Last week we were speaking with a local business owner as he decided on his marketing budget.
His local business is new in this area and he asked me where he should allocate more of his resources, “Digital Paid Advertising or Search Engine Optimization”?
This is a question we get asked constantly, which leads us to believe that one very important piece of information is not understood by most business owners.
The lower a business ranks on search engine results pages the more money that business needs to allocate to paid advertising and conversely, the higher a business ranks on search engine result pages the less money it needs to spend on paid advertising.
Why is this?
When a business is just starting out, it is IMPOSSIBLE for that business to be on page 1 of search engine result pages, unless they are the only business in the entire world offering that service.
Businesses that have been doing it for longer and who have invested more time and money into search engine optimization will always show up before the new business just starting out.
There is no way around this.
And since 93% of all internet users will never go past page 1 of search results, a new business has a very, very hard time getting seen on the internet.
Most search engines understood this and they came up with paid advertising. When a company pays for digital advertising on a platform they can show up at the top of search engine result pages.
Thus, businesses that do not rank high on search engine result pages can still get business, they just have to pay for it.
How does a small business take advantage of this information?
If you are just starting out as a business or if you have never done SEO for your business, that business should spend 75% of its budget on Paid Advertising and 25% of its budget on SEO.
Once the SEO starts gaining traffic and a business starts seeing decent results from it’s SEO, that business should change the budget to 50% Paid Ads and 50% SEO.
When a business has over 50% of its traffic coming from organic search, the business should change its budget again to 25% Paid Ads and 75% SEO.
This is the sweet spot for businesses. I would never recommend for a business to stop paid advertising all together, but I would suggest the 25/75 ratio.
Neither is more important than the other. Both are extremely rewarding in their own ways.
New local businesses open daily. Actually 1,643 new businesses open each and every day and over 600,000 each and every year.
New business owners are driven by passion to accomplish their dreams. They are driven by a need to succeed. This drive is what keeps most small businesses up and running. Unfortunately they are lacking everything they need to realize their dreams.
We have run into this time and time again. People go to school or college for a particular major and they learn all about this subject and become proficient in doing that subject. Unfortunately, that particular subject doesn’t teach you how to run a business, how to market your business or even how to keep a business solvent.
While we can’t address every problem that a new business would need to open their doors, we can definitely address one subject.
What does a new business need in terms of marketing? That is exactly what this article is about.
When thinking about all the marketing a business needs to grow, this could be a very long list, but we aren’t talking about everything. We are talking about the essentials based on opening the business. This is that list:
The Logo and Color scheme are essential due to the fact of branding. A brand is the idea or image people have in their mind when talking or thinking about a particular business.
You want your logo and color scheme to be unique to your business, so when people see it they know it is your business.
Therefore a logo and color scheme that stands out and reminds people of your business is essential.
A website is the foundation of all digital marketing. Period. It is the virtual gateway and first impression that over 90% of people will receive of your business.
If it doesn’t properly highlight your business and if it doesn’t answer people’s questions, your digital marketing is going to take a huge hit.
There are 5 components that every website must have:
If a website can do the above 5 components and do them well, it will be a very successful website.
Blog – Technically this is part of your website, but the content that you post to it consistently is not.
Search Engine Optimization is a technical subject and most business owners have no idea what to do to increase their rankings on search engine result pages.
Having a blog on your website and consistently posting engaging articles on said blog is something tangible that a new business owner can do.
The article needs to be helpful for your potential clients. So when you are thinking about things to write for your blog, think about your ideal client.
What knowledge could you give this person to improve their lives that is industry specific. Write about that.
A new business should post at least 3 blogs a week and keep writing these blogs consistently. When it gets up to making enough money it can pay someone to do this for them.
Google My Business (GMB for short)
For a local business, there is NOTHING more important than a GMB page. GMB is like a mini website located within the Google platform. It will show the Name, Address, Phone, Services, Products, Directions, Reviews, Pictures and so much more.
