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Local Business Marketing Strategy – Navigating the Lucrative World of eCommerce and Online Ordering

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Online-ShoppingChances are, you’ve likely participated in electronic commerce over the past five years, even if you didn’t know it. For certain, at least someone you know has. Electronic commerce – or eCommerce or eTail or eBusiness, etc.) is simply online ordering from an electronic storefront. Rather than going to a brick-and-mortar store, you can save time and money by buying goods via eCommerce.

What You Need to Know About eCommerce

Of course, you can also make money selling goods and services with an eCommerce site. All funds and data are electronically transmitted, facilitating both payment and shipping. This means that both consumer and business-owner have an easy, quick transaction that is beneficial to both parties.

Ecommerce can take on many forms such as business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C), consumer to consumer (C2C) or consumer to business (C2B). Regardless of which form of eCommerce, there are certain benefits to this local business marketing strategy that are enjoyed universally:

  • eCommerce removes distance and time barriers
  • eCommerce provides fast buying services that are available around the clock (when other stores are closed)
  • eCommerce lets customers shop from the convenience of their own home while having their purchases shipped directly to their doorstep
  • eCommerce storefronts don’t have to stock in one location (they can ship directly from warehouses) so they carry a much wider selection of goods
  • eCommerce allows goods, data, services and payment to be exchanged electronically
  • eCommerce can either supplement or fully replace traditional commerce (e.g. a retail store)

Of course, there are a few downsides depending on the eCommerce retailer you are dealing with. Some common complaints are the inability to touch or try on products before you buy them, delayed shipping times and on occasion, subpar customer service.

How is eCommerce Conducted?

There are many manners in which eCommerce is facilitated. This includes websites, storefronts, email, online catalogs, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), shopping cart sites and File Transfer Protocol. Security and privacy are of the utmost for eCommerce sites since customers are transferring their financial data directly to the site.

For this reason, websites must have authentication protocols for all business transactions and they must provide secure payment options. Communications must be encrypted and security technologies such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) should always be implemented on the eCommerce site.

Using Shopping Cart Software for Online Ordering and eCommerce

By far, one of the most popular ways to conduct safe, secure, fast and easy online ordering websites is through the utilization of shopping cart software. A shopping cart is essentially a virtual version of what you would push around in a brick and mortar location. Everything that you wish to buy, you click on and it goes into the cart.

The software tracks the goods or services as well as the customers and when the buyer is ready to check out, the software brings up payment options. When the customer enters their information (e.g. credit or debit card, PayPal, Google Wallet, etc.), the order goes through the software to the website’s shipping department head and if automated, a confirmation email goes out to both the customer and a warehouse. The item is then shipped out from the warehouse, resulting in another confirmation email.

When everything runs smoothly, eCommerce sites are a fantastic way to boost your income, whether you are an individual looking to dropship or a company looking to unload inventory online. Ecommerce has been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years and all signs point to its continued growth as online ordering and shopping accounted for $61 billion in sales during the 2014 holiday shopping season in the USA alone.

Online Ordering and eCommerce FAQs

Q: What do I need to know in order to set up an eCommerce website?

A: You don’t need any experience in coding or HTML to set up an eCommerce site with most website control panels (e.g. WordPress) since plug-ins and shopping cart software take care of everything for you.

Q: How do I get paid from my eCommerce website?

A: Depending on how you have your site set up to accept payments, your money will be directly deposited into your bank account once the payment clears. This means your income is as quick with eCommerce retail as it is to order and receive an item from an eCommerce site.

Local Business Marketing Strategy – Share Your Expertise with Google Hangouts

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Local Business Marketing Success - Convert Visitors to LeadsGoogle Hangouts is a video chat platform that was released in 2013. Before the launch of Hangouts, Google had promoted many similar, but technologically distinct messaging services and platforms across its many products; most of which are now discontinued with the launch of Hangouts.

A Google Hangout is a local business marketing strategy that lets you have a one-on-one or group conversation via video. This is perfect for businesses that need to meet face-to-face with customers or clients, as well as their staff, coworkers, and business associates.

In the past, business owners flew themselves, and their employees, all over the globe to partake in face-to-face meetings. Not only is frequent travel expensive, but it takes up a lot of time that could be spent on other areas of the business.

Just a few short years ago, travel was the only way to connect face-to-face with business associates and clients in multiple locations.

Google Hangouts provides a solution to help companies still reap the benefits of these important meetings no matter where the two parties may be located physically.

