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Content marketing – the phrase conjures up thoughts of blog posts and interacting on social media. Both of those are part and parcel of content marketing, of course, but there’s much more to it than that. In order to be successful here, you’ll need the right mixture of short-form content, and long form content.


However, many business owners struggle when it comes to long form content. What’s the best option? Should you write an ebook? Do need whitepapers? What about reports and the like? Are case studies better? Let’s take a closer look at your long form content options and how each can play a role in your marketing success.


Why Does Long-Form Content Matter?

Before we dive into a discussion of the various types of long form content, let’s dig into why it actually matters. The conventional wisdom is that people are busier than ever. You have mere seconds to catch their attention. They’re bombarded with demands on their interest from all sides, more now than ever before. How does that fit with long form content that requires more attention and time? According to Forbes, “When it’s done right, in the right circumstances, it works.”


So, how do you “do it right”? Well, that largely comes down to choosing the right type for your needs, and then using it correctly.


Authoritative: One important reason why long form content works so well, and is so important, is the fact that it is seen as highly authoritative. This is an essential consideration for brands attempting to build their reputation for being an authority on a particular topic or in a specific area. The more in-depth and detailed the information you can provide, the more authoritative your business appears to customers.


Shareable: Many types of long form content, when not locked behind a paywall, or available as a download only, are highly shareable. This includes reports, short ebooks, case studies, long articles and more. Shareable content is vital for building your audience organically, and getting your customers to spread the word about your company without you having to spend money on marketing.


Value: Finally, long form content delivers greater value to your audience members. It offers more data than short form content, ensuring that your audience can glean more value overall. It might answer more questions, show how to do something in greater depth, or illustrate a point more clearly. All of these are important considerations for businesses attempting to build their brand and reach their audience.




Ebooks are probably the best-known type of long form content. They’ve been around for years, and have been used for everything from lures to get people to visit a website to rewards for signing up for a newsletter or email campaign. When given away, ebooks are excellent long form content options, but you need to use them correctly.


First, they need to be the right length. Don’t write a book that’s 300 pages and then give it away. Your customers aren’t going to read it, and your cost of production will be high. Shoot for anywhere from 10 to 50 pages or so, and make sure that you have a good mix of text and high-quality images. Professional layout and design are also important. Use your ebook as a loss leader, as an incentive, or a reward in a giveaway contest.


Case Studies


Case studies can be either long or short. However, when they’re used as long form content, you’ll find that you have more ability to illuminate the problems and/or challenges faced by clients, why those problems mattered in the first place, and how your firm was able to get around or overcome those obstacles.


Case studies can be distributed individually like reports, or they can be combined into book-like formats featuring several case studies. These are often best used as downloadable content on your website, but they can also be used to great extent within an email marketing campaign. As with ebooks (and most other long-form content), design matters just as much as the quality of your writing. Use graphics, and have the case studies professionally laid out and designed to ensure quality.




Ah, reports – they’re the bread and butter of the long form content world. They can really be just about any length, from little more than a few pages to dozens of pages and more. Reports can be highly detailed, like smaller ebooks, or they can be a bit broader in terms of vision. What separates a report from an ebook? Really, it’s more about appearance than anything else these days.


Reports usually have a different overall format than an ebook does, with less “book-like” design elements, no table of contents, and more/larger graphics in relation to the amount of text. Like case studies and ebooks, reports can be used as rewards for giveaways, as incentives to sign up for a mailing list, or just about anything else you might need.




While most videos you produce should be kept relatively short, there is value in creating some longer videos, as well. These can be used in a number of ways, ranging from showing how to use your product, or how your service was able to benefit a previous customer (think video case study) to behind the scenes content that helps connect your audience with your employees in new ways. You can host videos on your site, on YouTube, both or use them in social media marketing and email campaigns if you like.




Whitepapers are something of a mix between case studies and reports, and they can be used to establish authority and credibility, as well as to inform your audience. They should generally be centered on challenges that your products or services can help customers overcome, but feel free to get a little creative with these, as well. They can also be used in all the same ways as ebooks, reports and case studies.


There you have them – some of the most important long form content options and how each benefits you and can be used in your marketing campaigns.

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Content marketing is one of the most important keys to building a successful online presence today. Without the right content in the right places at the right time, your customers will miss you. What’s more, Google will also give you a miss. However, while it’s vital that you create high quality content, you also need to follow some specific SEO best practices with that content to ensure not just visibility, but adherence to modern optimization requirements. Here’s what you need to know.


Start with Good Content


Content quality trumps everything else, so start with the good stuff. Build your content with human readers in mind – write for your audience, not for Google’s search spiders. Remember that part of SEO is the number of shares your content gets, the amount of time your visitors spend reading your content, and how much they interact with it. Those metrics don’t depend on keyword optimization in any way whatsoever. So, focus on building high quality content first, and worry about keywords and keyword density later on.


Focus on Doing It Right


While the following considerations don’t really affect SEO so much, they will affect Google’s determination of your quality. You need to make sure that all of your content is professionally created and spell-checked, that it reads well, and that there are no blatant errors in the text. If you’re creating video content, the same thing applies, but you get a little bit of leeway as Google can’t yet parse your audio.


Content Length Matters


If there’s one thing that you need to understand, it’s that content length matters greatly in search engine optimization. This doesn’t pertain to website pages as much as it does to things like blog posts and other elements of content marketing. Google wants your content to be at least 1,000 words long, and you’ll need to maintain good quality throughout. If you choose to make your content shorter than this, you’ll most likely want to double the publishing pace so that you’re still putting out roughly 1,000 words of content at a time, just in two posts. Also, understand that it will take longer to build up a backlog of content for Google to index even if you publish this way.


Ensure SEO Is Part of Your Strategy


While you should focus on creating quality content first, you can’t forget about SEO until the very end. It needs to be part of your strategy from the beginning. You’ll need to take the same steps here as you did when creating content for your primary website pages. Namely, you’ll need to research keywords, compare them to what your competition is using, determine competition for those keywords, and more. You need to conduct research on your audience’s intent, on what problem or challenge they’re trying to overcome, and then build both content and keyword usage around those answers.


The Right Keywords Matter


As mentioned, you need to use the right keywords. Each piece of content (pages if you’re doing single pages, but documents if you’re creating longer form content like reports) should focus on a single primary keyword. This is the driving force behind the content, and could be considered the main theme or subject. You also need two to three secondary keywords per page. These relate to the primary keyword, but are different words. For instance, if your primary keyword was gardening, your secondary keywords could be things like organic gardening, pesticide-free gardening, or raised bed gardening.


Write for Personas


You’ve probably heard about buyer personas before, but they bear a little more discussion to help ensure that you really understand what they are and why they matter so much. As a business owner, it’s vital that you know your audience, and how it breaks down into subgroups. Each of those subgroups should receive a persona – a personalization that embodies the characteristics most common to the subgroup.


