When a small business or entrepreneur is starting to get involved in marketing his website online, they often hear about joining a traffic exchange. But it’s not always clear how a membership in this...
rainbowtrafficsolutions.com - Small Business Tips To Help You Grow Your Traffic
Running a small business is always a challenge, especially if you’re a sole proprietor. But integrating your brick and mortar business with your online presence is a whole different ball game. The typical small...
If you come from a traditional business background, setting up a brick and mortar store that relies heavily on foot traffic to engage the public and attract customers, you’ve no doubt been looking to...
Real estate is an ever changing world. Whether those changes that happen are for the better or the worse, is probably up for debate. Yet one thing’s for sure – internet marketing has become a large part of being a successful realtor. If you’re not up on the latest trends in regards to the internet and how you can use it to market yourself and increase your business, then you are missing out on a giant opportunities. Since most realtors don’t receive any training in this area, I’ve written this great guide that will help you understand and use internet marketing more effectively for your business.
One of the best and easiest ways to start using internet marketing is to utilize social media. The real trick is to be able to utilize social media effectively, which is something that the majority of businesses, let alone realtors, typically don’t do well. So what’s the trick to doing it right? For realtors, you should, at the very least, have a Facebook page. Other platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and more have yet to be proven as effective in real estate as Facebook has. Use Facebook to engage with your target audience and build your name as an authority that can be trusted. This means having a consistent message and being active on your page. Post helpful tips for homeowners and potential homebuyers to show your authority in that realm. Facebook is continually updating the parameters in which businesses can reach more users, so keep an eye out for changes in this area.
Pay Per Click Advertising
A solid go to for internet marketing is running a pay per click advertising campaign. It used to be that you had to do this through Google. The good news is that today you can do this through multiple outlets, the best among them being Facebook. Once you setup your fan page on Facebook, the next thing you can do is setup a pay per click campaign that is highly targeted to your ideal audience you want to reach. Unlike Google, Facebook allows you to target very specific audience segments so that your ad only shows up to the people that you want to have see it. This is a great way to build your audience and have a great internet marketing campaign.
Optimize Your Website
You should have a website and it shouldn’t come as any surprise that it should be optimized for mobile devices as well. The stats don’t lie. More and more people are accessing the web from their mobile devices and if your site isn’t optimized for those devices, you are missing out on a huge chunk of traffic. Your website needs to be impactful and effective so that when you run any social media campaigns or advertising campaigns, you will want the goal of those campaigns to lead people back to your site and eventually have them reach out to you.
Internet marketing works really well to help build a business, but there isn’t a magical formula that you can just plug in and it’ll work instantly. You’re going to have to experiment with different things like social media posting frequency, pay per click settings, website optimization, and more to find a strategy that works for you and your real estate business.
For today’s post we are going to focus on some marketing strategies we have implemented for BabyWheels.net over the past 9 months. The nature and set up of the business and website made it ideal for them to team up with us and take an approach that trailed 3 different marketing strategies for their 3 main areas of expertise.
The website is set up to provide buyer advice and reviews for (a) umbrella strollers, (b) double strollers and (c) jogging strollers, and it had been completely revamped by a web design company. The structure was perfect to test out different types of marketing and identify the best suitable ones to implement for the whole business.
The three most common ways to advertise online these days are through Google Adwords, Facebook and in recent times twitter as well. For professional services LinkedIn is also a great option, but we ruled that out for our new client’s business.
So we had three different marketing strategies and three main areas of business and we got started on planning the implementation. The first thing we had to do was get our graphic designers involved to come up with different types of advertising blocks optimized for the different platforms we were going to use.
It is very important to tailor the advertisement to each platform, as the layout, location and size of each varies considerably. Our designers are experts on this and always create 3 or more ad blocks using different colors and designs. This allows us to further test which ones have the highest success rate.
Once this step was done we were able to set up multiple advertising campaigns on each platform using three different ad blocks on each campaign. The secret to our sauce is how we determine target audiences to trigger very low cost clicks and high conversions, but we will not go into those details here.
What we would like to share thought is an insight into which platforms seemed to be performing best, resulting in the best return on investment. First of all, twitter was the loser in this case. We had set up multiple campaigns targeting the umbrella stroller section and the click through rate was very low. So low actually that it was 75% lower than Face book and Google. We tried our best to improve it over a 6 week period, but we eventually came to the conclusion that it simply was not worth pursuing any further.