The good thing is that it is not limited to just two people; you can have a group of up to 15 people on any given Hangout. Some of the other benefits include:

  • The ability to join a Hangout easily from a desktop, tablet, or laptop
  • The ability to share your screen with everyone on the Hangout
  • The ability to hold public Hangouts to demo new products or services
  • All Hangout streams are encrypted and secure

One convenient feature of Google Hangouts is that they’re hosted on YouTube, and that means that you can easily promote your video on your website or your other social media channels.

Another creative way to use Hangouts is to show your customers and prospects that you are an expert in your industry. It’s the ideal place to promote your business and yourself while also giving your audience valuable and helpful information.

Last, but not least, Google Hangouts is the perfect tool to help you put a “face” on your business and connect with your target audience in a personal way. Seeing someone’s face immediately builds a level of trust that will put potential customers at ease about doing business with you.

Shut down the fear of the “unknown” by having public or private Hangouts with your potential customers as a new way to convert hot leads into paying customers.

Local Business Marketing Strategy – What Small Business Owners Can Learn From Ronald McDonald

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

Local Business Marketing StrategyNo matter what you sell, how high the retail price, what time of year or how bad the economy is, people are still buying almost everything – Houses, Cars, Boats, Insurance, Interior Design, etc.

Are they buying as many as last year? Maybe not. Are they buying less expensive models than they used to? Could be. Are there fewer buyers on the market right now? Probably – so what!

I have purchased 9 homes in my life. Two of these homes I bought on the 24-25th of December. Who the heck buys homes on Christmas or Christmas Eve? Not as many as the weeks before or the weeks after Christmas, but homes still get sold then. I even bought a home when mortgage rates were over 12%!

Despite what you’ve heard or read, people ARE still buying. Your job is to stop justifying why your sales are flat or down and find a way to get those people to buy from you. Now is NOT the time to give into what I call “the down disease” – (everyone is down in sales so I don’t feel so bad that my sales are down too).

In times like these, your competitors will slow down or even eliminate some or all of their marketing efforts. This creates an opportunity for you to capture their customers if you already have systems in place to do so.

Your job is to take advantage of this opportunity and find those prospects that ARE ready, willing and able to buy and make sure that they buy from you, not your competition. Sounds logical and simple enough. But if it was that simple, wouldn’t more companies be doing it?

The sad truth is that many businesses continue to do what they’ve always done in the past regardless of the mediocre results they are now getting.

You don’t necessarily need more marketing money to increase sales.

Instead, it’s your ability to use the marketing money and resources you already have more effectively. What it really comes down to is not having sales generating systems in place that they can use to get a predictable and constant stream of sales regardless of what is going on around the block or around the world.

These systems can do more to increase your sales than just about anything else you could invest in. Why? Because it concentrates on the one thing that ALL businesses can’t get enough of…new customers. Doesn’t that make sense?

Systems are what make so many franchises successful. Why do you think McDonalds®, Dunkin Donuts® and other franchises are so successful? Because they have, over time, developed systems that work.

Make no mistake about it, people who buy a franchise aren’t buying hamburgers, donuts or coffee, they’re buying a program that has proven the test of time, they are buying a successful system.

That’s why the most successful franchises cost so much…because if you do what they tell you to do, if you “connect the dots”, if you “paint by their numbers”, your odds of success go up dramatically.

What type of sales generating systems do you have in place in your business?

Listed below are 4 easy-to-implement systems that you can introduce into your business fairly easily.

1 – Website Lead Capture System
One of the most effective lead-capture systems is the humble newsletter. Electronic newsletters (e-Zines) are much like paper-based newsletters in that they inform, entertain, and make product or service recommendations.

The difference is that you can send an electronic newsletter instantly to thousands of people with the simple push of a button for almost no cost whatsoever. It’s truly amazing.

Of course you need people to send your newsletter to so you should start collecting the email addresses of your prospects and clients today. A surefire way to persuade a prospect to share their personal email address with you is to offer them a low cost premium such as a free report about how to buy your products and services.

The key to making electronic newsletters work is to write, in a personal voice, as though you were talking to your prospect or customer face-to-face. Also, provide interesting and useful content so that your reader looks forward to receiving your newsletter. Be consistent. Send your newsletter on a bi-weekly basis, such as the 1st and 15th of every month.

