Consumer Internet Usage
Today, most people turn to the Internet to locate local products and services. Long gone are the days when people pick up the Yellow Pages first to find what they what they need.
Think about it… when is the last time you picked up yours?
The Internet is the first place people look when they need to find… well, just about anything. It has truly become an integral part of our daily lives.
To give you an idea about how powerful Internet usage is amongst consumers, here are a few statistics:
- Almost 250 million searches for products and businesses are performed per day on Google alone.
- DM News reported that 35% of all Internet searches are local.
- comScore reported that 90% of local commercial searches result in offline bricks and mortar purchases.
- Online marketing is expected to be 15% of all media advertisement spending in 2013. It’s currently approximately 7.6%.
With billions of local searches being performed online each month, the Internet has officially surpassed the printed Yellow Pages book, newspapers, and other traditional marketing methods when it comes to overall effectiveness.
Online marketing has even gone beyond the computer… mobile phone Internet usage is also growing at astonishing rates, which we will discuss in more detail later in this report.
The global connection created by the Internet has changed the way the world communicates, gathers information, and markets its products and services.
While the technology is fascinating, this global connection has also created problems for some local business owners.
Problems for some local business owners:
- Local businesses are struggling to get new – and repeat – customers
- Business expenses keep rising, while profits are quickly declining
- Some local business owners are barely staying afloat – yet they are still not utilizing the power of the Internet marketing
- Some local business owners prefer to spend thousands of dollars on traditional print advertising methods, which are becoming less effective
- Local competitors are catching on the power of the Internet and leaving their counter-parts in the dust
- Most consumers have traded in their Yellow Pages for a more comprehensive online search
- Newspaper sales are down… Everywhere
- DVR devices, such as TiVo, allow people to skip commercials
Would you agree that whenever you need information or need to find a product or service your first thought is to go online?
The Internet is a new age marketing “must have” for all businesses. If a business wants to continue to grow and get new customers, creating an online presence is no longer an option – it’s a necessity.
The Internet provides several powerful avenues to help businesses continue to get more leads, more customers, and more profits.
This is great news, but many businesses are being left in the wind when it comes to online marketing. Their competitors are implementing online strategies that allow them to dominate their local market.
If you are not establishing a strong online presence, your chance of connecting with local customers is greatly reduced. Without it, you’re just letting money slip right through your fingertips.
The purpose of this report is to help you learn more about the different online marketing avenues that will allow you to connect with local prospects consistently.
You will learn the different methods of online marketing that are available to you and why they’re effective. In addition, you will learn more about how online marketing works overall so that you can have a better understanding of how it can benefit your business.
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to decide which online marketing strategies to use when you don’t even understand them.
Some business owners avoid Internet marketing simply because they don’t understand it. Others don’t use it because they don’t think it’s effective. Others avoid it because they’ve been burned before by their “web guy.” Others don’t think it’s worth the money.
However, none of these reasons are good enough to miss out on the opportunities that online marketing can bring to your business.
In order to really connect with your local prospects and customers, there are several online marketing techniques you can use to generate a constant stream of new business.
Connecting with your local customer-base in crucial today as overall consumer spending has taken a major decline over the past few years.
Therefore, business owners are scrambling for all of the business they can get.
What better way to get new customers than to go where they spend a majority of their time?
You may be thinking, “Well, I have a website, so I’m already online“.
A website is just one small step in the world of online marketing.
Yes, having a website is an important step every business should eventually take to get an online presence. But are you driving traffic to your website? If not, what good is a beautiful website if it’s lost in the dessert where no one can see it?
So in order to really connect with local consumers, there are several things you should consider…
Let’s explore some of those techniques and strategies now. Once you are armed with this information, you will be able to implement solutions that will produce a steady stream of NEW and REPEAT local business!
