Your potential customers have never had so many choices and so little time as they do today. Our lifestyles have changed, we have changed. But what has changed the most is the way we research and how we decide where to spend our money.
Consumers today, more than ever, rely on the Internet to find information about local businesses such as yours. As a result of this shift, other marketing avenues are becoming less effective and more expensive than most of us can tolerate. That’s the bad news.
The good news is – even though complex, local Internet marketing is definitely not rocket science and a small shift in how you think about marketing your business on the web and a little work can, in fact, double your business.
The Secret of Local Internet Marketing Success
This may come as a surprise, but the key in making the web work for your small business and not against it is to make the Internet, as a marketing channel, accountable. You wouldn’t run a newspaper ad twice if it didn’t make the phone ring, so why would you settle for a website that hardly pays for its hosting costs?
Treat your website as your most important salesperson and be on a constant quest to improve its performance.
Believe Nothing, Track Everything
I bet that you can’t say, with absolute confidence, how many sales leads or orders you got from your website last year. If that’s the case, you are certainly not alone. Most small business owners are not obsessed about marketing metrics.
You will spend more time, effort and money taking shots in the dark than you can afford if you don’t start measuring everything important for the success of your business.
What do you have to measure? Everything that provides you with insight necessary for growth.
In local Internet marketing, those metrics would be:
- number of conversions (orders, leads, phone calls, etc.)
- number of unique visitors
- conversion rates
- traffic from search
- direct traffic
- visitor loyalty
- traffic from social media sources
- traffic from email newsletters
- traffic from offline campaigns
- traffic generated for online advertising
The metrics you should obsess about are going to depend on your type of business, your current marketing campaigns and your brand.
For example, if your business is a restaurant, a metric called “visitor loyalty” (how often the same people visit your website) is much more important for your business than it is for a contractor business. Contractors would love to get the number of unique visitors up because unique visitors mean new business, not service calls.
If you are running local TV or radio ads, you should strongly consider creating a website just for that campaign and making sure you capture every bit of data you can – the number of visits the website got, how many people filled out the contact form, how many phone calls you got, etc.
This kind of information will help you negotiate pricing for your next campaign. It might even help you to convince your local media outlet to consider pay-per-performance advertising.
Learn to test everything that is important and you will quickly learn that not everything that is written out there works for your business.
ROI Is Everything
Beautiful websites, high rankings, lots of Facebook likes and Twitter followers don’t necessarily translate to high ROI.
As a person that owns a small business, you almost certainly have a shortage of either time or money. That’s why you need to set specific, measurable and attainable goals and project returns for every marketing campaign, no matter how small it seems. Track everything and take the feedback from the data you are measuring seriously. Rinse and repeat.
Thinking outside of the box with your feet firmly on the ground while implementing what’s working for your business will produce remarkable results over time. Guaranteed.
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