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New Customers are Searching - Help Them Find You

help-customers-find-youIf you're a small town business owner, chances are you're focused on your customers because they're your neighbors and you're used to treating them like friends. This can distract you from other things related to your business success. Of course you want to make enough money to sustain a living. But ironically, you may be too focused on customers to discover different ways for you to attract more new customers. You already know how to take care of people.

Pay-per-click advertising (or, PPC) is less expensive than traditional advertising. It's also easier, and more effective at measuring results. PPC is the strategy of buying ads on search engines (like Google or Bing) to get people to visit your website.

People who are searching for a product or service on the internet are much more motivated and focused than someone who is watching TV and feels that they have to endure a commercial. Recall the difference you feel for yourself. When you need a plumber, you go to your search engine of choice and type in "plumber, salinas", or your zip code for wherever you live. That's what most of us do.

Most researchers say that Google AdWords is the most popular form of PPC. Next is Bing Ads, which is the same thing on Yahoo. Here are some reasons why PPC is probably right for your business.

You pay only when someone clicks on your ad to get to your web site. With traditional advertising, you pay first and hope that the consumer will be persuaded to use your product of service. The most effective implementations of PPC have a web page specifically designed to greet potential customers. This is called a "landing page". Remember that the person who arrives there is actively searching for the product or service you provide. On this page, you give them the specific information they are looking for. A call to action is now much more persuasive. Not only is the cost lower but conversion rates are significantly higher than with traditional advertising.

It's very easy to control your advertising budget. You decide how much your daily cost can be. And you can change it at any time.

You can get results right away. Because prospects are actively searching, PPC can give you quick returns on your investment. And the results are easier to measure. You can see how many times your ad has been viewed, where and when, and you know when someone has clicked on your ad and whether they've followed your call to action. If they purchase directly from your landing page, or if you're building an email list, you also know conversion rates.

You probably know your prospective audience very well. You can target your PPC ads to reach them at specific times and specific locations. This can be especially effective with mobile device advertising. Do you own a restaurant? You can place an ad to target someone who's in town and looking for dinner with your type of food at your particular price point. That ad can quickly and easily pay for itself.

But as wonderful as this sounds, like anything in business, it's not as easy as it first appears. For PPC to be effective, you need to have a solid understanding of more than just your customers. There are a number of platforms available. You need to understand them all so you can decide what's best for you. Each of them has its own rules and guidelines. And the environment in this arena is constantly changing. You'll probably want to work with an expert to make sure that your results are both quick and long term. Landing page design alone is crucial. A year or a month from now when you add a new product or service, you'll want new and returning customers to know about that.

Search engines are good at making advertisements get seen. It's a powerful way to find new customers.


How to Manage Your Marketing Company

Managing-your-marketing-companyBudget constraints sometimes force the hand of smaller companies when it comes to choosing the best marketing methods for them. Both local and national providers offer set marketing packages that include the same activities for every business who buys them. The small business owner pays the bill and trusts the package to do the job it is supposed to.

This type of "set it and forget it" marketing relationship between advertising company and small business results in a less than expected return on the investment. Even the best companies with the latest and most effective ideas can perform poorly without any input from the business it is trying to market.

A Marketing Company's Problem With Non-Communicative Clients

Why should a professional company with marketing experience and know-how need a small business owner to give them information and resources?

Marketing methods should be tailored to the main and immediate goals of the business. These can change over time and this must be communicated to the people designing the ads.

Important brand recognition tools like logos, photos, color schemes and mottoes give a marketing company the tools needed to build a positive online reputation for the small business. If these have already been designed by an in-house or outsourced graphic designer, the marketing company needs to know. They could waste time and money coming up with their own templates or graphics for marketing campaigns that clash with those already in use.

Even the greatest marketing company with the best reputation can slack off at times, break deadlines or flounder when not given the best guidance about the vision you have for your company.

Five Ideas to Help the Marketing Company Get the Results You Want

1 - Clearly state your goal for the marketing efforts. Each ad should be designed to create a particular outcome: a site visit, signup or sale.

2 - Give all logos, artwork, photos and content to the marketing company to work with. If these change during the marketing campaign's existence, the new graphics must be sent over immediately. A plan to reintroduce or expand brand recognition practices can be put into place.

3 - Share interesting on-topic content or news that could boost your small business's advertising efforts. Even experienced marketing professionals can use a spark of inspiration from time to time.

4 - Stay in contact with the marketing team to make sure their plan aligns with your goals and interests. These can change over time as well. Everyone must be on the same page for the marketing to be most effective.

5 - Insist on regular updates and analytics about the different advertisements and marketing methods being employed on your behalf. Do not let the marketing company become complacent in their treatment of your business.

Professional marketing companies with good reputations get that way by delivering a great return on the small business owner's investment. With dozens or even hundreds of clients expecting effective advertising, they may fall into the practice of one size fits all methodology. Whether they sell marketing packages that include specific tasks or promise to deliver a custom plan for each client, they deliver much more effective marketing when the small business is involved every step of the way.

Unless you have plenty of money in the budget to throw away on half-hearted, non-targeted advertising campaigns, get proactive and stay in contact with the marketers assigned to your case.


Small Town SEO: Is it Necessary?

SEO necessity in small townLocal businesses face unique challenges when it comes to Internet Marketing. It can be quite difficult for smaller businesses to realize how closely the Internet and local competition are related. This leads them to believe that Internet marketing is not worth the time or financial investment. Even businesses that want to increase their visibility may find it difficult to rank highly in Google search results. In order to find success with online marketing, businesses must make their websites visible to a relevant, interested audience. While some business owners are tech savvy, it can still be rather difficult to fully understand why search engine optimization (SEO) is so necessary.

The Importance of Mobile Optimized Websites

One major part of search engine optimization is the use of mobile optimized websites. Small businesses can benefit greatly from the features that mobile optimization offers. This type of webpage layout is considered very modern and advanced. A mobile optimized site has the ability to reformat to properly display on phone screens, tablets and other small devices. This reformatting may present features like easily accessible navigation buttons, sleek drop down menus and properly sized images. So, why should small businesses reformat to be optimized for mobile search engines? These optimized sites are much more engaging and user friendly for potential clients and customers. A sleek, modern and simple interface may lead a viewer to make a crucial buying decision.

Competing Against Other Local Businesses

A local business may assume they do not need to market due to lack of local competition. No matter what industry a local business is in, there is likely one or more competitor in the exact same field. There is a good chance that these competitors are putting money and resources towards Internet marketing. This makes it crucial for small businesses to step up their SEO game. Online searches are one of the most common ways that customers and clients find local services. To have a strong web presence, proper search engine marketing must take places. Google continues to advance in identifying specific areas within cities. This means local searches produce results for neighborhoods and other areas. Choosing the right keywords, search terms and website layouts has never been more important.

Getting Assistance With Small Town SEO

Small businesses may not be using search engine optimization techniques simply because they lack the know-how to implement effective strategies. Google's search engine algorithms are frequently changing and improving. Blog posts that are heavily saturated with keywords will get indexed by Google very quickly. It is important to focus on things like mobile optimization, on-page optimization, structured URLs and ever-changing ranking factors. This information can be difficult for a business owner to understand.

Getting professional assistance with SEO and other forms of Internet marketing is a key component in any successful online marketing campaign. Marketing companies that offer unique services for local SEO strategies are the best option for smaller businesses. They use updated and proven methods to ensure that small town businesses get the most out of Internet marketing.

Coastline Marketing Group specializes in internet marketing and website development. We proudly serve the Monterey, Salinas CA area. Please contact us for a free review of your current online presence and status.