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Local Business Marketing Strategy – Understanding Retargetting in Order to Boost Your Revenue

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Local Business Marketing StrategyRetargeting (also called retarget marketing) is a simple but effective way to go after people who have already browsed your site or shown a certain level of interest, but left without buying. They might have placed items in their shopping cart and gotten distracted, or spent a significant amount of time browsing your site and then left to compare prices.

Regardless of why they left, the key here to remember is that only about 2% to 8% of all customers convert on their first visit to an eCommerce storefront. Retargeting helps you tap into that other 98% to 92% you would otherwise be missing out on. This can happen a few types of ways, from email campaigns to simple cookie-based solutions.

Retargeting Your Leads with Cookies
The easiest (but not always the most effective) way to retarget your visitors who have bounced off your site is to embed a JavaScript tag right into the footer on your website. This is just a little piece of coding (often called a ‘pixel’) on the back end of the site (meaning your visitors don’t see it). The code programs your site to create lists of all your visitors and places tracking cookies into their browsers.

You’ve likely visited a site that requires you to turn on your cookies if you have them turned off – this is for retargeting purposes most of the time. The cookies that store in your visitor’s browsers are harmless. They simply allow your retarget ads to display to people who’ve visited your site as they browse other sections and sites of the internet.

Think of the cookies as an “on” switch. There are millions of ads out there floating around on the internet thanks to ad vendors, so when a visitor walks into the room (i.e. a website), how can the site know which ads to turn on? Exactly, the cookies. Since that person already visited your site, your retarget ad gets the okay from the cookie and displays to the visitor.

This not only helps to get your brand recognized, it also provides another in for the customer to get back to your site while simultaneously creating a more personalized internet experience for the user (seeing as your site is obviously pertinent to their interests, or at least was at one point).

Retargeting Your Leads with Email Marketing
You can also retarget people who have visited your site if they have signed up for your emailing list or have made purchases from you before (i.e. they have an account and you have their email address). Let’s say one of your customers is searching lawnmowers but a week goes by and they don’t buy. A simple email pointing to a sale you have on lawnmowers this week might be just the motivation to buy what they need.

This also works with items left in a shopping cart or with supplemental items that might be on sale which coincide with a bigger purchase the customer previously made.

Why Should You Use Retargeting?
The main reason – and probably only one you’ll need – to use retargeting is because it increases your sales. It also raises brand awareness and draws in more targeted traffic to your site. You get higher click-thru rates, higher conversion rates, higher return rates—all in all it’s a win-win.

Think of retargeting as both a branding tool and a conversion optimization tool. Of course, on its own, retarget marketing is effective, but it can work even better if it’s integrated into a comprehensive digital marketing and branding strategy. Use retargeting as a local business marketing strategy along with content marketing and regular AdWord campaigns to give your sales a substantial, sustainable boost.

Retargeting FAQs
Q: How can I make my retargeting more effective?
A: Segment your audience by demographics such as age, interests, location, economic status, buying habits, etc. to tailor your retargeting ads to the individual.

Q: Are there time frames which are most effective for retargeting?
A: Depending on what you are selling, retargeting time frames vary. For example, those with time-sensitive needs (e.g. booking a flight or hotel) should get immediate retargeting but those making large purchases (e.g. cars, diamond rings) should be retargeted down the line (since the initial visit was likely research and price comparison).

Need help with Retargetting?  Contact us to learn more or call 858-442-3131

Local Business Marketing Strategy – Get More Out of Your Marketing with Google Trends

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Local Business Marketing StrategyGoogle Trends is an online service that is based on searches performed in the Google search engine; in other words, it is excellent for keyword research and brainstorming possibilities that will take your online presence to the next level.

It will show you how popular certain keywords or keyword phrases are, which is powerful information for any search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns.

The heart of SEO is keyword research. Keyword phrases are what your customers will use to find your company online. Using Google Trends, you can see how popular certain keywords are in your specific area, and you can also get suggestions for more related keywords.

