It doesn’t matter if you have a small local business with a few employees or a major one with over 100, the goal of this book is to provide you with strategies that will exponentially increase your business. We aren’t talking about increasing your business by 10 or 20 percent, but possibly doubling or tripling your business. While this may seem too good to be true, the strategies that you’ll learn have the potential to be your greatest source of leads. But how? Simply by using the power of Google and online searching. You may have heard testimonies about businesses using Google AdWords and not finding success. That’s fair, but the reason behind their failure is that they didn’t know how to implement strategies the right way. At the end of the day, if you’re not implementing these strategies, then someone else in your market will, meaning they will be getting the business you should be getting. Don't let that happen and keep reading to find out exactly how you can maximize your online marketing strategy.
Chapter 1: Traditional Forms of Marketing
In today’s climate, how do you find answers, businesses, or absolutely anything you need? You turn to the internet. This means that the business of advertising is changing. No longer can advertising in the paper or the Yellow Pages be enough. A successful lawyer learned this hard lesson when his annual revenue dropped from over one million dollars to around $600,000. While this still sounds like a success, this is quite a dramatic drop in revenue when overhead stays the same, meaning his profits were steadily dwindling.
The lawyer stated, “These young lawyers out of law school who know how to do this internet marketing thing are taking all my business, and my business has been almost cut in half.” You see, the lawyer relied on advertising in the Yellow Pages for over ten years. Then, once leads stopped rolling in, he began to spend big money on ads in local business directories, which didn’t result in any more leads. The problem is that our lawyer has relied on traditional marketing that no longer works for today’s climate.
In other words, Google is the new Yellow Pages. “Twenty years ago if someone needed a plumber or roofer or lawyer or whatever, they would go to the Yellow Pages and find a business there. These days, when was the last time you’ve even seen the Yellow Pages?” It’s probably been years, right? These traditional forms of marketing are simply less effective and here’s why. Let’s take a look at billboards. Billboard companies lock clients into long-term expensive contracts because they know the effectiveness of the ad dwindles over time. For instance, you might get some strong leads within the first month after putting up your billboard; however, as the months go on, the same people continue to drive that route, which makes the ad lose its effectiveness.
Even television ads aren’t the greatest anymore as people use DVRs to record and skip the commercials entirely. Additionally, the high cost of producing a good TV commercial time and buying airtime means a low return on investment (ROI). For instance, let’s say a billboard costs $2,000 a month. A six-month contract means you’re committed to spending $12,000 before you even know if it’s working and getting an ROI or not! Of course, if you are using traditional marketing and it’s working for you, then keep doing what you’re doing. You can useyour traditional marketing in addition to what you’re about to learn to make it even more effective.
Chapter 2: SEO Versus PPC
As soon as people hear the term Google, they become skeptical. They’ve used Google in the past and got burned. That’s because the world of online marketing is confusing. Marketers throw around terms like SEO, SEM, PPC, Gootle+, Google My Business, and the confusion doesn’t stop there. Add in social media, email, and other forms of internet marketing and it all becomes too overwhelming. So it’s time to clarify these terms and start with the basics.
Google is by far the best place to reach your ideal prospects and there are two ways a local business can reach these prospects on Google. The two strategies are search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. SEO is the process in which you use relevant keywords to bump your website to the top of the search results in Google when someone searches for your particular service. SEO is not something that you pay for and is a result of a Google algorithm that determines where each page ranks in the search results.
For instance, if your business is in cosmetic dentistry, you’ll want to identify keywords and terms that people searching for your business would use. Many people searching for a business like yours might use terms like “cosmetic dentist” and the city you are in like “St. Louis.” They may even use terms for the procedure they are looking for like “dental implant.” Google will then use an algorithm to display the most relevant websites at the top of the results. While SEO is certainly a good strategy, PPC has some advantages over SEO in that PPC ads are placed above SEO results in the search results. Typically, the top three results are PPC ads and this prime position means that those results will generate more clicks. Many times people are simply too lazy to scroll down and will choose the first link out of convenience. When it comes to PPC ads, you’ll likely experience the fastest, most reliable, and most profitable way to generate ROI on Google, which is what we will focus on next.
Chapter 3: The Benefits of Google AdWords
Google AdWords is perhaps the greatest innovation in advertising history. In the past, running a direct response marketing campaign meant shelling out $3,000-$5,000 and months of your time trying to contact people through direct mail and collecting ROI data. Fortunately, you no longer need to chase prospects through letters, phone calls, or newspaper ads. Today, everything is on the web and the best way to get prospects to your website is with Google AdWords.
