Traditional Media

101 Local Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

A good read and a comprehensive list from our friends at Synup – recommended for all local business owners…

As a small to midsize business, being present on the web can make or break your business. Doing things properly can only help further your business agenda. If you don’t do things properly, it could bite you in the behind, so it’s best to consider everything when setting up your site to avoid issues down the road.

Here are our top 101 mistakes that you as an SMB should avoid. We’re breaking this into sections to ensure that you hone in on the sections that are most applicable to you.

General business information:

  1. Not having a clear purpose. Does your business have a truly clear purpose?
  2. No strategy.Do you have a strategy that helps realize that purpose? Review your plan and organizational goals at least once a year, preferably quarterly, to see if you’re staying on target.,
  3. Not respecting employees. Your most important customers are your employees.
  4. Losing the passion. If you’re building something and you’re in it because you felt you had to, and not because you wanted to, your product will suffer and you will be unhappy. Either change directions and give up the pursuit, or continue with the trudge despite its incompatibility with your values. You want to go to work empowered and happy, not dejected and unhappy.
  5. Not striving to improve. Never settle for status quo!
  6. Not having a unique value proposition. What makes you better than the other guy offering the same service down the street? Competition is fierce. If you have a competitive advantage, flaunt it!
  7. Poor grammar and spelling. People are not going to want to do business with those who don’t have a firm grasp of the language and spelling. If you can’t spend a little bit of time proofreading, you give off the impression that you simply don’t care. Is that really true?
  8. Not humanizing the business. In this day and age, it’s critical to communicate to people with emotion. Be funny on your company blog. Be approachable on social media. Show videos of the happenings behind the scenes.
  9. Not building relationships: If you build them, they will come.
  10. Having poor customer service (or none at all): Your customer service is one of the primary ways people will know to work with you (or not). If you’re not responding to phone calls, you’re losing leads. If you’re not getting back to people after promising something, you’re losing credibility. If you overpromise and underdeliver, you might find yourself with a 1 star review on Yelp, and then what? Probably nothing, except you just cost yourself a handful (or more) of potential clients. Whoops.
  11. Not asking for their business. You’ve just engaged a potential prospect and then forgot, after the meeting, to ask them to patronize you by buying your product or service. Don’t let them walk out of the door without knowing next actionable steps.
  12. Being too timid. Unless you’re an intern sitting behind a computer, most small businesses require some face to face time with clients. Show confidence in your product offering and be personable too. I would very much rather work with someone who has personality than someone who I spend my time with who doesn’t say a word.
  13. Not communicating. Communicate regularly with your customer. Find out what s/he likes about you. Find out what you can do better. Offer deals and promotions to keep your product top of mine and to ensure they keep coming back.
  14. Taking on projects that you can’t execute upon well. Do whatever is within your skillset. Don’t take on projects that are not within your core competency. If you’re a painter, don’t offer to cut lawns. Veterinarians don’t do plastic surgery. You shouldn’t either!
  15. Not building external relationships: It’s not just about your current customers but about the relationships you can build that will help you grow your customer base. A barber shop can align with the town carnival. A fitness center can align with a healthy restaurant. Find partnerships and co-promote each other!
  16. Putting decisions solely in the hands of experts. Experts know things, but you have a gut feeling too. Trust your gut–and let the expertise follow.
  17. Making things too complex rather than simplified. Simplify your business plan. Don’t do 50 things because it would seem awesome. It would just overwhelm people, as Barry Schwartz explains in his book, The Paradox of Choice. If you cut hair, cut hair. Don’t offer a cat cafe in a side room and a gardening class in another room.
  18. Not having a disaster recovery plan in place. Any business, big or small, needs a disaster recovery plan. In other words, all data needs to be backed up somewhere, such as to an offsite location. Using online tools such as Dropbox and CrashPlan are two preferred methods of backup for all local files on the computers in the office. The more subscriptions, the better! (I use both.)
  19. Losing confidence in yourself based on your company. You are not equivalent with your company. If your company has performance issues, don’t let it get to you. When things get rough, don’t go down in the dumps with it.
  20. Assuming your product will sell itself. Especially when starting out in a new business, you may think that EVERYONE will love your business. Now, you’re open for customers–yet no one comes. Word of mouth is critical!
  21. Not having a budget. You need to pay to play. Without funding, you probably can’t accomplish much. If you have to seek outside investment, go for it.
  22. Making bad hires. Hire smartly. You will make mistakes.
  23. Working hard but not smart.
  24. Not giving up control. There’s no way you can do it all, so don’t be afraid to bring someone on board who can help you succeed.
  25. Not celebrating successes. Employee morale goes up when you make people feel happy at work.