If you want all the fuss taken out of the newsletter process you can use an all-in-one tool such as http://www.1ShoppingCart.com (that’s what I use) or ConstantContact.com or Aweber.com.

2 – Telephone Lead Capture System
How would you like to capture the name and address of all your lead sources and know exactly where they all came from? Capturing this information would allow you to do follow up marketing with your prospects and compute the exact return-on-investment of each of your marketing and advertising campaigns. Telephone hotlines allow you to do just that – and more.

A telephone hotline is simply a recorded telephone message that can either, (1) ask for and record a prospect’s contact information that can later be transcribed, (2) play back a pre-recorded educational or sales message, or (3) allow the caller to be directly transferred to a live person after listening to a message.

Most telephone hotlines use toll-free telephone numbers that are rented to your business on a monthly basis. You’ll also receive multiple extension numbers with “message boxes” that can play different messages depending on the marketing campaign. I use http://www.AutomatedMarketingSolutions.com for my telephone hotline services.

Imagine offering an interesting free report (or audio / video) in your advertising by asking the prospect to simply call your toll-free number and a specific extension number to request your information product.

The prospect calls up the advertised phone number with its unique extension number and then requests the report by leaving their name and address.

Their name and address gets transcribed that night, entered into an MS Excel spreadsheet, and then sent to you in the morning ready for you to follow up on.

At the end of the month you go online, click a button, and a report spits out the exact source of each of your leads and when they came in. Now you have some powerful information that will allow you to precisely track the return on each marketing campaign.

3 – Internet Pay-Per-Click Advertising System
More and more people are going to the Internet to search for power sports product information before they call up a dealer. It’s critical to be the first power sports dealer that your prospect finds in their search. Pay-per-click advertising allows you to do that in a low risk way.

Let me explain.

Pay-per-click advertising programs such as Yahoo and Google’s Adwords program allow you to bid for search engine placement. If you’ve ever searched for something in Google and saw those text ads on the right side of the screen you’ve seen Google Adwords. With Google AdWords or Yahoo you create your own ads, choose keywords to match your ads to your audience and pay only when someone clicks on them.

For instance, suppose your power sports business is in Chicago. You might bid on the keywords “Chicago” and “motorcycle,” which is a likely keyword combination for a Chicago resident looking for a motorcycle. You may only have to pay $.10 per click to be at the top of the search engines. In less than one hour any power sports dealer can launch their own pay-per-click Internet advertising program.

4 – Follow-Up Marketing System
Now that you’ve generated interest and prospects are coming to your website or responding to your advertising, you need an effective lead follow up system. In the previous paragraph I referred to an “autoresponder service” and now it’s time to learn what they are and why they’re important. An autoresponder service automatically sends multiple email messages that you create on a scheduled basis that you define.

For instance, imagine that you sold golf carts and offered a free 6-part email course on your website titled, “How to Select the Perfect Golf Cart.” After your website visitor signed up to receive your email course by sharing their email address with you, your autoresponder service would automatically send them one email containing your course content every other day over the next 12 days.

Every other day your prospect would automatically receive a useful tip or technique for selecting the right Golf Cart, without any manual intervention from you. Included in each day’s tip could be an offer to visit your website to take advantage of a special offer or to visit your store to receive a personalized educational session.

There’s no magic to how many emails you can set up in your autoresponder system. I know of one power sports dealer who has over six months of weekly emails pre-written and set up to automatically be sent in his autoresponder system. Each email has a unique teaser that drives prospects back to their website.

For instance, one email says, “Click here to see one of the most unique Golf Carts ever built.” The link then takes the reader to a page with a beautiful Golf Cart and also includes a story about some of the problems that cheap Golf Cart owners encounter and how this new Golf Cart overcame those problems. It may also include a testimonial from the prospect raving about the Golf Cart. It’s quite powerful.

One last thought, for a sales or marketing system to be effective it must:
1. Be Quick to get started, Easy to implement, and Simple to maintain
2. Leverage all your other sales and marketing efforts and be capable of producing fast results
3. Continue to produce good results for long periods of time – it must be “viral”

The 3 systems I’ve shown you certainly meet these 3 criteria. Now go out there and start systemizing. If Ronald McDonald can do it, so can you!

For a free consultation to see how we can help you set up lead generation and follow up marketing systems in your business, give us a call at 858-442-3131.

Local Business Marketing Strategy – Is Web Design Really That Important For Your Site?