According to Zamir, “Google AdWords has proved to be the most important innovation in advertising in the last 25 years.” Part of the reason is that Google gets searched around six billion times every day. That means that six billion times a day, someone is searching for a need, desire, or quest for information. If you can reach just a fraction of those people, you can do incredibly well in advertising for Google. Secondly, when you reach people on Google, you are reaching someone who is actively searching for someone who does what you do. This is different from traditional forms of “interruption” advertising in which people hear ads while watching TVor listening to the radio. In those cases, you would need to interrupt people and grab their attention to even gain enough interest for them to consider reaching out to you.
The other trouble with most forms of advertising is that they are nearly impossible to track and you have to pay a set fee. However, with Google AdWords and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad and visits your website. Not only that but PPC ads can give you a clear picture of which clicks result in leads and which don’t. Additionally, you can even control your monthly budget, how much you pay per click, what keywords your ad show up for, and what time of day you want your ad to show up. If that’s not enough, you can also use geo-targeting to control and target a specific radius around your business. If you want your ads to be displayed to people within a 10, 20, or 50-mile radius around your location, then you can control that! Perhaps if you live in a big city and have a tight budget, a great option would be to target people that search your keywords from within a five-mile radius of your business.
Using AdWords can also help you improve your SEO game. For instance, many people spend a lot of time trying to optimize the wrong keywords. However, if you run an AdWords campaign and track conversions, you might find that certain keywords result in more leads and conversions than others. For instance, a client using a generic keyword research tool showed that a specific keyword was receiving zero search traffic; however, the AdWords campaign showed that specific keyword was actually generating more traffic and conversions than they thought, something they would’ve never known by simply looking at their keyword research tool.
Chapter 4: The Importance of a Landing Page
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of Google AdWords, you may be thinking of all the times you’ve heard businesses trash AdWords, calling it expensive, complicated, and ineffective. That’s great! This just means there’s less competition for you. It’s no secret that AdWords certainly has a bad reputation in many circles, clicks are expensive and many people don’t know how to utilize it properly. However, one way to ensure your clicks lead to conversions is by having a quality landing page.
The first page a visitor sees after clicking on your Google ad is called the landing page. A landing page is essential, and a good one can instantly double your leads. For instance, when Zamir was recently searching for a family law attorney, the landing page was all about personal injury law. Not only that, but it was an old and ugly site that didn’t have clear information. Finally, Zamir found the page about family law which was just a simple two-paragraph blurb that gave generic information. In other words, a badly designed landing page will not lead to conversions and is a huge mistake.
Zamir estimates that a typical local business website converts around 5 percent. However, a high-quality landing page can easily double your conversion rate to 10 percent or even 20 percent. You can double your conversion rate without spending any more money. This could literally make the difference in making or breaking your month or year. If you’re thinking, “But I already paid a really awesome web designer to create a beautiful website for me. Why do I need to create special landing pages?” Well, here’s why. Sheena Iyengar, a psycho-economist atColumbia Business School once gave a TED Talk titled “How to Make Choosing Easier” which shared the results of Stanford experiment about choosing jam. When faced with 24 types of jam, only 3 percent of people ended up buying jam; however, when there were only six types of jam to choose from, 30 percent of people bought a jar. That meant people were six times more likely to buy when they had six jars to choose from versus 24. So what does this mean for your landing page?
Basically, if you give people too many options, they become overwhelmed and they won’t make a decision. The job of your landing page is to keep your client focused on the action you want them to take, like making a phone call or entering their information into a contact form. Zamir calls this “One-Decision Marketing” and is aimed at giving your visitor just one decision when they hit your landing page. This is also why you want to omit as many distractions as possible and not give away too much information with long paragraphs and Q&A sections.
It’s important to remember that the goal of a landing page is to get a phone call, so avoid giving too much information and motivate your potential client into making that call. Additionally, people today have online ADD, and since 40 percent of searches for local businesses come from mobile devices, their attention spans are even lower than on a desktop computer. So let people know what you do and how to get in touch with you. This is all a landing page needs to do. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Chapter 5: How to Design Your Landing Page
So now that you know why a good landing page is important, it’s time to look at what a high-converting landing page looks like. For instance, the most important part of your landing page is the area of the page that visitors see before scrolling down, this is called “above-the-fold” space and is crucial for turning leads into conversions. The area above the fold must convey valuable information that is helpful to someone trying to figure out what your business offers and how your business can help them. If there’s nothing of value, it’s a complete waste of important real estate on the page.
