Monthly Archives - October 2011

Boosting Local Search Results with Social Media

Companies are no longer asking if they should be active in social media. They understand that user-generated content is a required element of a comprehensive location-based search program.  It’s now just a question of developing the right social media strategy that will give you greatest impact. The right social media strategy will let you:

 

  1. Communicate directly with your customers
  2. Create engaging discussion topics
  3. Help your marketing go viral
  4. Boost your online brand-awareness
  5. Organically propel your business to the top of local search results

 

The evolving social media landscape can be a confusing place for marketers. However, here are some tips that will help you achieve those goals:

 

  1. Build a fan base on Facebook. Forty percent of Facebook users follow a specific brand. More than half of Facebook users eventually purchase that brand. Facebook ‘Likes’ spread brand awareness virally, delivering information to everyone befriended by your brand fans.
  2. Use Twitter to keep in touch with customers. One in every four Twitter users follows a specific brand, and 67 percent of them will end up purchasing that brand. Use your Twitter posts to engage consumers by providing them with helpful information about your products and services. Special offers are a great way to grab the attention of Twitter followers.
  3. Encourage customers to rate and review your business. Consumers love online reviews because they can see what others really think about you, and your product or service before making a purchasing decision.  In addition, reviews on social media sites improve your search engine rankings and will drive free web traffic.
  4. Leverage YouTube in local search results.  Embed videos in Google Place Pages, websites, and social profile pages.  Videos showcase your products and services while putting a human face on your business.
  5. Give customers incentives to share information online.  Branded “Share and Receive a Reward” programs can encourage consumers to share your offers with their friends via Facebook, Twitter and other web channels in exchange for discounts or special prizes.

 

Creating an effective social media marketing program, you make it easy for your customers to find you and your business and talk about it online. The result can be incredible and greatly amplify your web marketing results, generate calls and appointments and boost long-term brand awareness.

Building a Successful Mobile Marketing Campaign

Want to communicate and engage your audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device? Try building a mobile marketing campaign. Any effective mobile marketing campaign should complement and be an extension of your overall marketing strategy. When planning your mobile marketing campaign, you’ll want to incorporate certain elements.

 

Convenience:  Make sure your website is easy for customers to access and browse on mobile devices. Your customers don’t want to pinch, zoom, and scroll all over your site.

  

Locally targeted:  More and more mobile searches have local intent. Virtually all new smart phones come with GPS.  This is very helpful, because customers’ phones can send their location information.

 

Integrated:  Your mobile campaign need to tie into your company’s overall marketing strategy. Inform customers about your promotion by putting everywhere you live: your website, newsletter, Facebook, etc. 

 

Time sensitive:  Mobile marketing lets you engage your customers as soon as something comes up.  For example, if you own a restaurant and it’s a slow Friday night, send a text message to your customers offering a special or discount.  Text messages have a 95% open rate, making them an especially powerful marketing tool.

 

Customer involvement:  Getting your customers involved will dramatically increase results. Try giveaways, polls and contests have all been used successfully to build customer lists.  Ask customers to text in their vote, or to enter a drawing for a chance to win an iPad, or to come up with the best caption for a photo.

 

Exclusive: To encourage people to opt-in to your offer, give them a good reason. Present them an exclusive offer. For example, “Text FREE to 1234567 for a free cup of coffee.”

 

Permission:  Successful mobile marketing campaigns ask for permission. They’re transparent.  They also tell users how they can be removed from the list.

The Importance of Local Search

A recent survey from Pew Research found that 79 percent of US consumers conduct local searches on the Internet before making a buying decision. For marketers, the survey also reveals the need to vary content marketing campaigns to target each demographic, as well as the value of local Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As a result, it’s become increasingly important that businesses understand what local search is and how it works.

 

A search that is intended to find something within a specific geographic area. Often these types of businesses are location-specific, but the people searching for them are most likely elsewhere. While potential customers aren’t currently in their immediate area, they hope to be some time in the future. For example, the consumer might search on the following words: “ski resorts in utah”. Other examples of these types of businesses are cruise lines, car rental agencies, campgrounds, and convention centers.

 

A search to find information online with the intention of completing a transaction offline. Example: “chinese restaurants in las vegas”. Often local internet searches are searches that the consumer would have traditionally done using printed materials, such as the yellow pages. For some brick-and-mortar businesses, nearly all search is local search. Most of these are local-centric enterprises that only draw customers from within a specific service area. The consumer might search on the following words: “chinese restaurants in Las Vegas”. Other examples of these types of businesses are barbers, manicurists, dry cleaners, laundromats, delicatessens, and sandwich shops. It’s pretty much a given that if a consumer is searching for these types of products and/or services, they intend to make that purchase from a local business.

 

Still other business draw clients from both nearby and far away. Examples of these enterprises are financial advisors, consultants, regional hospitals, household movers, and mortgage companies.

 

Clearly the types of business you promote online determine how to best market to your Internet customers. Local search is a mish-mash of what people are searching for, where they’re searching for it, and how search engines display the results. Welcome to the world of local search!

Marketing Matters to Your Customers. It Should Matter to You.

Cause marketing is now the norm for businesses. What is cause marketing?  Simply put, it’s a mutually beneficial partnership between a nonprofit and a for-profit (your business) for mutual profit.  It’s also known as cause-related marketing (CRM).

 

American Express first used the phrase in 1983 to describe its campaign to raise money for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty. American Express donated one cent to the restoration fund every time someone used its charge card. As a result of the campaign, the number of new American Express cardholders grew by 45%, and card usage increased by 28%. And the Statue of Liberty restoration fund?  In just four months, more than $2 million was raised for the project.

 

Your customers want to know that you share their desire to make the world a better place by supporting an important cause. Consumers now routinely turn to brands that stand for a cause. In a recent poll, 87% of consumers say they would switch from one brand to another if the other brand were associated with a good cause.

 

And businesses are taking notice. In 2010, companies spent $1.62 billion on cause marketing — up from 1990, when the number was just $120 million.

 

Where do you begin? For most companies, it’s best to start small by partnering with a local charity and working on a small campaign. If you’re ready to take on a larger cause, begin by contacting the development department at the charity you’re want to partner with. Remember, they are looking a solid ROI (just as you are), so be prepared to give them information on your platform, target audience and level of visibility. Make sure that the organization can provide you with similar solid stats on your ROI, too. After all, this is a partnership that you want to grow over time and not a one-time marketing boost. Like any good partnership, it must be nurtured and cultivated.