My Small Business internet marketing plan …errr I mean RANT…

January 31, 2010

So, I am sitting here at a local automobile inspection facility waiting for my turn ….

My C5 Corvette Pictures | Google Guru RacingWith my Droid phone…. and some free time on a cloudy Sunday afternoon.

I’m wondering, have you ever noticed that you don’t see these guys advertising much in traditional print yellow pages phone books.  I bet I know and can tell you why…. and do it without all that fancy technical jargon that creates so much darn confusion!

Location,

location,

location,

and necessity…..

You see, we must get our vehicles inspected in order to drive on Texas roads, just like the necessities of eating at restaurants and going to movie theatres to see the latest blockbuster.  When you use the phone book to find something near you, it by most parts, is far from easy and convenient to see the reviews, wait times, pricing, comments, news, and latest discounts from these local vendors.  A mobile application not only identifies what is nearest you via geo-location, it also answers all the questions you may have related to the current state of your environment and surroundings.  I recently read that just over 120 online mobile coupon apps exist on the iPhone Apple Store.  Mobile is growing. Mobile search and digital marketing will continue to impact traditional print yellow pages.  I believe that print media is just now being disrupted by online media.  2010 is the year that local catches up with national trends.

Penetration of Online Media Surpasses Traditional Media for First Time Among Small-Business Advertisers

Over the past few years, I have noticed that what you see in the marketplace does not often speak for what you see in trends. Trends are just that… TRENDS.  They are patterns and show movement.  Folks have asked me about “Social Media” marketing for local businesses. Social media should not be an effort. Social Media is more about protecting, promoting, and connecting with your brand than it is advertising. Great social media marketing efforts and communication complement your “advertising” efforts.

Social Media: Over the past few years, I have recommended to clients to create a company Facebook presence.  I also recommend that they consider “Facebook Ads” as a means of promoting company Facebook Fan Pages (what I call great corporate “news” rooms.)  Often the next question local business owners ask me is, “Do I need to be on Twitter?”  My response is often dependent on the companies unique needs, frequency of communications, style of communication, and number of messages the client wants/needs to inform prospects, customers, and friends (fans.) It costs around $500.00-$700.00 to create/setup a social media presence or improve an existing one. This is a one-time fee and you should own the work produced.

Next question, “What should I do about my website?” If your website was created prior to the middle of 2007, odds are you need a website update.  The reason most sites are outdated is because of the changes in web browsers, scripted language, social media content, and other trends in (what I like to call) Web 3.0 technologies.  I strongly recommend clients utilize a content management system.  A content management system (CMS) makes publishing content, updates, and sharing information on your site much easier and less costly.  A content management system also offers the flexibility of “website changes after you fired your web developer.”  A few of  the growing open-source web development platforms include Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, ModX, Zen Cart (ecommerce,) phpBB (forum) and many others.  The most popular website CMS’s are Joomla, WordPress (btw, I love http://www.CopyBlogger.com) and Drupal.  Not only does a CMS make it easy for any web novice to add text content, it also makes it easy to add videos and image content. Would you like to plug your YouTube channel into your site? How about your Twitter “Tweets?”  With a CMS it is very simple. Here are a  few other reasons why you need a new CMS:

  1. Own your website. Never allow someone other than yourself to control your online brand.
  2. Edit your website from anywhere, anytime and remove the hassle for content distribution.
  3. Access restrictions to your site can be set with assigned roles and permissions.
  4. Website design consistency.
  5. Stored content within the database.
  6. Updated for the latest browsers (IE6 Must Die!)
  7. Dynamic Content – cool plug-in stuff and widgets that do more cool stuff!
  8. Non-Technical author friendly…. anyone who can use Microsoft Word is capable of content publishing.
  9. Customizable banners and landing pages without the big expense! (this is a big one for PPC advertisers!)
  10. In the event you fire your web guy…… finding a new one in the “open-source” community is easy.

and the biggest reason: Forever Upgradeable……… never be left behind again!

Websites cost around $1200.00-$5000.00…. which is a one-time fee.  This fee depends on the level of detail and amount of content you need to get started.