So let’s take a look at how you should structure your landing page. Beginning with the header, the section at the very top of your site, this should be narrow and not take up too much of the valuable above-the-fold space. Your header only needs a logo on the far left side and a call-to-action on the far right. The call-to-action should be fairly large so it stands out and people can easily read it. For local businesses, there is almost always a business’s phone number here. However, you don’t want to simply put a phone number, instead, you should include something like “Call Now for a Free Estimation/Consultation/Quote.”
Now for the most important copy on your landing page, let’s talk about your headline and subheadline. A simple headline that works is asking a question that inspires the prospective client to answer “yes.” As your prospect reads your copy, you want them in the “yes” state of mind. For example, a loan company might begin their headline with, “Would You Like Fast Cash in 15 Minutes or Less with No Credit Check? If the answer is ‘YES’ then call us now!” When you encourage people to say “yes,” you can motivate them to call for more information or visit your location.
The section under your headline should be your body copy and bullet points. Here you should simply expand on your promise, offer, or value that you started. Remember, people will not spend time to read your entire copy, so a few short paragraphs and three to five bullet points to convey your main benefits and key points should give your prospects enough information about your business. As always, keep it short and sweet and focus on your key points. Next, you’ll need a contact form. This should be located on the upper right-hand side of the landing page and simply provide a place for people to submit their information. Keep it short and ask for a person’s name, email, and phone number. As a local business, you should certainly require a phone number as those prospects have shown to be much more reliable!
Lastly, the space under the form is a great spot to demonstrate the credibility of your business. This is called the “Proof Zone” because this is where you prove to your prospects that you are credible and trustworthy. This is a great place to add customer testimonials. The best ones are those in the form of video or audio, but text testimonials can be just as powerful. If you don’t have any testimonials, that’s okay! You can build credibility by including the logos of media outlets you have been featured on, logos of well-known clients, and/or special recognitions, credentials, or awards that your business has received.
Chapter 6: Tracking Your Marketing Strategy
One of the most important parts of marketing is ensuring that your efforts are working. For example, you wouldn’t invest in the stock market if you had no data on its success. Similarly, you wouldn’t invest in advertising if you weren’t certain that it was working. When you market your company, you’re investing in the future of your business so it’s essential that you track your data.
If you want your marketing efforts to succeed, you’ll need to consistently monitor the performance of your online advertising. First, however, you’ll need to understand that most new leads for local businesses come as phone calls. You see, local businesses don’t simply sell products online like giant e-commerce sites. Therefore, prospects who visit the website of local businesses will typically send an email or make a phone call to find out more information. In fact, 60 to 70 percent of local business leads come via phone calls, this means that many will click on your landing page and go straight to your phone number.
So how can you track exactly where these leads are coming from? For little cost, you can implement a dynamic call-tracking system. In other words, you can have multiple numbers that redirect to a single phone number. For instance, if you have three Google ads and one Facebook ad, you can list four separate phone numbers that redirect to your business phone. Then, at the end of the month, you can see which ad was responsible for the majority of your calls. So if one was responsible for 80% of your incoming calls, then you may want to come up with a strategy in which you delete the non-performing numbers and invest more in the ones that work.
Tracking where the majority of your leads are coming from is critical to your marketing campaign. Without it, you could be wasting time and money investing in areas that do not generate leads or conversions. Therefore, in addition to a call-tracking system, you can use the data you receive from Google AdWords to research which keywords are generating the most leads. Overall, utilizing both AdWords and a call-tracking system can help you boost sales,manage your budget, and create a successful marketing strategy that has the potential to exponentially increase your business.
Chapter 7: Final Summary
As people turn to their phones and computers to search for their needs on Google, online advertising has become more critical than ever for today’s local business owner. Nowadays, traditional forms of marketing are not only expensive but also generate a low return on investment. That’s why turning to Google is one of the best ways to boost your marketing strategy and turn new leads into conversions. Of course, a simple Google ad is not enough to turn a prospect into a buyer; therefore, it is crucial to create a landing page that works. With a landing page that is clear and focused, you can ensure that potential clients will take action by making a phone call, sending an email, or providing their contact information. Finally, tracking where your leads are coming from is critical for helping you stay on budget and maximizing your online marketing strategy.