The problem with most traditional marketing is it’s lack of focus. As opposed to ‘spray and pray’ marketing, local online marketing is focused on marketing your products and services to those who are actively looking for them in the area where your business is. This results in much more effective, targeted advertising.
That sounds great, but how do I do that?
The right marketing plan for every business is different, but it often consists of a combination of the points below. M5Media can set you on the right track to help you capture business from the web, call today to get your questions answered – 651-212-9430 or continue reading below…
The Online Marketing Landscape
Monetizing your website can be done in many ways…
- Organic Search – Strategies to influence the search engines, also known as Search Engine Optimization or SEO
- Local Search – Citations and getting your business listings out there on well trafficked portals on the web (google +, manta, superpages.com, foursquare, etc. )
- Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinnterest, Yelp, and others.
- Youtube – using video to get your message across and capture customers
- Email Marketing – If you have a customer list – you need to keep in contact with them
You can choose any or all of these, M5Media will consult with you and put you on track for success in all of these areas depending on your needs.
Here’s a heat map of what people look at when they are viewing search results – the ‘hot’ area is (you guessed it) local search results:
Local Business and Business Profile Management
With Google’s latest penguin update upon us, Local Search is of more and more interest to the big search engines. Google knows that the majority of people are looking for goods and services in their area, in other words – local traffic. The fact of the matter is that most businesses have a local customer base, not a national one. Consider this:
- 73% of consumers search for local businesses FIRST via the internet
- 82% use search engines like google.
Think about that… think about what that means to a business. It means that if you do not have an up-to-date and attractive business website, and you are not reaching out through local search – you are missing out on a huge chunk of business that is going to your competitors.
- Setting up a special offer to reach out to customers on computer and mobile phones is crucial here. With the rise of groupon and similar sites, customers want to feel they are getting a deal.
- M5Media can get your business into the databases that mobile phones and car GPS systems use as part of our local SEO package, can you imagine the possibilities?
The Local Search Ecosystem
This is a graphic representing the main spheres of Local Search. There are many more, but the most influential of them are shown above. This is where we step in to get your business profile out to these places and get more local business.
This is done in two ways:
- Directly – consumers come upon your business listings in local search portals (shown above) and call or email you to develop a business relationship (or buy directly if you are an ecommerce provider)
- Indirectly – These listings on other major portals or ‘citations ‘count as ‘votes’ for Google’s algorithm and help boost your rankings in the organic listings on Google’s Search Portal.
This also influences the effectiveness of Search Engine Optimization efforts. You’ve probably heard of the saying ‘the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts’ this is a good example of that. By getting your business profile out on the ecosystem, you create what are called ‘citations’ which direct traffic to your site, enhance your efforts in SEO, and push more people to your website’s landing page.
The Youtube Influence
Youtube.com has become a huge part of the web. Businesses need to learn to capture this market with video ads (above). Google now owns Youtube.com, so the search giant is also referencing video content in their search results which is where you want to be represented. Here is an example of a web video that was created for an HVAC company. M5Media also created their website. This video is on their site, as well as youtube.com which helps capture both markets and drive home the message – www.sunburstheating.com
The combination of everything we have done for this company results in a #1 Google Organic Ranking for many keywords, and a #1 Local Listing ranking for keywords that trigger local search results.
Why all this matters…
You may saying to yourself, wow – this is all interesting but how can it help me? The answer to that is that getting business through the internet requires a multi-faceted approach that includes some or all of these avenues. M5Media is your partner in figuring out a web marketing plan that works, is cost effective for your business, and provides great ROI.
The problem with most traditional marketing is it’s cost, lack of targeting, and ROI. By harnessing the power of the web, you can put your marketing dollars to better use. As opposed to ‘spray and pray’ marketing, online marketing is focused on only marketing your products and services to those who are actively looking for them, resulting in much more effective, targeted advertising.
If this is still slightly mysterious to you, click here to see a video on different aspects of internet marketing. This video is a little older so it does not include the search engines latest push for local, but the video still contains good information. Click here to View.
But we don’t stop there!!
We also will follow up with you each quarter to keep information about your business current and review your statistics and overall marketing strategy. We can make recommendations and changes for your website, and get any special offers you have out on the web to distance you from your competitors. We also partner with some social media companies and will work with you on pushing content out to social media channels like facebook, twitter, and pinterest.
I hope this has developed for you a foundation of how the web works for businesses.
