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Internet Marketing - Local Business Marketing
 

A Business Opportunity !

As a Marketing consultant, that’s what I see when I come across a local business that’s running despite the fact that its website isn’t producing results.

I get excited by the growth that could be achieved. I’ve seen firsthand how some businesses can increase sales by 50 or even 100% with better utilization of the internet.  Who wouldn’t want that for their company?

Yet many owners of brick and mortar businesses don’t understand the advantages of a website that gets traffic. They have a website up and running, so the job is done, right? Or maybe they’re not even sure that they need a website since they don’t plan to sell products or services online.

This line of thinking fails to seize on the wealth of ways that your website can better inform your business. The internet is all about data – real-time, quantified metrics – that is more accurate, more inexpensive, and more detailed than information acquired through traditional marketing strategies that were employed by major national brands in a pre-digital age.

All it takes is a business owner who is forward-thinking and open to taking advantage of this new opportunity.

The Top 4 Reasons Why You Should Improve Your Local Business’s Website

1. Focus Your Marketing   
The process of developing a website is similar to the brainstorming process that you might do when creating a business plan. It forces you to think about who your customers are and what needs they have. Doing keyword research and analyzing the competition is the first step towards finding better ways to communicate with your customers, both online and off. 
2. Build Your Brand
Once you’ve defined your target keywords and identified customer segments, you can develop a better communication strategy based on their needs. Data segmentation allows you to further refine as you go.

For example, you’ll likely start out with a list of several dozen keywords, but you’ll find that just a handful are really attracting people to your website. You can delve deeper into those keywords, targeting your imagery and content to what your customers respond to. It takes some of the guesswork out of what people really want from your business.
3. Improve Your Conversion Rate
Your website can help you stay focused on producing results. Instead of just designing something that’s attractive, you can use your website as a tool to track results over time and  continually work to improve your conversion rate over a period of time. This puts the focus where it belongs: on your customers.

You can create metrics to measure conversions, whether that means filling out a form, making a purchase on the site, or going to the “contact us” page to find out how to visit your store. By analyzing the steps that people take, you can then modify everything from content (blogs, web copy) to imagery (photos, graphics) to navigation (menu bars and site architecture) to improve the conversion process. Then take it one step further and use the lessons you learned on the website in your brick and mortar location.

For example, I work with a bike store where we transferred a conversion concept that worked on the website into the store. Based on the keywords that brought people to the site and what content they looked at once they arrived, we laid out the store in a similar way that they were navigating the site. We re-designed the store layout away from a product-oriented layout to one that was user-oriented, divided into two main sections – performance and recreational usage.

The store doesn’t sell a single product online, yet the changes we’ve made based on using the internet has resulted in huge growth for the store.
4. Automate More of Your Sales Process
Think of your website as conveyor belt that moves people along the sales process until they make a purchase or buy your services. At each step of the way, people drop off. Using the data that your website gathers you can easily apply the doctrine of Six Sigma, identify and removing “problems.” You can constantly refine your process by looking at the behavioral data generated and changing your tactics.

This can help make results happen more frequently, taking more of those customers all the way down that conveyor belt to making a sale.

How much money is your business leaving on the table by not making your website work harder for you? You shouldn’t just build your local business website and walk away. Instead, you can continually use it to better inform your company, improve your practices, and measure your growth.

Drive traffic to your location with Location Traffic

Posted: 6/3/2013 9:59:43 AM by Shep Morrow


Social Media Content Strategy

So what is an Optimized Content Strategy?

An Optimized Content Strategy is the art of deliberately producing content, based on keyword phrases that are driving organic search traffic and conversions, that demonstrates an understanding of your target customer’s knowledge acquisition at various stages in their buying cycle. Then delivering that "optimized" content to them in a relevant and compelling way to grow your business by socializing the content through your organization’s social networks. In this context, content can consist of: website content, blogs, press releases, case studies, white papers, how-to guides, emails, news and events, videos – whatever it is your prospects and customers want to consume, in the format they will best be able to consume it, and on the various platforms on the web they may be receptive to consuming the content.

Search Rankings: Optimized Content Strategy

Here are a few reasons why producing and distributing fresh, relevant, optimized content must be part of your marketing strategy, if you want to rank in organic search and be relevant in the social networks.

1. Social Signals
December 2010: both Google and Bing announced that they factor social signals into their organic search algorithms. According to Google, social media and social networking are about relationships and relationships prove relevance and relevance is at the core of organic search. Social signals are the new back links. It is becoming apparent that social signals will continue to rise in importance as the lines between social media and search continue to thin.

Optimized Content Strategy Approach: Distribute your optimized content strategy to your social networks and give your website visitors and content consumers every opportunity to socialize your content including: tweets, re-tweets, Google +1’s, Facebook Likes and Shares, YouTube views and LinkedIn Shares. Of course, you need to build out your social networks too – not just more followers, but each platform offers different content formats and offers an opportunity to spin your message.

