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12 Holiday Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

in Content Marketing, Email Marketing, Local Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Video Marketing by Cherie DeBrule Leave a comment

12 Holiday Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

Are you looking for tips to getting your small business more sales this holiday season?

“Tis the season for both giving and receiving. This time of year can be stressful and overwhelming. Let’s make it more fun and festive with tips to get your business in the holiday spirit and attract more clients. In this article are 12 Holiday Marketing Tips For Small businesses.

12 Holiday Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

Holiday Marketing Tip #1- Be Present On Social Media

There is nothing worse than having your social media presence empty or deserted.

be present on social media

Holiday Marketing Tip #2- Make Engaging Holiday Posts

Post funny cartoons and use hashtags so people can find your fan page. Ask questions to your audience with a picture such as what is your favorite Christmas movie?

funny christmas cartoon

Holiday Marketing Tip #3- Run A Holiday Contest

Think of something in your business that people would love to win. Whether it is a product or a discount off a service offer a great deal!
People are more likely to like and share if it something they really want to win.

Holiday Marketing Tip #4- Holiday Coupons

Offer a discount on a service or buy one get one Free. Get your fans and customers a great deal and design a nice eye catching graphic.holiday coupon

Holiday Marketing Tip #5- Blogging About The Holiday

Think of how you can incorporate your brand and the holidays. Is your brand about exercise and nutrition? You could blog about holiday recipes or how to stay in shape around the holidays. Try to tie your product or service in with tips or how to.

Holiday Marketing Tip #6- Holiday Small Business Events

Partner or find other businesses that are already having a one-day event where you can set up a booth and sell your products and services.

Participate in Small Business Saturday, which is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving and follows the popular shopping day Black Friday.

small business saturdayIf there are no events start your own and offer door prizes, free food, drawings, and awesome prizes to reel people in to your event.

Holiday Marketing Tip #7- Holiday Email Greetingss

Email your customers to have a great Thanksgiving and wish them a Merry Christmas and New Year. Make it cute and festive with graphics! Don’t put any promotions on this email.


Holiday Marketing Tip #8- Holiday Specials To Loyal Customers

Offer specials to customers that you already have. You could offer free shipping, secret sales, and discounts.

Holiday Marketing Tip #9- Cross Promote Coupons and Sales

When you give your customers a bag fill it with other coupons and sales of other local business and have them do the same for you.

happy holidays cardHoliday Marketing Tip #10- Holiday Cards

Send your customers real holiday cards not ecards. They are more memorable and won’t get lost in the junk mail.

Holiday Marketing Tip #11- Holiday Bonus Gift

You may have seen this before at the mall. Offer a free bonus gift with a purchase of whatever and of course you pick what the gift is and the amount that they have to purchase at least to get that prize. This will draw them into buying more.

promotional calandersHoliday Marketing Tip #12- Give Them A FREE Calendar

Print a personalized calendar to give out to your clients. Depending on what your business is you can get creative. Be the brand your customers see every day.

 

 

Back To You…

Do you have other holiday marketing tips to add that was not on the list? What do you do for holiday marketing that works great?

4 Changes Of Google Search

in Local Marketing, Search Engine Optimization by Cherie DeBrule Leave a comment

4 Changes Of Google Search

Why is it important for a local business to be aware of what is going on with Google search updates?

What is Google local search? Does your business show up on there? Back in August Google released the new local search display format. So what has changed? In this article we will go over the changes of how the information is displayed.

4 changes of google search

Local businesses are now displayed differently on the search engine results page (SERP). This did not change the way a business ranked but what people see when they are searching for your business. Type in what you are looking for to see these new changes. For example type in Dentist in Woodbury, MN or Plumber in Cottage Grove, MN. This will take you to the search results page. The rest of this article will be talking about the 4 changes on the search results page.

Change #1- Map Of The Local Area Shows Up First

First displayed are the Google advertisements and right below it the map or the city that you typed in with 3 red pins google local 2015of businesses on it in the niche you typed in. Before this change you would still see the advertisements but below it was organic search results like articles or websites and then it would have 7 businesses displayed. The map was on the top right corner above the paid advertisements.

Change #2- Only 3 Businesses Show Up

Now only 3 businesses show up on the search results page. There are 2 icons on the right that say website and directions. Then below the 3 businesses it displays a link that says, “More Dentist” or more of whatever you had typed in. If you click on that then you can see more businesses in the area and it opens up a new page with a giant map. You can also see how many stars a business has rated from Google reviews. So what was this like before? Before there were 7 businesses displayed (A, B, C, D, E, F, G).

Change #3- Organic Search Results Moved Down

The organic search results were articles and websites that used to show up before the local business listings that are not paid advertisements. Now they are below the 3 businesses.

Change #4- Restaurants Have Filters On The Search

What it used to look like before changeWhen you search for a restaurant right above the 3 businesses it says Rating, Price, and Hours. If you click on it will filter your selection. This means that getting reviews on Google+ is very important!

What Do These 4 Changes Mean For Local Businesses?

Reviews from Google+ are more important than ever. Having good ratings will now be a filterable part of local search results.