For instance, you might have Edna, an aging Baby Boomer who’s concerned about making her money stretch, but who believes in paying for quality products. You might have Adam, a Millennial focused on using technology to make his life simpler and easier, and Jen, a member of Generation X who is interested in avoiding unnecessary exposure to chemicals in her food, and living a more natural life.


Each of those people could be a customer of your company, but would have drastically different reasons for seeking out your products or services. You need to break your audience down into segments, identify the motivating factors for each, name them, and then write content for those personas specifically.


Vital Keyword Considerations


Content marketing can be instrumental in building your success, or it can rob you of your juice and result in reduced ranking online. If you take the wrong tack with keyword implementation, Google may think you’re trying to game the system.


Keep your keyword usage natural. Ideally, you should hit 1% density (one use of the keyword per 100 words of text), or even less if necessary. Google has gotten a lot better at indexing content based on subject, rather than keyword density, so resist the urge to keyword stuff. Nothing good can come from that.


You should also make sure that your keyword usage is organized correctly. As mentioned previously, use one primary keyword and a few secondary keywords per page, and don’t try to mix them up too much or use too many of the same keywords in multiple pieces of content.


If you follow these best practices, you’ll find that you are able to create high-quality content that delivers value to your human readers, while also giving Google something to index, and nothing to red flag your business for.

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All small business owners need to harness multiple marketing methods. Traditional marketing, like radio spots and magazine ads, is both expensive and less effective than it once was. Today, you need to harness the power of tools like social media marketing, blogging and, of course, email marketing.


As Forbes mentions, “Despite how effective and affordable email is, there is one critical requirement for email marketing success. You will need subscribers.” You need to ensure that you’re marketing the right way through email, which means you need your customers’ permission before you start messaging them.


Building an email list is the way to do that, but how do you create an email list? We’ll look at some of the best ways in this brief guide.


Make Sure You Have the Right Incentive


In order to convince people to sign up for your email list, you will most likely need an incentive of some type. It’s true that some businesses don’t need any form of incentive, other than the promise to keep customers up to date on things, but most do. What can you use for an incentive? Actually, there are plenty of different options. Reports and whitepapers make excellent incentives, as do ebooks and guides. Whatever you use should be substantial enough that your audience finds value in it, but not so much so that you’re “giving away the farm” or that you’re draining your profitability in creating it in the first place.


Visible Sign Up Form


Your audience can’t sign up for your email list if the signup form isn’t visible. Make sure you place your form signup area prominently on your website. You also need to make it clear what the signup is about – what does your customer or potential customer gain from signing up? Don’t be coy about it, either. Put it out there. Your call to action should be clear, succinct, and compelling, not flirty or “beating about the bush”. You should also consider adding your signup form or a link to it at least in multiple areas of your website. Place one in the header and footer of every page on your site. Create specific landing pages, and then link to them on social media sites. Get creative.


Consider a Joint Venture


If you really want to build an email list, consider embarking on a joint venture. Essentially, this is a partnership with another company within your vertical that’s related to you, but doesn’t offer exactly the same thing. For instance, suppose you were a photographer and wrote a book about how to use Photoshop for beginners. You could approach Adobe directly about a joint venture. Your book could be sold as a standalone product, and it could also be chosen as part of a bundle when new buyers signed up. Every time a purchase was made, you’d gain another customer’s contact information for your email list, as well as a sale. The real beauty of this is that it’s not a once and done sort of thing. Once you have the email address of those customers, it’s yours to keep. You can use it down the road should you have another product that might interest them.


Add Signup into Your Forms


Does your website require that users create an account in order to access specific areas? This can be an excellent opportunity to include an email sign up area. In fact, most consumers won’t think twice about providing their email address as part of the overall signup process, and then you have access to that address for your marketing needs.


Of course, you’ll need to include a permission box for them to check showing that they agree to receive periodic email communications from your company, but, again, most consumers won’t bat an eye at this during the account creation process. The beauty of this method is that it works for any website where an account is needed – it doesn’t have to be to access content behind a paywall or anything like that. Free websites can use it just as easily as paid sites can.


Embed the Signup Form


People hate having to go to a new page to complete an action. In fact, many of them will opt out once they realize that they have to change pages. To get around that challenge (and double your opt-in rate), embed the signup form in the website page itself. It could be something as simple as:


Sign up for updates from us!

[email input box]

Subscribe Now (button)


Your customer simply adds their email to the box and clicks the button. It really is that simple. You remove hurdles from the signup process and make your customers happy that they don’t need to change pages.


Add It to Your Printed Collateral


While print marketing might be less effective than in years gone by, you still use a great deal of printed collateral in your business. You have business cards, letterhead and receipts, for instance. You can use those to your advantage. Make sure you add a prompt to join your email list to all of your printed collateral and you’ll have yet another avenue to grow that list. Of course, you’ll see less traction from printed material than from online options, but it’s an important element to exploit.


These are just a few of the ways that you can start building an email list for your small business. It doesn’t have to be a difficult challenge – you can slowly build your number of contacts, communicate with them, and build strong relationships while enhancing your brand’s value and market share.


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Email marketing has been called many things over the years, ranging from the equivalent of “the best thing since sliced bread” to “better off dead”. It’s one of the oldest forms of content marketing, yet it’s still around, and that’s a testament to its power, reach and sheer ability to connect with your audience on their own turf.


As Forbes says, “Marketers should always use email marketing to stay connected with their target audience. Regardless of the different strategies open to marketers today, you’ll find email marketing to be integral to your marketing campaign. This is still the leading channel for getting the best ROI.”


However, in order to be successful with email marketing, you need to go about it the right way. This is where to many business owners make mistakes that ultimately cost them time, money and market share. What do you need to know about email marketing? How do you ensure you’re doing it right?


Customization Matters


Too many business owners market to their customers through email in the same way. That is, you send the same email to each and every customer, regardless of their age, gender, interests or budget. That’s problematic. You need to ensure that you’re customizing your emails to each individual.


You cannot afford to take a one size fits all approach here. Your customers expect personalization, and you have the tools to achieve it. Segregate your email list by interest, by past purchases, by clicks on links to landing pages, age, location and other metrics so that you can more accurately target your audience.


Only Market When You Have Permission


Let’s get this one out of the way early on – don’t spam. If you don’t have permission to send someone email, don’t do it. It’s really as simple as that. Not spamming won’t make your other marketing efforts more effective, but it will help prevent from generating a reputation as a spammer, and it will ensure that your company isn’t named in complaints about unsolicited emails or blacklisted in recipients’ email filters. Create an email list through an opt-in form on your website. Don’t buy email address lists. Don’t spam. See? Simple.