Both Facebook and Google had very similar results, but the latter was definitely the more expensive solution. The click through rates were about the same, but after 3 months we started shifting a bit more to Facebook as we were better able to target the most likely people to be interested in the service.
We expanded the budget for the Facebook campaigns to better target the double and tandem stroller information and saw some huge successes. We largely attribute this to the ability of targeting women of a certain age with one or more kids. Age groups play a very important part and ultimately after 6 months of experimenting we got the campaigns perfected. Today BabyWheels spends 60% of the online marketing budget on Facebook and the rest on Google for all three areas of their business. Results have been spectacular with returns on investment of over 100%.
A solid internet marketing plan is vital to the success of a business in this day and age. For this reason, it is important for business owners to put careful thought in choosing an agency to work with. This is especially true if the business owner knows nothing about online marketing and therefore won't be able to throw in some input or notice that the plan in place isn't working until it has actually failed.
As an internet marketing agency ourselves, we have had our fair share of clients who came to us because things didn't work out with the firm they previously hired. This has helped us formulate a few tips of our own when it comes to choosing an internet marketing agency.
1. Don't Rely on Name Alone
Hiring an internet marketing agency based on the reputation and client list it has built for itself is a common mistake among business owners. We have clients who previously hired agencies just because the company name always came up in their search or in business circles. The problem with big companies is more often than not, they are already working on a long list of projects for A-list clients. As such, they don't give too much attention to smaller businesses who hired their services.
Rather than going for a big internet marketing agency, we recommend that you pay more attention to startups or smaller firms. This will guarantee you a more personalized service. Aside from that, you can be sure that they will give your project the attention it deserves.
Just because an internet marketing agency is small does not automatically mean that they are not good at what they do. There are agencies that prefer to keep their business at a small scale because they want to be able to focus on each and every one of their clients. Take Eagle Rock SEO Expert Leo Young for example. He limits his clientele to small businesses because he prefers a personalized and hands on approach with his clients. But does this mean he can't handle launching an internet marketing plan for a big company? Certainly not.
2. Hit Google!
It's common for people to think that the companies in the first page of Google results for "internet marketing agency" or "SEO company" are the best in their field. This is only partially true. It only means the company gives more focus on ranking their own website rather than spending all that energy on working on their clients' online marketing plan. It may also mean that they are really good at SEO. However, there's also another side to the story.
One of our current clients came to us because the agency he hired used unethical or black hat SEO techniques to rank his site. This of course lead to his site getting banned on Google and that caused him to lose a lot of business. When we asked him how he came to know of the agency, he said it was one of the companies that came up on the first page of search engine results.
There are hundreds of ways to promote and market your business online, but where do you start? Websites, blogs, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Reddit — these are just some of the options available to you as a business owner.
No matter which site or combination of sites you choose, they all have a number of things in common.
- They all have a learning curve.
- They will all take up your time.
- They all need constant updates.
- They all require content.
I’ve experimented, managed and built a number of fitness websites for small businesses over the years including social media pages and even a couple of groups.
Below is a guide for you to quickly get up and running, and avoid the pitfalls on the way.
- Setting up your own website isn’t as costly as people think. You can now get very basic hosting from $1 a month and a domain for $10 a year. Go to NameCheap.com and then Google $1 hosting.
- Google+ is by far the easiest social media network to get your fitness business established quickly.
Next you need a site. Forget about learning HTML or anything time consuming — all you need to do is install WordPress (it’s a one-button set up from your host).
Once you have WordPress installed you set up a username and password, log into the control panel and you can start posting and creating pages within minutes.
If you ever get stuck, simply go to Youtube and find a video guide to your problem. You now have a cost-effective website that you can add text, images and videos to.
You can set up a business page, but from my own experience, a personal profile is a lot quicker to build.
If you don’t already have a Gmail account, then create one. Once created you now have accounts for Youtube, Google+, Google Drive and stacks of other cool stuff, but let’s focus on Google+.
In the top right corner, click on the “+yourname.” This will take you to your new Google+ account. Upload a new header (photo of your gym), fill in the “about me” page, but base everything around your business and include a link to your new fitness website and the gym’s telephone number.
