Economic Meltdown – Why Marketing Your Local Business Online is More Important Than Ever

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With the ongoing financial uncertainty taking place in the U.S., it is more important than ever that U.S.-based small businesses have affordable means of attracting new customers and clients. In addition, many businesses are seeing a decrease in the effectiveness of many forms of traditional advertising media, especially un-targeted, expensive “broadcast” media. With consumers becoming less and less responsive to advertising and most small businesses having a finite budget, finding marketing methods that produce a high return-on-investment is, to put it bluntly, “a big deal” – now more than ever. There are several ways that the Internet can provide this sort of high ROI, one of which is search engine optimization.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization often gets a bit of a black eye since, in the past, there have been so many unscrupulous peddlers of so-called SEO services. However, just about any industry is going to have its “bad apples” and one can’t discount the high ROI of an effective SEO campaign. Having a website is essential for today’s small businesses and having that site rank well for keywords that drive targeted traffic to your site can be a huge benefit, especially in a down econonmy.

SEO for Local Businesses

More and more consumers are relying on search engines as the first step in finding businesses, especially local businesses. A quick analysis with Google’s AdWords Keyword tool using local search terms will reveal a surprising number of highly targeted, local searches being done each month in markets all across the country. And this is information from just one search engine (though Google is the largest in terms of search volume). If your business isn’t targeting these prospects, your competition probably is.

The Major Difference Between SEO and Other Marketing Methods

One of the major differences between search engine marketing and most other forms of marketing is that with search engine marketing, you’re able to put your message in front of a prospect at the EXACT time that they’re thinking about the types of products or services that you offer. When someone goes online and does a search, they’re obviously looking for something. Having your site show up in the results at the exact time they’re looking for what you offer is much better positioning than chasing people down using interruptive marketing methods like TV, radio, or for goodness sake, telemarketing!

And unlike the phone book, on a search results page, you’re only competing with about 10 other sites, assuming that all of those sites are TRUE competitors. Keep in mind that sites like Wikipedia.org often show up for searches but aren’t really competition for most businesses. And it’s a known fact that most people don’t navigate past the first page of search results, so “competitors” on page 2 and beyond hardly matter for most businesses.

A Timely Example

Consider the local real estate agent who ranks well for terms such as “________ real estate agent”, “buy/sell ________ home” or similar terms. In an area with a large population, that agent can likely get most of his/her leads for free thanks to having a high-ranking site. And given the average transaction value for the agent once a real estate transaction closes, it’s easy to see how investing in SEO can be a smart move, as long as the agent is able to convert that increased web traffic into actual clients. Notice earlier I said this agent is getting “leads” for free…he/she must still be able to close the sale and needs to have a website that’s an effective part of that process.

Finally, it should be obvious that this example could be used for nearly any other business that provides products or services to a market of people likely to be looking for those types of solutions online.


Source by Kenton Newby

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