2. Google's Panda
March 2011: Google starts penalizing sites for manufactured back links.

Optimized Content Strategy Approach: For long-term success with your SEO and social media strategies build out your back links by producing and distributing relevant fresh content such as optimized press releases and blog posts. Optimize your content for the keywords you know your prospects are using to find you and that they are converting on. Point back links in the press release, blog post or case study to your website, or better yet, a conversion page. Then socialize the content through your social networks including: Google+, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.

3. The Freshness Updates
November 2011: Google launched an algorithm change called the Freshness Update that gives priority to fresh, timely content such as press releases, blogs, news and events.

Optimized Content Strategy : Give Google, and your customers, fresh, relevant, timely optimized content.

Conclusion

So while the fundamentals of organic SEO remain important – such as ensuring you have a strong technical website with keyword optimized pages, good site architecture, and building local search and industry-specific directories for back linking purposes – a real shift is taking place in the on-going approach to traditional SEO. That shift is the creation, publishing and distribution of an optimized content marketing strategy. This is only possible after the base is built - your website - but the conceptual aspects of a content strategy are actually the foundation for your entire Internet Marketing Strategy. And developing the conversations with customers is an ongoing process....
Posted: 3/2/2012 9:32:10 AM by Shep Morrow


Keyword Research & website Architecture

As a Marketing Consultant when I work with B2B clients I often find that SEO is not given the priority in the website development process it deserves.

Proper keyword research is vital to maximizing online visibility. Getting keyword research correct from the beginning is crucial. It drives site architecture. One of the mistakes B2B marketers continue to make with organic search is inadequate website architecture - the fact is that many B2B sites don’t have sufficient content (pages) to respond to enough search terms. The solution, however, isn’t simply adding more content. Proper website architecture is also critical.

The typical scope or work for a Keyword Research and webite Architecture engagement includes:
  • Developing understanding of B2B prospect profiles and the nature of the B2B buying cycle
  • Reviewing client’s list of desired keywords
  • Reviewing existing site and those of stated B2B competitors
  • Using multiple sources to research popular keywords and keyword variants actually used by searchers
  • Identifying lower volume, high-conversion keywords
  • Identifying important words in the search tail of keywords
  • Identifying with the client the keywords for which the site should be optimized
  • Designing the appropriate site architecture to support the keyword strategy
The investment for the B2B Keyword Research and Website Architecture varies based on the goals and complexity of the Internet Marketing project. But the cost can return itself in new business many times over.

Information Architecture

Information Hierarchy and website architectureMany website development projects seem to focus too much on the design aspects of their website before they put any thought into the site architecture and information flow. By inserting information architecture at the beginning of your process, you can dramatically change your website's performance. The benefits of developing a strategic site architecture will not only increase visitor engagement but it will help you attract more of the right visitors. This process will also lead to higher conversions.

The first step, of identifying high-performing keywords, is essential if you wish to drive the right traffic to your site. Keyword research is no small task if done correctly, as it includes an analysis of competitors and the keywords that a specific target audience uses in searches. It's a given that you will be using branded keywords on your site, but more importantly identify keywords that your target audience might use to find you. As in any marketing approach, we are researching customer needs, and engineering a problem/solution content strategy in order to promote your Brand.

This simple process will help you get into the minds of your audience and anticipate their needs. When they finally land on your site, they will feel right at home since you have taken the time to lay out the information just for them. They will reward you with higher conversions, lower bounce rates, and undoubtedly word-of-mouth praise through social media channels.

Your Internet Marketing Strategy is your Brand.

I often hear web designers selling design services as if it is the starting place for web projects, without a full understanding of Site Architecture. Very often Brand is represented as the creative that goes into imagery, or site structure is thought of in terms of semantics and hierarchy derived from someone in a company, who “knows their business”. Like any Marketing challenge, what these individuals are minimizing is that marketing is about customers; what customers think, what customers are looking for, and the language customers use to Search for solutions to their problems.

At Location Traffic my approach to SEO is first to understand what the customer is looking for by carefully researching competitors and Keyword data. Then using the Keyword data I build a strategically optimized site architecture, for those keywords, that is understandable to Search Engines and relevant to visitors. Relevancy breeds trust, and opens up the opportunity for a Brand to position itself in the mind of the target customer.

There are a lot of factors that go into a successful SEO Campaign. There is content, keywords, titles, descriptions, usability, architecture, and link building. While website architecture doesn't contribute directly to the keyword optimization, it does give the search engines the best "sense" of a site. Without good architecture, your site can be keyword optimized to the hilt, but it won't matter because the search engines are unable to read and decipher the content properly.

Understand your Market

That may sound pretty basic, but few people realize how important keyword research tools can be in understanding your market, and in formulating an Internet Marketing Strategy that does a good job of Branding and displaying your content on the first page of searches.

To summarize: understand what's going on in the head of your potential customers, consider the ways customers think about your services, determine what words they use to search for your services, and give consideration to specifically what words your target customer uses in searches. Insight into that mindset equals insight into how to start a persuasive dialogue. Build a site architecture that optimizes the effectiveness of these keywords.

Aside from the technical issues, SEO basically IS internet marketing.


Posted: 9/16/2011 4:43:40 PM by Shep Morrow