Another important thing is to optimize your website for local search. If you haven’t done it yet now is the time. Your site should target a specific area or city like Woodbury plumber for Woodbury, MN. Your business name, address, and phone should also be consistent across the web. So for instance if your business is on Elm Street make sure all your listings display Elm St. where the street is abbreviated. If there is a listing that is found spelled differently like Elm Street then it can screw up the rankings and listing. This is why being consistent is so important for directory listings. Pay per click (PPC) is also gaining more importance. Google favors people that buy adwords. So if you have advertisements you are more likely to hold a position on the first page of Google’s results and stay competitive.

If you are not one of three businesses listed for your niche you will most likely see a drop in website traffic. It will also reduce phone calls to all businesses, as the phone number seems to be hidden on desktop results. More businesses will invest in pay per click and the cost will go up with more competition. This benefits Google of course.

Back To You…

Has this new change with Google search changed your business? Have you noticed anything different since the change? Fill free to leave your comments below.

April 21, 2015 Google Update-Mobile Websites

in Local Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Search Engine Optimization by Cherie DeBrule Leave a comment

April 21, 2015 Google Update-Mobile Websites

Do you know if your website is mobile friendly or not? Does it matter if it is not? What does it mean to be mobile friendly? Coming up this week Google will have an update on Tuesday, April 21st. In this article we will talk about how Google wants to provide more importance to mobile phone users.

google update mobile websites

Does It Matter If Your Site Is Mobile Friendly?

Yes it matters if your site is mobile friendly. It comes as no surprise that a growing number of people are using mobile phones versus using a computer when using the Internet. Google is going to introduce a brand-new algorithm based on this growing trend and need. How is this going to change search? Well they will look at the usage patterns and modify the search results based on these patterns. They are going to reward sites that are mobile friendly.

mobile friendly site

What Does It Mean To Be Mobile Friendly?

Can your website be viewable in all mobile devices? As soon as this update takes place websites that are mobile friendly will rank higher than those that are not in the Google search results page. So how do you know if it is mobile friendly? Does the website shift and adjust its design so on a small screen you can view it? Do you have to zoom in order to view it? Having to zoom in on a tiny screen can be frustrating and makes it more difficult to navigate on a mobile phone. This makes a difficult frustrating user experience.

Does Your Website Pass The Test?

If you want to know for sure if your site is mobile friendly or not check this out. Click on Mobile Friendly Test

respondive webdesignWordPress & Mobile Friendly

Building your website with WordPress is great because you can have a website that has a flexible fluid framework that instantly adapts to match the device being used. All you need is a theme that is responsive. What does that mean? It means whether they are on a computer, an ipad, tablet, or mobile device the design will adjust to fit the device that you are on, this is call Responsive Web Design. With all these varieties of devices having a fluid layout makes more sense. After all you would want your website to be viewed on more than one device that provides great user experience.

What If My Site Is Not Mobile Friendly?

Did your site fail the test? If it did then you need to work on it now. After all customers are looking for your business on all devices now so your website needs to be flexible. When this algorithm change takes place you will want to rank above your competitors. If you need help call the St. Paul Marketing Team today to help get you back on track.

Back To You…

What do you think of this change and how do you think it will impact SEO on mobile searches?

5 Online Marketing Strategies For Small Level Enterprises

in Content Marketing, Internet Marketing Guest Posts, Local Marketing by Kristine Lise 10 Comments

5 Online Marketing Strategies For Small Level Enterprises 

Do you shop online? If you have a business, do you sell online? It has been found in research studies, that about one-third of consumers across the world shop online i.e. via Internet and these figures are shooting up day-by-day. Most business owners are now selling their products and services online and those who are not selling online, are losing their customers.

However, just having a presence on the web or online is not enough. Every business owner must use effective marketing strategies in order to convey their message about business. In this article, outlines 5 online marketing strategies which will help small business owners attract more visitors to their website.

5 online marketing strategies

Marketing Strategy #1-Content Marketing

What is content marketing and what are the benefits? Content Marketing is a form of marketing which involves offering quality and relevant information to the users/audience free of charge with the goal of building trust from your audience while you position yourself as an expert in your business niche. To achieve success in content marketing, you must provide content which solves the problems and answers the questions of the users. The content can be in the form of a video, article, blog posts, or vlogs. With content marketing users will come to know that you are an authority of your niche and will provide them the information which is beneficial to them. Therefore, they will return to your website or where ever you are providing the information.

Check out this video on Content Marketing:

Marketing Strategy #2-Local SEO

Do you have a local business where customers are from your area? Most of the online buyers use search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing to search about products and services they need. Most of the users click on the sites that have higher in search results. Therefore, a high ranking is required to get on the first page. Presently, most of the sites that appear on the first page are branded ones and dominate the unbranded. online marketing

Local SEO is the SEO targets the local areas. Local SEO is chosen when you don’t want to promote your business worldwide. For example, if you want to target the localized audience such as Chicago for promoting used cars, then the local users will type in “used cars in Chicago” in the search column rather than the general keyword “used cars”. Therefore it is better to target the local keywords.

Marketing Strategy #3-Social Media Marketing

Have you tapped in to the power of using social media? Social media is an effective avenue to interact with your audience and engage with them to build strong relationships. Social media is being used by many brand businesses to promote their businesses. You can also promote your business by delivering your business message on the social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Linked in etc. Create an account on these sites and adopt strategies to build followers.

