Getting started with your internet marketing campaign can seem pretty daunting. Online marketing is a vast ocean of technology and information, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

That’s why we crated this user-friendly learning center. Here you will find a nice overview of online marketing for local businesses.

We’ve taken all the essentials of online lead generation and put them into brief summaries with to-do lists and guides on how to use various tools and services.

If you have any questions or ideas about your own campaign, don’t hesitate to contact us! Our team is just a phone call away!

What is Local Search?

Google, Yahoo, and the other search engines have revolutionized how we learn, how we collaborate, how we shop, and in general have helped billions of people around the world harness the full power of the internet.
Typical local search queries include not only information about “what” the site visitor is searching for (such as keywords, a business category, or the name of a consumer product) but also “where” information, such as a street address, city name, postal code, or geographic coordinates like latitude and longitude.

Examples of local searches include “Los Angeles hotels”, “Manhattan restaurants”, and “Dallas Hertz”. A search that references a product or service that is typically consumed locally, such as “restaurant” or “nail salon”, is an implicit local search.

Local search advertising can be highly effective because it allows ads to be targeted very precisely to the search terms and location provided by the user. These terms, located in the “At a glance” section on Google Places listings, are a distillation of all the information that Google can find about a business, in as few words as possible. They can be from reviews, web pages, articles — from just about any content on the web. Google’s algorithm tries to select a good description for each place, leaning towards what is interesting, specific, and unique.

Business listing information can also be distributed via the traditional Yellow Pages, electronic Yellow Pages aggregators, and search engine optimization services. Some search engines will pick up on web pages that contain regular street addresses displayed in machine-readable text (rather than a picture of text, which is more difficult to interpret). Web pages can also use geotagging techniques.

What are the benefits of Local Search?

  • People prefer to shop online, but buy from other people. For instance, most people prefer to shop online, but prefer to buy in person from local shop owners. 80% of those who search local end with a phone call or in-person visit to the business
  • Domination of your search terms. By dominating keywords and phrases for your niche target market, not only will you outrank your competition in the search engine results—your success may completely push them out of the search results altogether
  • Search marketing will be your most loyal employee—ever! One of the greatest things about using local search marketing as your prime advertising is that this is a department that doesn’t pack up and leave the office at 5PM or even 7PM. Online marketing will be working for you 24/7, for 365 days of the year
  • Target your local customer market. The true beauty of local search marketing is that is targets a relevant customer base within close proximity to your business by localizing the keywords you use on your website. If you try to rank for “cake decorating” with no geographical reference in the search results you’ll be vying against cake decorators from Japan all the way to Alaska.
  • However, if you choose to localize your search by using “cake decorating Staten Island” suddenly you’re only serving a particular geographical area and your chances of being found by relevant customers are much, much better. So if a shopper is out to get some sporting gear and they are from Miami then they go to a search engine and narrow down their search to “sporting goods in Miami.” If your business is located in that area and has the proper local SEO strategy then most likely your web page will get into the top results
  • A more prominent online presence. As a small business owner, you have a much better chance of competing against the national competition by showing up higher in SERPs* with well-placed local rankings on search engines
  • Added credibility. Having a local online presence on places like Facebook and Google+ gives you increased authenticity to searchers. Viewers trust local listings more than traditional listings because you can provide a map, a physical address, images, reviews and other valuable information
  • Accessibility for mobile searchers. The Yellow Pages, once the go-to resource for finding local businesses, has been replaced by mobile browsing on smartphones, tablets and other devices. Potential customers on the go generally look for immediate results that they can act on.
  • Having a mobile-friendly site and a prominent local search position means your viewers can easily find and navigate your site, giving you a distinct advantage over your competition.
  • Easier to rank. Local internet marketing offers an easy way to rank well locally on search engine results pages. By establishing, verifying and developing a business presence on places like Google+, Bing, and Yahoo, you can rank highly on SERPs with much less effort than by relying on traditional search engine optimization (SEO) alone.

What is Paid Search?