With this completely free tool, you can easily compare the search volume between two or more different terms; as a result, you can build a list of profitable keyword terms based on real information instead of taking a guess at which terms you should target.

Need content ideas? Google Trends is perfect for helping you come up with content ideas for your website, blog, videos, or social media posts. Spending just a few minutes to do some research can give you a whole list of ideas with just a few clicks of the mouse.

You can learn a whole lot about your target audience using Google Trends as a local business marketing strategy; information that you may have never learned by reading some industry publication or trade magazine. Instead, you will get the real, raw data about what people are searching for on Google.

Want your main company website or secondary site to sit on a keyword-rich domain name? Google Trends can help you pinpoint the best domain names based on hot keyword terms.

Much like Google Alerts, you can use Google Trends to monitor your competitors too. It may not work for every business, especially those with very few searches for their specific name. However, if there is data available that is specific to one of your competitors, this is an excellent way to see how many people are searching for their company name vs. yours.

Google Trends has numerous features built-in that can take your business to new heights. As a small business owner, you are always in the fight for more local customers or clients. So you need as many tools in your arsenal as possible that will help you improve your online presence and maintain solid visibility.

Need help with Google Trends?  Contact us to learn more or call 858-442-3131

Local Business Marketing Strategy – Social Media Marketing and How Engagement Sells

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Attract-LeadsSocial media marketing has been building a head of steam for the past decade. Today, social media platforms are an undeniable outlet for any company, organization or individual that wants to reach the masses, no matter how big or small they are. The fact of the matter is, when you want to sell an idea, good or service, you have to be where your audience is. Today, that simply means you have to be on social media. Period.

Why Does Social Media Marketing Work?
If you don’t know what social media is by now, you’re pretty far behind the curve. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc., allow users to stay in contact with one another, sharing ideas, videos, updates, news, recipes, etc. Social media is exactly what it means: a place to be social and share media (and more).

For brands and individuals that are looking to connect with their audience, being on social media gives them a unique opportunity to engage their demographic. Social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter allows you to open a direct line of communications with the masses, one that they can then respond to, share or ignore as they see fit.

With some social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, etc.), you have to get your audience to connect with you first before they can regularly see the content you post. With other platforms (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), your content goes out to the world, but people can still choose to connect with you to better follow.

Joining In the Conversation
One popular method of getting others into the conversation is called “hashtagging.” A hashtag (the pound sign followed by a keyword that represents the topic e.g. #SocialMedia) gets people to join the conversation, yourself included.

When you join the conversation about topics near and dear to your brand, you set yourself as an authority in the industry. This local business marketing strategy is how you get people interested in you on social media. Once they are following you (or “liking” you or “friending” you or whatever), your content will go directly into their newsfeeds.

When this happens, you have a direct line to your consumer to tell them anything you want. This means you can talk about your new product line, give them information they need and want, or any other number of things. Of course, you don’t want to just sell yourself – you want to keep them interested in what you have to say, so providing them with data, information, useful tips, funny stories, etc., will keep them coming back for more.

It will also create a viral aspect to your social media marketing since your followers will want to share your interesting, fresh and helpful content with their friends. In turn, this brings more followers, viewers and ultimately, dollars to your brand.

Which Social Media Platforms are the Best for Marketing?
Generally speaking, the best social media sites for marketing are going to be Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any one of the other few dozen out there – as long as your audience is there. Each social media site has a fairly reliable user profile in terms of age group, interests and online habits.

For example:

  • Facebook tends to attract a middle-aged to older crowd (think college graduates and up) while Twitter lends itself to the younger to teen crowd.
  • LinkedIn is mainly used by business and industry professionals as well as those looking for careers (not jobs)
  • People who use Pinterest are more likely to be into crafts, the arts, cooking and DIY home projects

If you know your audience, you can directly translate that into knowing where your audience is on social media. Then, it’s only a matter of being there and engaging – of course, that’s the part that takes a little bit of know-how.

Social Media FAQs
Q: Should I be on more than one social media platform?
A: You should be on as many social media sites as you will be able to constantly keep updated. A poorly kept social media site is worse than no social media profile at all. It also makes no sense to be on social media sites if your target audience isn’t using them.

