Small Business Marketing | Google Test | Did You Know Series 1 of 3

In our three part infographic series, The Small Business Marketing Did You Know series, we described three free fast ‘n' easy tests you can do to get your small business marketing/web marketing “graded” and see if it's working. In our experience, most business owners are shocked by what they find out. Certainly, those that aren't doing anything proactive at all (which describes most small businesses, unfortunately) can't expect much.

In fact, in the first of these – the Google Test, explained in the video – if you're “making the grade” in the least, it's really quite remarkable. Odds are, if you are in a competitive market at all, your result will be a complete and utter FAIL. But if you are showing up on page one of the relevant results, it's more by accident – as we say in the video – than by design.

In the Small Business Marketing Google Test video (above), we go into much more detail than was possible with an infographic alone. The “ground truth” of small business and web marketing is explained, as well as the specifics and importance of Google Places/Google Maps, and all the latest metrics small business owners must know to understand the importance of the web to small and local businesses in the new millennium.

All modesty aside (ahem), this one video can probably tell you far more about your basic web presence and what Google thinks of it than you have have ever known before! You might also want to check out the articles which accompany the actual info graphics. There's more great small business marketing information there, too.

Your goal with your small business and web marketing should be show up on the first page of the relevant search results – in Google, of course, but hopefully in other search engines as well. Preferably, in the top three positions. That's where 70% of all the clicks go!

When you have a good web presence, business just naturally flows to you. But the first step is to see where you're at – with the Google Test! Once you've done that, you can get a better handle on what needs to be done.

We hope you enjoy and learn from the video. If you've got questions or concerns, please contact the Web Genius!

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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 1B

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

In the prior post of the Small Business Marketing Infographic series, the “front” to the “back” shown here, we posed the question as to whether the 86% of web surfers who are searching online for local businesses to patronize can find you and your business. But it's more than a rhetorical question, because it can be answered with empirical data. In fact, you can (and should) see the data first hand, and evaluate it yourself.

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

When you take the Google Test, you will very quickly see whether your web presence is making the grade or not. First, you'll see if you're showing up on page one at all. You'd be surprised (or maybe not) how many small business owners don't even know if they do or not. Of course, the ones that do show up on page on are usually quite aware of it, because it normally translates into a lot of calls and business!

If you're showing up, let's hope you're in the top 3 slots. Those get 70% of all the clicks. Further, if Google Places/Maps is present, are you showing up there, as well? Google has done an excellent job of “training” the public with their products, and many never look down the page past the map itself. They look for the nearest establishment and click the digital pushpin for more information.

No matter what ways consumers make use of the Google listings, the fact remains that if you aren't showing up for the keywords people are searching for, you're in big trouble. Period. End of story.

The simple Google Test answers the question from the “front” of this infographic. Can they find you to buy from you? 

No matter where you are on the Google listing, and whether you show up on Google Places/Maps or not, your positioning is not written in stone. Rest assured that it can very quickly be improved with the right small business marketing strategy.

Now here's something most small business owners don't know. It's kind of an open secret in SEO circles. Here goes: you can “own” more than one slot in Google! Yep, it's true. So, instead of having just one slot on page one for your keyword phrase, you can have three, or five, or even more!

Think about the implications of that for a moment.

See, if you do it right, you can have more than just your website showing up on page one. You can have secondary sites, videos and even local directory listings appearing there as well. And what do you think that does for? Yep… more clicks! Lots more.

Better still, when you grab multiple slots, you're actually denying the competition the opportunity get all that new and repeat business via Google.

Now it's true that not every market is conducive to multiple listings on page one. In a few, the competition is already too fierce, and you're “lucky” to get a single entry (luck having nothing to do with it, actually). But in many markets all over the USA and beyond, the Google listings are wide open to serious businesses that take the initiative.

Total online marketplace domination is not just possible, it's very, very achievable – if you know what you're doing and you have the time and resources necessary to make it happen. It won't happen overnight. But you'd be surprised how fast it can happen, too.

There's a flip side, of course. By the same token that you can dominate your local marketplace, your competition can do the same.

But whether we're talking a single listing (preferably at the top) or multiple ones, your business simply must be on page one or you might as well forget about getting any action from Google. Most people never go beyond page one, and most pick from the top few results.

And not to trouble you further, but the fact is that the longer you wait, the worse it gets. Those who achieve success in their local marketplace online are thereby positioned to benefit for years and years to come. Those who wait until it's too late will rue the day when they “coulda, shoulda, woulda.” Don't let that be you.

There's more in the Do You Know Small Business Marketing series, Part 2…another test!

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Small Business Marketing (Infographic) – Did You Know Series | Part 1A

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

We're posting the Small Business Marketing Infographic series for the benefit (we hope) of all the small business owners out there. A few may well have fatal heart attacks, in which case it's only beneficial to the survivors! We sincerely hope most of you can absorb the info without quite so serious a reaction.

The Small Business Marketing Infographic series is a three-parter which provides some very hard-hitting facts that most business people are shocked by (we know this because you are not the first person to see these graphics or the data we have compiled). We here at imaWebGenius actually like the shock-value of this data, because it's been responsible for waking more than a few folks out of their long-standing (long-reclining?) web marketing slumbers – if not from out-and-out comas!

So let's start with the first two-by-four to the noggin fact: 86% of web surfers look for local businesses to patronize. Despite what you may think about online, the truth is that just about everybody is using Google and the web these days. Forget the Yellow Pages – the phone book is dead!

NOTE: Be sure to watch the companion video to this info graphic, which actually demonstrates how to do the Google Test and explains more about the subject.

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

Here's the thing…

It's 2013. The web, as a commonly used tool for nearly all of society, is over a decade old. Though steady (and in some cases significant change) is still constant, it's matured. And yet the vast majority of small business owners are still doing their marketing in the stone age – relatively speaking.

They not only ignore the reach and power of the web. Many actively avoid it, either out of fear of the unknown or because it hasn't worked for them in the past. The former concern is a valid one. After all, knowing what and how to do it online is a formidable challenge. As for the latter, it's also an understandable concern. Just about every small business person has been burned by “some SEO guy” promising to “get you on page one” or “make your phone ring off the hook” because of the web.

Still, ignoring the web today is like avoiding automobiles in favor of horses. You could do it. Sure. But would it be smart?

Most small business owners are either not “doing online” very well, or at all. Despite this, a few really savvy folks are absolutely killing it! It doesn't hurt, of course, that most of the competition has ceded victory by not playing the game in the first place! You could be one of the big winners in the not too distant future, too – if you get serious about your small business and online marketing.

BTW, the above issue is one I explore in depth my Small Business Marketing Catch-22. If you think you're one of those web marketing recalicitrants I'm discussing above, you might want to read it. I think it will make good therapy…

Anyway, as shown above, 86% of web surfers want a local business to patronize! (Kelsey Group)

Assuming you are a small business person reading this, this very probably means YOU. You and your business. Unfortunately, if yours is like most small and local businesses, the company web presence is…

It um….

Er, not to put too fine a point on it…

Well…

It sucks!

There, I said it.

Yikes! Sorry if it hurts your feelings. Seriously. Some things just need to be said.

I certainly don't know if it's true in your specific case. I can only go by what I have seen out there. It might not be. Your small business marketing might be the best ever (in which case you probably don't need to be reading the ol' Web Genius). But probably not.

There's an easy way to check. Take the Google Test, and see how you fare

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