10 EASY Ways to Attract Local Customers
- Search Engine Visibility and SEO
- Profitable Website
- Email Marketing
- Mobile Marketing
- Social Media
- Video Marketing
- Online Content Creation and Distribution / Article Marketing
- Online Reputation Management
- Online Classified Ad
- Paid Online Advertising
How to Use Search Engine Optimizers
Search engine optimization or SEO is the process of making a web site visible and friendly among search engines. It is most likely the most vital aspect of designing your web site. Several commercial web sites are designed and created by individuals who know little about SEO. The long page generally has the information and several other links that people need to know about to optimize a web site for search engines. You have to know more about the “search engines only index text”.
When designing and optimizing the web site, you have to keep in mind that they generally do not index images, Flash is not indexed excellently too. Even though there are several exceptions to the approach, search engines only index text, even though search engines have been improved and are more intelligent. They are also now more capable of indexing files like graphic file captions and PDFs, as well as some of the text in a given Flash file.
You can do several things when designing or redesigning a web site to get more treatment in the search engines. You can choose to optimize the home page for the most relevant and important keyword or keyphrase, as well as other pages that can be optimized for the given product. If you choose to sell various products on various pages, every page can be optimized for the given product. You can organize items this way. You should use SEO on at least several pages to get the results you want. Do not optimize pages wherein you do not have public content. Avoid pages that have “private policy” and “contact us” as well.
Choose the Right Domain Name
The domain name may not be entirely substantial in changing your search results ranking, but it does help you become more visible to other web sites and target users. Try to use the same words or terms that best defines your topic. Try to view other existing sites and find out which domain names they use.
The Web Hosting Company
You should also invest in a good web hosting company. Free web site hosting can provide you with some visibility, but you should not expect to be at the top of the list. You should have your own static IP address, which means that the numeric IP address should be very stable. It should not differ each time someone types your URL, which is also referred to as a dynamic IP address. Huge hosting companies usually use dynamically assigned IP addresses that function the same way. Search engines prefer static IP addresses for several technical reasons.
Aside from using the main keywords that your target market will most likely use, you should also incorporate secondary keywords to optimize your web site more. Keyword stemming is another useful approach, wherein you use words that have the same stem or come from the same root. The use of synonyms can be good for your web site too. You should try to optimize for synonyms of the target keywords, together with the main keywords.
Links are highly important if you want to rank high. Try to use as many backlinks as you can. Look for links from other related and similar sites. Look for the origin of inbound links as well.
Classified Ads – Increase Your Network
Classified ads online can do so much more than just advertise. In fact, it can do one very important function not that too many people think about: increasing one’s network.
The definition of “increasing one’s network” may seem rather vague or unclear. However, in the most basic sense, this simply means classified ads can increase your set of connections with other people, whether personal or in business. Let’s first look at how classified ads can work to increase your network on the personal level.
Obviously, the main proponent here is the personals section of the classified ads websites. Personals, of course, are pretty much aimed at trying to make a connection with other people. The connection here is quite varied, from the usual to the unusual, to the wholesome to the mature, but the fact remains: the personal ads can be used to increase ones personal network.
But is the personals a good place to increase your personal network, so to speak?
If you are cautious, it could be, although it really depends on your intentions. Frankly speaking, the personals is not exactly the safest place to look for personal connections or friends of any kind. Just this year, there have been a couple of cases wherein murder victims met their killers in Craigslist. Of course, others say that if these people had been more careful and discriminating with their choices, the tragedy may not have happened. In any case, what is clear is the fact that danger could lurk here.
So does this mean that you should avoid personals all together? The simplest answer is no, if you know how to be careful. There are proper ways of meeting people you have met through the personals. If you can follow this, the risk of facing scams and threats will be significantly minimized.
The type of network that can be attained here is the professional one. This is the area of classified ads which many businesses and organization try to utilize. For instance, people can use the classified ads to look for a good. This is a form of professional network, since it allows one to get a convenient list of job opening a network of job openings, so to speak.
And when businesses use the classifieds websites to touch base with their customers and potential clients, this is a way of increasing one’s network too. The techniques here can vary, although in the end, what matters is that these ads can help the business become more visible in the public eye. Classified ads websites, after all, are rather popular; millions and millions of people all over the world peruse them from their needs and wants. Obviously, the possibilities to touch base with people here are limitless.
