The longer you wait to get involved with local Internet Marketing in Florida, the greater the risk you are going to fall too far behind your fellow local business owners who already using the Internet to find customers on-line. Everywhere you look there are signs that traditional ways of reaching new customers are dying off. This month alone, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania added their names to the list of 15 states that approved a request by Verizon to allow the company to stop producing the white pages phone book.
According to an article on Fast Company, the number of people using these directories fell from 25% to 11% and now there is a way for people to opt out of even having the Yellow Pages delivered to their homes. Cities no longer want to foot the bill for hauling the directories away or recycling them. If you think you are reaching new customers by advertising in the phone book you are sorely mistaken.
The companies that run directories are trying to adapt and they are shifting their focus to moving on-line but you have to ask yourself an important question before you decide to spend you advertising dollar with the phone book companies. Is being listed with all your competitors in an on-line directory a good idea? Why waste your small advertising budget to be listed next to all your competitors when you can spend that same money to have your own website with your own message appear on the first page of Google?
As we built our local business we became keenly aware that paying to be listed with all our competitors was a waste of our money. We decided that our marketing budget would b better spent working on getting our own website ranked on Google rather than contributing to a company that was going to work just as hard for our competitors especially if they paid them more. Why give a potential customer 10 choices of businesses offering your same product or service when you can get them right to you with your own personally crafted message? Marketing your own website and business on the Internet is just as affordable as working with a directory service and it can be much more effective.]]>
Do you know who is managing your website once the company you hired to do the web design has turned the keys back over to you? Hopefully as a small business owner you know where your site is hosted and when the domain names comes up for renewal. We don’t ask to insult you but if a company as universally large as the Dallas Cowboys can forget to renew their domain name, it isn’t unthinkable for a small business to forget to do the same amidst the daily hustle and bustle of running your company.
The Cowboys are one of the most recognizable sports franchises in America and yesterday the team fired its head coach. Seems like the kind of day that would drive a lot of traffic to the team’s website. Unfortunately when fans and followers typed in “DallasCowboys.com” they were taken to a generic placeholder website showing two young children playing soccer. While many assumed there was just so much traffic the site went down but according to the Dallas Morning News that was not the case.
The paper is reporting that the domain name “DallasCowboys.com” came up for renewal and nobody renewed it. The job apparently belonged to Jerry Jones, Jr. and the team’s Internet Marketing department. The son of the team owner got the domain renewed but it took some time before the site was back up and running.
So if the Dallas Cowboys can lose sight of website renewals it is a good bet many small business can as well. When you go to get a website designed there are some very important things you need to find out and many of the roles you need filled would fall to a website manager and not the person in charge of website design.
Make sure when you begin the website design process the site is built on a content management system (CMS) that you will always have access to and that is simple enough for anyone to use. Often times companies get into a contract with a web design company and later finds out that they are not getting what they were promised. If you do not own that site, where it is hosted and the content management system it was built on, you could be stuck between a rock and a hard place and at the company’s mercy when you try and go your separate ways.
Hosting and domain renewals are just a few of the nuts and bolts things that need to be handled before anyone can ever see your expensive website. If you are unsure of this process, you owe it to yourself to get all the facts before you sign any contract.]]>
The role of social media in business is a huge topic these days as all sorts of businesses are attempting to find ways to attract new clients and increase sales using social media. While every field is still trying to figure out if social media is worth the investment and if so the best ways to utilize it, NJ.com wrote an article recently about how effective social media can be for real estate agents.
Real estate is a profession that relies a lot on social relationships so it makes perfect sense that social media would be a perfect fit in a real estate market that is struggling nationwide. Sharon Steele told NJ.com that social media platforms like Facebook allow potential clients to get to know her as a person and the way she conducts her business. All of those interactions help potential clients feel more comfortable in turning to her to make one of the biggest financial decisions of their life when it comes time to buy a house.