Make Sure to Base Emails on Where Your Customer Is At


While you should definitely care about geographic location, this tip is more concerned with where your customer is at in their journey. Have they only just heard of your company? Have they expressed an interest in a product, but haven’t yet made a purchase? Have they bought from you, but only once or twice? Are they a confirmed lover of your brand, or a brand advocate?


These are all examples of ways you can reach different individuals with your email marketing and tailor the content to where they are within the wider customer journey. For instance, someone who has purchased from your company several times might prefer a “reward” email, while one who has never bought from you at all might like an “introductory deal” type of email. The variations here are limitless, but it’s important to realize that you need to market to not just your individual recipients, but their specific progress down the sales funnel.


Touch Base Soon


When a new prospect signs up for your email list, it’s important that you touch base with them as soon as possible, at least within 24 hours of the sign up. You don’t need to send anything sales-related, but you do need to at least acknowledge the sign up and thank them for it. You can do this in any number of ways. There are automated email programs out there like Aweber and Mail Chimp that will help you automate this and can send emails on different triggering events. If you’re using HubSpot, then you will have access to the Email Workflows App, which can do the same thing. Whatever the case, make sure you’re on the ball about welcoming new members to the list.


Send from a Real Person


When’s the last time you looked forward to getting an email from a company? Chances are good that your answer is “never”. You want to hear from a person at that company, and your customers do as well. Send all of your marketing emails from a specific personal address at your company’s domain – Bill@YourCompany.com, rather than Marketing@YourCompany.com. It makes you look more genuine and makes your messages more likely to be opened rather than deleted unread.


Make Your Subject Compelling


This is probably one of the most common areas for business owners/marketers to struggle. You need to ensure that your subject line is compelling, and that it stands out from other emails in your recipient’s inbox. Here are some real world examples of subject lines that fit the bill. You’ll notice that most of them aren’t flashy, or even click-bait-y, but they definitely work:


·      The Old Farmer’s Almanac: Our 2018 Resolution? Stay Organized!

·      Home Depot: Fall Updates – Do Beauty on a Budget!

·      Mother Earth News: Grow, Build, Save: Sustainable Living Made Easy

·      Keeping Backyard Bees: In the Bee-ginning


All of those are subject lines taken from actual emails, and they’re all compelling enough to get the recipient to open the message. You need to achieve something similar with your own email marketing to ensure that your emails have the best chance of being read, rather than just deleted with the other junk.


There you have them – some of the most important email marketing tips for business owners. Of course, these are really only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There are many other things that you’ll need to know in order to market successfully.

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Content remains king. Despite the rise of social, the explosion of marketing tools, and the many ways to measure your success, content is still the most important consideration in your marketing efforts. You can use PPC ads, harness the power of social media ads, and promote your company through tweets all you want, but if you don’t have content that will appeal to your audience, you’re going to fall flat on your face.


This is where many business owners struggle, though. What content should you use? What’s the best option for your needs? What do your customers expect you to have available for them, and what sort of content gets the most traction? Let’s discuss some of the most critical types of content for your marketing needs, and why each is so important.


Educational Content


One of the most important types of content to have is that which educates your audience. This might be content that educates them about your product or service, but you’ll find more traction if you can educate them about the problem they’re experiencing, the causes of that problem, and the various solutions to it, with your product or service listed as just one of the possible options.


This comes across as much more genuine, and far less marketing-oriented. You position your company as one that cares about your customers’ challenges, rather than just about building your bottom line. Educational content can take any number of forms, as well, from blog posts to entire ebooks and reports. However, it’s better suited to longer form options, rather than short-form marketing like social media posts.


Entertaining Content


Your audience wants to be entertained. You’ll find that entertaining content can also be quite memorable. There are any number of prime examples out there of businesses creating compelling marketing content that entertains. Volkswagen is one of these, but you’ll also find Guinness, Nike and many other companies capable of delivering content that makes audiences chuckle, while reinforcing their brand’s qualities and ethos.


Entertaining content can be long or short, and it can be text or video if you prefer. As a note, video-based content is an ideal medium for entertainment, as it’s one of the most sought-after forms of content on the Internet. Remember that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and it serves up nothing but video content.


Inspirational Content


Content that inspires your audience is an excellent option to include in your marketing campaign. It should not be the only type of content you use, but it does provide a vital alternative to other options, and allows you to change the way your audience sees your company. What sort of content might be inspirational? Well, take your pick, really. One option is to adopt a social cause – access to clean water, environmental consciousness, physical health and well-being, access to mental health care services – these are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.


Combine that support with inspirational messages and actions. Sponsor a running team in a local 5K or 10K race where the proceeds go toward your supported cause, or donate a portion of your proceeds for a specific period to a charity or worthy cause. These are all inspirational actions, but they also tie into your company’s social responsibility and show that you’re more than just a faceless business interested in profit. You’re an integral member of the wider community.


Conversion-Oriented Content


Not all of your content should be focused on building your brand. Some of it needs to be focused on converting potential customers into actual buyers. You’ll need less of this type of content, but it’s still vital to create it and know where and how to use it. Conversion-oriented content can be just about anything that encourages a potential customer to take that last step and convert. Even a product page of your company’s website is technically conversion-oriented content.


Other examples include demonstrations, blog posts that highlight how your product or service works, case studies involving your services of products, ratings for your wares and more. You can use this content in many ways, as well. Obviously, it can and should play a significant role on your website, but you should also consider using it in blog posts, in email marketing, in giveaway content (reports and case studies), and the like.


Content Formats – Using Content Types to Your Advantage


While we’ve discussed content formats to an extent, we need to dig into them a bit more. What content formats are the most beneficial for businesses? While there’s no one size fits all solution out there, you’ll find that the following content formats are generally better received than others:


·      Infographics: Infographics can be used in just about any way, from email marketing to social media and have a significant potential to go viral.

·      Video: Like infographics, video content can be used in an incredibly wide range of platforms, and can be highly effective at building your success.

·      Lists: Lists have always been popular, and they remain so, but you’ll need to avoid being seen as click-bait-y to use them effectively.

·      Case Studies: Case studies are particularly effective in the world of B2B marketing, but they can also be used to great effect in B2C marketing, as well.

·      Blog Posts: Yes, blogging is still alive and well, and if your company doesn’t have an active blog, you’re failing to reach your audience in a big way.


These are just a few of the various content formats that you need to harness and put to work on your behalf. Content marketing is vital, no matter your industry, size or niche, and it’s equally crucial that you use the right type and format to reach your audience and guide them through the sales funnel.


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There are many different tactics that can be used to ensure a higher search engine ranking, and some work better than others. What a local business usually is focused on is generating more leads, being found in the local market, and increasing local traffic. By utilizing a few different tactics, you can do all those things and do them well. We’ll go over a few of your best options bellows.