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Local Business Marketing StrategyWhat would you do if you walked into a store and smelled something horrible, saw flashing strobe lights, was literally mobbed by overbearing, commission-seeking salesmen and then couldn’t find anything you were looking for?  Probably get the heck out of there as quickly as possible hoping you didn’t catch a cold, right?  Well, landing on a poorly designed website can replicate some of those same feelings (complete with parting virus), especially if the consumer is a motivated buyer and you have competing businesses whose sites are well-designed.

The Difference Between a Good and Bad Web Design Experience for Visitors

The heart of the matter is this: web design is super-important to the functionality and overall appeal of your website.  If your visitor doesn’t feel at home, if they are confused, if they feel attacked or threatened or can’t figure out why they are on the site, the “back” button is only one click away.  Poor web design will lose you traffic for good—a first time visitor with a bad experience will not be coming back to give you another chance.

On the other hand, a website that is designed with the visitor in mind is an excellent local business marketing strategy that will keep them engaged and on the page, constantly moving down your sales funnel until they become a conversion (be it on the first visit or the tenth).  Good web design is easy to navigate and easy on the eyes, putting the visitor in the mood to listen, learn, read, explore and ultimately, buy (or do whatever it is you want them to do there).

What Constitutes Good Web Design?

So, what is this “good web design” that seems to elude so many start-up sites (and even some that have been around – albeit not too successfully – for years)?  Well, good web design focuses on a number of key points:

  • The site should be clean and without distraction.  Distractions or eyesores lead to friction, or the thing that prevents your visitor from converting.  Having a lot of white space (i.e. space on the site with no content, creating attention to the content with the use of negative space) is important.
  • The site should be easy to navigate, meaning the navigation bar should be across the top or down the side.  It should be clear to the visitor that if they click on an area, they know where they are going and then are provided that content.  For example, if they click on “About Us” and it takes them to your order form, that’s not good design.
  • The color scheme should ideally match your brand or logo, but if it doesn’t, it should still be pleasant.  Having a black background with white letters is hard on the eyes – the best color for content is still black lettering on a white background.  Keep your borders as defining points, not distracting points.
  • The loading time should be fast, between 3 to 5 seconds maximum.  For every second extra your page takes to load, you are losing a percentage of your customers.  Keep weighty content to a minimum and be sure your load times are balanced across all pages.
  • On the back end, the coding should be high-quality, meaning no errors, broken links, orphan pages, etc.  Always use CSS and modern coding programs on quality templates.

An example of good web design is simple to find: think about a website that you frequent often and love to be on.  Chances are, it is designed properly which is why you keep going back.  Bad web design is also pretty easy to find online – you will certainly know it as soon as you get there and start tapping the “back” button or X-ing out the screen.

Web Design FAQs

Q:  Do you have to be a web designer to design a good website?

A:  No, but it certainly helps.  Unless you are fairly computer savvy and have a good eye for layout and color schemes, it’s probably a good idea to hire a web designer to create your site.  If you would like to try your hand at it, look for a drag-and-drop website builder to create with, unless you already know how to code.

Q:  How much does a good web designer cost?

A:  This question is hard to answer because of the levels of talent needed for intricate websites cost more money while a run-of-the-mill web designer will charge less, something that is good if you need just a basic design.  Expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand depending on your needs, scope and how customized you want the site.  As with any skilled hire, you get what you pay for – do more research into what you actually want (e.g. templates vs. custom builds, etc.) and then price around.

Need help with Web Design?  We can help. Contact me personally to learn more David@StreetSmartSalesAndMarketing.com or call 858-442-3131

Local Business Marketing Strategy – Using Google AdWords to Capture Leads

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Local Business Marketing StrategyGoogle AdWords is an advertising platform that positions ad copy at the top, bottom, or next to, the organic search results for a given search engine query. The placement and choice of the ads is dependent in part on a proprietary calculation of the relevance of the search string to the ad copy.

Running a successful campaign on AdWords is all about relevance. Click-Through Ratio (CTR) is the primary metric that determines whether or not your ads are relevant (The % of people who are seeing your ad who click on it). If you can learn how to maximize your CTR, you can pay a lower amount per click, have a higher CTR, and get a higher position for a lower price.

The term “Call-To-Action” (CTA) is pretty standard in marketing; and it’s very important when working with Google AdWords. A CTA basically tells viewers of the ad exactly what you want them to do. Some studies have shown that adding a CTA to any marketing method has improved results substantially.