Marketing Strategy #4-Pay-Per-Click

If you want the quick results, then this is one of the best techniques for you. You can conduct a PPC campaign if you are so impatient that you can’t wait for your websites to climb high in search results. Your ads will be displayed on search engines, websites, blogs, etc. However, this is very costly.

Marketing Strategy #5-Reputation Marketing

Generally, the users who do online purchasing, like to buy high quality products and services. Therefore, you must provide them high quality products and services to get 5-star reviews about your business. The more excellent reviews you get on Google Local reviews, the more new customers will be attracted towards your business.

Your Turn…

Have you used an online marketing strategy to help boost your online presence and hence increase your visitors and customers that we haven’t listed? Our readers would love to hear about it.  Please share your strategy below.

About Our Guest Blogger Kristine Lise :

Guest blogger Kristine Lise

Kristine Lise is an author who is interested in written on SEO/Internet Marketing related topics. She is currently working with SEO Rank Smart, who offers the best SEO Packages to its clients. You can see more of her work on her company site. 

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How Long Does It Really Take To Rank?

in Content Marketing, Local Marketing, Search Engine Optimization by Sue DeBrule 3 Comments

How Long Does It Really Take To Rank?

Ever wished there was a button to push to get your website instantly ranked? Sorry, that is not how ranking works.

How long does it take to rank your business website? Let’s imagine you have been working with an SEO or marketing company for two months but have not noticed any improvement in ranking. They guaranteed your website would be ranked #1 within the first 30 days for your keywords. You would be frustrated that you have not seen those outcomes! Yet when you complained, they explained that they added some meta tags and some backlink building. So you are left wondering when all these wonderful promises are going to help get your business website get ranked and what do terms like meta tags and backlinking mean? In this article we will talk about why SEO companies can’t guarantee ranking results, why you can’t just set up your site and leave, why SEO takes time, variables that influence ranking, and why marketing is an art.

how long take to rank

Have You Looked At The SEO Packages And Wondered What They All Mean?

You need to understand what SEO conditions and terms mean; otherwise you may be spending money on a worthless marketing package. True SEO and improving your website takes time, and for valid reasons.  Even with professional help and using the latest top-notch methods, it takes time to improve its ranking. There are companies who will guarantee faster outcomes, those who say they can get you to # 1, or that they can get your website a top ranking within a couple of weeks. The sad fact is, this is just not how it works. Beware and stay away from the companies that guarantee this!

Why Is SEO Similar To Working Out At The Gym?

working out seoUnless you are offering very unique products or services, or have very few competitors, it will indeed require some time and consistent effort. Great results take time, especially if you are a new business settings things up. Think of someone that is overweight and out of shape. Is going to the gym once or twice going to make them thin and fit? No, they have to do it often and keep doing it consistently. Unless they use a personal trainer who knows how the body works, it will take even longer to get fit and trim.  SEO works the same way!  If you stop your SEO routine, it is the same thing as if you stop eating right or working out.  There will be no positive results! Also, if you first spend the time needed to self educate plus putting SEO into constant consistent use, it will take even longer!  Sorry, but SEO results take time; need an educated strategy, and consistent effort.

Why Does SEO Take Time?

SEO takes time to improve and maintain your present ranking position. It all depends on many variables from thousands of aspects. If all the aspects which are known to effect higher ranking positions are favorably positioned, your web page ranking will go up in the search engines. It is all up to the current (ever changing) algorithms of search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others. SEO is a long-term continuous technique; it is not a one-time enhanced activity and then abandoned. The search engines are constantly hungry and you have to update your website information constantly. It is just like feeding a baby; it will continue to get hungry again and again. If it doesn’t get feed, it will die. The same rule of thumb goes with to ranking your website. Unless you continue to frequently update it with fresh unique content, your rankings will fall and then die.

Which Factors Count?   8 SEO Variable Factors:

SEO Factor #1 – What Is The Age Of Your Domain Name?

Is your website new? If so, how old are the top rated websites you will be competing against? If they are older then it is probably going to take at least a year to catch up, unless your competitors are bad at marketing and backlinking. Chances are they have spent precious effort and energy placing blogs and videos on their website trying to attempt to create fresh and unique content that will help them rank. You will need a good plan, consistent proven effort, and time to catch up. One of the hardest ranking challenges are competing with sites that has been around longer and are also actively competing for ranking. However, it can be done!

SEO Factor #2 – How Often Do You Have Fresh Unique Content?

Most marketers will agree that having lots of original, top quality content is essential. The fresh unique content you put out is what will drive the hungry search engines and visitors to your website. Search engines reward sites that have new fresh content and ignore the ones with common or stale content. Check out our article, “Has Your Social Media Gone Stale?” It will explain why you need to keep feeding the search engines with constant fresh content.socialmedia Stale

SEO Factor #3 – The Quantity And Relevance Of Your Material

Search engines decide which websites are the best match to explain the keywords placed into the search engines. If your website is about plumbing, it should have articles and videos that are related to explaining plumbing. The competitor that has the best quality and freshest content is the one that Google will rank higher.