Paid search advertising is suitable for small businesses because of the speed of implementation, speed of results and the control over content. Paid search (also referred to as Pay-Per-Click or PPC) refers to the adverts or sponsored links which appear on the right hand side of the search results page on search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Advertising programs such as Google’s Adwords have become a major sales channel for many businesses.

These are the benefits of paid search placement in the top 5 results on Google.

  • Speed: you get measurable results within a few days.
  • Qualified traffic: searchers who click on advertising are prepared to buy.
  • Consistent traffic: your traffic is tied to your budget.
  • Low upfront costs: PPC doesn’t require setup fees before you see results.
  • Multiple keywords: you can extend reach through unlimited number of keywords.
  • Flexibility: paid search allows you to easily test and see which keywords work quickly.
  • Control of the marketing message: landing pages don’t have to be linked to the website for every promotion. Messages can be changed and turned off and on every month.
  • Relevance: Google’s advanced algorithm detects relevancy and delivers relevant results to the user
  • Geo-Targeting and scheduling: you can target local customers only. You can run ads at specific times during the day. E.g. when live chat is available on the site
  • Tracking: paid search campaigns are easy to track with Google Analytics and other tracking programs.

Organic Search vs. Paid Search

The advantage of organic search marketing is that organic listings are more trusted by searchers than paid listings. Most searchers are savvy enough to realize that Google has a say in what shows up in their searches, and that paid listings are more about who has the deeper pocket. Top organic positions also attract 50% more attention than top paid positions.

The disadvantage of organic search is that it can be difficult to gain top rankings and it takes time to achieve meaningful results. A top position in Google for a competitive keyword can skyrocket leads and sales. Google uses complex ranking algorithms to determine which websites will be listed nearest the top of the page.

The obvious disadvantage of paid search marketing is that you have to pay for it. Paid search marketing is also commonly referred to as pay per click (PPC) marketing. The rate you are charged per click varies upon your market and your preferred ranking. A company paying $1.50/click will likely not rank above a company paying $2.00/click.

The advantage of paying per click is that you have complete control over which terms your website will be listed under– in real time. This is especially useful when you aren’t sure about which keywords yield the highest returns. PPC management tools can easily determine which keywords are working best for your website.

A wise online marketer would consider a combination of SEO and PPC efforts. This will allow you to bring visitors to your website in the short term, and hopefully produce revenue that will fuel the

What is Website Optimization?

There are a number of elements that go into making a local search engine optimization (local SEO) campaign a success, but the most essential component of search engine optimization is site optimization.

When someone searches for a local business, service, or product, yours should be the first name they see. Site optimization is the first step towards improving your local rankings. It’s also one of the most important.

Optimizing your business’ website not only makes your site more valuable for users, but it’s the key to topping the local search results, improving your visibility online and driving valuable traffic. Why does your site need this?

What are Landing Pages?

Landing pages are internal website pages that are designed specifically to implore users to take an action such as sign up for a consultation or call your business. From a marketing perspective, landing pages help guide web visitors through the sales process so you’re more likely to convert visitors into customers. If build well, a landing page lowers your acquisition costs by allowing you convert more traffic into qualified leads. Landing pages are created on websites, blogs, mobile, social media and Twitter.

Simply put, a landing page is the control center for your lead generation process.

There are the elements of a successful landing page:

  • A clear call to action that guides users through the sales process. You should implore visitors to buy, call, visit your store, or sign up online.
  • Winning images help capture users’ attention and move them to engage your brand.
  • Personal appeals speak to your customers on a deeper level that just saving money or time. For instance, a financial service can help you buy a home for your family or put your children through college.
  • Great ad copy cuts through the clutter and communicated with your customers without being cheesy or pushy.
  • Risk reversals such as money back guarantees take away the risk factor for customers and make them feel better about giving you their business.
  • Trust icons such as security images build your credibility.
  • Conversion incentives such as discounts and coupons compel users to act right away to get a great deal.
  • You must express your unique selling proposition to convince users that you are the best option available.
  • Value exchange is a powerful conversion factor. If you give away a free trial or consultation, you’re providing immediate value and more likely to get a response.
  • Website layout and navigation impacts your user experience and helps you guide customers through the sales process.