Having a clear CTA is important because it moves viewers to literally take action. Your ad copy should be keyword-rich and provide some sense of urgency. When you combine these with a solid CTA, many viewers will be enticed to click to learn more.

In order to convert your leads once they click on your ad, the landing page has to be right and ready. Whether you’re sending them to a page on your website, or a stand-alone lead capture page, the success of your Google AdWords campaign is highly dependent upon the landing page.

Having relevance between the search term, the AdWords ad, and the landing page is critical. Otherwise, you’ll simply lose money on your campaign in the end; AdWords campaigns can be expensive for some keyword phrases, so you definitely want everything to be intact for the best results.

Instead of trying to do it themselves, many small business owners hire an expert who knows how to do perform keyword research, analyze the target audience, and craft compelling ads. This way, they can get started on the right track without risking their budget.

When it comes to generating new leads online, of course you can always work towards getting your website pages to rank higher in the organic listings. However, this tends to take some time.

If you’re looking for a quick way to drive highly-targeted traffic to your website, Google AdWords is a great local business marketing strategy to use.

Need help using Google AdWords? We can help. Contact me personally to learn more David@StreetSmartSalesAndMarketing.com or call 858-442-3131

Local Business Marketing Strategy – What Is Google Webmaster Tools?

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Local Business Marketing SuccessGoogle Webmaster Tools is a free service offered by Google for website owners. Website owners can add their sites to this platform to get regular updates on important information such as indexing status, search queries, and search appearance. There are also tips included inside the interface on how to optimize and increase the visibility of your website.

Chances are that you have never heard of this local business marketing strategy; that is unless you are personally handling your website and SEO operations. In most cases, small business owners are too busy running their day-to-day operations to become involved at this level of website management and monitoring.

However, it’s still good for you to have a basic understanding of this platform. Google Webmaster Tools provides a wealth of information about websites, such as a list of broken links, traffic statistics for individual keywords, links pointing to your site, statistics on how Google indexes your site, any errors on your site, domain preferences, and so much more.

This powerful platform is vital for search engine optimization efforts because it helps you see your website as Google sees it. For instance, you can see trends over time with the viewing data with change feature. You can even add and view sitemaps, remove any URLs, and find issues with your site’s title tags and meta descriptions.

If you would like to check out Google Webmaster Tools first-hand (just be sure to let your webmaster know before you do anything), set your site up on it and take a look around. Once you create an account, you can log into the dashboard and add your site.

The platform may seem confusing at first, but once you explore around for a while, it will become more familiar to you overtime. Be sure to read or watch any tutorials in their help section that will teach you some of its specific features and functionalities.

Again, doing this may not be your cup of tea – and that’s fine. It’s probably best that you leave it in the hands of whoever is handing your website’s management and SEO. If you don’t currently have anyone and don’t think you have the time or skills to dedicate to it, consider hiring a professional online marketing consultant or search engine optimization specialist.

However, if you are a do-it-yourselfer, Google Webmaster Tools is definitely something to pay attention to and become familiar with.

Need help with Google Webmaster Tools?  Contact us to learn more David@StreetSmartSalesAndMarketing.com or call 858-442-3131

Local Business Marketing Strategy – Do You Really Need to Manage Your Online Reputation?

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Online-ReputationHave you ever gone to Yelp before visiting a restaurant in your area? Read a review on TripAdvisor before making vacation plans? How about checked out a mechanic on Google to read their reviews? Read Amazon’s customer reviews before buying a product? Unless you care absolutely nothing for quality and like to gamble with your hard-earned cash when looking for new products and services, you’ve likely done at least one of these things.

This is called the online reputation and it can be found for companies, brands, products, services, restaurants—even teachers in college on a site called Rate My Professor. The internet is the Great Equalizer when it comes to putting the power back into the hands of the consumer because how you interact with your customer today might just end up plastered all over the internet tomorrow.

Getting Good Online Reputation

Think about the last time you checked out a company’s online reputation. Were there good reviews that helped with the decision? Having a good online reputation is a great local business marketing strategy and is rarely something that happens by accident. In some cases, the service provider is just so absolutely amazing, their customers are thrilled to run home and write rave reviews.

In other cases, companies will hire people or firms to manage their online reputation. We’ll get to what that means for getting rid of bad reputation in a second, but for now, let’s focus on how to build good online reputation.

