving target. This not only takes a high degree of attention to detail, but the knowledge of when Google makes changes to their search algorithm.

However, the bottom line is this. A major change has occurred!  This is the time to get involved. The “First Page of Google” is the best place to be to advertise, market and promote your business.  We recommend to all our clients to get in now. We expect this space to very competitive in future months and years. However, as a local business, it is now totally within your resources to get listed on the first page of Google in Organic Search.  This is what local search marketing is all about.

SEO for Small Business

Google Logo officially released on May 2010

Image via Wikipedia

If you are trying to do SEO for Small Business… your business, yourself you know it takes time.  Yet, you know you are saving a ton of money that you might otherwise be forking out to some local, regional or international company that offers SEO, or Search Engine Optimization service.

So, you know what you have been told. SEO for small business is the way to get the major search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing) to send free, organic traffic or visitors to your website. If you have worked with one of these companies, they have probably explained to you the difference between  getting free organic search from the search engines versus the advantages and disadvantages of  paid search.

But as far as SEO for small business goes, they have also, no doubt, explained how to  do onsite and offsite SEO.  Let me interject a new concept by asking you this question.  Have they explained to you how to do SEO for Local Search for small business?  Here is an article that focuses on how to do Local Search for small business. 

I know this might sound a bit confusing, but you have to understand that this stuff changes fast!  If you’re not working with a company that is on the cutting edge of Internet marketing, you run the risk of your advertising on the Internet go stale without any warning!

I know you face another huge challenge. I know that you or maybe your Office Manager are trying to learn some of these skills, but ever hour spent learning these skills is an hour you cannot devote to your primary activity, and I assume that is growing your business.

I also know that you are spending a ton of money on some old, more traditional advertising methods and you are not getting the results you expect.  You know that Internet marketing is the wave of the future.  You just do not know how to do it!

I would advise that you seek the best resources at the lowest price, and the best return on investment (ROI) that you can find.  Hey, I’m not an expert in your business, but I am a small business owner.  I happen to focus on Internet marketing to grow my business. It saves me a ton of money.  It does take time and skill, but I can do the same for you!

Here is some really great news!  The old SEO methods do not work for you! Let’s face it, you are a dentist, lawyer, plumber, etc., in Waldorf, Maryland, you don’t want to attract a client in Singapore, Detroit, or even Philadelphia.  You want to attract new clients in Waldorf, MD.  Am I crazy, or does this sound like a reasonable assumption on my part?   Today’s Internet marketing is all about getting local traffic to your business and turning that traffic into long term repeat buyers.

Google changed it search algorithm on October 27, 2010 in favor of Local Search Marketing. That provides Small business a huge advantage.  Do you have all the facts to take advantage of this huge change?  Let one of my staff sit down and discuss some ideas with you!

This leads us back to our original question. How do you conduct SEO for your local business.  Here is a great article that explains in great detail how to conduct SEO for small business.  Yet, it does not totally describe how to really focus on Local Search.  It provides some hints, but that only means you have to dig deeper to GET RESULTS.  As a small business owner myself, I would think you want to go directly to GET RESULTS!  And, that’s what I do!  And, that is what my staff is trained to do.  Use the Contact Us to schedule an appointment.  Let’s sit down and share some ideas.

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Google Defines Local Search Marketing

Google defines Local Search MarketingGoogle Places is a great way to advertise your small business and it’s totally free. In fact, the term Local Search Marketing was defined as a result of a major Google action in 2010.  In October 2010, Google made a major change in its search algorithm that favored local business in their organic search. Whether you know it or not, Google has aggregated a ton of information, and you probably already have a Google Place Listing assigned to you.  But, have you claimed that listing and do you know how to improve it and establish your place at the top of Local Search?

You’ve probably heard that the key to buying real estate and turning it into profit is location, location, location.  Never has that been been more true than in Google’s organic search.  This is the most valuable marketing real estate on the the Internet.  Imagine your business behind found on the Internet because you control this valuable real estate in Google’s organic search.  But, before I go any further…

Google's Sponsored Search vs Google's Organic Search

Let’s first examine the significance of organic search.  Google has two different types of search; the first is organic or free search, and the second is sponsored or paid search.  Google Adwords is a premium service that allows businesses to pay for a sponsored ad.  These businesses pay on a pay-per-click basis.  In other words, they are charged when a person clicks on their ad.  It doesn’t matter if that person buys anything on their site.  The business simply pays Google for someone visiting their site.  These Adwords paid listings are a foundation of Google’s revenue.  And, they can be very, very expensive.

Advertising on Google’s Sponsored Search has almost become a science.  Businesses place ads based on certain keywords that potential customers type into their Google Search box.  These businesses may pay up to or exceeding $10 per click. Plus, businesses often outsource this to companies that specialize in this science,  This, obviously, increasing the costs of the business’s advertising or marketing campaign.

On the other hand, Google wants to make the user’s experience is as valuable as possible.  They don’t want a consumer looking for a dentist in White Plains, Maryland doing a search only to find a dentist in Chicago.  That doesn’t enhance the user’s search.  Google wants the consumer to come back,  That is why they have placed so much emphasis on Local Search; to enhance the user’s experience.

Google now knows where consumers are searching from.  Consumers do not even have to enter a ‘keyword plus a city’ or a ‘long tailed keyword string.  That means that a business local listing is optimized for generic keywords.  You know, the ones that are really tough to rank for in sponsored search.  For example, “Find a dentist.”  This is a very special opportunity for small businesses.  But, you must claim your local listing and learn how to place yourself in a competitive position in Google’s organic search!

Call us today to find out how we can help: 301-752-5909