Mobile SEO

Pretty much everyone knows at this point that having a responsive mobile site is crucial. Google announced quite some time ago that mobile searches are much more common than desktop searches. Because of that, having a mobile site that people want to use is something you should put a high priority on.

You want to make sure your site is easy to use. You’ll have people use it who are very tech savvy, but many people won’t be. You want both groups, and everyone in between, to be able to pop on your site and find the information they want. One way to excel at this is to offer tabs on your mobile site that link to the most used webpages. It can also be smart to check out competitors to see what they list to get an idea of any changes you might want to make.

Name, Address, Phone Number

This is something that is easy to do and can actually have a big impact for the time put into it. Make sure that you have your NAP (name, address, and phone number) on your homepage. If you have only one location, you can even put it on every single page on your site. This should be present on your mobile website, as well. This ensures people (and search engines) know who you are, where you are, and have a means to contact you.

Choosing Directories

Being listed in directories is crucial for the local business. It can help your search engine ranking, but more importantly, it can also offer a place where customers can find you. For those who prefer to use a service to get going with this, consider Moz Local. It’s important to get your site listed with Google Maps, but it can be a good idea to look at Bing, Yahoo, and other places as well. Some of these directories have a fee associated with them, but others do not.

Free listings that you can start with include Yelp.com, Superpages.com, YellowBot.com, YellowPages.com, YP.com, and Eventbrite.com. However, you should also do some research on local directories, as well, and post your information on as many of them as possible.

Website Title Tags

When it comes to search engines, title tags are paramount to success. Google isn’t ranking websites as a whole, it’s ranking pages. That holds true for other search engines, as well. For a local business, ensure you use your city or location so people know you’re there. You should also describe what you offer and use top keywords to do so.

The most important aspect of this will be your meta description, which tells customers and searchers what you do or provides. This is what goes under the link on a search engine and explains a bit about you. The blue section is the title, the black is the meta. Use this as a way to talk up your business and include keywords to get the right customers on your site.

Google My Business

Setting up your information here can be a critical aspect of finding success online. You can provide information about your business, including what type of business it is, where it’s located, what you offer, and so forth. You can also include your logo and some photos, which can make people more interested in learning about you.

Below is a small set of steps that can walk you through setting up your business with this website.

1.    Visit Google My Business and see if you are listed on the site already.

2.    If you are not listed, list yourself. Be sure to fill in information about your business, along with its location.

3.    Verify your address with Google. They will send out a pin to your location which you will input into the site to prove that you own it.

4.    Complete your business profile by offering photos and information that customers will be interested in.

5.    Connect with other businesses to get your business out there even more.

You should also occasionally check in to update your description and information. Double check that your name, address, and phone number are correct. Not doing so can actually hurt you, as search engines will be unsure about what information is actually correct.


Reviews matter quite a bit when it comes to page ranking on search engines, something not everyone is aware of. Having a decent number of positive reviews on places like Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp can actually move your ranking higher above other local businesses in the same sector. As such, it’s important to spend time acquiring reviews from happy customers.

You can do this in many ways, but one option is to send out correspondence to customers and ask them to review. You can also offer a discount or a promotion to make people more likely to do so. If you are polite and genuine in your requests, people are often more than happy to leave a review for you. They may also appreciate the personal contact and become further entrenched as a customer or fan of your brand.

By deciding to do some of the things on this list, you can certainly have an impact on traffic and leads to your site. Doing a few will help to some extent, but if you jump in and do them all, you can expect to see decent results. This is especially true if you keep to the work and continually strive to provide customers with what they want.

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It seems like a million years ago when a business would pay a sum once a year to be listed in the Yellow Pages. In modern times, there are tons of online directories out there, just waiting for you to list your company. With four out of five consumers now using a search engine to find products and services, it’s important that your company is out there and ready to be found.

Sifting through the many directory choices can be a little overwhelming, something we understand. That’s why we’re providing you with a list of some of the most important places to be seen in order to get more exposure as a local business. We’ll also shorten the process by providing you URLs to submit your information.

Google My Business

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you already know about this site and have a listing on it. That’s great, because it is massive and takes in over seven billion searches on an average day. In addition, it has a map that is mobile-friendly, something customers will appreciate.

If, for some reason, you aren’t listed on Google My Business, you should do that first.


MerchantCircle is a free network that targets small businesses who are looking to connect with other small businesses and customers in the local area. Those who use the site can post business blogs, boost listings, and take advantage of a host of marketing tools for building their business. By being active on the site, a business will get more local exposure. You can sign up here.

Yahoo Local Listing

This site is ranked just under Google and Bing and brings in millions of searches on a daily basis. The site does have a basic listing that is free, but there are paid options as well. For under $10 a month, you can add a description and photos, while paying just under $30 lets you post listings on dozens of other directories. You can sign up and post a listing here.


Yelp is an excellent site for finding consumer reviews. Businesses can send public and private messages to customers and also access the Yelp reporting tool to review business trends. The most used categories on Yelp are restaurants, shopping, and home services. Sign up here.

Bing Places for Business

Bing gets the most visits of any other directory, excluding Google. Some of the perks include the allowance to add multiple locations, videos, and photos with a free registration. In addition, Bing is the default search engine for many Windows devices, so it gets a lot of use. You can enroll here.

Yellow Pages

This site acts as the online version of the classic Yellow Pages that was delivered to your home. They also bring in millions of searches a day. The service allows you lead generation, advertising, and ad performance data. Sign up at this URL.

White Pages

While White Pages isn’t quite as large as Yellow Pages, it’s still an excellent destination to list your local business with. It has over 30 million companies on its directory. It also has opportunities for sponsored ads and a text message service for paying customers. Find out more here.


This directory has business listings in an easily searchable format. The listings include information about your business, a link to your website, a map, product descriptions, and both display and video ads. In addition to being posted on the directory, it will be listed with partner sites, as well. You can enroll here.


Manta bills itself as having one of the largest online repositories of resources for small businesses. Registration can be done in a snap and you will be able to highlight your products, while also using various optimization package options. You can expect to find news, advice, promotion options, and tools specific to small businesses. Enroll here.


This service is similar to Yellow Pages and allows you to provide location information and basic contact information for your business. They offer customer reviews and there are options for premium listings, easy sign-in with Windows Live, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Yahoo, as well as searchable tags. You can sign up here.


This directory specializes in listings for restaurants, hotels, bars, spas, and other businesses. They have a partner network that includes MerchantCircle, Expedia, and Urbanspoon. Listings can be accessed through the Citysearch app and preferred businesses may be named on local “best of” lists in over a dozen categories. You can sign up here.


This directory has a subscription rate for businesses related to entertainment or hospitality industries. The site has about 390 million unique visitors in a month and has more than 400 million reviews related to nearly seven million restaurants, accommodations, and attractions. Sign up is available here.


This online directory offers the ability to help get your website listed in Google searches. You can also set up coupons for customers. The site attracts 1.5 million users a month across 38 different countries. Find the signup here.