An online reputation management campaign will likely consist of a very simple practice: asking your clients to review you online. You can do this in person, you can send them an email; you can even give them a call up or send direct mail. The point here is that your customer base might not even know you care about online reputation, but if they know you want it, they’ll likely be more than happy to oblige (providing you are a good service provider or have top-quality goods!).

Of course, if you really want them to help your online reputation grow in a positive manner, you can reward your customers for helping you out. “Review our business on Yelp and receive 10% off your next order!”

Dealing With Negative Online Reputation

On the other side of the coin, you might also have some negative online reputation out there. Maybe it was a completely irrational customer who you tried to please in every manner possible, but they went completely insane, called you every name in the book and stormed out of your store kicking the gumball machine over in the process.

Do you think that person is going to go home and write what really happened on your Google+ page? Nope, they’re going to make you look like an old lady-kicking antichrist. And when other people see that, they are going to think twice about choosing you over your competitors, who have only glowing reviews from their customers.

So, what do you do? Well, the great thing about reviews and your online reputation is that it gives you another chance to remedy the situation. Perhaps a few days later when cooler heads have prevailed, you can reach out via private message, or respond publicly. Do what you can to make amends with the disgruntled customer and who knows, you may turn them into an evangelist for your company.

Further, when a company or individual takes an active interest in their online reputation, it shows other potential customers that the company cares. For example, if you saw a rant ripping into a dog groomer on Yelp but then saw the groomer replied with a pleasant apology and an offer to make things right with the reviewer, wouldn’t that negate the negative feelings you had for the groomer after reading the review? That’s why online reputation management is so important.

Online Reputation FAQs

Q: What happens if I don’t manage my online reputation?

A: Any number of things, mostly starting with a decrease in new acquisitions. You might also see your existing customer base drop off as bad online reputation has a tendency to go viral when left unchecked. Other sites and publications might pick up the poor reputation comments and run with them, especially if your competition has anything to say about it. In short, don’t neglect your online reputation.

Q: How serious can online reputation really be?

A: Consider the fact that online defamation has put companies out of business, resulting in lawsuits that when proven (not a high percentage here), millions of dollars in payouts have been awarded. Online reputation can make or break you and if left unchecked, can do so without you ever having a fighting chance.

Need help managing your online reputation?  Contact us to learn more David@StreetSmartSalesAndMarketing.com or call 858-442-3131

Local Business Marketing Strategy – Why Google AdSense May Not be Ideal for Local Business Websites

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Marketing and strategyGoogle AdSense is an advertising platform that enables content publishers to display text, video, image, or interactive media ads on their websites or other content hubs (such as blogs and YouTube).

These ads are automatically targeted to the site’s audience and content. It’s a hands-free advertising program that lets website owners simply place a code into their sites – and these codes will display relevant ads to site visitors. The advertisements are chosen, sorted, and maintained by Google.

When visitors click on these ads, the AdSense account owner (website owner) will earn money on either a per-impression or per-click basis. While this is definitely a hands-free way to generate income for your website, it may not be the best option for local businesses.

1. You Could Be Advertising For Your Competitors

Google AdSense will display ads that match the content of your website. So essentially, if your competitors are running a Google ad based on keyword phrases related to your industry, you could inadvertently be advertising their products and services on YOUR website. This is definitely something you don’t want to do.

2. You Could Send Away Potential Customers

You don’t want very attractive, very appealing ads to send your customers elsewhere; you want your visitors to stay on your site for as long as possible. Google targets AdSense ads very well, and they will include keyword phrases that your audience is interested in. Instead of sending them away from your site, use that space for other ads directly related to your business in particular.

You’re probably starting to see why Google AdSense may not be a good option for your website. Of course, this all depends on the type of business you have and the overall purpose of your site. But for most brands looking to reel in more local customers, it could do more harm than good.

However, if your company is interested in generating passive income by creating authority websites within your niche, but not really focused on generating new local customers, Google AdSense could potentially be a good local business marketing strategy. If you’re not sure, you can always consult with an online marketing specialist who will help you determine when it’s a viable option and when it should be avoided.

Need help with Google Adsense?  Contact us to learn more David@StreetSmartSalesAndMarketing.com or call 858-442-3131

Local Business Marketing Strategy – Are You Running Your Mobile Website Marketing Correctly?

