Archive | March 2015

10 SEO Techniques for Local Businesses – Part 2

local-business-graphicIn our last post, we showed five pointers to a better website, optimized to the local community where your prospects and customers are. They were simple ideas all aimed at making your businesses’ website easily found, organised, and optimized.

For those of you looking for deeper, more advanced level optimisation techniques, either check these out, or get your webmaster to do so, and ensure that your businesses’ window to the community is firing on all cylinders:

  1. Tempting Title Tags

Your best URL is one that explains exactly what your business is, but Title Tags are the best way to give your prospects a complete sentence on what that page of your website is all about. They also mirror your anchor text as it will appear in linked text, so think about what you do, and where, then make sure your title tags reflect this. You have a maximum of 70 words, so you have ample opportunity to add two or three: Hardware Store in Central Chicago, for instance, directs those that need your service to the top of their search results.

  1. Let the People Speak

Make your site accessible to those that want to contact you. Not just E-mail, and perhaps a chat box, but if you write a blog, ensure that those that want to reply to it, can. Customers are impressed when businesses’ talk back to them, we have all heard of the positive comments a “real person actually spoke to me” comment shows. Ensure you start from day one doing this.

  1. Grow your Networks

Ensure you are becoming part of growing communities online, so that those that appear on your various social streams grow in terms of size. Starting with the geographic community you are selling in or to, and the various sub-sets of communities that may shop with you, grow to larger scale Professional Organisations, Industry leaders, larger industry partners, vendors, and customer support groups. Everyone on your social feed should reflect your business as part of a trustworthy, bigger whole.

  1. Just Picture it.

Photographs, graphics, maps are all very good, because, of course ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.

If you can find a reason to place a pictorial, rather than words, do it – but make sure everything looks good: Sharp pictures, bright colours, and exact matches. Check out the business sites you like, and study the pictures they use. They explain, and illustrate a point, but they look professional.

  1. Goldilocks Optimisation

If you try to seed your site with too many keywords, if everything is pointed toward the sale, search engines will smell this, and start marking you down. Be clear, point prospects to your services, but don’t oversell. Be a real person first, someone that prospects will find interesting, and ensure that anyone that bumps into you online gets the point, but don’t hit them over the head with it: be a person, be an expert, and be real.

Not too much of a salesman, not overly shy, but be Goldilocks: Just Right.

How the One-Man Band beats the Symphony Orchestra

one man band

If you’ve ever struggled to develop your business’s presence in today’s major content channels, you aren’t alone. In fact, it appears to be such a Sisyphean task sometimes that many small companies either cannot find the time to start an online branding campaign, or keeping it up when they are getting no responses. Here are a few tips on using your time and your branding vision, to its utmost to gain the highest success rate.

Firstly, concentrate on creating your own quality content, and forgetting ‘what’ other businesses are doing, only noting ‘how’ they are doing it. There are lots of ways you promote your business, but remember that it’s yours: Your idea, your vision, and your future customers and evangelists. Forget the clever, eye catching, ideas that others have. The chances are that they aren’t even in your marketplace, have your prospects, or have your ideas. Just because something is better than you can do, it doesn’t follow that our prospects will have the same positive reaction that you do to these branding points – you are looking from a creator’s point of view, they are browsing.

If you don’t have the staff, or the outsourcing possibilities that other companies do, you could have a march on them. What? Yes…you don’t have to come up with an idea every day, because that’s part of your contract, as a marketing specialist employee. You don’t have to take part in endless meetings, brainstorming compromises, or endless focus groups. Quality trumps quantity, and you have the opportunity to find the time when you post, the content, and how you approach your prospects. You can change direction, throw something new into the mix, and change things up without having to ask for any committee’s Ok to do so.

Check out the auto posting services, organisation tools, and auto-response systems that are on the market these days. Not only are you the sole marketing department, you are also in charge of the budget for your business, so find out how you can automate your content marketing to make the most of your imaginative branding efforts. Is it worth it? While you are making a face-to-face sale, you could be gaining the interest of a prospect, and be in both places at the same time! Whether social, or the result of networking, ensuring that you maximize the time that you have is worth the outlay (especially when these company’s offer free trials) to do it all at once.

Finally learn how to listen to what your prospects are saying. Don’t get too excited about actually receiving a like, or a follow. Find out why the positive reaction came, and hone your marketing to keep attracting the Ideal Customer.

When you are “time-poor”, don’t think it’s too much for you. Learn how to do what you need to in a streamlined manner, and use the right tools to do so. You will compete in your marketplace, and can concentrate on closing the sales that your Branding efforts will bring forward – just give it time.