Q: Is social media marketing free?
A: While some of the social media marketing success you will have will be organic (and thus free), it’s becoming more common for paid social media campaigns to be a normal part of marketing spend. This trend towards paid social media marketing campaigns’ results being worth the spend in terms of ROI is expected to continue to increase.

Need help with Social Media Marketing?  Contact us to learn more or call 858-442-3131

Local Business Marketing Strategy – Build a Loyal Social Following with Google+

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Local business marketing strategyGoogle+ (called “Google Plus”) is Google’s social networking site. It is currently the 2nd largest social networking site (Facebook is #1), which makes it an essential component for online marketing.

With hundreds of millions of user accounts, Google+ is growing quite impressively not only as a social networking site, but as a powerful business tool as well.

A strong Google+ profile can contribute greatly to any successful SEO campaign. As a small business owner, a strong Google+ following and presence can bolster your website’s position in Google’s search engine results. Ranking well in organic search is crucial to driving targeted eager prospects to your website; and targeted leads usually convert the best.

For local businesses, Google even has a section where you can connect with more local consumers in your area. Your Google+ Business page can be managed by their listing management platform called “Google My Business,” (formerly known as Google+ Local and Google Places), which is tied into Google+. Google+ Business pages are intimately linked with Google Web Search; so any time and energy you invest into Google+ can definitely lead to more revenue.

Now is the time for companies across the globe to take advantage of Google+ as a local business marketing strategy. However, many business owners are not quite sure about how to use this dynamic network to get more attention.

Here are a few tips to help:
• Get more people to follow your Google+ page by asking them to follow you via a call-to-action that is added to any content you share.
• Circle other profiles and pages; this will help to grow your own follower base because many of those you circle will circle you back. This works very well for getting more people in your immediate area to connect with your business.
• Add a Google+ badge to your website or blog; this will let your visitors know you are on Google+ and prompt them to add you to their circles.
• Interact with your followers and build relationships. People like to see a real person behind a business engaging with them. This builds trust and makes them feel more comfortable doing business with you.
• Share your content in Google+ communities; this can expose your business to a wider-range of users. Just be sure to check the guidelines of the communities before sharing. In fact, create your own Google+ community to spark conversation surrounding your niche.

Even though many business owners were skeptical about Google+’s ability to actually increase sales and exposure, it’s massive growth over the past few years has proven just how powerful it can be.

Discover how you can use Google Trends to help grow your business. Contact us to learn more or call 858-442-3131

Local Business Marketing Strategy – Restructuring the Way Your Website Should Think About SEO

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Local Business Marketing StrategyA few years ago, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) could be neatly defined by just about anyone in the industry. The optimization process could be broken up into “on page SEO” and “off page SEO,” with most of the industry focusing on “on page” while passing the “off page” stuff to the web designers.

How SEO Used to Be (And for Some, Still Is)
The process was fairly straightforward: you spend time researching your competitor’s websites, the keywords they rank for, the keywords you want to rank for, figure out some high and low competition keywords, a few long-tails, mix them all into a KWD formula, get your header tags in order, dabble with some LSI keywords and then create the content.

Your off-page crew (if you were lucky enough to have one, otherwise you did it yourself) would get the alt-text on the pics, make sure all the meta tags and meta data were correct, optimize the URLs and page names, ensure all the coding was error-free, etc. In short, it was a fairly precise and technical operation.

The New Outlook on SEO Moving Forward
If you don’t know what all of those terms mean, don’t worry. Many of them are either obsolete or soon will be. The fact of the matter is that SEO used to mean building a website with a search engine in mind—that’s what it meant, after all: search engine optimization. But now, try to build a website for a search engine and you’ll likely find yourself low in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) or even possibly penalized.

This is because a few years back, Google (the Big Daddy of search engines) started realizing that their algorithm lent itself to a predictable optimization formula that many sites were using (and abusing). Understanding that people would eventually stop using them as a search engine if every time they punched in a question, porn came up because of the way that site was optimized, Google set some serious changes into motion.