SEO Factor #4 – Backlinks Need To Be “Natural Links”

natural backlinksYou’ll need quality backlinks (links coming from websites with high rankings) to your website to demonstrate to search engines like Google that you are an authority in your niche. You may be thinking “Great! I saw an ad for 10,000 inbound links for $50 – problem solved!” Sorry, but search engines have a lot of requirements for positioning a website, and thousands of methods of keeping you from gaming the system. If your website goes from just a few links to thousands in a short time period it looks suspicious. They will assume that it is not because you have just released an incredibly popular website content that everyone discovered and linked to right away. Search engines like to see “natural links”.  If you get too many links in an extremely short time period, search engines may punish your website by dropping you down even lower in their rankings or dropping you completely out of the Google search. This means you can’t just buy high quality links and get credit with them. Also, the links should be from top high quality websites that are at least somewhat related to your niche.

SEO Factor #5- The Keywords In Question

Putting keywords in your articles helps your ranking, but watch out for keyword stuffing. (Shoving as many keywords in as possible.) The search engines are looking for keyword stuffing and if you are found doing this, they may be put your website on their black list. It may also turn off humans as your article may look spammy and difficult to read.  If it seems unnatural to place a keyword in a certain part of your article, it probably will be classified as “stuffed”.  It is best to just place keywords naturally in the title, first paragraph, meta description, H1,H2,H3 tags, title tags or image tags.

SEO Factor #6 – Your Industry And Competition

industry competitionSome industries are highly competitive and a few have little competition. If you want to win the race to the #1 ranking position for your niche, the first thing you need to do is get professional advice for a strategy.  You will need constant fresh content, taking ownership of your very own unique long-tail keywords, to focus on keywords that will drive traffic to your website, and making those keywords uniquely yours (not just on your website but in your niche). The bottom line to winning the ranking competition in a highly competitive market segment is to either out-think your competitors or spend more trying than they do. Reviews on Google Plus stressing your keywords and engaging activities with your customers are also very important.

SEO Factor #7- The Algorithm Of The Search Engines

Ask not what Google can do for you, but what you can do to make your site more attractive and appealing for Google. Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo are regularly changing their algorithms in an attempt to provide a better assistance for searching and more appropriate searches. SEO strategies are constantly modified. So if you are trying to use SEO for ranking, you must keep up-to-date with the constant changes.  What was popular just a few years ago is now probably banned on sites.

SEO Factor #8 – Certain Items Rank At Different Speeds

- Videos - Depending on your competition, a video can be ranked within a day to a week. This is why I personally love videos.

- Blogging - Keeping your content fresh and unique to attract websites with high ranking links to your website will makes your blogging time well worthwhile. It takes longer for a blog to be noticed and ranked than a video (a minimum of 24 hours) as it has so many variables. Using a keyword as a meta tag and creating interesting unique content which creates buzz and drives scores of new visitors will also help improve the speed.

- Local Directories - Registering in local directories usually takes between 3 and 6 months for search engines to notice.

Once your website starts to climb, your competitors will notice and begin working even harder on their own exposure. Good marketing is an art that needs commitment, practice, and time to devote to continuous analysis and learning.

Back to you…

Have you found some ways to decrease the time it takes to climb up the rankings in the search engines? If so, our readers would love to hear about it. Please comment below.

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5 Low-Cost Local Marketing Ideas

in Internet Marketing Guest Posts, Local Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Video Marketing by David Preston 1 Comment

5 Low-Cost Local Marketing Ideas 

How can you market your business locally without busting your budget?

Whether you’re a start-up business or you’ve been in business a while you don’t have to spend a lot of money on marketing to get extraordinary results.  Marketing is one of the most important aspects of survival and success for a small business. It can’t be ignored!

5 low cost marketing ideas

Without marketing, your company will lack needed exposure to survive and may not stand a chance at experiencing growth or success. In this article we discuss 5 low-cost marketing ideas your business can use.

How Can You Make Your Business Stand Out Yet Stay Within Your Budget?

How?  By investing your time in data analysis. Research helps you to maximize your budget in the right places and establish a marketing splash.  Through research you can find the right values and needs about potential customers to create “consistent buzz”. You need to find out what your customers value and are searching for before you plan your marketing strategy.

Here is what to research:

• The geographical location of your business. Learn where potential customers usually go: nearby park, malls, restaurants they love to dine in, grocery stores they shop in, and places they like to hang out online.

• Find out what is your customer’s pain and how can you solve it?

• Learn the products or services that they now purchase.

Does Your Business Have A Marketing Plan?

Developing a marketing plan can be as simple as scheduling a time line of when to: order business cards, attend networking opportunities, attend organizational meetings, attend speaking engagements, set aside time for social media, fit in time for blogging and more.

If you try to be known for everything you will be remembered for nothing. What are you known for? What do you want to be remembered for? What problems does your product or service solve?

Your Internet business marketing strategy should enhance and support your business’ overall marketing objectives, including getting more leads and sales from website visitors. The St. Paul Marketing Team offers you five low-cost marketing ideas that will promote your brand at a cost your budget can handle.

Consider These 5 Low Cost Marketing Ideas:

 

1. Video Marketing

Who doesn’t love a well-made video? They entertain and draw people in, compelling them to interact. Video marketing is one of the areas they specialize in. After creating an attractive clip about your company, they place it in multiple places online where those searching for your very product easily find them. The best part? Videos are posted at no cost to you.

