Tag Archives: social networking

AJC -“Small Businesses Find Value in Social Networking”

Check out the article “Small Business find value in Social Networking.” in Today’s AJC.

This is a great article and shows that small businesses are starting to recognize the value of social media. The truly interesting thing about the article is that it is only partially set up as a social media article. I read it and wanted to leave some comments but the AJC doesn’t encourage it’s community that way. There site is a traditional web site not a blog. There is no community there and so they continue to lose more audience to other platforms that do allow the audiences to interact.

What do you think?

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.

What web marketing can be done for my small local business?

Livros de Redes Sociais, SEO e Web 2.0

I’ll soon be addressing an organization about social networking. Most everyone in the organization has small businesses that serve the local market. Many are in real estate, financial advisors, mortgage brokers, carpet cleaning, catering, and other truly local businesses. They don’t need a national audience and they don’t need to spend money or waste time with efforts that won’t bring them benefit. So what are some strategies they can use with their customers for marketing locally?

There are three areas that to considered for small local businesses and one commonly considered area not to considered.

Lets start with what not toconsider. What I’m about to tell you may come as a surprise. You may need to sit down before hearing this from a web guy. BUT DON”T waste your time with SEO. SEO – Search Engine Optimization is great if you are a web-based business that serves a national audience. SEO is great if you have lots of money to spend on it. However SEO just doesn’t provide the return on investment that is required if your business doesn’t serve a national audience.  This being said does not mean you shouldn’t understand your marketing message or the Key words that are important for your web site.

So what should you focus on: Local Search, Paid Search and Social Networking/Web 2.0. Look for tomorrow’s post addressing Local search which is free and/or cheap to implement.

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.

Yearbooks? Facebook!

I found an old acquaintance yesterday on Facebook. I went to high school with him in Pennsylvania and now he lives a few miles away from me here in Georgia. It was kind of odd and I had faint memories of him so I was talking with my wife and mentioned that I had to check my year book to bring up old memories. At which point my wife told my daughters you’ll always want to keep your year books!???

It struck me exactly how useless yearbooks will become with Facebook and other social networking applications. My kids will have contact with everybody they ever knew connected on Facebook and be able to recall all conversations, pictures, wall posts, and any other meaningless dribble that occurred during their high school years. What a change from the snapshot memories we are able to recall.

Tweet Strategy, Conversion, and Measurement

I went to visit my Chiropractor today. We traded for some services so occasionally we discuss business. I brought up his tweet strategy and asked if he had any idea if what he has been doing on Twitter is helping out. Answer – “Not Really.”

Hmmm. I say “Let’s examine this and see if we can develop a strategy that will allow you to measure your success and hopefully build your practice.” So after some discussion here is the strategy and requirements we came up with. These requirements are fairly general so they can be applied to any business. The strategy is simple so it too can be applied to any business. Try it use the measurements and you will find success on Twitter and maybe some more conversions. By the way this strategy can be used in Facebook or any other social networking site that broadcasts statuses.

1) Tweet Positive uplifting tweets that enhance your brand. Use a twitter sentence structure that follows the format what’s the Problem, What to do, positive result. i.e. work got you stressed out, get adjusted now, sleep great tonight – vist me to find out more http://bit.ly/123456

2) We also provided an action for the user at the end of the tweet. By the way the above tweet still leaves me 28 characters to play with.

3) Notice that I use a bit.ly url. There is 1 very important reason to use a URL shortening service and that is to measure how many people clicked on your link. The second reason is to save space. So now I have a measurement to see how successful my tweet was. Using bit.ly is easy by the way simply login and enter the URL you want shortened. Actually it’s slightly more complicated then that but I’ll cover this in another post.

4) So by now you must be asking what is the URL going to and why. AHHHH. The landing page, conversion page or squeeze page (I hate the term squeeze page!). This is a simple page that has a form for the person to fill out. This should not be a long sales page in this case. A chiropractor is a professional and shouldn’t dropt to the sleazy level that many long form sales letters drop to. In this case we’re offering a free telephone consultation. The page should briefly follow the same format as the tweets Explain problems, how chiropractic can help, what the results will be and offer the free consult. The objective is to generate a warm lead. The doc can now follow up with the potential patient.

The form should be simple and to the point. It should collect the person’s name, email, and phone. The email should be used only as a single contact unless otherwise stated. This is not a news letter sign up it is a lead generation form for already hot prospects.

5) Measure, Measure, Measure. The tweets, the click troughs’, the page visits, the page conversions. Tweak and Repeat.

Good luck this is a simple but effective strategy.