Video:….. YouTube is the #2 Search Engine on the Planet. In 2010 you want to show up in Image Search, Mobile Search, Google Search, Yahoo Search, Video Search, Yellow Pages Search, Map Search, Coupon Search, Bing Search, Reviews Search, and all the other tons of different types of search platforms in existence…. (such as Auto Search, News Search, Blog Search, Ebay Search, Wiki Search, Amazon Search, AOL Search, etc.)

Professional YouTube videos typically start about $1,000.00 each professionally edited, produced, and filmed on location. The videos are optimized for YouTube on the clients YouTube channel. The client owns the channel. The video shows up on YouTube searches.

Logo:…… $300-500 for the coolest options! Fresh logos! Too many folks skimp out on the appearance. Look bold. Look fresh. Get “fresher” clients (no recommended for Reverse Mortgage folks, lol.)

Local business listing packages….. create accounts on all the directory sites. Claim listings. Google Page Places/Maps etc. Bing Local, Yahoo Local etc. Fun stuff… tedious and time consuming, but necessary. Should cost about $300-500.00 one time fee for hours invested. You should own the accounts that are setup.

Google AdWords PPC: I do not recommend hiring the services of a “national” company or yellow pages publisher to manage your online paid search marketing programs. After personally working for a Yellow Pages Company who was horrible at servicing the sales and working with Yellow Pages sales consultants who are not accountable for making sure the ads are working (not blaming them, but the business model) since they are not educated or permitted the time to ensure proper fulfillment and management. Too many issues exist when you give complete control of your advertising budget to firms that use proprietary systems to place a large amount of ads into Google’s platform.

  • Management fees can not be discontinued during a contract with the Yellow Pages
  • Costs per Click and Keyword Reporting does not include distribution (content network vs search network etc)
  • Management fees are $500-1000 more than what they “SHOULD” charge for them. (over $300.00/hr!)
  • Landing Page Optimization is not offered or focused on.
  • Google Analytics is not offered.

Here is an example of an analytics account detail: (You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure)

Take a look at the traffic for this analytics account!

Notice what percent is organic.... this client spends big bucks on SUPERPAGES.com! But no traffic!

RSS (real simple syndication) Feeds……. yeah… those things! Great tools to utilize to create ideas for content!

Content Writing….. I would budget around $40.00 per article and do a minimum of 2 per month! Each one needs to focus on a different keyword phrase! Overtime the content you pay for will compliment the content you provide and you will become an authority on Google!

How many websites do you need? This is a tough question to answer… it really depends on your businesses products, services, and service area! The general rule of thumb is that the only folks that need one website are location based or referral only. If you value online search traffic, you really need more than one. This has been proven over and over!

Last but not least, SEO!.…… this is when the fun begins. SEO is voodoo magic. It is a big secret. It is scary. It ….. alright.. I am kidding. SEO is 80% common sense, and 20% effort! Once you learn the basics, from that point it is strategy, trial, testing, and experience. It becomes an effort to create great content, optimize and distribute that content, and then do a similar thing all over again. Content exists not just as words and text, but also as videos and images. Video Search Engine Optimization is just as important as Search Engine Optimization. SEO is about links. SEO is about keywords. SEO is about research. SEO is about ranking factors. SEO…… well, SEO is something that few internet marketing agencies with big huge profit margins can offer local small to medium-sized businesses. SEO is something that I can offer you! SEO is what I LOVE!

  • You be investing in organic search results the same as you do paid… just save on PPC and spend the $$ on SEO!
  • If folks can’t offer a holistic solution to search engine marketing…… they are just www.YellowCrooks.com!

Mobile Coupons………. Big Opportunity for 2010.

How should you plan for the future? You should educate yourself. This is technically FREE… but finding the right instructor to guide you is what you should invest in!

I am going to continue editing this post as new ideas and thoughts, as they enter my head…..

Let me know what else you would like to learn!

Cheers,

Mike Stewart

The Dallas SEO Guru

Creator of the Dallas Local Search Engine Marketing Agency dedicated to Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, SMB SEO.


The most important web marketing move in 2010 for local businesses is Google Place Pages

January 19, 2010

you might even qualify to be a favorite!

Here is an example of the window sticker Google sends out.