Indeed, the classified ads can be a great way to increase your network. You will have to do your part, of course, as such being careful with who you interact with and how you use it to attract people. Still, with the power of classified ads, using it to increase your network in any way and any capacity should be easy.
Video marketing is the process of using videos to promote your
products, services, or websites.
You’ve probably heard of the world’s largest video website, YouTube.com. Online videos are HOT and are great for establishing expert status in your niche as well as connecting with your local customers.
Online video is steadily becoming the next biggest thing in Internet Marketing – if it isn’t already. The same thing happened with TV commercials back in the day!
However, TV commercials are no where near as effective as online marketing methods anymore.
Here are 5 main benefits of online videos:
- Help You Develop Expert Status
- Help You Engage Website Visitors & Increases Conversions
- Help You Increase Website Traffic
- They Run on 24/7 on Auto-pilot
- They Set You Apart from Your Competitors
Everyone is online… and most people spend a LOT of time watching videos while surfing the web.
In fact, approximately 50% of people who watch an online video will take action… whether it is to download a free report, click on your website link, subscribe to your newsletter, or whatever you want them to do.
Because of this, video marketing will help increase traffic to your website so you should get amazing results by combining the both them together.
If you don’t have a website, do not worry… you can still utilize the power of online videos on increase business.
But get this… Did you also know that approximately 12% of people who visit a website with videos will end up buying from that site?
This conversion rate is amazing compared to non-video website conversions!
So, why is video so powerful?
The answer is simply that online videos are quickly becoming the preferred method for taking in information online.
People would rather spend 1-3 minutes watching a video than taking 10-20 minutes reading text.
Not only that, but using video allows you to communicate the important points you want to get over to your target audience in very little time.
Another note about video is that not only can you place them on your website for your visitors to see, but you can also distribute them all over the Internet for maximum exposure!
Websites sucha as YouTube, Vimeo, and many others make it extremely easy for you to host and distribute your online videos.
Not only that, but your videos can be optimized to rank high in the search engines – giving your business immediate exposure to potential customers.
Imagine someone in your local area doing a Google search for your type of product or service… and then your video pops up.
Do you think they’ll click on it? Yes!
Videos get much more attention than most forms of online media, which explains why it’s a “must-have” if you really want to connect with your existing and potential customers.
Not only that, but videos easily “go viral,” meaning they are shared by other viewers.
Studies show that approximately 90% of consumers who like an online video always share it with their friends.
Imagine how much extra exposure that will bring to your business – with no additional efforts on your part!
Online videos also make it easy to cross-sell your product or service. You are allowed to place a link and/or strong call to action at the end of your video, so you can sell even more.
There are several different styles of video that can be used and in order to really capitalize on them, you should try different versions.
Here’s a short list to get your creative juices flowing:
- Create a “Welcome” Message for Your Website – this will allow you to introduce yourself and your products/services to your website visitors. You can even do a tour of your business facilities to give your audience an “insider view” of your business. They will warm-up to you and start to feel like they already know you.
- Create “How-To” Educational Videos – this will allow you to bond with your target audience by giving them valuable information that they can use.
- Create “Interview-Style” Videos – this will allow your visitors to learn even more about you and your business. Use the interview to answer some of the questions that your potential market would have when it comes to your industry. You can have your staff interview you or you can interview your staff- whatever makes sense for your business.
- Create “Commercial” Videos – this will allow you to sell your product or service online 24/7 on complete auto-pilot. Similar to TV commercials, online video commercials can be used to quickly promote your product or service.
- Ask Your Satisfied Customers to Create Video Testimonials – this will allow you to easily provide “social proof” using the power of video. Showing live video coverage of one of your happy customers will boost your conversion rates.
Business owners are usually very busy running their businesses and have little or no time to dedicate to all of their marketing channels.However, social media is definitely one that should not be ignored.
With this extremely popular and effective form of marketing, you can connect and build relationships with customers and put your business at the top of their minds when they need your product or service.
