Road Map To Local Business Marketing Success (For Beginners)
Here’s the basic roadmap to achieve optimum results for your new marketing campaign that will literally bring in droves of new prospects and customers to your business. There are 6 basic steps which we’ll cover. This post will include a brief overview of steps. You’ll find the rest of the list in upcoming posts. We’ll dig in deeper into each of these in the future… but for now, it’s important to have a grasp on the basics.
Here are the steps:
Search Engine Research
It’s important to have a basic knowledge of the “Big 3” search engines. Google (by far the largest), Bing and Yahoo. Each has a unique algorithm (way of doing things) that they never completely describe to their users. We do know for a fact that unique content and getting other websites to link back to yours is important. There is literally a list of over 100 bullet points that Google looks for in a website. Get familiar with Google. Start searching for your business or a competitors business according to a keyword (Albany plumber, or Baltimore chiropractor) and get a feel for what you may be up against!
Bottom line: understand and get familiar with the search engines.
Define Your Ideal Prospect and Customer
Marketing “guru” Gary Halbert asks this question: If you were going to open a new hamburger stand, what is the one thing you would want most? Many people say the “best burgers” or a unique “special sauce”… some even say “a great cook” or “memorable name”. But Gary’s answer is: “a starving crowd”. I agree. You MUST design your marketing campaign to find and target the people who are looking for your service or product. Without doing this, your marketing life will become much more difficult.
Bottom Line: Every marketing initiative must be built around finding your particular “starving crowd”. Who is your customer?
This is the “detective work” of marketing. Finding the words and phrases that people type into a search engine to find your type of service or business. Of course, there are always some obvious words. Unfortunately, unless you’re a very experienced professional, those are also the keywords that are very hard to obtain a favorable rank. They are very competitive. The key is to also find all of the varieties of the main keywords that people also search for. Yes, many people search for “Seattle dentist”. Very competitive. People also search for “Seattle dentist for dentures” as well. Much less competitive… and since those people are so exact with their search, there’s a good chance they’re looking to “buy”. There are many automated tools that can help you with this… and literally hundreds of combinations that can bring you business. This is “targeting your audience” and “finding the starving crowd”.
Develop An SEO-Friendly Website
SEO-friendly means a number of things. First and foremost you need to have your “meta-tags” coded correctly. This is simply making sure you have an effective “title” for each page of your website as well as individual and targeted descriptions and keywords for each page. An SEO friendly site will also make sure that each of your images has “alternate text” assigned to each. The search engines can’t read images… but they can read the alternate text that you associate with the image.
While you may like things like flash introductions and flash menus for your site, remember that most search engine spiders can’t read them… basically, it just confuses the search engines and makes it more difficult for them to figure out where you belong.
Each page of your website should target a specific “keyword”… again, the goal is to let the search engines know EXACTLY what each page is about so they can index it in the right place. When a page is filled with an equal amount of keywords… it tends to dilute them all. Make it easy for the search engine and give them what they want.
Motivational Copy For Your Site
Another EXTREMELY important aspect of marketing is the ability to motivate your prospect through what many have called “hypnotic” writing. This simply means… “compelling ad copy”. You want to stay away from the “run of the mill” web-site and yellow page advertising copy. Remember, getting people to your website is only half of the battle. Now there must be compelling reasons for them to call you.
A good idea here is to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. Ask yourself, “what are they concerned about?”, What questions are they asking themselves?
Most website visitors are asking themselves these basic questions when they visit your website…
- Is this what I was looking for?
- Who is this company?
- Can they help me?
- Can I trust them?
By keeping these questions in mind and staying away from what everyone else is doing, you have a good chance of developing a web site that “sells”. If you can’t convert website visitors to customers then ultimately your marketing efforts will fail.
Creating Ongoing Content
This is important. In order to keep the search engines (google, bing, yahoo) interested in you, you have to regularly update your website with new and relevant information. Just like people, if you never change anything up, the search engines get “bored” and will visit your web site much less. This can lead to a drop in rankings, since eventually they’ll think this is just a dead, static website. Search engines also take a look at how long people stay on your site once they “click thru” from their search. If you never have any new unique content, they’ll leave quickly, leading the search engines to believe that your site is no longer relevant.
So, what does all of that mean? It means you constantly need to think about writing articles or how to information for your site. It means getting out online press releases, commenting on other relevant blogs and forums and a host of other activities that will let the search engines know that you are alive, well, and interacting with your potential customers.