Tag Archives: AdWords

Web Marketing for small local businesses – Local marketing

Google Local Search
Google Local Search

Local search is a fast easy and free way to ensure your business is findable on the web. The major sites that provide local search are Google, Yahoo and now Bing. They all have their own sing up method and none are difficult to complete. The local search feature will not drive huge amounts of traffic to your site but it’s an important first step. The local search registration will be valuable when a customer is looking for you and is foundational to completing the three-step process I outlined yesterday. Lets take an example.

I’m Joe Average and I live in Marietta Ga. When I search the web using Google for “Flowers” from my computer located in Marietta. Google knows I’m in Marietta because I have either previously entered the information or they look at the IP address of my computer which will provide them a proximity. When Google presents the search results one of the first listings will be a Google map with local businesses that might sell flowers in Marietta or the surrounding area. If I’m looking for your particular Flower shop and you don’t show then I’m likely to find another Flower shop.

Two other important points 1) customers have the opportunity to rate your business via local search engines and 2) You can offer a coupon via the local search. These are two opportunities you don’t want to miss. Encourage your customers to rate your business and mention that there is a coupon out there to help encourage them. People love coupons and you can customize it any way you want.

As I mention above this step is a foundational necessity. The Adwords and social networking will truly begin to drive traffic but you want to be sure that you are findable through local search. Additionally on Google you’ll want to complete a profile so if someone searches for your name they can always find you on the first page of Google although it will be at the bottom.

Finally, I’ll post a few short instructional video’s running through the sign-up process for each of these sights. In another up coming post we’ll spend some time reviewing other local search options that will drive traffic such as Kudzu and citysearch.

Websites represent your business – What you need to know about building a web site

I randomly dropped into a conversation the other day with someone who had just had a “beautiful” new website built for them. They were very excited about the site and awarded a free Adwords campaign. Being diligent about their business and loving their new “pretty” web site they were excited about taking advantage of the campaign and driving traffic to the site, they have picked excellent key words targeted the correct market and built a strong strategy for driving traffic from the campaign.

unfortunately there are a few, well maybe a bit more than a few details missing. I’m dividing the following information into basic and advanced. Lets start with the basics.
1) Make sure that you own the URL.

2) Have the web site hosted on a server that will be accessable to you directly and any other professionals that you might decide to use to replace a previous vendor.

3) Make sure you have a unique user ID and password that you do not have to share with your vendors and if you do have to share the id and password change it after the work is complete.

4) When referring to a web site you’ll often here the term “look and feel.” This means that a web site has to look pretty but also “feel” pretty. You want your web site to be easy to use. The main menu should be accessable from every page on the site.

5) The background on a web site should be flat and bright. If you have white text on a patterned dark colored background you are going to turn people away.

6) There are too many free easy to use content management systems out there to pay someone to build you a static site that you have no control over and can not add content to easily. A content management systems allows you the business owner to easily add or change content on existing pages or even create new pages without much effort and with minimal knowledge.

7) Understand why you are building a web site. The web has changed in the past five years. You can no longer throw up a brochure and expect to get business from it. Actually this type of web site has never really worked period. At a minimum your web site should bring the customer one step closer to making a purchase. That means you need to get the customer to giver you their contact information in a form – Don’t expect the customers to call you just because they visited your web site. They aren’t even lead until they’ve given you some type of information. You can encourage customers to give you their contact information by asking them to fill out a form for a free consult or by offering a free newsletter of some sort. You can even just say if you’d like me to contact you please provide your information here.

8) measure the success of your site. How long are users staying on your site? What pages do they click on most? Which pages don’t they see? Which pages do they see? Where are your customers coming to your site from? Where do they go when they leave? All these questions can be easily answered by a free program from Google called Google Analytics. There are other web stat tracking programs available as well. The fact is that you need to know this information if you want your site to drive business.

9) Just putting a web site on line does nothing for you. You will not gain any traffic especially if you haven’t created a web site that meets feature 6 above because search engines won’t like your site. Here I’m going to offer a word of caution. You don’t need SEO. It helps buy you don’t need it. As a small business the cost of SEO can be too high. But you obviously still want to drive traffic to your site. This is where paid search, see my article on Adwords, and social media make the big payoff. You can also read my article on Tweet Strategy Conversion and measurement for more detail here.

10) Make sure that whomever creates your web site also goes to the effort of submitting the web site to the search engines. You probably want to be sure they have submitted you on the local search functions as well as the general search.

Never hire someone to build your web site that can’t articulate an understanding of the principles expressed in this blog.

September 18th – Seth Godin just wrote an excellent blog that is well worth reading about building web sites. The questions he posses are of primary importance. You can find his article here here.

Google AdWords – On the Radio?

Google has started an add campaign on the radio to encourage people to advertise with Google. I have never previously heard any advertising for Google outside of the web and certainly not for their service. This is likely an early sign that BING is beginning to hurt their ad revenue. Non the less AdWords can be a very powerful tool for a business that does not have front page placement in the natural search results. I’ve put together a short video explaining how to sign up for AdWords and how to use it effectively to drive traffic to your site. The campaign I demonstrate is for local businesses that want to drive local traffic to their sites for advertising purposes.

Sign up Process
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Create Local Ad

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The remainder of the process simply sets up your billing preferences. Because I don’t intend to create this add I did not complete this process but you have 2 options in the billing process. Option 1 lets you post pay or pay after the ad has run and Option 2 allows you to pre-pay the add. Option 2 was added recently to help control costs. Google will never spend more than what you have in the account if you pre-pay the ads. This second option was added after complaints and law suits because of Google over billing customers budgets.

If you as a business have a web site that promotes your business but you do not rank high in the search engines then running local ads with Google AdWords is an extremely effective strategy.