Now upload photos of your gym, people working out at your gym or even things related to your gym like crossfit gear for example. Now with every upload include a detailed comment describing the photo. At the end choose three hashtags that describe the photo, e.g. #gym #newyorkgym #fitness — this will help people to find your posts.
The key to success with Google+ is finding people that are potential customers and following them, as 30 pecent will follow back and start commenting on your posts.
In the Google+ search tab type in “your area + fitness” or your “city + gym” or type in the name of a competitor and find their Google+ business page. What we are looking for is where your potential customers are hiding.
Once you find the page, community or a range of posts, go to one of the popular posts (has comments, shares and +1’s) and click on the options menu. Then view post activity — this will flip the post and display every person that has interacted with the page. Follow all of these people.
You can follow up to 300 people a day. After one month you should have a huge amount of followers interacting with all of your posts.
There are a lot of ways to advertise your business. You can easily go for traditional means of advertising such as giving out of leaflets and sticking out posters. You can even spruce it up by renting a billboard space to have your business advertised. However, these strategies will only cater to people who will pass by and even take the chance to read what you have posted. This does not even include the fact that many other posters and billboards could steal the attention away from what you have posted.
You may also go for TV or radio advertising. However, if you are running a small business, this is not really a good idea. It will just blow up the overall expenses of your business, without securing profits to begin with. Thus, the best way to deal with your issues related to advertising is by going online.
Online marketing is the easiest, but most successful way to market your business. To begin with, it can be done any time and a very minimal cost. Furthermore, once you have already posted the ads online, they stay there for a long time. Even if you are already asleep, advertising continues. The best part is that your ads can reach millions of potential clients around the world. However, success will only happen should you learn exactly the right way to advertise online.
Short, but meaningful
When advertising online, your ads should have as few words as possible. Try to contain everything in just a few words and maximize the use of catchy graphics. You should also carefully decide all the elements present in your ads. Do not overwhelm the viewers. Do not sound like a salesman. You just have to create something that appears natural. If possible, make it informative too.
Another way to ensure that people will buy what you offer is to hire someone to write positive reviews about your business. If not, you can encourage those who have something good to say about your business to post it online. In fact, you can check out some of the most epic soccer training program reviews if you go here. You will see how the program was boosted even more with the help of such positive review.
Speaking of online reviews, the best way to ensure that people will buy what you offer is to make the review appear natural and authentic. People don’t like reading reviews that are exaggerated and overwhelming. It has to be truthful. The information they need must be immediately seen after reading the reviews. For instance, you can read reviews about Lifecell skin cream at happierandhealthier.org to see how it should be done.
The right sites
To top it all, you need to advertise your products using the right websites. People will have the chance to see what you have written or know more about your products if they are on the right places online. Take note that there are hundreds upon thousands of sites to visit. Thus, you need to find the right location for your ads.
These days, an online presence is vital to ensuring the success of a brick-and-mortar business. Unfortunately, there are still businesses who refuse to accept this fact and try to cut back on their expenses by choosing to forgo any internet marketing efforts. This is one of the biggest mistakes startup business owners can make. Allow us to explain why.
Most small scale business owners don’t know that even if they don’t have a website or a business page in social media sites, they still have an online presence. You see, consumers these days are all about sharing their thoughts on a particular product or service on social media sites. Some even make an effort to pin the location of a brick-and-mortar business on say Foursquare and that automatically puts the establishment on a virtual map. When that happens, all a person needs to look up the address is the name of the business and TADA! Google will give him or her the information needed (sometimes even with directions) to get to the establishment.
This may sound all well and good given that the business owner did not have to spend a dime to put up their online business. But this comes with a few pitfalls. First of all, business owners don’t have control over the information that is being shared about their business.
Say for example you own a cosmetic dentistry clinic that offers veneers in Atlanta at reasonable prices. You don’t have your own website nor do you have a page at a social media network. A client walks into your clinic saying that a friend recommended your services because you offer the cheapest porcelain veneers in Atlanta. Of course, the cost of cosmetic dental procedures vary in every patient. How are you going to tell her that without causing her to become irate enough to hop on Facebook and rant about how you’ve been advertising your business falsely?