Another area where social media and real estate go hand-in-hand according to experts is the interactivity of both areas. As always, the experts urge that businesses have a plan for social media rather than just getting on Facebook and Twtter hoping that will somehow magically increase sales. With a plan in place social media can play a key role in a total Internet marketing plan.
NJ.com talked with one broker in New Jersey who set up a Facebook page for a property featuring downtown lofts. According to this broker there were 14 leads generated by the Facebook page and six of those leads turned into sales. All for the investment of time in coming up with a focused plan and them implementing that plan on-line. Foursquare is another application that brokers are using to spur online leads. Finding new ways to have clients find you is one of the main benefits of social media and real estate agents are already taking advantage of this to make sales.]]>
If you are a casual observer of the media, you have probably noticed the battle between Bing and Google has intensified as the two giants battle for search engine marketing dominance. Advertisements for Bing have been featured heavily on ESPN radio during the very popular Mike & Mike morning show. The popular radio hosts have even recorded spots for the search engine, which is owned by Microsoft.
With the Google search engine being used for anywhere from an estimated 83% of searches, Microsoft has been aggressively marketing Bing to try and cut into Google’s stranglehold on the market. One of the reasons Google is so dominant is they never sit on their laurels and the latest salvo in the battle between the two was fired today when Google announced a holiday gift of free Wi-Fi on airplanes as their present to the traveling public. People who fly on a domestic U.S. flight operated by AirTran, Virgin America and Delta from November 20, 2010 to January 2, 2011 will be the beneficiaries of free Internet service.
There are a few details coming out about the move. The main one is that the free Wi-Fi will be sponsored specifically by Google Chrome, Google’s browser. The browser trails far behind Internet Explorer and Firefox and this move seems to be a major play to get people to see what Google Chrome can do and give a captive audience an upfront look at the browser.
The move seems to be a brilliant one. Not only creating goodwill among travelers who can now surf the web for free during the nation’s busiest travel time but also continuing to build brand identity and increase its share of everything to do with Internet dominance. Whether or not the move has anything to do with Bing’s aggressive marketing, it sure seems the Google once again is trying to stay ahead of the competition when it comes to the world of Internet search.]]>
Here at Scorch SEM we probably spend a little more time than most looking at Google search results but by now even the casual searcher may have noticed that Google local search results have become a focus leaving many wondering about the future of SEO. Our Tampa SEO company, like most all over the world, is adjusting to the change but what many claim is the death of SEO or a confusing change to Google’s highly secret and ultra-complex search algorithm, we see as a major opportunity for our clients.
As we talked about last week, Google is now returning searches that are based on the search and searchers location anytime the algorithm believes the person conducting the search is looking for something locally. This doesn’t mean you need to put in a city or county to get a local search results page returned. If you don’t believe it just type in the word dentist. Although the results page looks a bit different than if you typed in “Sarasota Dentist” it is still returning a page that shows me listings of dentists near me in Tampa even though I did not mention that I was looking for a dentist in my area.
So what does this mean for local search engine optimization? Well there are two main factors here. The first is that this is phenomenal news for local businesses. For too long big dollar national retailers have muscled the local guy off the first page of Google and in essence stealing their business. At this point that seems to no longer be the case. This opens the door for local businesses to increase their market share by claiming the first page real estate that once belonged to only the wealthy national chains.
The next factor is how do those of us who specialize in local SEO in Tampa and Sarasota make sure our clients’ websites are taking advantage of Google Place Search. Well that process will evolve over time but after spending the weekend examining all sorts of search queries, we feel that we already have a pretty good idea on what is going on with Google and the ways to continue to deliver results for our clients. Once again the answer is not taking short cuts but using reliable, trusted methods that keep your business visible on the front page of Google for the long haul.]]>
Despite the fact that 36% of the small business owners that were surveyed felt that their customers were on social network sites, there was still a lack of enthusiasm on the part of these small businesses to engage in social media. We have found that to be true in our own dealings with local businesses here in Tampa and Sarasota. That always leads us to ask ourselves why small businesses are not taking advantage of social media.
