The Power Of Search Engine Marketing In A World Of Instant Gratification
POP THE HOOD AND CHECK THE SEARCH ENGINE
Your customers are hot under the collar, that may or may not surprise you. What will blow your hair back is the reason why. Much like the petulant, young child crying in the grocery store over a cheap, plastic toy he wants but just can't have, it seems your very own customers are also finding themselves helpless and nearing tantrum mode. What should be sounding alarm bells for you as the local business owner is the resulting loss of a sale, or perhaps even worse, the loss of many, lucrative sales.
The driving force behind BridgeHouse Marketing and the SEM services we provide for our clients is a keen understanding of marketing, advertising, and sales. That includes what makes them similar and that which makes each unique. So, we conducted an informal survey over a 12 month period. We wanted to know what the most frustrating part of being a customer is. Based on your own experiences, you are probably formulating opinions already. What would you guess was the top answer in our study? Frustration over finding the best prices? Or, being treated poorly? Or, product selection and availability?
OPEN THE DOOR WITH THAT KEYWORD
Nope. It was none of those. Instead, we found the overwhelming cause of customer's frustrations was much more basic. In fact, it happens well before anyone even considers price or availability or the quality of customer service they received was.
Your customers are sick and tired of playing hide-and-go-seek every single time they want to do business with you! They want to buy a product but they can't remember the phone number. Or perhaps they don't remember the physical address of your brick & mortar location. Certainly no one remembers your website URL. So, what happens next?
They dive head long into a search engine, typing or speaking keywords with some hope it will produce the desired results. Surely Google, Bing, or Yahoo will have the answers right? A quick search on the trusty desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile smartphone is bound to produce the information they want and need. After all, they want to spend money. And shouldn't you (as the recipient of their money) do everything imaginable to make the transaction as easy and painless as possible?
COMPETITION IS GOOD (FOR THE CUSTOMER, NOT YOU)
The customer, like the young boy in the grocery store, wants what they want. The boy wants the toy. To him, it isn't cheap or plastic. It's special and the most important object in the world at that moment. He knows that Mom has the means to acquire it - cash to buy. But in some cruel twist of fate, he just can't close the deal. Do you know what the real gut-punch often heaved in this situation is though? In all her infinite wisdom, Mom offers to buy a bigger, better, shinier, and more expensive toy somewhere else.
Customers who spend money on the products and services your business offers typically want to repeat transactions assuming they were treated well and realized value in the trade for their hard-earned dollars. But unlike the local businesses fortunate enough to see daily, repeat business, most are not top of mind with their customers and clients. Think of groceries versus haircuts versus a new car. Grocery shopping is a common daily or weekly occurrence. A haircut is perhaps a monthly occurrence, while a new car purchase may only happen every 3-5 years or sometimes longer.
In two out of the three scenarios, it's pretty easy to see that customers may lose track of the pertinent information. Namely, the hair stylist and car sales person. But what happens when they can't find the address or phone number for the business itself? Frustration. Let's all sound it out together... FRUH-STRAY-SHUN. Again, when your customer (the person who has already traded money for product or service with your business in the past) finds it difficult to spend more money with you, the damage is far worse than never being discovered at all.
The psychology has something to do with retaliation for feeling ignorant. The customer says "Oh ya? You can't make me feel stupid for being unable to remember something. I'll show you! I will just go to one of these competitors I saw on Google! That will teach you!"
THE SEM SOLUTION FOR LOCAL BUSINESS
So, how does BridgeHouse Marketing fix this SEM problem for both you the business owner and your prospective or returning customer? With a Search Engine Marketing solution that removes, or at the very least, minimizes frustration. This is not the time to get lost in fancy, new promotions and expensive ad campaigns. Although effective at the right time, that is just adding layers of confusion to the problem. Instead, we use a secret recipe of search engine optimization and marketing techniques designed to boost your Google rank that will provide the right information at the right time to the right people. The beauty is in the short and long term benefits to the strategy. The counterpart, PPC Advertising, is an effective short term strategy designed to buy your way to the top of the search engines right now, but like a water faucet, when you turn it off - it's all gone - back you go to the distant, back pages of Google where no one looks. However, Local Business SEM is an incremental growth strategy that compounds on its own successes.