2. Directories

When potential customers search for goods and services similar to yours, a  huge list of choices appears online including online business directories. You want to be sure your company’s name is at the top of the first page of these lists. The St. Paul Marketing Team makes sure your company’s name shows up in all the right PLACES at the right TIME online to enhance your online presence. They make sure that every requirement for placement is met so that your business appears on at the top of searches on Google+ Local, Yelp, MerchantCircle.com, CitySearch and 200 other directories. This marketing strategy allows your small business to be right up there with the “big boys” while keeping your budget small. These top sites appear on the very first page of every search engine when searchers are looking for a local business.

3. Graphic Design

They say first impressions are everything. This is never truer than when it comes to advertising your company. You do not want to risk your success on a poorly designed logo that looks like a kindergartener created it or having no logo at all leaving you brandless. The St. Paul Marketing Team ensures that your vision for your business is realized in a dynamic brand logo that represents your professionalism and individuality over and above others.

Avoid going to sites that can create free business cards.  The initial price may be inexpensive, but the price of losing potential customers is priceless. You don’t want to your company’s brand to be classified as a generic plane Jane or ruin your brand entirely.

Once your design is perfected, St. Paul Marketing Team can create a number of marketing tools to help propel your company into the spotlight. Some of these tools and graphic design include:  ads, coupons, flyers, keyword strategies, articles, brochures, Facebook Fan page, Google Plus business page, blogging graphics, blogging illustrations, CD covers, and websites.

4. Websites

If your company doesn’t have a website yet, there’s no telling how much business you’ve already missed out on.  A website exposes your product to countless potential customers who might otherwise never come across your brand.  It builds the needed bridge of “know, like and trust” to your potential customers. The St. Paul Marketing Team can create an interactive company website that captures your vision and portrays your business with an attractive graphic design. Investing in a website is considerably cheaper than using printed advertisement and the reach is exponentially farther. The St. Paul Marketing Team specializes in Merchant Account websites, WordPress Blog websites, and Capture Pages. They can even help you with your copy writing or blogging.

5. Social Media

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t have a Facebook page or Twitter account.  The St. Paul Marketing Team can create a custom pages for your company on any of the social media sites which can link back to your company’s website. This increases traffic considerably so that more people are introduced to your product.  With millions of users on these social media sites they can interact with your fan page and your brand will get incredible exposure. This marketing strategy also allows you to connect with customers and potential clients, building the needed “know, like, and trust” for your business.

Don’t have time for social media? No problem, the St. Paul Marketing Team can create a campaign for your social media marketing and do it for you.

Whether you’re thinking about starting a business or you’re already in the process of starting up, there are many activities that you should take advantage of to get the word out about your product or service. Building an online networking presence, increasing visibility online and offline at local business functions can grow your customer base and your potential referral partners. Whichever strategy you decide to use, always follow up and be consistent. There are many activities that the St. Paul Marketing Team can help you take advantage of to get the word out about your product or service.

If you’re not sure where to start with your marketing plan or how to reach out to your local community, competitors, customers, and check out the St. Paul Marketing Team at www.StPa.ulMarketingTeam.com

Back To You…

Is your business using any low-cost marketing tools? What other advice can you share with other business owners for marketing? Get creative with your online marketing and get some help. You can do it!

About Our Guest Blogger David Preston:

David Preston
David Preston is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. He has been writing useful and informative articles on Business, Finance, and Relationship for over many years now. His blog Topdatingsites.com  focuses on Internet service providers.

Visit David’s website:http://www.topdatingsites.com/

Connect with David on Facebook and Google+.

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Why Are Local Online Business Directories A Must For All Businesses?

in Local Marketing by Sue DeBrule Leave a comment

Why Are Local Online Business Directories A Must For All Businesses?

Do you want to get your business maximum exposure on a limited budget?

Where would that be, you might ask? Online of course! In this article we discuss the benefits of using local online business directories and what they can do for your business. Lets’ face it, either your business can be found online or it can’t.  The famous ‘Yellow Pages’ is a paper local directory where important business information and ads have been placed for years. Its present function is now more likely to be used for a toddler’s booster chair. Rarely is it used anymore as a source when people are searching for a product or service. (What a waste of money to advertise there!) To stay in business in today’s competitive market, you must maintain a minimum of marketing activities. Being listed online is not a choice, but a minimum starting point for all serious business owners!

Local business directories

What Is A Local Online Business Directory?

Remember when information was accessed only with the help of a hard copy manually? One would have to go through page by page to get the information that he would be seeking for. With the invention of the Internet and consequently the digitization of these directories, listings have been made very easy to access. Just type in what and where and the business you are seeking appears.

4 Purposes Of Online Business Directories:

Purpose # 1 - Less Paper Work

Was it possible to update a paper directory? No way! People needed to wait until the next  directory was printed. Now when there are updates needed in the data, just a few seconds for corrections are needed for an update. There are so many pages in a paper directory that it is too heavy to carry around and hard to even find a place to store it.

