Multi-Platform Marketing Series – Connecting With Your Customers

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Why Multi-platform Marketing?

 

Over the last 10 years or so, the internet has become more and more ingrained in our daily lives. People use the internet to search for almost everything, including local businesses and other local information.

 

And with the explosive growth of smartphones like Blackberries and the iPhone, this move to searching for everything online is just going to happen faster.

 

If you’re not reaching your customers (and potential customers) in the places they’re searching for information, you’re going to get left behind by your competition that is.

 

In this series, we’re going to look at some of the things that you need to be aware of when marketing on the web, as well as some of the ways that you can not only reach new customers, but get your existing customers to spend more money with you, and do it more often.

 

The Move to Online Search

 

According to Google, 20 percent of all searches are related to location. And comScore reports that Google served up 10.7 billion searches in April, 2011. That means that approximately 2.14 billion searches were related to location – in other words, local search.

 

These numbers have been increasing every year over the last several years. Compare them to April, 2008 when Google served up 6.5 billion searches, which means roughly 1.3 billion local searches.

 

The bottom line is that more and more people are using the internet. These people search for local information, including businesses like yours.

 

And one of the advertising mediums that is being hit the hardest by this move online is Yellow Pages directories. Traditionally, the Yellow Pages has been the “go to” source for local businesses, and as a result if your business wasn’t listed in the Yellow Pages, you would be missing out on a lot of potential customers.

 

But with the transition to internet-based local search, those searchers are becoming less and less likely to use the Yellow Pages. And not only because of the convenience and speed of the internet – they’re also looking for reliable sources for reviews and other information about the companies they’re considering which isn’t possible with print advertising.

 

The Yellow Pages Dilemma

 

Yellow page providers realize that they need to do something to keep from becoming extinct in a few more years. One of the solutions they’ve attempted is internet-based Yellow Page business directories.

 

These directories work much like the printed version. Your ad gets placed in whatever business category is applicable, on the assumption that people will use those directories to find local businesses. But the reality is that those sites have very little traffic – Google, Bing and Yahoo are the places that people turn to when they’re looking for local businesses.

 

This is good for you for several reasons:

 

1.   You have much more flexibility in how you present your business through the search engines than you do with online Yellow Page directories.

 

2.   Your costs will be much less than what you would pay for an ad in the print version of the Yellow Pages, particularly compared to larger ads.

 

3.   With local search marketing, you can update or make changes to your ads as often as you want. Compare that to a print ad that can only be changed annually.

 

And on top of all those things, the internet gives you a much larger reach. Yellow Pages directories generally get distributed once a year, and only to households that have landline phones.

 

According to a study that the Department of Health and Human Services at the National Center for Health Statistics ran from January to June, 2010, approximately 24.9% of all adults live in households with only wireless phones. They have given up landlines completely.

 

That means nearly 25% of your target market may not even receive a Yellow Pages directory. They rely on the internet for virtually 100% of their searches.

 

And interestingly, even more children (29%) live in households with no landline phone. So as those children become adults and move out on their own, these numbers are expected to grow.

Why We Developed cOZport

Advertising on cOZport is an investment in the future – the information local business owners post about their businesses will be here for people to find in the future. It is an opportunity to expand and be ready when the global economy turns around.

There are five specific ways cOZport assists advertisers in a way no other advertising medium can:

1)      It costs less – creating some information and talking about your company costs nothing, but can draw thousands to a business. Also our advertising rates – even for the top spot – costs a fraction of the charges from Yellow Pages, True Local and other directory sites. And we work for you!  And right now you have the opportunity to receive $75.00 worth of free Google Adwords advertising with cOZport!

2)      Better targeting – Techniques like cold-calling, mass mail and email marketing campaigns are poorly targeted and are no longer effective.

3)      It can generate more leads than traditional marketing.  If people are looking online it is because they are in the mood to buy and will contact businesses right away, as they have been pre-sold.

4)      I own it and make the decisions about how it is run – not a committee, a real person is working on your behalf.

5)     Because it is non-Yellow Pages type directory it is more trusted.

 

Connecting With Your Customers

 

There are a number of ways you can connect with your customers online, and if you want to get the best results you need to be take advantage of as many as possible. Because the internet makes it so easy for people to find the solutions they’re looking for, you can’t afford to hope they come to you – you need to meet them wherever they might be searching.

 

The most important place you need to establish a presence is in the search engines – specifically Google, Yahoo and Bing. Of the three, Google gets the largest percentage of searches (roughly 65% in April 2011, according to comScore) so it is the first place you should focus your efforts.

 

There are several aspects to having a presence in Google:

 

–      The search results

–      Google Places

–      Sponsored ads

–      Google Images

–      Google News

–      Google Video

–      The Google Display Network

–      Google Mobile Advertising

These are all part of Google, but in many ways they are independent of each other. We’re going to cover them all in detail in this series, but it’s important to remember that each of them works separately from the others so you want to show up in as many as possible when your customers are searching for you. If you show up in most or all of them, it’s going to create a strong impression with your customers, and make them much more likely to choose you over another business.

 

And keep in mind that the other search engines have many of these same features. We’re going to talk about Google in most parts of this book because they are the largest, but virtually everything we cover translates over to Bing and Yahoo as well.

 

 

Google Plus+

 

Google+ is in beta testing right now and this is a review I wrote for one of my social sites…

 

 

“I have been testing Google +1 on some of my sites.

What I have learned so far as that doing Google +1 only works for those who are in your circles.

What I am learning is that Google is really trying to make their engine into a “social search”.

Which means that normal search still matters, but your searches will be effected by those in your circles Google+ likes.

Hopefully that makes sense.

Maybe in the future they will change how this works, but not for now.”

 

Ask me more about Google+!


Google Places

 

Google has a service for local businesses called Google Places. This service lets you set up a profile for your business where you can showcase various things, such as:

 

  • Special promotions
  • Offers
  • Photos and videos

 

Google Places also lets your customers post reviews about your business and you can respond to those reviews, creating a dialog with those people.

 

Your Google Places listing will show up when someone searches for the products or services you offer in your area, along with other companies offering the same things.

 

Now imagine how this process is going to work for a moment. When someone goes online to search for a company that provides the solutions you can, they’re going to see several results in Google Places. What is going to make them choose one over another?

 

One aspect will be the ranking in Google Places. The top 3 results get the majority of their attention, with the first one getting more than the rest. So you want to be sure your listing is at or near the top of those results. (We’ll look at some strategies for accomplishing this shortly.)

 

Another aspect is how much information is shared. If your company has a full profile with pictures, reviews, special offers and other information, it’s a lot more likely to get the searcher’s attention than another listing that just has the bare minimum information showing.

 

If this is a potential customer’s first impression of your business, you need to be sure you’re putting your best foot forward.

 

There are other important ways to connect with your customers beyond Google Places, however. Some we already mentioned – other Google properties – which we will cover in more detail shortly. But first, let’s look at a relatively new way to reach your customers – social media.

 

 

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