Angie’s List

This site is extremely well known and offers consumer reviews in over 700 countries. Angie’s List has over three million members who rate, hire, review, and research service providers in their local area. This year the company was listed on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500. You can create a file for your company here.


This directory is free and offers searchers details on events, deals, and information related to their city. There are more than 16 million business listings that span every zip code in the United States. Some paid options exist, including coupons. Sign up here.


This site is a business directory but also a social networking site where users can check in their locations via a map function. It has over 60 million users and 50 million monthly active users. Sign up for it here.

There you have it, a total of 16 different directories that can help you get your business out in front of people in your own community. Whether you choose to sign up for only a few, or all the services on the list, it should help you with gaining a following among those nearby.

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If you’ve been working to market your business on the Internet, you’ve likely already been exposed to the terms local SEO and organic SEO. But, you may be curious what the difference is between these two types of SEO.

We’re going to walk through the differences between the two, but also talk a little about how local and organic SEO are similar, as well.

Organic Search

An organic search is a search where the user is looking for information rather than a particular location that provides a service or product. For instance, someone might make a search for ‘chana masala recipe’, hoping to find instructions for how to make the dish in their own kitchen. The search engine will likely give the most popular recipes for chana masala.

The search engine uses hundreds of factors to index and rank websites, including keywords, inbound links, grammar, and outbound links, to determine the best webpages that offer what you are searching for.

Local Search

A local search is very similar to an organic one, except that a local search has a geographical component to it. When someone looks up both a location and industry, the search engine understands that the person wants to find a local business that is in the industry specified.

So, rather than looking for a chana masala recipe, maybe someone wants to order in Indian food, instead. Their search might look something like this, ‘Chicago Indian delivery.’ Google, or another search engine, will see that location and pull up any results there that fit the query.

Below those results on Google, you’ll see the organic results from above. These will not have local intent involved.

Who Needs to Rank in Local & Organic?

If you have a local business with a specific address that you want people to check out, you want to rank high in local search. Someone who is searching for you is likely looking for a business they can visit soon, and you want to be the business they find first.

However, if you aren’t worried about location and simply want your business to rank for certain keywords, organic search is what you are looking for. Essentially, if you want people to go somewhere specifically in the world, work on local search. If you want people to go somewhere online, organic search is going to be what helps you out.

Local Businesses & Organic Searches

You may wonder if there is any point in raking well organically if you are a local business. The answer here is that it depends. A business with multiple locations may want to hit some targets on the organic search front. This also applies if you have a blog that you want to bring more visitors to.

If you have a single location and simply want foot traffic, focusing on local SEO may be all you need.

Local Search Marketing

For those looking to market to the locals, it’s very important to show up on local searches. At least 50% of searchers who are doing a local search are going to visit businesses within 24 hours. If you aren’t listed where you need to be, you likely won’t even be on the searcher’s radar.

In order to optimize for local searches, location is key. You need to ensure that search engines are aware of where you are located. This allows them to offer you as a potential destination when users look for businesses like yours in the local area.

This is why it’s so important for your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) is consistent across your website, along with other local listing directories. That’s only the tip of the iceberg for local SEO, but it’s a very important aspect to keep in mind.

Organic SEO

Since organic SEO doesn’t rely on location, it’s less important to worry about optimizing in that way. Instead, you want to make sure that your website is ranking well for certain search terms. This might be a short term like ‘chana masala recipe’ or a question, such as someone would speak into their voice search ‘what is the best chana masala recipe.’

The best way to utilize keywords is to place them strategically throughout your content. You should use your main keyword in headings, and other keywords can be used throughout your paragraphs. But whatever you do, don’t stuff keywords. Too many of them can have a negative effect on your search engine ranking.

How Local and Organic SEO Affect Each Other

There are many SEO practices that can actually help both organic and local search rankings. A good example of this is when claiming your business page on local listing directories, such as Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Bing. Each time you fill one of these out, you’re adding another place that links back to your website.

By listing on these directories, search engines can take your NAP and determine where you are located. As mentioned above, they also link to your website. This helps with link building which can help your organic SEO rank. This is because search engines look at the number of backlinks you have when ranking your website.

Having on-site local SEO, like when you update a page with your location or writing a blog post about a local event, is another way you can help both local and organic rankings. Search engines appreciate when websites offer new content, so even if the content is local, it helps boost organic SEO, at the same time.

When it comes down to it, working on local or organic SEO can help your website ranking. However, it can also have a negative effect if it’s done in the wrong way. Consider your strategies thoroughly to ensure that doesn’t happen to you.

Having search engines know your site can help bring in potential customers who are interested in what you offer. But remember that searchers are the most important people to take care of. Ensure your website has everything they need so they can find your services, hours, and location easily.

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You likely already have a website for your business, but have you considered ways you can optimize it to bring in more traffic? Truthfully, the more tweaking you do, the better you will do with attracting new customers and traffic. You don’t want to go overboard, but at the same time, you want to make sure your website is the best it can be.

However, there are a number of simple ways that you can change your site so it offers a better experience for users. We’ll go over the most useful ways to optimize your site, so you have a great starting point to build off of. Many are simple tweaks that you can implement when you have a few extra moments, although some are more time consuming.

Quality Backlinks

Something that can improve your ranking is having links from high-quality websites. The sites you want links from are going to be authoritative domains that people trust. Being linked to from them adds positive reputation to your own site. If you can acquire backlinks from large companies, this is an added positive.

Local Links

If you want to focus on local businesses, that can help as well, but remember to cast your net to the most quality of them available. Having links from local newspapers and media sites is great for your business. Ensuring your website is posted on local directories is another excellent idea.

Social Media

Posting on social media can lead to people visiting your website. If you post quality content, you’re going to gain users. Those users will then share your content. Those who may not know about your company may end up clicking, giving you a chance to make new fans.

Local Reviewers

Reviews are very important for a local business looking to gain page views and traffic. A large number of local directories will feature ratings from some local businesses. The more positive reviews you have, the better. For one, you could be featured on a directory. In addition, the more ratings you have, the more likely someone new will find you and check out your business.

One of the ways that you can entice people to leave an honest review is by offering a discount or promotion. This offers a situation where both you and your users benefit.

Location Information

Local SEO benefits from using location information, especially when regarding keywords. Many local companies choose to include their city and state in their title or description. If you have your location listed on major pages, you may be featured on a web search looking for businesses in the area. People in the area are more likely to check out a website that is located nearby.

Avoid Stuffing

Keywords can be helpful, but the overuse of them can actually get more negative attention than positive. While there are arguments about the keyword density you should use, many people suggest anywhere from 0.1% to 2% of your main website copy. You should also not use the same keyword over and over. It can actually turn people off of reading your copy as it comes off as nothing other than advertisement.

