The Value of Business Networking, Internet Marketing & Growing Your Local Business

I attended a business networking meeting this morning where I met about 20 like-minded local business owners from a variety of industries – lawyers, dentists, CPA’s, computer repair, IT to name a few.  Each has the need to grow their business as well as help others in the group grow theirs by referrals. And in fact I witnessed about a dozen written referrals actually change hands, indicating this business networking group is working.

Group discussions touched upon how they market their business, and to my selfish interests, what each of these companies do regarding Internet marketing, and how they use (or do not use) their websites as marketing tools. Not surprising most admit to needing help in that area. After all, they are lawyers, dentists, CPA’s and real estate agents, not Internet marketing pros. They spend their days running their business and while marketing should be a key component of that activity, too often it is not. Frankly that’s why we have a business, to help those local business owners that do not have the time , inclination or knowledge to do Internet marketing on their own.

And then I was received this “100 Awesome Marketing Charts” from HubSpot in my email!  Clearly illustrating the impact that the Internet, Google, & Social Media (Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn) have had on how consumers search & find new local businesses, it is a most enlightening read for all of us involved in online marketing at any level.  You may want to read this yourself, and you can download your free copy here .

Check it out and let me know what you think.

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Is It Time to Shut Down Your Website? (repost from BNET)

Just as many local business owners are getting on the “I need a website” bandwagon, social media raises the bar to the new chant of “I need a Facebook page now”. We often tell clients that social media today is where websites were 10 years ago – everybody wants one but few truly understand how to make good use of the platform. And just today on BNET a most interesting story appeared, asking if it is time to shut down your website, looking at both business websites and social media as marketing tools.

Lots of useful food for thought for local business owners;  Read that story here .

Best Laid Plans Need to Be Continually Re-evaluated

When we started this company our focus was to help local businesses with their Internet marketing. And we gained success, developed an SEO formula that works, and helped many local business owners increase the traffic to their site and get more business from their Internet & social media presence. That was our plan.

And then something interesting happened along the way. Business owners began to verbalize their dis-satisfaction with their existing websites. We were told that many felt their current website was old, out of date. They sometimes had a Faceboook presence but had not done anything useful with it for a long time. So being good business people, we rose to the occasion and re-wrote our business plans to now include website development for local businesses, and are finding that this dovetails wonderfully with our original premise – that local business owners can do more to attract new customers if they made good use of the Internet as a marketing tool.

So the take-away here is that while it is wise to make plans and work those plans, it is even smarter to accept that the best laid plans often need to be re-evaluated, and new directions acted upon!

The dirty little secret about local Internet marketing

Have you ever received a call – perhaps even a robocall – guaranteeing you position #1 or page 1 positioning in Google’s search results?

Well, according to Google:

No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.

This is not to say that your business can’t achieve position #1 or page 1 placement on Google, especially if your company does business at the local level and is not in a competitive business category. But for the local businesses we’ve served, we at  http://www.FindMyLocalBiz.com find a number of factors do come into play if your goal is to get your business placed on the first page of Google’s search results:

(1) The design, relevance and content of your website to searchers’ queries

(2) The implementation of title tags, description tags and, to a lesser extent, keyword tags

(3) Complete Place pages that contain the information consumers want to know most.

(4) The citations and backlinks to your site to give it the kind of authority that Google recognizes and rewards.

So let’s say you follow the rules and then one day your business starts showing up on Google’s first page of results? What will that mean to your business? The answer may be, “Nothing at all.” It all depends on the quality of your website and how well it answers or addresses a searcher’s needs.

All too often, we find that many businesses become disillusioned when they get no calls or inquiries, even if their sites are featured on page 1. The reason? Probably the site itself. And that’s the dirty little secret of local Internet marketing: No matter how high your position might be on Google, if your website is poorly designed and written, doesn’t answer the searcher’s needs, you will likely not get any response. Which may mean it’s may be time to take a fresh look at your site.

If you built your site yourself, perhaps it’s time to turn to the service of a professional web designer who can deploy skills and tools. And if you authored the site’s content, you may want to employ the services of a professional copywriter who understands the nuances of writing for the web, especially at a time when search engine optimization is so important.

So if you’re goal is to get your business #1 on Google, remember what Google said: “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.” And remember if you eventually do get to #1, it’s best that you put your best foot (your website) forward.

How To Attract New Customers, Clients & Business

A long time ago I worked as the Advertising Director for a national music magazine. We had a consultant who at the time seemed to me to be more of an annoyance than a mentor, but with the benefit if time & hindsight I can now say he taught me many useful tactics, concepts and procedures.

And with regards to attracting new customers, more clients and growing business, this is the one thing that rings incredibly true even today. It is simple in concept, easy to implement yet probably one of the hardest things to do. And here are those words of wisdom… “JUST MAKE MORE CALLS!”

Amazingly for many of us that is one of the most difficult tactics to employ. It is truly a numbers game. By making more calls you will get more conversations leading to more presentations resulting in more new business. But you must make a high volume for the numbers to work in your favor.

Think of a 2% conversion – 100 calls turn into 20 conversations / meetings that turn into one new client. if you get good at converting than 2% can become 4%, but the percenatges are based only on the total number of calls made during a given period of time.

The morale here is to spend as much time as you can cultivating your prospect list, making the calls and eventually increasing your business.

So to that point I am going to stop blogging now and make some more calls!

You should too.

The three components to a successful SEO campaign.

No two SEO experts will agree on every detail, and no two client’s ever need exactly the same things for their website. At www.Findmylocalbiz.com, most clients want to do more business online, and when we take the time to first understand their web goals, then explain the SEO & SEM strategies and plans, they’ll afford us the time and attention to do the job. And results which are never instantaneous first start with increased traffic, better rankings and then ultimately conversions. We find it takes all three components to deliver a successful SEO campaign.

Keep A’goin!

If you’re old enough to remember Henry Gibson on TV’s Laugh-In, then you’ll remember his famous poetry segments called “Keep A’Goin”. In those Henry talked about the daily life challenges tossed his way and how he was determined to keep a’goin to overcome the challenges.

Owning and running a business is often like that. One week you may feel as if the world is against you and nothing is going right, and then suddenly things turn your way.

This past week we experienced the true business value of employing the Keep A’Goin philosophy. During the past months we had many sales meetings, new business presentations and even planned on a revised business model. Things were moving but very slowly. Some days we were getting discouraged, and then… three of those we had previously spoken with called to sign up for our Intent marketing services. Best of all two of these have also given us referrals for new assignments. How great is that!

So remember that during those inevitable down periods, it is wise to always Keep A’Goin. The fact that we keep on going through hard times eventually paid off and will for you, too.