Social media is free. To do it right takes an investment of time and persistence but in today’s economy where we are all trying to find a way to increase revenue and decrease expenses, isn’t this a perfect solution? The CEO of RatePoint points out that while small business owners may be moving slowly to take advantage of the results social media can bring to a business, much larger companies are fully on board. Neal Creighton went on to point out that social media is the “great equalizer” between large and small businesses and that any small business that is not engaging potential customers via social media is “missing out”.
Marketing your business with Twitter or Facebook is a phenomenal way to reach out to current customers by offering them “insider deals” or allowing them to be the first to know about new products or services you offer. It will also allow you to establish relationships and brand recognition with consumers in your local market driving visits to your website and eventually visits to your store. For the amount of the investment, there is no better advertising value than social media these days and the best part is, judging by this survey, your competitors are not taking advantage of this…yet.]]>
I have picked up a new habit lately (one my fiancée doesn’t love) and it has led me into a new area of Twitter for business. I have become enamored with cigars and I have now begun following so many companies, individuals and bloggers on Twitter in hopes of expanding my knowledge on the world of cigars. Rocky Patel is one of my favorite cigar makers and that was one of my first cigar-related Twitter follows.
Being in the social media and local Internet marketing business, I am always interested in how companies handle their Twitter accounts. I was so pleased to see that Rocky Patel holds their social media marketing to the same high level they do their excellent cigars. The first clue to this was the company description that shows up with their Twitter account:
“Official company page for Rocky Patel Premium Cigars. Page is managed by the RP marketing dept although Rocky himself will post on occasion.”
So what is so great about that? Seems pretty mundane, right? What is so great about this company description is transparency and authenticity. Too many companies and marketers get on-line and post to social media either pretending to be someone they are not or operating in a cloud of ambiguity that turns off potential customers. Let’s be honest, I would follow Rocky Patel’s account and pretty much know that Rocky himself wasn’t tweeting all day long but if they had tried to make me think that wasn’t the case, it would have altered my perception of the product, the brand and the company.
While Twitter has grown into so much more than social media it is still at its essence a medium for connecting with people and that doesn’t change when you use Twitter for business. Or at least it shouldn’t. This is even more relevant for local business, which has a real opportunity to make a connection with potential customers and clients since the size of the market is smaller. Southwest airlines is able to find a way to connect on a personal level and they have over a million followers. Let us help you connect with your future clients and customers.]]>
The importance of local search with Google was one of the main reasons we started our Sarasota and Tampa Internet marketing company and since we opened our doors the need for this service continues to expand. This is an exciting time for local businesses on the Internet. It used to be that consumers went on-line to find products not available to them in their local area but more and more the focus of major search engines like Google has been to deliver search engine results based on geographic location. This has changed the face of Internet marketing for local brick-and-mortar businesses.
Google, the industry giant when it comes to searching on the Internet, has aggressively pursued the local search market. The map that shows up at the top of the page, just below the paid ads, is one indication of that. The fact that Google is now allowing businesses to sponsor their map listings is another move in the direction of local search. Then today we get the announcement Google is introducing “Place Search”.
According to the official Google release, “Place Search” results will begin appearing automatically. These results will be returned when Google determines the searcher is looking for local information. Looking at screen shots associated with the release “Place Search” results seems to be a hybrid of an organic search result joined together with the map section you get at the top of your normal search results. It is hard to tell exactly how this will effect searching but if the example Google provided is correct, organic rankings once again seem to be taking a backseat to local search and maps.
With this latest announcement from Google, it is more vital than ever that local business take advantage of the opportunities Google is offering to get your customers into your store or calling your business. Local Internet marketing is not going away and in fact it is becoming vital to a local businesses success. If you have no idea how to get your business featured prominently in these local search results you need to contact us immediately and we will help.]]>