Content Is King

Of course, some webpages are going to benefit from being concise. However, in most case, pages with a reasonable amount of text rank higher on the search engines. So, take your time to craft stories and content that people will appreciate. It can help gain the attention of your audience and at the same time give you a better rank on Google and Bing.

Image File Names

You may or may not know this already, but search engines can read image file names. This can be an effective use of SEO, simply by properly naming an image and using keywords that you want to rank for. It takes very little time to do so and can give you an edge over the competition.

Alt Tags

If you aren’t familiar with alt tags, these are the tags used to describe an image. These tags are read by bots who search your site for ranking purposes. While they cannot see an image, they can understand what it is about if you implement alt tags. You will typically want to use a tag that contains a keyword that you are looking to rank for.

Headers as Keywords

While you may know that titles are great for keyword inclusion, so are headers. These are used to break up long pages of content and can offer the perfect option for inserting some lesser-used keywords that you want to rank for. If you have a handful of headings, use a different keyword in each one to make the most of their usage.

Title Keywords

The titles of your pages and posts are a good place to add in your main keyword. Search engines take titles seriously and they will value whatever is there. Add in a main keyword, or post your location, in order to have that accessible to search engine bots. It’s just one more way you can implement keywords without it being overboard for users, but still offering extra access for search engines.


The URL of your site may be the most important thing about it. Every time someone types in your domain name, they’re going to think about your business and brand. It’s an excellent idea to keep your domain name short, so it’s simple to type in. Subpages should also not be overly lengthy. Keeping the word count to 10 or 15 words per URL is the best plan.

Using these 12 tips and tricks, you will be well on your way to having a website that is optimized for local SEO. You can implement these all at once or take it one at a time. Most of these tricks will gain you positive ranking and additional users, but it can take some time to do so. Be patient and enjoy the ride!

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As a local business, budget constraints can make traditional marketing a little tough. This is even more clear when it comes to on-page SEO, since there’s no way to determine ROI beforehand.

Content marketing is important, there’s no other way to say it. However, there are many other ways to implement local SEO that can be cheaper and just as successful. We’ve pulled together several options for a local business that do not rely on content marketing.

Choose an Alternative

Compelling content can certainly bring in links, comments, and traffic – but other things can do that as well. The question is, what should your company focus on if not content?

When you look at some of the world’s most successful sites, you may find that they aren’t always content sites. Many of them offer a place for community, utilities that people need, or games and other entertainment items.

Looking at that, you can see that being entertaining and useful can bring in those pageviews, even without a ton of content.

This brings your company to the question of what your customers want. Can you build an application solution for a problem? Could you offer some resources that make their lives easier? Do you have a lively base that would be excited to join an online community?

Any of these things can bring in people. It might take more time to build an application or community forum, but it’s also something that can be built upon over time. So, rather than worrying about content, you just want to offer something people want.

Avoid Exact Match Keyword Domains

Many businesses hope that they can get a great rank for their site by using a common keyword in the domain name. However, this isn’t the best idea. Google has actually updated specifically to avoid this having a huge impact on your ranking.

Instead, consider using a uniquely branded name. By having a unique name, Google can tell that searches for that name are searches about you and your brand. This can give you a boost in search results after a number of queries. Rather than being automobiles.us, be Ford.com.

In addition, it’s best not to use your physical location in the domain. It makes the domain name longer and harder to type. It also makes it hard to gain growth if you ever move to new locations or sell to a global audience.

Use UI and UX

Most local websites offer a pretty average experience. You don’t want to be that site. What you want is to provide exactly what a potential customer wants to find, and do it in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Why UI and UX for local SEO? There are a few reasons that we suggest this type of interactive website. The first is that responsive design allows your site to look great, no matter what device it is on. It also allows you to split test landing pages to determine which is more effective. You can also run tests to determine what users are looking for and how to ensure you provide that in the easiest way.

Customers are primarily interested in having access to three things: an easy to use contact form or web chat, a phone number and address, and products or services and their prices.

You can also leave space on your landing page for your blog, testimonials, consumer reviews, and memberships, but these should only take up a small amount of the landing page. You want people to be able to find what they need and easily use it. That’s all it comes down to.

Social Media

It is smart to set up profiles on all the major social media sites, even if you don’t put a large investment into them. The sites you should ensure you have a profile on include Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube.

You already know that community can lead to business, so it is worth having major investment on at least one social media site. This leads to a feeling of community that immerses others.

You should also consider that updates with humor, images, inspiring stores, and interactive facets are most likely to be shared. You want people to know your name and get involved in the community and social media is a good way to do so.

Customer Reviews

Reviews can be quite important when it comes to local search results, and they can also take people from being unsure about your business to being customers. Do what you want to encourage your customers to post reviews on Google, as well as places like Yelp, Foursquare, and SuperPages.

In addition, you can embed those Google reviews onto your website. This helps you get more people into your place of business, and even encourage more reviews. Do what you can to remind customers to leave a review if they are happy with the service they received. It can go a long way.

Local Citations

Local SEO depends on citations, which are simply places your business name, phone number, and address are listed on the Internet. Citations that come from legitimate places can help boost visibility on Google Maps and search results. The more you have, the better you’re going to do.

Always be sure, however, that your listings are the same across different sites. One way to do that is to use a tool that helps build citations. Some top of the line options include BrightLocal.com, Moz Local, Whitespark’s local citation finder, and Yext.com.

Content marketing may be considered a must when it comes to a web presence, but in truth, there are other ways to find success. Switching your focus from content to community and usability can actually help a lot when it comes to local SEO.

So, use some of these tips to move in new directions and see how it affects pageviews and other metrics for your site. You may find a new direction that works just as well, or better, than constantly posting content. Good luck!

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There are so many social media sites and applications on the landscape nowadays. This makes it difficult to determine exactly where to focus your attention. Facebook and Twitter are known as excellent social media spots to have a presence, but what about the other guys? Tumblr. Pinterest. YouTube.

One of those other guys, Snapchat, may be one you haven’t thought about in regards to your local business SEO. However, it might be an application worth taking a second look at. Snapchat is no longer an app for selfies and cat photos. Celebrities have taken to it as a destination to promote themselves, so why not businesses?

While there is plenty of room for businesses on the platform, it hasn’t taken off as a destination yet. Be one of the first by signing up.

Why Snapchat

A recent report shows that more than 60% of United States citizens between the ages of 13 and 34 are on Snapchat. Most of these users are not just logging on once out of curiosity, either. They’re on the app every single day, sometimes multiple times a day, to interact with others and create new content.

So, how can you use Snapchat for your brand? We have some tips to start you off. Of course, you should allow your imagination to dictate your use of the platform, as that’s what the social media giant is known for. However, sometimes that can be overwhelming so we’re going to break down a few ideas for you.