Google Favorite Place sticker for your business window

Google has taken a big bite out of local search with the local map results.

Local Search traffic details year over year

SuperPages.com's Network took the hardest hit, let's see if they can bounce back.

This information, combined with the fact that Google has over 65-70% of all online search volume, means Google Map local listing optimization is now more imperative than ever. These listings can be optimized based on the techniques of the most experienced Local Search Ranking Experts, such as David Mihm. When Google first offered map listings and optimization it was performed with phone verifications. Google has been working tirelessly on improving the manner in which it finds new listings (an area once dominated by Telephone Companies and relationships with national yellow pages publishers.)   Originally, businesses were listed heavily based on Proximity to Centroid or distance from the center of town. Google has improved the process of both claiming listings w/ phone verification and determining which results are ranked higher. They also rotate these listings.

An wonderful example of my previous efforts to optimize a map listing would be the “Criminal Attorney Dallas” search term. I optimized the listing for John Teakell while a partner at Milner Finn near downtown Dallas. I have had many examples of successful results.

Google also offers the best form of website statistic and traffic reporting. This is called analytics. If you have a website that does not have analytics, you desperately need to find a new local search marketing agency. Don’t expect to get this kind of advice from Yellow Pages publishers, the appear to concentrate on proprietary bid management systems which campaigns you never own and local internet yellow pages properties to distribute your ad dollars on. Considering the fragmentation in local search, this is not often the best strategy for local business owners and marketers.

Google completely dominates internet search.

November 2009

Rank Provider Searches (000) Share of Searches
All Search 10,002,458 100.0%
1 Google Search 6,546,172 65.4%
2 Yahoo! Search 1,525,964 15.3%
3 MSN/Windows Live/Bing Search 1,073,416 10.7%
4 AOL Search 280,311 2.8%
5 Ask.com Search 177,589 1.8%
6 My Web Search Search 101,586 1.0%
7 Comcast Search 47,746 0.5%
8 NexTag Search 34,314 0.3%
9 BizRate Search 29,044 0.3%
10 Yellow Pages Search 25,260 0.3%

Source: Nielsen MegaView Search

Considering what Google is doing with Geo, Video, Mobile, and more……. I think Google is a Great Bet for your business.

In December, Google rolled out 2 key changes to search:

  • Google now personalizes results based on history and location for all searchers
  • Google now blends search results with “Real Time” information such as Twitter.com

These are key changes that impact your business. Feel free to email me with your questions on Google Advertising Options for Your Local Small Business. Look forward to working with you in 2010!

Mike Stewart

“The Dallas Google Guru”

www.Twitter.com/DallasSEOguru

Office: 214-267-9553

Email: DallasSEOguru@gmail.com

pssst….. I forgot to tell ya…… Google Place Page listings are FREE!  The Optimization and higher rankings…. unfortunately not so FREE.


Google webinar on the recession, economy, marketing in 2010…. out with the old, in with the new!

November 14, 2009

With 2010 just around the corner, getting ahead of the recovery is top of mind. But where should a marketer focus? In our ever-changing marketplace, marketers need to thoughtfully plan the moves that will differentiate their offerings, increase competitive advantage, and seize opportunities as the economy recovers. On November 10, 2009, Google’s Bonita Stewart, Managing Director of U.S. Sales, hosted a webinar covering these topics.

* Social Networking @ 16%

* Twitter impact

* Subscription marketing

* Ratings & Review Sites grow

* Consumers are SEARCHING more than ever, not just text, but images and video as well.

“Short and sweet…… the manner in which you market your brand must keep up with consumer demand”.   – Mike Stewart

Marketing in 2010 will change consumer buying habits. Consumers want to connect with businesses. Imagine having a discussion with a potential client on Facebook, Twitter, or a online chat prior to providing the service for that consumer. Marketing in 2010 can be measured unlike marketing in 2008. Times are changing.

Deliver your brand message while offering consumers the ability to engage at the same time. Create a YouTube channel to allow clients the ability to subscribe.

You cannot manage what you cannot measure!

How to Link Google Analytics to AdWords accounts:

and last but not least… how to track and determine your Return on Investment (ROI)