Purpose # 2 - More Online Usage

Where do most consumers immediately prefer to search for a business?  Online of course!  Especially in countries like the US, a business needs to mandatorily have their business be listed in a business directory because more than 70 percent of people search on the Internet for a product or service. If you need a dentist for example and you live in Woodbury, MN,  you would go to Google and type, “Dentist in Woodbury, MN”. You would then see a choice of dentists that would be listed. If your were a dentist in that area, you would want your business to be listed. Ask your yourself when was the last time you searched for something with the yellow pages? Chances are it was a long time ago!

Purpose # 3 - Exposure

Are you placing new advertisements in paper directories? With online advertising in directories, just place it once and if nothing changes, you’re done. What if there is an error? If there is an error online, it is very simple to change. Your change can be immediate, no need to wait until next year’s directory comes out. There is also no monthly advertising fee. The directory site places your keywords that will make your business information search engine optimized. The better your search engine rankings, the better your business is exposed and the better chance your business has to grow.

Purpose # 4 - Cost

Have you checked the price a paper ‘Yellow Pages’ business listing plus the advertising in it? It is now a monthly out of sight expense! The cost of an online listing, plus advertising and having a professional do it all for you, is a fraction of the cost of advertising in the paper ‘Yellow Pages’. That’s right, a fraction of the cost!  Plus it is a one- time fee, unlike the monthly fees of the paper Yellow Pages.

Why Do You Need Your Business Listed In The Online Business Directories (benefits)?

• Exposure - It’s the ideal vehicle for your business to be found and connected with searchers who are actively searching for your product or service.

 • Competition - It gives your business a chance to step ahead of your competitors. Many of the directories such as Google+ Local, place your business in a competitive order. How? Stay tuned for another article explaining this soon.

• Less Errors - They can be corrected immediately.

• Categorizes Your Business - It places your business in the correct niche.

Should You Place Your Listings Yourself?

It is possible, but not recommended.  It is best to have a professional do it for you. Here are 3 reasons why you should hire a professional:

Outsource Reason #1 - Consistent 

Even if you had endless time, the biggest mistakes people make are not being consistent with their listings due to not having a master list to copy.  They may list their address as Ave. and in the next directory list it as Avenue. This will make it appear like you have 2 locations or 2 different businesses, which will weaken your competitive placement in the listing.

Outsource Reason #2 – Abundant Amount

If you only list in a few directories you are missing a huge opportunity to get found online by searchers.  There are way too many directories to be able to hit them all unless you do it consistently. Here are the top 50 local directories: Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Merchant  Circle, LinkedIn, YellowPages.com, White pages, Super media, Yellowbook, City Search, Mapquest, Biznik, Local.com, Foursquare, ThinkLocal, CitySlick,Us Yellow Pages, My/city, Dex, BizJournala.com, teleAtlas, Justclicklocal, Discover Our Town, Metrobot, Best Dealas on, twibs, LocalEze,Kudzu, CityVoter, Manta, Zipweb, MathPoint, UsCity.net, Local Site submit, InfoUSA, Axciom, Infignos, Yellowassistance, ChoiceVendor.com, My huckleberry, Genieknows, MojoPages, Brownbook, Magic Yellow, CitySquares, TeleAtlas, Navteq GPS,and Judysbook. This list is just the tip of the iceberg as there are more than 200+ and growing out there. If you only list in a few directories you are missing a huge opportunity to get found online by searchers.

Outsource Reason #3 – Time

It requires massive amounts of your time to find, enter and edit all of these directories. Professionals have a system, this is what they specialize.

Is Your business Listed In The Local Online Directories?

We would be happy to hear your experiences and comments about local online directories. Comment below.

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How To Build Your Business With Content Marketing Buzz

in Blog Writing Tips, Local Marketing, Recruiting by Cherie DeBrule Leave a comment

How To Build Your Business With Content Marketing Buzz

Do You Want To Convert Prospects Into Raving Fans And Customers?

Do you want to look like the expert in your field? Do you want people come to you instead of your competitor. You can with quality content and content marketing that attracts them. Like bees buzzing around a sweet flower you are creating your own business buzz, and attracting prospects with your content marketing.  In this post we will discuss building your business buzz with content marketing and how getting content will get you leads. Those that will adapt to this change will bloom.

Content Marketing Buzz

What Are The Flaws Of Traditional Advertising?

Traditional ad companies interrupt customers with mediums such as radio, billboards, yellow pages, local newspaper, magazine, T.V. commercials, etc.

These types of advertisements interrupt customers as they’re doing something else like listening to the radio or driving on the freeway. These ads do not provide value to the customer and don’t offer any inherent reason for them to see it. These types of ads only capture attention for a brief time, interrupt customers instead of giving them value, and end up being very expensive. They do not reach a wide mass audience as the Internet or social media does. You want to place your advertising where the customers are searching and hanging out.

Click On The Video Below To See The 4 Preparation Steps For Content Marketing:

What Is Content Marketing?

Is there a way to reach prospects without interrupting or spamming them?

Where do you get people that want to hear your message instead of doing everything they can to avoid it? Is there a way to advertise on a shorter budget and be where the customers are? Yes, yes, and yes!  Just as a beautiful flower attracts the bees, creating new content will have your business prospects buzzing around your content marketing.

Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is an Internet marketing strategy that incorporates the art of mixing of creation and publication of original content. People want to decide based on their own information gathering. This includes blog posts, articles, case studies, white paper, videos, emails, and photos. Unlike traditional advertising that interrupts customers to get noticed, content marketing is the free content customers are looking for and want. The purpose of content marketing is to generate leads, enhancing a brand’s visibility, and making your company look like the expert. Repeated and regular exposure of your brand can build a relevant relationship to get them to know, like and trust you.

Providing value to prospects can be done in two ways. The first is educational content and second is as entertainment.  Educate your customers to the point that they are ready to purchase your product or services. Then keep them buzzing around your business by entertaining them. Your prospects are searching for answers so give it to them. Focus on their needs, common questions, common problems, and be a friendly helpful resource that answers questions for them.

Why Should You Use Content Marketing?

Competition is getting stronger on the Internet and content marketing can help you stand out. People will recognize your brand if they keep seeing it.

Content marketing generates qualified leads while it engages prospects in a branded environment without busting their budget. It is a great marketing tool that also helps to educate consumers on the products and services they use. This is the subliminal converting factor as it makes you look like the authority figure they want to follow. You can capture prospects names, email, and phone number on your website. Through the autoresponder you can communicate to prospects with emails and give them more value. This builds a relationship where they feel like they know, like, and trust you. After this is established, it maintains customers retention and loyalty.

Take advantage of content marketing and all of the other ways you can promote your site online.

Each blog post, video and article will last for the life of your business and you will give you a great return on your investment. You can reach thousands of people with just one post or video that took only a few hours to produce.  It will show up on the search engines in the organic (free) section. You can create content that will be shared over the Internet on social media.

Great Content Is Rewarded By Users Through The Search Engines.

In 2011 Google’ Panda update penalized sites that had no value to the web user in SERPs. 

The unique, new, and fresh content is what the search engines look for. Google wants to remove poor quality content from the search results and reward high quality sites with improved rankings.  Creating content just isn’t enough anymore. Make your content stand out by making it newsworthy with keywords, tips, videos, infographics, slideshows, and more.

What Are Examples Of Content Marketing?

The follow ways are examples of making your business more visible by using content marketing which informs or teach your prospects:

- Creating and regularly updating a blog.

- Writing articles for online trade publications.

- Writing guest posts for established blogs.

- Creating presentations that solve a problem and posting it

- Publishing an email newsletter online through social sharing services.

- Article marketing.

- SEO copywriting.

- Niche research services.

- Video marketing.

- Social media marketing.

- Blogging.

- Ebooks.

- Podcasts.

- Webinars.

- Enewsletters.

How Can Social Media Help?

Major players like Google are basing their futures on technologies that facilitate content sharing.

The social media site Google Plus uses what you “plus” and share to help your friends in their search results. With search results becoming increasingly customized, quality content is the secret key to social media success. Google Plus gathers information on your previous search behavior and then it adds what your friends have given a “plus” to.

When you are searching for a dentist in Woodbury, MN for example, if there is any content the search engines can gather  from your friend’s comments or have given a “plus” in their  searches to that particular dentist will be given a higher rating.  As a business owner you can places your videos, articles, and blog posts on social media sites. The more people share it the more it will get to search engines and give your business a boost.

Do you have any tips to personally add about “Content Marketing”? If so, please comment below.

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4 Local SEO Musts For Small Businesses

in Local Marketing, Search Engine Optimization by Cherie DeBrule 1 Comment

4 Local SEO Musts For Small Businesses

Have You Ever Thought How Your Local Business Can Benefit From Local SEO?

Do you need more traffic to your site and more customers? Local SEO is a must for local business traffic! This is how to reach local customers and get traffic to your site. In this post we are going to show you 4 local SEO musts needed to generate traffic to your local business. Getting more traffic to your website is something you shouldn’t pass up. You shouldn’t have to feel being taken advantage of by your designer and local SEO company. Having a basic understanding of what you actually need is critical.  Local SEO means strategies to target your name, site and business to make it visible to people who are interested in your business-those that are physically near it. Look over this checklist and make sure you are not missing out!

4 local SEO Musts

1. Is Your Online Presence And Brand Appealing?

Are you still advertising your business like it’s 1980? Make sure your brand is up-to-date.

What does your logo say about your company? An effective logo can make a good impression, attract new customers, and stand out from your competitors. If you have a generic logo, you will NOT stand out from your competition, you need to update!

Is your website designed effectively? The first time someone goes to your site they will decide instantly whether or not to explore it. Make sure it is easy to navigate as an effective site will also capture leads.

Are you using videos to brand your local business? If not you are missing out on search visibility, ranking, adding value, and traffic.

2. On Page SEO Basics – Can Search Engines Find You?

Use on page SEO to make sure your website is as search engine friendly as you can get. If it is not optimized, chances are it wont be indexed in the search engines.

Page coding is the HTML tags on your site. They need to be optimized: title tags, meta tags, alt tags, xml sitemap, and robots.txt instructions, etc. Tailor tags for your niche so people can find your local business. For example, “Woodbury Dentist” or “Plumber in Oakdale, Minnesota”.

Does your website have a blog? Set up a blog on your site (www.your site.com/blog). Page content is king and is what search engines look for. The content of a page is what makes it worthy of a search result position. Blogs will create your website traffic from search engines.