Monday, April 27th, 2015

local business marketing strategyThe mobile revolution might have come in with a whisper instead of the anticipated bang, but one thing is for sure, there is no denying its presence. For any entity looking to stay competitive in today’s market, having a mobile website is a necessary local business marketing strategy. Not only that, integrating sound mobile website marketing strategies into your sales campaigns is a must considering that up to 60% of all consumers use mobile devices to make purchases.

Mobile Searches will Take Over Desktop Searches

As we become more and more mobile (e.g. smartphones, tablets, better 4G LTE coverage, etc.) it’s widely predicted that mobile searches will soon take over desktop searches. For that reason, mobile ad spend is expected to surpass standard website ad spend in 2015. Even if the purchase is going to be made on the desktop (as many still are), the searching goes on through mobile devices.

Google’s recent actions have backed this up, with their addition of Mobile-Friendly Test tools, and Webmaster tools that include a Mobile Usability Report. This means that if you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you are missing out on leads, traffic and most importantly, sales. To get a better understanding of what effective mobile websites look like, compare yours against these four mobile-friendly litmus tests:

  1. Is your software compatible with mobile devices? In other words, do you have Flash on your website? If so, get it off – Flash and mobile devices clash something horrible. If you want to keep your desktop site with Flash, you’ll need a dedicated mobile site.
  2. Is all of your website’s text readable on any sized screen without the need to zoom in or out? Mobile-friendly sites require little to no adjusting by the user, so if your text isn’t displaying correctly, you are going to need to update your site for mobile.
  3. Does the content on your mobile website naturally and automatically conform to fit any screen size that is viewing it? This means zero scrolling or zooming to see your content, be it text, video, pictures, graphics or anything else.
  4. Are the links on your mobile website spaced properly? This means that users can tap on links and click on navigation buttons without going to the wrong page.

When your website passes these four tests, Google will recognize your efforts with a nifty “Mobile-Friendly” tag on the SERPs when a query returns your site.

What about Marketing Your Mobile Website?

Of course, simply having a mobile website up likely won’t be enough if you’re trying to stay competitive with your rivals. Here are some killer mobile website marketing tips:

  • Have simple content with limited pictures, but be sure your address and phone number (with a click-to-call button) are listed as well as a function to get directions to your place of business.
  • Have an SMS text messaging opt-in for your customers so you can keep in touch with them (similar to a mailing list on your desktop site).
  • Segregate your audience so that you can offer mobile-only discounts and deals to your mobile users, thus enticing others to give your mobile platform a shot. You can offer discounts when people check-in at your location (which spreads the word about your business to their friends and family).
  • Create QR codes that go to your site and put them on your business cards, fliers, ads, etc. You can also create QR codes for mobile discounts.
  • Improve customer service by offering mobile payment options including issuing receipts and printing shipping tags.

Apps are also a fantastic addition to your mobile marketing campaign so be sure to look into integration with your mobile website.

Mobile Website FAQs

Q: What’s the difference between a responsive site and a standalone mobile website?

A: Responsive websites are desktop sites that are built to adapt directly to any screen the site is viewed on. Standalone mobile websites are sites which are specifically built for mobile screens, not desktops. If you have a responsive website, you don’t need a standalone mobile site.

Q: Do I have to register another domain for my mobile site?

A: You can, but you don’t have to. You can redirect your mobile users to a subdomain made specifically for mobile-friendliness or you can register a .mobi version of your site. It’s really up to you.

Need help running your mobile website?  Contact us to learn more David@StreetSmartSalesAndMarketing.com or call 858-442-3131

Warning! – Google Will Penalize Websites That Are Not Mobile Friendly Starting April 21st

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? Google Says It Better Be! According to Google…”Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.Mobile-Friendly-Site
This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.
Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

If you’ve been putting off creating a mobile friendly landing page for your website, you better get moving.

If you check your Google Analytics lately then you’ve seen the dramatic increase in traffic coming from mobile devices, smart phones and tablets.

I have some clients that get over 40% of their traffic from mobile. How would a 40% decrease in website traffic affect your business – OUCH!

Is your site mobile friendly? Here’s an easy way to find out.

mobile-friendly-searchType the name of your business into Google from your smart phone and find the listing for your website – Does it say “mobile friendly” in the listing?

If so, great, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, the clock is ticking and you better get going.

What should you do next? E-mail or give me a call at 858-442-3131.

We can take a look at your site together and I’ll let you know your options to get your site mobile friendly.

You’ve been warned! Get your site mobile friendly while there’s still time.

To Your Continued Success,

David Carleton

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