Small Business Marketing Strategy – How Google Places Marketing Can Grow Your Business

Consumers searching for various products and local services may account for more than two-thirds of Internet searches, according to studies. With this statistic in mind, programmers at Google have adjusted the way results are presented. There is now more emphasis on local parameters. Google Places marketing is proving to be effective for many owners of small business. Listings are free for business owners and sites have been designed for millions of businesses worldwide.Many of these sites have already been indexed so they show up on page one automatically. In some cases, a business may be listed without the owner taking any action. Many people are probably wondering how this can happen. Since information for Places pages is gleaned from business directories, yellow pages and third-party websites, Google automatically populates the page with content.How to Determine if Your Business has a Places PageSimply enter your business name and zip code or phone number into the Google search box and open up the Maps tab found at the top. Your page will automatically appear if it exists.What it MeansThis is a good start because Google has already created the site. The downside is that the information may not be up to date or totally accurate. There may be a name change or new address or phone number. Claiming the page is the only way to gain access to verify and edit the information.Benefits of Claiming Your PageThere are two main advantages to making the claim on your page. The most important thing is it keeps anyone else from claiming it as their own. This may sound crazy, but it can happen. You should protect your business interests by taking control of this information. Once the page has been claimed, business owners are encouraged to supply other helpful information potential customers may be looking for. There is space to add discount offers, brand names, hours of operation and more. Photos and video demonstrations may also be uploaded.After you have taken the time to claim, verify and update the data, it will be possible to work on improving the page ranking. Of the 50 million pages that have been designed, only three percent have been claimed by their owners. A page that has been claimed can attract more people because the non-claimed page of competitors can be bumped off page one.Improving Your Free ListingHere are some things to keep in mind when filling out the listing:
– Use the proper business name, exactly as it appears offline.
– Provide a complete street address and be sure to add identifiers like north, south and suite number when appropriate.
– List your website URL and a valid local phone number that connects directly to your business so potential customers can gather more information about your company.
– The form offers suggested categories for your listings. Select at least one that is brief but detailed enough to describe what you do.
– Additional data that is not covered anywhere else on the page can be listed in the custom attribute and description fields provided.Explaining CitationsThe business owner is prohibited from adding citations but it is possible to seek them out. The citations are listed under “More About This Place” near the bottom of the page. Citations are culled from listings found on other sites and include name of the business, physical address and phone number. This may sound similar to link building and, in certain ways, it is. Instead of dropping your link on various sites here and there, simply search for websites that are dedicated to business listings like those seen on Online Yellow Pages.How to Encourage ReviewsThe review section of the page is a valuable addition because it gives potential customers an idea of what to expect if they do business with you. Offering excellent customer service and selling only quality products are the most effective ways to garner good reviews from past customers. Encourage any and all satisfied customers to post a review on your Places page. Reviews may also be posted on sites like CitySearch, Insider Pages, Judy’s Book and Yelp.Your page will move up in rank as you accumulate more reviews and citations. As the rank goes up, more visitors will be attracted to your page. By providing lots of helpful information, those visitors can be turned into leads and eventually sales.Adding CouponsAnother helpful tool business owners should take advantage of is the ability to create coupons on the page.This is strongly suggested.Seven Ways to See Success with Google Places
1-Claim your listing and verify the existing information.
2-Make sure your listing is optimized with appropriate keywords.
3-Choose the categories that best fit your business.
4-Upload suitable videos and images to the page.
5-Create customer coupons.
6-Gather as many citations as you can.
7-Set aside time to update coupons and information on a regular basis.Discover Other Options for Local Business MarketingThere are a variety of local search directories that can be helpful to the small business owner. Yahoo Local, Merchant Circle and Bing Local are three such directories. Each has its own rules. It can be time consuming to optimize each listing. If you do not have enough time to do it properly, hire someone who is familiar with these types of listings to do it for you.Give Your Listings the Attention They DeserveMarketing through search directories should be an ongoing process that needs to be monitored carefully. It will be more difficult keeping your listing on page one as more listings are claimed and optimized.Google Places marketing is something that should be addressed from time to time. You will need to devote enough attention to promoting and updating your listing to get the most out of it.