Regardless of whether your small business has a website or not, you can benefit from the social media craze.
Social media will allow you to stay engaged with customers, as well as attract new customers due to the viral nature of social media.
Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube (see Video Marketing)and others are taking the Internet world by storm and are expected to grow at exponential rates in coming years.
Therefore, businesses have to do everything they can to put themselves right there in front of their existing and potential customers.
Establishing a presence on these social networks allows you to establish a great conversational and engaging relationship with your social media community.
This will ultimately result in more prospects, more loyal customers, more sales.
Although social media is one of the most important aspects of connecting with local consumers, it can be somewhat overwhelming for business owners.
Most of them don’t understand what it all means, where to begin, and how to make money social media.
Social media networking is real time, it’s available 24/7, and it’s more conversational than conventional advertising. When done effectively, it’s a new way for local and offline business owners to interact with their target audience, resulting in more sales and profits.
Social media also allows you to manage your company’s brand. People will use social media platforms to talk about your business and tell the good and the bad.
So, if you don’t stay on top of things, your business could be vulnerable to a bad reputation. However, social media allows you to handle and respond to customer service issues or unhappy customers – as well as happy customers.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular social media platforms that will help you build a loyal list of followers as well as generate new customers.
You have probably heard of Facebook… many people today spend most of their time on Facebook while on the Internet.
Not only that, but you’ve probably noticed that most businesses are quickly trying to establish their ground on Facebook.
Just about every website, TV commercial, flyer, and any other advertising methods include a statement such as, “Like Us on Facebook,” or “Connect with Us on Facebook,” or “Find Us on Facebook.”
So, it’s no secret that Facebook is crucial when it comes to marketing. If your business does not have a presence there, you are missing out on a LOT of potential business.
According to official Facebook statistics, there are currently more than 750 MILLION active Facebook users and 50% of them log in EVERY DAY.
People spend over 700 BILLION minutes per month on Facebook. Not only that, but more than 2.5 MILLION websites have been integrated with Facebook!
I’m sure you are starting to see the big picture here… Facebook is HUGE.
Facebook started out as a site where people connected on a personal level, but it has grown into an extremely powerful marketing tool for business owners.
There are several ways for businesses to connect with local consumers using Facebook. And it’s easy since Facebook marketing can be easily geo-targeted to people in your local area.
One way to really connect with your local consumers is to create a business Facebook FanPage. This will allow you to communicate with your customers on a consistent basis.
In fact, many people today “expect” businesses to have a FanPage.
Your FanPage acts as a “website” on Facebook, where you can share information about your business, communicate with your followers, and offer coupons and other promotions.
If your audience love your product or service, they will GLADLY remain a loyal fan!
Twitter is another social media network that is similar to Facebook, but it’s different in some ways.
With Twitter, you can send out what is called “Tweets” to your followers – similar to your Fans on Facebook.
However, Tweet messages have to be extremely short as there are only 160 characters allowed. But this is still enough to stay in front of your potential customers.
Social media doesn’t stop at Facebook and Twitter… there are many other social networks that businesses can use to tap into the powerful world of online marketing.
Search Engine Optimization
Many of the methods discussed in this report are considered “search engine optimization (SEO)”.
Some business owners shy away from SEO thinking it’s some huge monster that’s going to eat them alive.
However, SEO is something that can help them generate more leads, customers, and sales for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising methods.
SEO is a process of optimizing a website to improve search engine rankings.
In a nutshell, this is the process of getting traffic to your website.
This is achieved through “on-site optimization” and “off-site optimization.”
On-site optimization should include the keywords that your business would like to rank for as well as a few other key components.
Keyword research is the most crucial part of the SEO process because the keywords you target mean everything.
- Get it right and you will see major results!!
- Get it wrong and it will be a waste of time, energy and money.
You can do keyword research in the Google Keyword Tool. Simply enter your main keywords into the tool and review the results.The results will show what keywords people are searching for and how many times each keyword is searched for each month.This is powerful information for you because now you know what keywords to target in your SEO campaign.
