Happy New Year to you all!
I would like to commend Michael Kern for his excellent and timely article on “How To Rank Higher In Google Maps”.
It is excellent because it lays out one strategy on how small business can effectively compete in this new internet and mobile landscape. It is timely because it is early enough in the year for small business WHO use this information to dramatically improve their bottom line in 2013!
First, I will assume that you want to acquire more customers, engage your existing customers and get them to spend more with you in 2013.
If So, Consider The Following:
Offline Marketing & Advertising:
Most small business continue to use offline marketing channels like Yellow Pages, Newspapers, Radio, Billboards and sometimes TV as their primary and sometimes only marketing channel.
As you plan for your 2013 marketing strategy consider these facts:
- 24 out 25 of the largest newspapers in the USA experienced significant declines in circulation last year!
- Newsweek and several prominent weekly magazines have transitioned to a strictly online product!
- New Orleans became the largest city without a daily newspaper when the Times-Picayune decided to end daily publication and become a strictly digital (online) news product.
- Used to be if you wanted more customers, you took out a Yellow Pages Ad… When’s the last time you USED the Yellow Pages?
Google Places Or Maps:
For the first time in marketing history, Google has created a platform that allows small business owners to compete effectively on the Internet and on Mobile devices. Google has designed the website in such a way that a small Italian restaurant with a Lowell address will ALWAYS rank higher than a national chain, assuming that appropriate, simple search ranking strategies are implemented.
Google has ALREADY created a Google Places website for you. All you have to do is claim it and ensure it continues to rank high in your local area! Unfortunately, many small to medium business owners are completely unaware of this giveaway! It is completely free! All they have to do is claim it! You can go to : http://www.google.com/places/ to claim your website.
Deal Of The Day Marketing Programs:
While many small to medium sized businesses understand the marketing power that the internet can bring to them, they are intimidated by the perceived complexity of implementing an ongoing internet marketing strategy. They therefore resort to short-term customer acquisition programs along the likes offered by Groupon and Living Social. These programs are very expensive to the business and do not guarantee ANY long-term customer loyalty or engagement. For example, if a chiropractor normally sells a package service for say, $1000. Groupon and Living Social would normally demand a deep discount, to say $750, and then in addition take 50% of the sale as commission. Net, net the chiropractor has effectively sold a $1000 service for only $375! And even though the chiropractor gets an additional say, 10 customers as a result of the coupon sale, why would a rational customer who has been used to and initiated by a $750 service accept the true price of $1000 later on? The bottom line is many customers who take advantage of a deeply discounted service never become long-term customers. And the chiropractor in this example would have lost $6250 on the 10 new customers he would have received from Groupon!
The Long Term Customer Acquisition Strategy:
The internet is the future because that is where YOUR CUSTOMERS are looking for you! According to research by the Kelsey Group, “83% of people first search online before making a LOCAL product or service purchase”. In addition, Piper Jaffray estimates that “1 out of 3 of ALL online searches are LOCAL searches”. The implication for small to medium sized businesses is that developing a credible, local, online marketing strategy is key to long term profitability through customer acquision, customer retention and customer loyalty.
Ironically, implementing a local, online marketing strategy will end up being a lot less expensive than the chiropractor example above, and will enable the business to acquire the life time customers it needs to maintaining ongoing profitability.
A local, online marketing strategy would include one or more of the following:
- Claiming Your Google Local Places Website
- Integrating your Google Places website with your private website (if you have one)
- Keyword Research
- Online Lead Generation and Conversion
- Online Small Business Branding
- Social Media Marketing & Integration
- Web Design
- Online Reputation Management
- Search Engine Optimization and Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Integrating your online marketing strategy with your offline marketing strategy for maximum impact
Google has made it is possible for small to medium sized business to compete and in many cases win in the local business market area.
Every local business realizes that they must generate high quality new leads (that turn into clients), on an ongoing basis in order to stay in business and profitable. Unfortunately, many small to medium sized businesses have difficulty in effectively promoting and marketing themselves in this digital environment.
The objective of Boston Internet Marketing is to help the small to medium sized businesses attract more new customers, engage more with their customers and help their existing customers spend more with them.
We will perform a FREE Online Marketing Competitive Analysis for your company, with recommendations on how you may integrate your current marketing strategy with some simple online strategies to significantly improve your 2013 profitability.