There’s really no easy way to handle a situation like that. However, it could have been prevented if you had your own website along with a business page on Facebook so you can interact with your prospective clients directly. This is not limited to Facebook. You can engage your clients on various social media platforms as well as thru email. If you’re in the retail business, you can even put a chat support fearuer on your website for real time customer support. That’s what we mean about having more control if business owners made an effort to improve their online presence.
Another benefit of having an online presence is being able to reach a wider market. Let’s stick to our cosmetic dentistry example. Have you ever heard of medical tourism? The concept behind it is people would travel abroad or to another state to be able to take advantage of cheaper healthcare services. If you build your online presence based on the idea that you offer the best prices for cosmetic dental procedures, there is a big possibility that clients will make their way to Atlanta just to take advantage of what you are offering. This translates to higher profits for your business.
Back in the day, it didn't take much to spread the word about a small business. Word of mouth usually did the trick. While that technique still holds its own to this very day, there a much more effective way to do it and that is through the internet.
You see, word of mouth can only do so much for you. Let's say you run a small online shop selling watches of all kinds from antique Rolex pieces to the latest Swatch model. But your clientele is focused locally because let's face it, no one will buy an expensive watch from a seller who is out of state for fear that they will receive a fake.
You're lucky enough that there are even people who actually took a chance and ordered from you in the first place. Your succeeding customers may have been friends or related to your past clients. While your small online business stays afloat, there's still a lot of potential you have yet to tap. How can you grow your online shop so that you can reach the global market? By maximizing the benefits of the internet.
1. Make Sure Your Website Look Legit
This is probably the most important aspect of running an online business. Some online entrepreneurs tend to overlook this fact because they think that having a shop listed on Etsy, Amazon, or Ebay is enough. This may be true if you have no intention of ever growing your business. However, if you are looking to build a global empire, a legitimate looking website is imperative.
What makes an e-commerce site look legit? First off, the homepage should look clean. That means, no cluttered ads because it will look spammy. Also, it should load up easily. Leave out any elements that may cause your site to load poorly. Next, make it appealing and relevant to your "brand".
Additionally, it is important that your contact details are listed on your website. This gives shoppers a sense of security knowing that they can reach you if they have a question.
Lastly, make sure that your FAQs section answers the most basic and common questions customers have. It may seem that this aspect is just common sense but the truth is, there are e-commerce sites that don't have comprehensive a FAQs page.
2. Make Recommendations
Let's go back to our earlier example – you sell watches. When a person visits a particular e-commerce site without a specific item in mind, they are not likely to stay if they don't see anything interesting right away. To prevent this from happening, the homepage of your website should have a section that will entice "window shoppers" to browse through your products. The best way to make this happen is by putting a "best watch brands" section where your top selling watches are listed. You can create a variety of pages like this one – for men, women, teens, kids, etc.
3. Use Social Media
If you're an avid Facebook user, you may have noticed the growing number of articles that are being shared by other users over and over again. You can use this method to your advantage. First however, you need to create a Facebook page for your business. Next, you need to hire a writer who can write reviews on the watches you sell or you can do them yourself.
Once you have these reviews written, publish them on the blog section of your website and use your Facebook account to circulate them. You see, shoppers these days rely on reviews posted on the internet to give them in-depth knowledge about an item they are looking to order online. By using Facebook to share watch reviews, potential customers will know the specifications of each watch model you are selling. This will also lead them to browse through your website a little bit more and the chances of them buying will be higher.
4. Workout International Shipping
Naturally, if you want to go on a global scale, you need to figure out how you will be able to ship your customers' purchases internationally. It is best that you find a courier service that can offers reasonable rates as well as insurance. This is especially important for online businesses that sell expensive items such as watches.
Online marketing strategies will undoubtedly constitute a critical piece of a service-oriented business’s financial success (especially in local markets) and it doesn’t matter if a business offers plumbing work, electrical work, pest-control, or other needed services. The way a company advertises online will hugely influence how that company performs in a local market and ultimately how successfully they are.
Here are 4 basic tips for local service based business online success:
Building a Stellar Website
If a company’s website is vague or speaks over a client’s head, it will likely drive business away. One way to prevent this problem from happening is to hire a competent teenager to review the website’s advertisement copy. If a teenager understands what the company is offering, an older paying client will likely understand as well. If it becomes obvious that the teenager is having difficulty understanding the overall message being conveyed then the advertisement copy needs to be reworked. A service oriented company will lose tonnes of business if their clients do not clearly understand their company website.