Make sure your address is on your website. You should have it on every page: on the bottom footer, on your contact page, or the about page. This reinforces your location so search engines can list you by your location.

Click On The Video Below To See Why Your Local Business Needs Local SEO:

3. Off Page SEO Factors – What Is Linking To Your Site? 

After you site is optimized the next step is off page SEO to let the search engines know that you exist. Submit your site to the three major search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Is your business listed in local online directories? Prospects are moving away from using yellow pages and instead are using their computer and cell phone to find a local business. Do research for the region you are focused on and find the most popular portals for that region. Submit your website to major portals such as Yelp, CitySearch, Foursquare, YP, Dmoz, Angies List, Dex Knows, Insider Pages, Yellowbot, and Merchant Circle.

Is your business utilizing Social Media? Social Media increases traffic to your site, brings brand awareness, and adds backlinks to your site.

Get more backlinks. Google looks at the quality of backlinks to your site from other related websites on the Internet. Each link is viewed as a vote of confidence. Make sure to get local links from all the local associations and clubs you belong to (Chamber of Commerce, networking groups, E.G, trade associations, etc).

4. Is Your Site Growing? – Don’t Abandon It

Is your site updated on a regular basis? Google looks at how often you add and update new content. Add new blog entries and update old ones to refresh their content.

Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews for you on directories and give video testimonials.

Don’t try to do SEO all in on day. When you do this, you will appear like a red flag spammer to Google and search engines. Off page SEO should be done steadily over time and is a constant ongoing project – it should never stop improving.

It is important to note that there is no SEO Company that can guarantee top number one rankings. Stay away from companies that guarantee this! What they can do is develop strategies that will effectively drive more traffic to your site. Keep in mind that ranking isn’t instant on Google. It may take a couple of weeks or months for any results to show.

Local SEO Is A Must In The Marketing Mix For A Local Business.

Chances are that prospects are out there are searching for your business right now. Are they going to find you or your competitor?  You need to outrank you competition if you want to win. Off page optimization must be a continuous process because if you do not do it, your competitors will. It should be diverse and focused on various methods of link building.

Utilizing local SEO and coding can make a huge difference in the bottom line for a small business. Do you have any tips to personally add to this checklist of: 4 local SEO musts for small businesses? If so, please comment below.

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Local SEO – How Can Your Local Business Use SEO To Dominate Local Competition?

in Local Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Search Engine Optimization by Cherie DeBrule Leave a comment

Local SEO – How Can Your Local Business Use SEO To Dominate Local Competition?

What Is Local SEO?

Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is content that is targeted to get your website and business in front of the certain people. It is a technique of perfecting your website for physical places such as Google Maps, business listings, and directories. When people want to search for something, they go to search engines and type in words or phrases, which describe what they are looking for. The results that show up are websites that are ranked in accordance to their relevance to the term being searched. There are many search engines that show local results such as; Google Local, Yahoo! Local, Live local, AOL Local, and many more.

Local SEO To Dominate

What Does Your Local Business Get Out Of Local SEO?

- More website traffic

- More phone calls

- More sales

- More exposure

- Brand awareness

- More local customers

- Gains visibility in your local area

- Your business gets listed in popular local searches

- More visable for local keywords       

- Local traffic

- Improved ranking of your keywords in local SERPs (search engine results page)

- Improved exposure in mobile and smart phone local searches

- Improved exposure in social local search

- Quick ROI (Return on your investment)

- Domination of your niche

Does Your Local Business Need To Reach Local Customers?

The main benefit is huge potential exposure and domination. If your local business is not even on the Google maps first page, you are missing out on business while your competitors are gaining more.

If you are trying to increase traffic and sales with prospects, a local SEO campaign is a must! Google states that over 20% of searches conducted on the search engine have local intent. Therefore, it is essential to have local SEO to have your business found!

Are You Listed Where Your Customers Are Searching?

Think of local SEO as the new yellow pages and local section of a newspaper. It drives traffic to your physical location and creates more brand awareness. Your potential customers are searching for you on the Internet and smart phones. The question is, “are they going to find you or your competitor?” Think of how a person searches on Google. If they are looking for a dentist and live in Woodbury, MN they would type in “Woodbury dentist” or “dentist in Woodbury, MN.” Your business needs local SEO because of the number of MOBILE device business searches people are performing hourly.

Click On The Video Below To See Apple’s iPhone Siri And Why Siri Is Important For Marketing Your Local Business. You Speak And Siri Helps You Find Local Searches For You And Provies You With Information On Restaurants, Banks, Cabs and Local Businesses.   

It is crucial that your local business is taking advantage of using local SEO before your competition does. If you want to ensure your website receives more visitors as it climbs in ranking, local SEO is a must. If done correctly, it can help you get top rankings in your niche. In order to climb to the top of the ranking and stay there you need the help and guidance from a marketing company that specializes in local SEO.

Is Your Local Business Listed?

People only look at the first few websites on the first page of the keywords and phrases they search. Is your local business easy to find on all the top local search directories? Is your business’s information accurate and in popular local search directories that include Google, Yelp, CitySearch and up to a hundred other local directories and navigation units? Having an optimized local business listing allows you to get exposure to millions of local customers for a fraction of the cost of other advertising.

Take charge of your businesses future by having business listings in all the top local search directories for your business.

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