Four Prong, Online Marketing Approach for Local Businesses
You know you should expand your business’ online presence, but where should you start? First off, you’re on the right track by researching online marketing. After all, it’s highly difficult for a company to grow without the boost of a solid Internet marketing strategy. Before making an expensive decision, it’s smart to know what your options are and how to customize a plan that suits your business goals—as well as your budget.
Per-Per-Click (PPC) Google AdWords – First Prong
Think of AdWords as a simple way to dip your toe into the waters of Web advertising without making a huge commitment. The concept is simple: you create a short ad, and bid on keywords that are relevant to your concept. Once you have won your keywords, your ad will appear on the top or side of search engine results when someone submits a query for those words. You can also place your ad on other websites.
This strategy can be highly effective if you know how to optimize your settings as well as your ad copy. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad, so you’re guaranteed an audience for your money. Plus, you can tailor PPC to target a local or national or audience.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Second Prong
You’ve probably heard the term “Search Engine Optimization,” or SEO, thrown around a lot lately. SEO involves following Google’s best practice guidelines to ensure that your Web page earns a high ranking; that is, it shows up at the top of the list when people conduct Google searches. SEO doesn’t work overnight, but over time you may see an impressive return on you investment. Performing SEO in tandem with a PPC campaign can help boost your business to the top.
Google has dealt harshly with anyone trying to “cheat” their way to the top of search pages using linking schemes or Web spam. Trying sneaky “black hat” tricks could resign your site to the bottom of the search-engine pile. The most successful SEO strategies involve producing quality content with the right keywords and formatting.
Local Map Optimization (GMO) – Third Prong
Local companies rely on regional clientele, which is why local map sources, such as Google Places, can have a major impact on your business. Particularly for small businesses, it’s crucial to optimize your map listings in order to get noticed by customers in your surrounding area. These hyper-local maps serve customers looking for places to go in their own neighborhood—you want these customers to find you.
Social Media Marketing (SMM/SMO) – Fourth Prong
While social media probably won’t be your main marketing forum, managing an effective presence allows you to build trust with your local community and get your brand name out there. In the old days, consumers turned to the BBB to learn about a company; these days, they look to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, InstaGram,YouTube…the list goes on. If you’re not out there in the social media world, you can bet your competition is.