In today’s market, the look and feel of a company’s website speaks volumes to a visiting client. Once the advertisement copy passes this initial test, the focus becomes the website’s flow: does the website and its graphical representations properly lead the client to obtain the information they need?
Blogging to Reach Clients
A fantastic way to show clients how much they need a company’s services is through a company blog. Its estimated that more than 50% of small businesses in the western world now have some form of blog connected to their website.
Each blog entry needs to outline a problem and then define how the company solves that problem for the client. Helping client’s grasp the relevance of a company’s products and services is central to any successful marketing strategy. If the client doesn’t see how, or where the company comes in, they will be reluctant to use that company’s services. In addition to this, a company blog is an opportunity to let clients know the company knows its field of expertise: a great way to build authority in a local market.
Pinging and Social Bookmarking
Pinging And social bookmarking helps a company’s blog articles get noticed by potentially interested clients. It’s pointless to spend so much time writing blog entries if nothing is done to drive traffic to them. Pinging alerts search engines to be able to find the latest blog posts that have been posted. The more blog posts an author pings, the greater the potential for getting search engine traffic to the blog.
Social bookmarking works in a similar way; only the blog author is directly alerting people to read their posts. The great news is that both of these online marketing strategies ends up being free!
The long term marketing benefits of social bookmarking and pinging for service oriented companies include:
- Improved search engine rankings.
- Wider exposure and branding.
- Generates an increase in traffic volume.
Achieving High Search Engine Rankings.
Being ranked as an authority site is extremely beneficial to a company’s online business success, and this applies more so to service businesses.
Almost 90% of local service businesses clients come from local search engine traffic and for this reason high rankings are extremely valuable. As an example, a water damage company such as The CS Water Pros, who focus on flood damage in Melbourne, estimate that almost 100% of its business comes from Google places!
By Following the simple tips above, a local business has the opportunity to dominate its local market and receive a constant stream of local clients – which should be the number one goal for a successful service business.
Web design is similar to building a home – the design and architecture of each room will define how you feel about your space, so take a look at your site and ask yourself, is your website giving the right impression?
Healthcare Marketing Requires a Different Strategy
High end professionals such as law firms and medical institutes constantly inquire about up-to-date trends in law / healthcare marketing in hopes of improving leads and boosting their customer base. But contrary to what you’ve read there are surefire techniques that can place a website into the spotlight. Better yet, there is one dominant factor that speaks volumes to visitors – your website design, and you can bet this one factor sets every website apart from the pack.
Motivating Prospects and Potential Clientele
The web has become the biggest advertising and marketing medium ever to draw a crowd – over 10 Billion a day. But how many medical offices reap the rewards of such a huge online audience? Web Design is crucial to your medical website design is to your organization.
Have you ever visited a website and clicked away immediately? You’re not alone. Solving the click-off problem is one of the more common annoyances for business owners. Fortunately, there are 5 techniques to improve your website right now.
1. Slow-loading Sites: its guaranteed visitors will not hang-on and wait for websites to load. In today’s hurried lifestyle visitors have very little time to waste and if your website cannot produce information in a blink of the eye, you’ve lost a visitor. One of the biggest contributors to slow-loading pages is rich media. Flash animations, video, audio and improperly compressed images can make your web pages crawl. By giving up a slight amount of quality, you gain faster load-time and a better user experience.
Find out about your site’s speed at Google Page Speed Insights.
2. Color Appeal: Studies prove attractiveness is the single most important factor to increase credibility and colors are important to your websites success. Colors express mood and trigger and emotional response. When you see a specific color you may automatically think of calming experiences or danger and urgency. Are the colors on your website creating the right or wrong impression of your business?
Of course a lot of science has gone into using true colors and you could simply Google which colors go best with your site, but another way to match the right colors to your market is to observe what your target audience is used to seeing. For example, a corporate audience would respond well to navy blue, red, and white. However, gardeners would take well to green and yellow colours. A good example of a site that conveys a very clear and trustworthy palette is www.nowinnofeelaw.co.uk. The law industry requires a truthful open attitude which this site does though it’s use of colour and although the design is very basic it does do the job.