LOCAL BUSINESS CITATIONS
You may have heard of the term NAP, which stands for Name Address Phone. Search engines validate a local business by the volume of matching information found on the Internet. For example, if you own a pizza restaurant in Roseville, California then Google will expect to find a volume of matching citations with the business name, physical address, and phone number. If you only have a few citations strewn around the web and a couple of them have mismatched addresses, then you, my friend, have a big problem. All those hungry Roseville pizza lovers will come up empty when they ask Siri to "find a pizza restaurant near me." Why, you ask? Because at risk of providing bad information to one of it searchers, Google would rather err on the side of providing information it believes to be more valid. That simply means your competitor down the street who has 50 perfectly matched local business NAP citations will get the nod from Google AND the dollars from our wayward, hungry customer.
BLOG ARTICLE CONTENT MARKETING
Blogs are an amazing and serendipitous advent of Internet publishing. The web logs, as they were originally known, provided a corner of the Internet for writers to share their ideas and thoughts. But an interesting development occurred. As people wrote more and more articles with answers to frequently asked questions, opinions on trending news topics, and detailed, real world applications for just about every product and service imaginable, Google realized that Internet searchers found what they wanted in blogs far more than they did with conversion driven sales pages. People want information, they are conducting research. Blogs provide the very information creating tremendous value. But as much as we'd love to give you the green light to start blogging to your heart's desire - there is a formula. Remember, value is in providing solutions to problems. Local business blogs should address their industry, products, services, location(s), competition, opinions, research, and all of this should be directly related to the keywords web surfers use to find answers. We use organized structured, keyword research, and thought leader inspired writing to skyrocket your content marketing strategy. Whether you opt for our automated blogging service or go full monty with one of our search engine marketing services, your blog will provide your company website a massive, new sales opportunity.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
SEO is a broad topic we have documented in other blog articles, but it is an important part of the puzzle for local businesses. Optimizing for search engines involves everything from writing better keyword laced copy for your website to naming image files, and crafting sales conversion producing landing pages to editing backend HTML code for search engine web crawlers. Before you panic thinking it's time to blow up your existing website and start over, just remember to breathe and stay calm. Our job is to review a good number of SEO based metrics for your website, perform a little bit of competitor research, and finally whittle it all down into actionable steps that are based on your business goals. Did you catch that? Because it's important. What are your goals? Website clicks? Phone calls? Walk-in traffic? Any combination of those three and many others? We know that matching our service with your goals is critically important. It's what becomes ROI for you, or return on investment. And if you're still fuzzy on prioritizing goals, no worries, we can help there with some business consulting that will bring everything into focus.
DIGITAL MARKETING FOR LOCAL BUSINESS
Last in this article, but nowhere near least effective, are some of the digital marketing platforms that showcase your local business. At the top of the mountain is Google My Business, followed by Bing Places for Business, and Yelp. Google algorithms over the last several years have been heavily weighted towards delineating everyday informational keyword search queries from those best answered by listing local businesses. For example, if you search the keyword bathroom remodel, Google has a tremendously challenging bit of variable deciphering to consider in the background of split second result postings. Are you looking for bathroom renovation ideas and images on Pinterest? Or perhaps a blog article on the best way to stay in budget while remodeling your bathroom? Or, have you already performed all the research and wallet in hand you are now seeking out a qualified contractor in your city? It's a lot for a search engine to consider in mere seconds right? Well, that's only a fraction of the challenge. When you live in Redding, California and try to wrap your head around the differences in design preference when remodeling a bathroom in San Antonio, Texas by comparison to San Jose, California - it can really be a brain-melter. Since nobody on the outside truly knows exactly how the Google algorithms work, we will save you the long, drawn out opinion-based explanation here. But what we do know, is how critically important it is to use all the tools available in Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yelp so that your bathroom remodeling contractor business shows up when it should. Keep in mind, these tools weren't invented to make your life difficult. Rather, they were invented because they helps do a better job providing relevant answers to people's questions. When you sign on for Local Business SEM service with BridgeHouse Marketing, we manage GMB, BPB, and Yelp for you. We understand when customers find the answer they want, it often means sales revenue for your business. And digital marketing for local businesses is wholly designed to drive sales revenue now and well into the future.