When people are looking for “Near Me” options, the GMB page is almost exclusively what people look at. It is also the #1 way people find directions to your location.
If you don’t have a GMB page you will never show up here:
If a business doesn’t have a GMB page then it can’t acquire reviews on Google. If a business can’t get reviews on Google, it can lose a lot of business. 85% of ALL CONSUMERS look at a business’s reviews.
Additional Listing Directories
So your Google My Business Page is a local listing directory. But it is only one listing directory and there are many, many more.
I’ll list out the important ones here:
Facebook Yahoo Twitter
Instagram Bing Maps Yelp
2findLocal 8Coupons. ABLocal
Allonesearch Amazon Alexa AmericanTown
Apple AroundMe Baidu Maps
Bizwiki ChamberofCommerce. CitySearch
CK Maps Cylex DeKnows.com
Dun & Bradstreet eLocal EZLocal
Find Open Fliggy Foursquare
GoLocal247 HERE HotFrog
iBegin iGlobal Insider Pages
Local Database Local.com LocalStack
MapQuest MerchantCircle MyLocalServices
n49 Navmii Nextdoor
Openi Pitney Bowes PointCom
Property Capsule Show Me Local SnapChat
Soleo TomTom Tupalo
Uber USCity.net. VoteForTheBest
Where To? Yalwa Yandex
YaSabe YellowMoxie YellowPagesCity
You”ll most likely never have even heard most of these names, but when a search engine like Google looks for a local business it will do a fast search through all of these to see how many times a business shows up and how accurate the information is.
A business will have to individually go and set up an account on each one of these sites and you have to make sure that each profile you set up says the EXACT same thing as every other profile.
So make sure you list your business on as many of these directories as possible and ensure all the information is 100% accurate. 99% of these listing directories are free and you won’t have to pay a dime.
Ability to get reviews
In the Google My Business section we covered reviews briefly. This can not be stressed enough.
With the advent of the internet, the sales cycle changed forever.
15 years ago, brands controlled public perception about themselves. They released what information they wanted the public to know about them or their product and services.
Not anymore. The consumer is fully in control of the perception of any business and if you get on the wrong side of that perception, it can greatly affect your bottom line.
There are many, many different review sources. Google, Facebook and Yelp are just the main ones.
The more reviews that a business has across multiple platforms, the better it is for that business. Search engines will reward your business for good reviews and punish your business for bad reviews.
Therefore if you want your business to show higher on search engine result pages, one of the most proactive things you can do is GOOD REVIEWS from multiple sources.
Facebook Page and Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google My Business
In terms of search engine optimization, Facebook has most persuasion in terms of results.
There are over 3 billion people that use Facebook. Nearly 80% of all businesses have a Facebook page.
I won’t get into all the technical details as to why a business needs to have a Facebook account and should post to it regularly, but they need to.
Each new piece of content posted by business is tracked by search engines, which means the more a business posts content, the more it will get seen and added into the algorithm so that it can move up the search rankings.
Facebook might not be your demographic user base, but post to it anyway.
The same holds true for Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google My Business. Post to these as often as possible with engaging content.
When a business is just opening its doors it usually doesn’t have a large amount of money to spend on marketing of any form.
The business they do end up getting is either based on location where a large number of people can see them or on personal connections they can make when networking.
Business cards are a very inexpensive way to leave your brand in the hand of potential clients when networking or just to give people when they visit your location.
People for the most part will keep business cards if they are truly interested in the product or service and give you a call when they are ready to purchase that product or service.
The above, by no means is everything a local business should do for their marketing. There are many, many other activities that it can and should do.
The above are essentials. Meaning if you don’t have the time or ability to do everything that can possibly be done, these are the things YOU HAVE TO DO.
A business can get away with not doing digital advertising or spending money to have a marketing company do search engine optimization for them.
It can not get away with leaving the above essentials out.
Local businesses are bombarded with communication about what they should be doing by every source imaginable. If you are a local business and would just like to get some advice with no strings attached. Reach out to Evolved Strategic Marketing. The Local Marketing Experts.