Small Business Marketing (Infographic) – Did You Know Series | Part 3B

Part 1A | Part 1B | Part 2A | Part 2B | Part 3A | Part 3B

So here we are, the end of the road for our Small Business Marketing Infographics – Do You Know series. Part 3B of 3 parts. We hope you've learned something of value along the way.

86% of web surfers look for local businesses to patronize! | So can they FIND YOU to BUY FROM YOU? Take the Google Test to find out how your small business marketing is doing! | Brought to you by imaWebGenius.com

Presumably, you just took the FreeGrader test. If you haven't you can head on over to FreeGrader right now and get your score. The test looks at more than just where you are in Google, but across the web as well. It analyzes your overall small business marketing footprint, if you will.

As shown on the infographic above, what we're looking for is a score of 85-90. A score that high (or higher) is fantastic, and represents a very sold web presence in which there is a high probability of being found in local web search. But if you didn't score that high, there's reason for concern – the lower the score, the greater the concern!

NOTE: the FreeGrader test is really only a loose, rule-of-thumb assessment of your overall web presence. A much more comprehensive online “audit” is usually recommended.

In any event, we think the data we've provided, combined with the tests you've done for yourself, should have done two things for you: 1) convince you (if you needed it) that having a strong web presence is critically important today, and only becoming more so, and 2) that there is no avoiding it if you want to be relevant to your local marketplace (and even in business at all).

So, there are basically two ways to go about fixing a less-than-stellar score from FreeGrader. And if you “flunked” the prior tests (GetListed and Google) too, you've really got a lot of work ahead of you.

1) You can attempt DIY (Do It Yourself). 

As discussed in my article series The Small Business Marketing Catch-22, this is a daunting task, but it's not impossible – just improbable. Most small business owners, entrepreneurs and managers simply don't have the time.

The reality is that if you're not an SEO/social media expert, odds are you're going to have to become one. Why? Because you have to know what to do, even if you're only directing the efforts of others (like the college kid you thought could run your social media efforts).

You may “save some money” over the cost of hiring a professional, except that in place of money, you'll be burning time. Lots of it. And in so doing, you'll be taking yourself away from the things you are really good at (and presumably like to do), only to embark on a very, very steep learning curve that comes complete with an ever-changing, highly confusing curriculum.

2) You can hire an expert. 

No matter how you do it, what's entailed is nothing less than building out a web presence into all the right channels, in the right sequence and using the right techniques, to get the fastest results possible – all without upsetting Google!

See, Google likes it when sites grow organically. In fact, it will give maximum love to sites it really likes. Conversely, Google hates it when people try to game the system and “cheat” their way to success online.

Do even the right things in the wrong sequence – or too fast – and you can jeopardize everything you're working so hard to build. Playing in the sandbox was a fun thing as a child, but being in Google's sandbox is not a good thing.

Now the definition of “cheating” online is a gray one, because one man's perfectly acceptable, if aggressive, web marketing campaign may be another's shameless efforts to buy success. Ironically, Google loves it when you “buy success” – so long as it's the Adwords advertising platform you're buying it with. Otherwise, not so much.

The objective of an effective small business marketing strategy online is to create the kind of web presence that causes a significant portion of all those web searches, calls, leads and visits to come to you. It can be done with “free” methods, or paid ones (the aforementioned Adwords, as well as Facebook ads and other ad networks) or a combination of the two.

The old expression “all roads lead to Rome” is an apt one in this circumstance. In fact, in many marketplaces today, it's entirely possible to utterly and completely dominate it. You wouldn't necessarily know that such a thing was possible just by looking at Google search results. Somehow, all the slots are always filled, right? But just because they are filled, doesn't mean the competition knows what it's doing.

The fact is, very few folks in the local marketplace know what they're doing online these days. While it's entirely possible to have a decent web presence entirely “by accident” in small markets, we do not recommend total apathy and/or ignorance as an effective small business marketing strategy!

What we do recommend is that you take your online marketing and web presence very seriously. Doing it right means having all the leads, business and sales you could ask for – even to the point of “owning” your local market. But not doing it right is fraught with peril. Not only will you be losing out on business you could and should have, with every day you wait you're making the competition stronger and your future chance to “get in the game” harder and harder.

We recommend kicking your small business marketing into high gear with all speed, and we're here to help if you think you need it.

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Small Business Marketing (Infographic) – Did You Know Series | Part 2A

Part 1A | Part 1B | Part 2A | Part 2B | Part 3A | Part 3B

This is the second in our Small Business Marketing Infographic series, revealing yet another shocking statistic most small business owners should be aware of. To wit: 90% of all online shopping-related web searches result in local offline purchases! (ComScore Research)

That's a pretty staggering metric if you think about it.

Now think about the fact that if that if 90% can't find you quickly and easily online – as is the case with most small businesses in the world today – then that business is going someplace else! Very probably for good. Your competition just got richer while you got poorer. Not good.

90% of all online shopping-related web searches result in local offline purchases! | So can they FIND YOU to BUY FROM YOU? Take the GetListed Test to find out! | Brought to you by imaWebGenius.com

In case you're wondering whether having a strong online presence and whether spending time and money on small business marketing is really worth all the trouble, here's some information you might find of interest, as reported by Business2Community:

Search is as popular as ever… More searches are taking place on websites (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and on Amazon.com, which is the top destination for product search). Still, organic search on search engines drive 50% of all referring traffic, compared to less than 8% for social media.

If that isn't compelling enough for you, let somebody else beat the drum I've been beating into my client's heads (or trying to, anyway) for years now. As shown at MarketingCharts:

Search provides the highest quality leads. According to research… SEO leads have a 15% close rate, on par with the close rate for direct traffic, and ahead of referrals (9%), paid search (7%), social media (4%), and outbound leads (2%).

Despite the impact of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media, search is still the single most important aspect of online marketing!

There are many things that can lead to being found online, from lots of content to having lots of people talking about your business. But an effective small business marketing plan must still account for – and to a significant degree, continue to focus on – having a site or sites and content that gets found in the search results!

If you don't know how to do this yourself, you should consult an expert. And even if you do know how to do all this, you should still consult with an expert. Because most small business owners, managers and entrepreneurs will better spend their time working on the things that nobody else can do for the business, while letting those who are experts at small business marketing handle that part of the job!

NOTE: We discuss the above phenomena in the Small Business Marketing Catch-22, which is highly recommended. 

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