3. Eye Capture: Is your key content difficult to locate? By positioning objects on your website in the right position, you can capture the usual eye movement of your audience. People view websites from left to right and then scan down the page. Because this happens within the first few seconds, it’s vital you position your most important assets in places where visitors will look for them.
Visitors will initially look at the top left panel of your website, so position your logo in the top left corner. Next, the eyes move across to the top right corner. An attention-grabbing image that is relevant to your industry will solidify what your website represents, so visitors feel confident they’ve arrived in the right place. Finally, emotionally-charged content should follow.
4. Easy Navigation: If visitors can’t find what they’re looking for, they will bail on you and look elsewhere. Your site design should allow your visitors to get where they want to go quickly and effortlessly, with a minimum number of clicks. To help visitors locate specific information feature navigation with logical hierarchy.
5. Compelling Headlines: How do stop visitors dead in their tracks leaving them craving more from you? It begins with your headline. Headlines are the first few words that your visitors will read on your site and those words can make a significant difference in capturing attention. People generally scan web pages, only stopping when something captivating catches their eye. A few words can create a mental picture, which is more potent that any image. To capture the attention of visitors, use headlines that clearly state the most important benefits of your product or service, and follow with enticing content. Of course, this can take a bit of discipline, but its well worth the time.
Developing a successful website can be a daunting task that requires a formula for popularity. A visitor glances at your website and within seconds makes assumptions, but you can do the same. Give your website a glance and honestly assess. Now think, is your website giving the right impression?
So… does you site pass your test?
If you are running a small business you might consider Instagram to not really be that helpful to your digital marketing strategy. While on one hand it does seem to be awash with “selfies”, it is a particularly effective visual way of getting your marketing messages across and you can use hashtags to help target your content to people who might be searching for what you’re offering. I always think of a small business such as a pest removal company as being one of the hardest types of businesses to convince to give social media a go, but trust me – even pest removal companies should be using it.
It is easiest to think of this platform is as a social media communication channel. It’s all about user-generated content. the company started in 2010 and was initially focused on photos (it’s since diversified to also enable videos to be shared). It’s growth and popularity has been phenomenal – it’s fun to use (the digital filters enable you to have fun with your photos) and perhaps even more importantly it integrates seamlessly with all of your other social media channels. Post your updates and you can easily maximize your impact by having it post everywhere else too.
What’s the point of hashtags?
This used to be something that really just related to Twitter but it’s a search functionality that has been readily adopted by all of the major social media platforms. It’s a way of improving the search ability of what you are posting about. For example if you had posted a photo online and used a hash-tag such as #pest or #pestcontrol or #deadbug then any users searching for those terms would be able to find your post.
Case Study 1: Dunkin’ Donuts
Dunkin’ Donuts has the perfect kind of product to promote on such a platform – it is very visual and fun. This donut chain do a great job of using social media to engage with their customers. The hash-tag that they promo is #mydunkin and they love showcasing people who are enjoying their donuts. They also do a good job of “newsjacking” which is a common marketing ploy of using a major holiday or news event and use them as opportunities for posting appropriately themed donuts.
Case Study 2: Pottery Barn
Any proud home owners with an interest in interior design love to show off their work, and Pottery Barn are using Instagram to capitalize on that. They’re pushing the hashtag #potterybarn and encourage customers to post their photos which are then promoted by the company.
Case Study 3: Levi’s
Everyone loves these classic jeans and Levi’s use the hash-tag #liveinlevis to promote their different products. What they are doing is building a reputation for themselves as style and fashion experts. It always helps to specialize in a certain area, and be seen as the expert. A great similar example if this strategy can be seen at atticpestauthority.com where they specialize in pest removal from attic spaces – this helps them be seen as the ‘expert in attic pest problems’.
How do I employ these tips for my business?
If we learn from what other businesses are doing well we can see that visual communication is powerful – use compelling images; we can see that hashtags are essential for improving search results (#deadbug); and that creating opportunities to engage with your audience maximizes your marketing impact.
Have some fun with this social media platform. Show the world what you do and the services that your businesses can offer. Demonstrate exactly why you are the expert that they are looking for. Use your hashtags wisely #deadbug.