Focus on User Experience Optimization
While there’s no universally recognized word or phrase for the new outlook on SEO (it’s simply just called SEO), User Experience Optimization is pretty self explanatory. The local business marketing strategy is the same: when you want to rank higher on the SERPs, get more traffic and eventually, higher conversion rates, you will need to optimize your website. Only now, instead of optimizing it with the search engine in mind, you should optimize it with your user’s experience in mind.

What this means is you should have fresh, creative, helpful content that is useful for your target demographic. What are the people visiting your site wanting to know? Tell them, in no uncertain terms. What do they want to be able to do? Allow them to do it, with no messing around or hassle.

The bottom line is the better you make the user experience on your website, the better it will be optimized, not only for humans, but for search engines as well. Why? Because Google has changed its algorithm to rank sites that have high user experience ratings higher in the SERPs.

What About Old SEO Aspects?
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still get into the control panel back end of your site and enter alt-text on your pictures, resize them, make sure your content has relevant keywords and phrases, etc. It simply means that your focus with SEO is going to be on content creation, or content marketing as some people call it. This means more content on your web pages, more blogs, interconnectivity from your site to your social media and much, much more than we can cover in this short space.

Q: Is SEO dead?
A: For the past three years, there has been a growing faction that claims SEO is dead – it is not. It isn’t even dying, it’s just evolving to incorporate new techniques and keep up with the times. SEO is not dead, don’t ever ignore it.

Q: Is SEO worth the time and investment?
A: SEO in the modern sense is so much more than just traffic and lead generation. SEO is integrated into your content marketing, which is vital to your sales funnel. Content marketing is integrated into your social media marketing which is integrated into your website which is…you get the picture. Every penny and second you spend on SEO is an investment in your own returns, as long as you’re spending that time and money on quality SEO services.

Need help with On-Site SEO?  Contact us to learn more or call 858-442-3131

Local Business Marketing Strategy – Have You Heard about Google My Business?

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Google-Places-GooglePlusGoogle My Business is Google’s new platform for creating, managing, and monitoring business listings. It is a good first step for companies that are just getting started on the web; but it has also become the main local business marketing strategy for businesses that previously used Google+ Local and Google Places for Business.

If your brand claimed and verified your listing on one of the previous platforms, the information should have been automatically updated to Google My Business.

However, it’s still a good idea to check to make sure everything transferred correctly. If not, fix any inaccuracies or duplicates as soon as possible.

One of the major benefits of the service is that businesses will no longer have to update their information multiple times across different Google properties.

Google My Business will help you connect with more local consumers, whether they’re searching for you on organic search, Maps, or Google+. It is a fast way to help your business show up across the board; ultimately giving you more visibility and exposure.

Google My Business is a free service designed to get more business owners under the Google umbrella. Its tools and features make it very convenient for companies to manage their Google-related online properties in a single unified place.

With it, you can:
• Manage your business listings for Google+, Maps, and Search
• Upload pictures and videos of your business
• Interact and share content with followers on Google+
• Monitor and respond to reviews from across the web
• Start and maintain AdWords Express campaigns
• Access Insights reports and analytics for Google+ and YouTube

Google My Business can provide insight into how consumers are discovering your company, what they click on, and other interesting features that will provide you with powerful data that can be used to grow your business.

Businesses can access the Google My Business platform on their desktop computer or through an iOS or Android app from a mobile device. Google+ Local and Google Places were not compatible with mobile devices, so this is a major enhancement – making managing your local listing even more convenient.

If you don’t have the time to sign-up or maintain your profile on Google My Business, seek the help of a skilled professional that can ensure your listing is fully completed, claimed, and optimized.

As you know, most consumers today are going online to search for local products and services; so this is one of the most effective ways to put your brand right in front of these active leads.

Need help utilizing Google My Business?  Contact us to learn more or call 858-442-3131

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 (that’s what I use) or or

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 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 or call 858-442-3131

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