How to Use Snapchat as a Business

Snapchat is still new compared to many other social media platforms, so there is no standard strategy that you can copy. However, that might be a good thing. It allows for creative marketing and the possibility of being on the waves of a big thing when marketing goes big on Snapchat.

Here are the most common reasons brands have taken to Snapchat:

Engaging with Their Audience

Snapchat is different from other social media platforms in that content can only be seen for a very limited amount of time. This actually makes content more valuable for users, knowing they have such a minuscule time period to check out new content. It makes engaging with content fun and limited, something the audience truly enjoys.

Showing Humanity

You are probably interested in Snapchat to show off your brand, but you don’t have to make the entire account related to the business. You can show off yourself as a person by snapping moments from your day and showing them to fans. People on Snapchat don’t want the same boring interactions they can get on any other site, they want to get deeper and Snapchat allows that.

Showcasing the human side of your business is a marketing trick that is especially useful on Snapchat. It’s also a great place to provide casual content that is intended for a smaller audience.

Building Brand Awareness

Snapchat does have a younger user base, which is why typical marketing techniques may not work so well. The platform works well for storytelling, however, as evidenced by the inclusion of ‘Snapchat Stories’ – which are compilations of videos and images that are available for 24 hours and allow you to show off moments from your day.

If you have a dose of creativity, you can use the platform to create exciting snaps that wouldn’t go over on other social media sites. In addition, with a little work you can partner with influencers to grow your business locally and spread brand awareness.

Building a Strategy

While there is plenty of room for interesting and fresh marketing ideas on Snapchat, there are some ways to use the platform in a strategic way. We’ll go over a few of these, which might give you something to work off of when determining your own business plan for Snapchat.

Tease Users

Since snaps are only ten seconds long, it makes it the perfect option for showing off a new product or offering a look at one of your services. If you have something new coming out or simply want to shine light on an existing product, make a few images related to the product. Show behind the scene photos or make short videos offering up tidbits about the next new thing coming from your brand.

Promos and Discounts

Promotions and contests work well for boosting engagement and Snapchat’s platform is a great place to offer these types of perks. If people know you’re offering an exclusive deal, they’re more likely to open your snaps and engage with you and your company. You can even go a bit further and hold fun contests. You might offer a great deal to those who take snaps while using one of your products.

Live Events

If there’s something exciting going on in the area, you can use Snapchat to spread some excitement about it. This will result in interest in your business, as well. If you’re visiting somewhere cool or enjoying an event, take some snaps and interact with your fans while the event is happening. The excitement and fun of the event will translate in your snaps and make people more excited to see more of your content.

Exclusive Content

People nowadays want a real glimpse into the background of the things and people they love, and Snapchat is a great place to offer that. People on Snapchat appreciate authenticity and they want to see what happens with things and people they care about when they aren’t around to see it.

Use this to your advantage by providing that content to the people who watch your snaps. This might be taking them behind the scenes while you introduce something new, or a few snaps introducing different people on your team and who they are aside from being a part of the business.

Whether you use these tips or go in another direction, it’s clear that Snapchat has potential to spread news about your brand to people in your area. Log on and see how it can help you in your pursuit of local marketing ideas.

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Tumblr might not be the first place you think of when it comes to marketing, but it can actually be a great place to bring some marketing strategy. Having a Tumblr presence is similar to having a typical website. It’s a wonderful place to find a niche audience and following, especially if you’re in an interesting industry. However, even typical industries can find some success there if they do things right.

Basic Tumblr SEO Tips

·      Choose a responsive theme for your Tumblr page

·      Keep ads reasonable and to a minimum

·      Use your on-site SEO strategy and do the same thing on your Tumblr

·      Check for any page errors and fix them ASAP

·      Optimize your images with title tags, as well as preferred quality and sizes

·      Build links to your Tumblr posts for added ranking

·      Use Google Search Console to link your Tumblr

·      Build a sitemap for the Tumblr

·      Do responsible anchor text optimization

·      Utilize structured data, when possible

Most of these things are similar to the concepts you use on your website, but without a lot of the added hassle. If you’re already confident with your SEO strategy on your website, using the same methods on Tumblr will go a long way.

On-Page SEO Options

Most of your Tumblr traffic is going to come from a search engine, link on your or someone else’s site, or a Tumblr search. This is why it’s important to ensure you optimize each of your Tumblr pages, along with each post you make. This relates to the text, links, videos, and pictures that you post.

For the most part, search engine and link traffic is going to work the same way it does for other sites. So, we’re going to focus on ways to optimize your site for Tumblr searches.


When you post on Tumblr, you want to ensure you tag your posts. Think of keywords that describe what you’re posting and then tag with those words. You will want to optimize your use of tags and the best way to do so is by using five tags on each post. Only five will show up in searches, so anything more is less effective.

When you tag, the Tumblr bots will group your page with similar pages so those looking for pages on those categories can find it easily.

Custom URLs

You will have the option to create custom post URLs on Tumblr, which you should definitely take advantage of. You should also fill in alt text, description boxes, etc. These all help Tumblr determine how to categorize you, which gets your Tumblr in front of more people who are interested in things you post about.

Title and Meta

From your customize tab on Tumblr, you will have a number of options to go over. One of the most important is the title and description. The title and description are what will show up when someone does a Google search, so these are important to fill out well. Use keywords, post your location, and make sure you give information that you would use for the title and description on your regular website.


In the customize tab, you will also find a section where you can edit your HTML. If you have an understanding of CSS and HTML, you’ll want to go in and tweak your format. One of the easiest things to do is ensure all post titles have an H1 tag, something that helps with SEO. You can also make other changes to make your Tumblr look better and draw more views.

Off-Page SEO Options

Linking is a big part of off-page SEO strategy and that is no different for Tumblr. The best way to get links from other Tumblrs is to provide content which others can repost. This may take a little time, as the sort of posts that trend on Tumblr can be different than posts on other sites. However, with experience and a little luck, this can bring people to your Tumblr or even your website.

Off of Tumblr, getting links to your content is different. One option is to create a Pinterest board for your Tumblr account. Both of these social media platforms are very visual and have crossover, so this is a good way to start. Another way to get exposure is to speak with people in your industry and ask them to work with you. You could have them do a guest post or interview that you post on your Tumblr.

Content That Works

As mentioned above, the content that works on Tumblr can be a little different than what works elsewhere. We’ll offer you a few ideas of things that can work. You can then use your imagination to work off of these ideas and come up with something innovative.

For those in retail, consider content like the below:

·      Curated images of your store and products

·      Infographics about your products

·      Fun pictures or gifs of people using your products

·      Statistics built into graphics with information about your products.

