Marketing is Hard Work. Not Having Customers is Even Harder.
Conversation on Hidden Tech Mailing List
As a member of the Hidden Tech mailing list, I frequently come across interesting message threads about marketing.
One example happened this past March when Rob Laporte posted this question:
Beyond those obvious spam email and robo-call scams, I've learned of too many cases of rip-offs in search marketing (SEO, PPC, Local Search). Partly preparing for another guest contribution to a top marketing podcast, I’d like to open a discussion in this list on people’s experiences, good and bad. In particular, your experiences with measuring, if not predicting, results might be helpful to all.
DISC, Inc. - "Making Web Sites Make Money" www.2Disc.com
This elicited a great response from Karl A. Hakkarainen:
While there are indeed a lot of people still offering a bunch of meta-tag snake oil, the biggest problem that I've seen with search marketing comes from customers who are unable or unwilling to do the work to make good content.
I worked with a hospital marketing department that had to deal with doctors who were upset because their practices weren't coming up on the first page of a search. Even after we'd taken care of all of the obvious geographical and business linkage, out-of-town doctors were still being ranked higher for various specialities such as orthopedics. It turns out that the out-of-towners were delivering better content about their practices.
Marketing is hard work, but not having customers is even harder.
I couldn't agree more. The best analogy I can come up with is planting new grass and never coming back to mow. If you have a website, you need to look at it at least once a week, and tweak it now and then.
The simplest and cheapest things you can do for your website are the following:
Click through all the pages on your website to make sure every possible service keyword appears on your website somewhere, preferably on your homepage. If your website does not have quality text content -- focusing on and including descriptive text about your services and products -- you are definitely missing the boat.
Increase the amount of searchable text on your website by posting regular news items. The side benefit is you can share the new posts via email and on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Add new photos and share them on Facebook and maybe Pinterest.
Add new features, such as animated slideshows, or online forms for people to fill out.
Do searches for your services on Google and see what happens.
Make sure all the business listing websites have your correct contact information and that they ALL link to your website.
Make sure you have a Google "My Business" page, with the proper categories chosen, and your hours, etc.
Get a free Google Analytics account and install it on your website so you can gauge traffic.
This may seem like a lot of work, but as Karl said, not having customers is even harder.
If you need help with any of that, Montague WebWorks is always here to help.
Some solutions we provide are:
Writing services: let us write a regular column for you.
Add new photos: If you don't have a smart phone, or need help for whatever reason, let us set up a photo shoot!
Adding new features to your website could be a cinch. Contact Mik about the possibilities.
If you find that sites such as Google, Yahoo, or even Merchant Circle have wrong information, we can fix that. Run a test on your business now. It only takes a couple minutes.
Setting up a Google My Business page takes about a half hour to do it right. Let us sit down with you and get it done. This is probably the most important thing you can do for your business.
If you're not using Google Analytics, you should be. It's important to know how much traffic your website is getting, and where they're coming from (both geographically and link-wise).
These are all very important, yet also passive (except for the sharing of content on social media). Once it's all done and ready, you might also consider a grab bag of pro-active advertising:
Google Adwords is as inexpensive as you want it to be, or as expensive as you can manage. And while Adwords is passive in reality (your link only comes up if someone types in the keywords you are "buying") Google is without a doubt the leader in US-based searches. Localizing your search area, geographically, ensures more quality leads. Certainly you don't want your competitor to come up before you when someone searches for what you do.
Facebook Advertising is ridiculously cheap. For $50 you can get your advertisement in front of potentially tens of thousands of people, filtered and pinpointed to the geographic and demographics you choose.
Radio Advertising works surprisingly well for certain industries. Montague WebWorks has had great success on Bear Country and WHAI. You might do well there, or on other local radio, like WIZZ.
Direct Mail, believe it or not, still works. If you drill down to the demographic you service you can have good results.
Give Mik a call at 413-320-5336 or send him an email to set up a session. We'll look at all of this and determine how things can improve for your online and offline marketing.