How to Make an Online Business Marketing Plan

The marketing plan for an online business is essential for its success. Well planned efforts will reap the most results in web traffic, web presence and profits for a business. Creating an online business marketing plan is easy to do and sticking to it will ensure that you are meeting your goals and generating the traffic and business your company deserves.

Assemble a list of ideas that help promote your online business. This list should include various forms of advertising such as Pay-Per-Click, website advertisement, link exchanges, list building and search engine optimization.
Perform market research to determine which method is most effective for your business niche. An online business that sells products is more successful with website advertisement and search engine optimization than they will be with pay-per-click advertising and list building.
Set a budget for each quarter of the fiscal year that will be devoted to marketing.
Price out the services you expect to use in that quarter and set budgets accordingly for each item. For example, if you utilize a SEO company, it will likely cost between $300 and $600 per month for their services. PPC advertising can be budgeted based on the amount you are willing to spend each month, for example $250.00.
Find the best software to decrease costs. Especially for companies that are just starting out, performing your own marketing can save thousands of dollars. A good SEO program will cost around $400 for one year and a social media automation program will cost approximately $40 per month. The savings are substantial to hiring someone else to do this work. Keeping money in your pocket for a few extra hours of work each day is worth it.
Draft a one-year marketing plan that outlines each month, the budget for each form of advertising and types of ads that will be used. For example, many companies bump up advertising efforts during the holiday season to boost sales and recognition for the coming year and for holiday purchases. You may want to offer special deals or discounts at this time as well.
Implement your marketing plan and monitor it closely. Not all marketing efforts are successful. By assessing your marketing efforts on a month to month basis after the first quarter you will be able to determine which methods are most beneficial for your business. With any marketing efforts for online businesses it takes 60 to 90 days to successfully start generating high volumes of traffic to a website.
Tweak your marketing plan accordingly based on your findings and continue to make minor changes over the course of several years until you have derived a strong, steady client base.

4 Common Mistakes In Small Business Marketing

Keeping new customers coming into your small business is vital. In fact, new customers are like oxygen to your lungs. But there’s a lot of confusion about the best ways to add new customers to a small business. And as a result there’s plenty of bad advice that’s waiting to steer you in the wrong direction.In today’s article, I’ll show you 4 common mistakes to avoid when advertising a small business.Are you ready?Small Business Marketing Mistake #1: Using the cheapest marketing.This is a common mistake I hear all the time. In fact, you should not look for the lowest priced advertising. What you want is the most effective advertising that at least breaks even, and even better puts money into your business on the first go round. The only measure of a good small business marketing promotion is whether or not it puts enough new customers into your store to at least pay for itself. Sometimes, a great piece will even make money on the first go.But remember, the money in new customers is their value over a period of time.Small Business Marketing Mistake #2: Getting concerned over image.This is another mistake that’s very common. And I understand why it’s made. After all, you’ve invested a lot of time and money in your business. So it only seems right that your marketing image should be foremost in your mind.But understand this:The sole purpose of your marketing is to get a new customer. Plain and simple. And what works is being outrageous. Being fun. And grabbing attention so you set yourself apart from your competition that are busy launching boring (me too) campaigns.Small Business Marketing Mistake #3: Not testing. Many people have opinions on what they think good marketing is. But few are qualified to give advice. The way around this is TESTING. Testing your marketing trumps opinions, theories, and beliefs from all the so-called small business marketing experts. So if someone recommends you do something, then so be it. But make sure you test this idea to see if it produces or not.Small Business Marketing Mistake #4: Not being clearDon’t try to be cute or funny in your marketing. Instead focus on giving your reader something that benefits them. Maybe that’s a sample of what you sell… or a one-time deal… or even some free information to help your prospect make a decision. But no matter what, your advertising must deliver crystal clear benefits to your target audience.So keep these four small business marketing mistakes in mind the next time you try to attract new customers to your business.