Off-site optimization involves getting relevant backlinks to your website as well as establishing a strong presence spread out all over the Internet. This includes articles, press releases, videos, Facebook, Twitter, and any site other than yours. The more you have out there, the better.All of these sources will contain a link back to your website will help your website rank higher in the search engines as well as giving you stronger online visibility.You can even create a network of “mini-sites” for your business that targets different keywords and link back to your main website.
SEO is one of the most important ways to improve your profits while reducing your advertising costs. While you can try to do SEO yourself, most businesses opt to hire a professional SEO firm to help them achieve faster results.
Search Engine Visibility
Let’s look at a couple of specifics when it comes to consumer search engine usage:
- Surveys show that 85% of Internet users find websites through search engines.
- 98% of people searching for something online never go past the first page of search results.
These powerful statistics show how crucial search engine visibility is when it comes to connecting with your local customers.
Most people today go straight to the search engines to find local businesses. So naturally, this should be a major focus when it comes to marketing.
Google.com, Yahoo.com, and Bing.com are the three largest search engines in the world – Google being the largest.
In fact, there are approximately 250 million searches for products and services performed per day on Google alone.
You probably understand how the search engines work if you use a computer. But just in case you don’t, here’s a brief description of how Internet search engines work.
- People go to their search engine of choice and enter a few words to describe what they’re looking for in the search box. These are called “keywords“.
- The search engine returns results based on those keywords.
- The person doing the search scans the list of results to complete their search.
Obviously, the higher ranking websites receive the most attention, so this is where you want to be.
There are several different types of results that come up in the Google search engine:
- Sponsored/Pay-Per-Click Ads – ads that you pay for
- Google Places – free local business directory
- Organic Results – websites that rank naturally (also free)
Your goal as a business owner should be to own a high-ranking spot in all of them. Organic (natural) search result listings receive 85% of all clicks, as opposed to only 15% for Pay Per Click (PPC), so shoot for organic rankings even if you decide not to do PPC.
The higher the better… Since 98% of consumers don’t go past page one when doing searches, you at least want to be on page one.
So, how do you boost your search engine rankings to attract new customers?
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Google Places
Another excellent way to get great search engine visibility is by listing, claiming, and verifying your business in Google Places. Google Places is a local business directory that allows you to profile your business and share information such as videos, photos, and hours of operation.
Google automatically lists most businesses in Google Places with very generic information – some of which is inaccurate. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to claim and verify your listing. This process will allow you to correct any inaccurate information as well as share additional information about your business.
In order to claim and verify your listing, you simply fill out your profile and then submit it to Google. They will contact you via phone or postcard with a verification PIN number to activate your listing. You will enter this PIN into your Google Places account to complete the process.
Google Places works 24/7 for your business when it comes to connecting with local consumers. This powerful platform gives your business “credibility” in the eyes of local consumers. Complete Google Places profiles simply receive more attention than those that are not.
Google Places is also extremely mobile friendly. Mobile users are constantly searching for products and services in their local area while on the go. Google Places allows your business to come up right on their mobile devices.
Your customers can even reviews of your business on your Google Places page. Even better, you can actually respond to those reviews and build a strong relationship with your customers. This will look good to people who find your page before calling you up to do business. We will discuss reviews in more detail later in this report.
Google Places business listings come up in search engine results when someone searches for your type of product or service online. In fact, Google Places usually gets more attention than organic listings when it comes to local products and services.
Usually, the top 3 results gets the most attention so you should strive to rank your website as high as you can. Of course, the number one spot is the ultimate goal.
If you decide to setup your own Google Places account, here are a few tips just to recap:
- Be sure to fill out the complete Google Places page including pictures, videos, coupons, and any other information you can.
- Include relevant and accurate information about your business on your listing.
Select the right categories when completing your listing for maximum effectiveness.
- Try to get as many customer reviews as possible.
- Offer something to your customers in exchange for them posting a review on your Google Places page.
Google places vill make Your SEO even better!