For more information, or to schedule a website analysis and marketing meeting – contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
It often comes up in the development phase of an ecommerce website… How do you want people to pay you? The majority of customers have no idea what the pro’s and con’s of using Paypal vs. a Merchant Account and Gateway are so here it is:
- Easy to setup
- Cheaper for a startup business with low volume sales
- Some people trust Paypal more (owned by EBAY)
- No SSL needed (paypal handles payments)
- May cost more depending on the rate you negotiate with a MA
- Takes customer off of your site
- Some people trust Paypal less (to each his own)
Merchant Account (MA)
- Often appears more professional
- Keeps users on your site during the payment process
- Can be cheaper if you are doing a lot of volume
- Better customer retention and success rate
- More programming overhead to setup
- Have to pay a % + a transaction fee
- Often a monthly fee to keep the MA open
- Need an SSL certificate (for scrambling of CC numbers during transmission to the payment gateway)
It’s a mixed bag really, in my experience few people want to pay the overhead of setting up a merchant account with the fees and trouble. However, customers seem to prefer that method and your success rates (from surfer to purchaser) are usually higher. I usually recommend starting with Paypal, then when you are getting a lot of sales, switch to a MA.
Advice on not getting your email campaigns junked
Unfortunately, not every email you send in a campaign makes it to it’s destination. You can expect 10-20% of the emails you spend to inevitably end up in SPAM filters and junk mail boxes, it’s the nature of the beast. Even if you send email campaigns following all the rules and only to recipients who asked for them you can end up in SPAM filters.
Unfortunately, there are no simple ways to avoid this, best practice is to understand SPAM filters and how they work.
Believe it or not, SPAM filters do not *know* that your email is SPAM or NOT SPAM – they guess. This sounds scary but they are surprisingly good at it. However, they occassionally deliver what are known as false positives from time to time. A false positive is when a message that is not spam is labeled as such and blocked. This is demonstrated by the familiar conversation:
“I sent you an email, didn’t you get it?”
“No, I didn’t, are you sure you sent it?”
“Check your junk mail box”
“Oh, I don’t know why it went in there”
(the email probably had a subject “OMG!!!!!! DID YOU SEE HOW WE COULD SAVE $$$$ MONEY BY SIGNING UP ON TOTALLYFREESTUFF.COM?? ” )
SPAM filters operate on a set of rules that have been established by people in the know about people who send SPAM a lot. The SPAM scanner (a program) analyzes each email as it comes into the system and runs a set of rules on it, if it accumulated too many ‘points’ it is labeled as SPAM and sent to the junk folder. Here are a few samples of numbers that Spam Assassin assigns emails that it thinks look like spam:
- Talks about lots of money (.193 points)
- Describes some sort of breakthrough (.232 points)
- Looks like mortgage pitch (.297 points)
- Contains urgent matter (.288 points)
- Money back guarantee (2.051 points)
- Why Pay More? (1.249 points)
The number of points that send your email to the SPAM dungeon varies from server to server, it is configurable and ranges from very lax to very strict. What people have their SPAM settings at is usually related to how much SPAM they get and how annoying they find it
What do I do then (or not do)?
Avoid these common mistakes:
- Going crazy with the exclamation points!!!!!!!!
- USING ALL CAPS WHICH IS YELLLING!!!!!! (exclamations thrown in to make it extra spammy)
- Annoying bright colors and dubious offers like Click Here for a FREE VACATION
- Intentionally misspelling ‘spam words’ like vi*gra FrEe HeRE, this might even work but it makes you look like an idiot.
- Having a history of doing these things: a bad rap follows you and the server through organizations like spamhaus.org
How do I follow the rules?
Following the rules is easy – just don’t do anything to somebody else you wouldn’t want done to you. Here’s a cheat sheet FYI:
- Only send email to people who have agreed or signed up to receive from you.
- Only send email that pertains to your business or something pertaining to your business (everybody hates those affiliate programs)
- Send useful information or tidbits – if you wouldn’t want to read it, who else would?
- Only send out to lists that have asked specifically for the material you’re sending.
And there you have it, SPAM 101
Don’t get me wrong… the old site was great in it’s day but we can all agree it was getting a little long in the tooth. The web has changed so much in the last 5 years that new stuff is all over the place. My previous month has been building a new web server for our stuff to run on and it only makes sense that we upgrade the site too.
We wanted to make the M5 site a little more flexible and up to date, and of course make it cool so we opted for a blog based CMS. WordPress has been around for awhile, but let me tell you… this piece of software is impressive! When you consider it’s plug-n-play architecture and active online community you have a great CMS/blog system.
Design wise it’s a little of the old with a little of the new, the website runs on the Word Press engine. We opted through several iterations for this redesign but none of them felt right so we ended up working with and overhauling an existing theme from WordPress and adding our own stuff.
We also have a new logo! I was looking for something that would tie the two words together in a design sense, you be the judge… [below]
This site goes out to Will Weyer of Wiretree.com, who has always been an inspiration to me and shown that good work is worth the extra effort.