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Posted by Logital Media  |  0 Comment  |  in All, Local Listings/Maps, Mobile, PPC/Paid Search, Ratings/Reviews, SEO/Organic, Social Media, Traditional Media, Video, Websites

Search Marketing vs. Newspaper & TV – Which Should You Invest In?

As a business owner, marketing director or anyone who has a say in how your marketing budget is allocated, it is important to understand which channels will yield the highest return and what the end goal is for each marketing channel. Below we are going to look at how search marketing compares with TV and newspaper advertising. 

Search Marketing vs. Television Ads

Marketing and advertising have two distinct purposes, building brand awareness and driving conversions. When it comes to building brand awareness, many people mistakenly assume that TV has a greater ability to build brand awareness than Internet advertising. Wrong. A study conducted by the Stanford Graduate School of Business proved it.

According to Professor Wesley R. Hartmann “If you are evaluating brand advertising and have a preconceived notion that television is better, you need to rethink that.”

For those of you who are skeptical of his findings, a second study published by the American Marketing Association and conducted by Lebow Business School Associate Professor Michaela Draganska agreed with the findings of Stanford.

Michaela concluded that “Many advertisers are reluctant to shift a large proportion of their advertising budgets to the Internet because they still view television advertising as the main vehicle for building a brand. Using a unique and rich data set comprising 20 campaigns across a variety of industries, this study demonstrates that Internet ads perform on par with television ads on the brand-building metrics that advertisers use and trust.”

Based on the results of those studies it is clear that digital advertising channels are as effective as TV when it comes to building brand awareness. Brand building qualities being equal, how do the two stack up on average cost?

Average cost of TV Ads

The cost of TV ads vary greatly based upon your location, target audience and scheduling. According to Nielsen Media Research though, the average cost to reach 1,000 people via TV advertising was $24.76 in 2014. Below you will see a chart mentioning the cost as $7 per 1,000 views so for fairness sake, we will say that TV ranges from $7-$24 per 1,000 views.

Average cost of Internet Marketing

For comparison sake, we are taking the average of AdWords, Linkedin and Facebook ads as noted below. The cost of reaching 1,000 people online ranges from $0.25 and $5. As you can see, the high end of the Internet marketing average is still less than the low end of TV ads.

Did You Know?

According to Zenith Optimedia, a division of Publicis, TV advertising was expected to account for about 40 percent of the $537 billion spent on advertising in 2014. I believe that as more people become aware of the branding power of digital, that number will shrink noticeably.

Search Marketing vs. Newspaper Ads

Of the estimated 537 billion of ad spending in 2014, online marketing was predicted to account for about 25 percent of the total ad spend. In reality, the total spent on advertising was slightly lower than predicted  but percentages where pretty accurate. Internet marketing is expected to see an increase in ad spend of about 16 percent while spending on newspaper ads is expected to shrink by 1-2 percent per year, bringing newspapers down to about 13 percent of total ad spend in 2016.

It is no secret that the reason for a growing online presence and a shrinking reliance on newspaper advertising is the cost and effectiveness of the two platforms.

As most of you know, when you pay to advertise in a general newspaper you are reaching a broad and poorly targeted audience. When using search marketing on the other hand, you are reaching those actively searching for what you have to offer. Even if the cost of the two was the same, search marketing would still be a far better investment.

Average Newspaper Costs

The cost to reach around 1,000 people via newspaper is roughly $32 on a national level. On a local level, I have been told that reaching 1,000 people costs around $16. To account for even smaller newspapers, let’s broaden the range to $10-$32 per 1,000 views.

Average Search Marketing Costs

As mentioned above, you can expect to spend $0.25 – $5 per 1,000 views online.

In 2014, Brian Carter posted this graph on Moz comparing the average costs to reach 1,000 people.

Even expanding the range as we did above to account for pricing variance by location, you can clearly see that search marketing will get you more exposure at a lower cost. Exposing people to your brand is very important but if you want to drive revenue and keep your brand around for the long haul, you should be looking for conversions as well.

Inbound vs. Outbound Conversion Rates

SEO leads have a 14.6 percent close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7 percent close rate. (Source: SEJ)

If the cost of TV, newspapers and search where all the same, the difference in conversion rates is more than enough reason to go with inbound search marketing.

As a business owner it is hard to break old habits. Trying something new and foreign to your business may seem a little scary, but if you take the leap to search marketing, you will be rewarded. Even if you already have a plan in place for 2015, making the change to search could save you a ton of money while driving your profits higher.

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Posted by Logital Media  |  0 Comment  |  in All, PPC/Paid Search, Traditional Media