If you are a service business, try these instead:

·      Videos that show how things are done at your business

·      Funny photos about things happening on the job

·      Graphs about why your service is needed

·      How-to content related to your services and offerings

Don’t make the mistake of making your Tumblr systematic, like you might for your Pinterest. Photos are appreciated but they should not be your only content source. You want to provide useful information along with any graphics and photos you want to use. You should also avoid making too many subpages on your Tumblr, although a contact page might be an exception.

Tumblr is a very imaginative and artistic social media platform where trendy products and services are most likely to go viral. Even if you do not offer this, you can still find a place there and round out your customer base. All you need to do is offer meaningful posts and some fun photos. Many of the same standards you use on your website will work well here, so start there and build as you go along.

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Blogging as a part of your Local SEO Strategy

You have a website. You have a social media strategy. You send out newsletters with links that bring views in.

But do you have a blog?

It can seem like blogging is only done by huge companies when it comes to business marketing. That is far from the truth. Even local businesses have a lot they can gain from choosing to publish and maintain a well-devised blog.

If you don’t believe us, consider these statistics, straight from Google:

  • 4/5 of internet consumers use a search engine to find local businesses around them.
  • Half of consumers who perform this search for a local business end up visiting that same business on that same day.
  • Of the people who make up the first two, 18% make a purchase at the business they end up visiting.


That should be more than enough proof of how your website, and blog, can lead to great business advantages. Blogging can help you rank higher in the search results, leading you to be that company a consumer clicks on, visits, and purchases from.

How to Make Blogging Work for You

There are many ways to make blogging a part of your day and ensure a higher search engine ranking. Some of them are common sense, while others are far from it.  Utilizing ideas from both columns will help you in your marketing efforts.

So, how do you make blogging help in marketing?

Schema Markup

As much as possible, use schema markup to “tell” Google and Bing that you’re a local business. This can help bump your ranking on the search engines.

However, you don’t have to stop there. Use markup to ensure the type of business you do is known.

Many small businesses don’t do this so it really can make your website, and your business, stand out.  Plus, by utilizing your blog this information can be provided numerous times, along with other keywords that can help.

Check for Consistent NAP

NAP refers to your business name, address, and phone number. Something that is extremely important is listing this in the exact same way on every site you work with. This includes directory listings, social media, website, and blog.

Be sure to check this over every once in a while, to ensure nothing is formatted strangely or written in a different way from typical.

Provide Interesting Information

If you aren’t sure what to blog about, you are far from alone.  Many businesses make posts that only serve as advertisements for their products and services.

Don’t be that business owner.

Instead of talking about yourself and your business, talk about things that matter to your audience. Get to know the people who are reading and talk about things they care about.

Industry information, tips, hints, and stories are more likely to get you links that help in the pursuit of prime search engine space.

Blogging on Your Business’ Domain

It’s much better to park the blog on your actual business domain. This is because links to the blog might lead to the main site and vice versa.

Links are very important in search engine ranking so having all inbound links going to the same place is something essential.

Whether your blog starts ranking higher or your business does, each will build off of the other as far as popularity.

Talk About Things Happening in the Neighborhood

On days when you aren’t sure what to write about, consider delving into news and events nearby. You can talk about an election or a local fair, while using the perspective of your business to make the article stand out.

Not only may you gain new readers interested in what you’re talking about, but those who are already reading your blog may find out something new and decide your blog is a good place to find further information of the sort.

Incorporate Location

Of course, many local searches will include the name of the city you are located in. However, this isn’t the only location to use to your advantage. You can find ways to talk about neighboring areas or cities or use terms that are common in the specific area.

These are things that might bring in more clicks and entrench you as part of the community that you are a part of.

Converse About Other Blogs

To build up readers on your own blog, it can be a good practice to participate on other blogs of businesses in the area. You might go to blogs that do things similar or complementary to your own services and leave a few comments.

You can also mention them in your own blog post. This often leads the other blog to link to your site, giving you both an advantage and potential higher numbers when it comes to readership.

Being seen as someone who understands about cares about the community is never going to be a bad thing.

Themes and Keywords

Think about the way people use technology today and make your blog optimal for these searches. Of course, you should use specific keyword phrases important to your business, but long-tail keywords can be a great thing to add into blog content.

Are there questions you think local individuals might be typing in?  Find a way to add those answers into your own keywords to pull in more people and provide higher conversions.


Blogging is not just for the corporations out there, it’s a great way to become a steadfast member of your local community online. By conversing with other local companies, you gain an audience who might not otherwise know you exist.

When you link to events and talk about news in the area, you show care for the people who are there and interested.

Blogging might take some time and creativity, but it’s something everyone should think about incorporating. The many positives that can come from it can have a huge effect on conversion and search engine ranking. So get out there and make some people think.

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We know that an important aspect of marketing for any business, big or small, is procuring an effective position for the brand in results from search engines. As such, it’s crucial to ensure that marketing works toward this goal. This can be difficult and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a number of tricks that can be utilized to get that golden spot you want.

Make Your Website Spotless

We aren’t talking about design or development here, but content. Your website is the most valuable asset you have online so it’s important to make sure that it ranks high in search results that matter for your brand. There are a few ways to do this:

·      Make certain that your business’ name, phone number, and address (NAP) are available on the site. Don’t put it on a single page like the homepage and call it good. This should be available on every single page. While you’re at it, make sure everything is spelled and formatted the exact same way. This matters when it comes to search engines so check on it occasionally.

·      Use keywords on page titles that give information into your company, services, and location. Again, doing this in more than one place is important so make it a habit for added pages.

·      If possible, take the time to ensure your website pages talk about your area. This should go beyond just posting the address. You can talk about sports team, events, and important locations. This allows you to be noticed by people you may not otherwise pull to your page.

Ensure Excellent Link Strategy

Having a strong link profile can lead to better results on search engines. In fact, this is something that some businesses have used to build their entire brand. That said, be careful about what links you use and how often, this is the type of thing that occurs over time rather than as a massive one-time strategy.

·      Create a spreadsheet or directory with resources about local places you appreciate. This might include your favorite Chinese restaurant, grocery store, dry cleaner, and any cultural attractions that you’re partial to. This gives you some places to link to and to have return the favor. This can grab views from people who might not otherwise frequent your brand or industry.

·      Share links to your website from your social media accounts and ask others to do the same.

·      If you utilize newsletters, make sure to include links there too. You can give updates to get even more eyes on your website.

·      Avoid “get views fast” strategies like spamming your website on forums or blogs. You should also avoid linking from and to random sites. Make sure that you go for quality so your reputation isn’t damaged, rather than inflated.

Make Listings on Local Sites

Getting your name out is important and one of the best ways to do that, when it comes to local SEO, is by utilizing listings on third-party sites. Search engines look at these sites and can learn more about you and your business. Not listing your business or allowing inaccurate information can have the opposite effect, bringing your search engine ranking lower.

·      For a business with more than one location, make listings for each of them to boost your brand and hype each of your locations up.

·      Make certain your business is listed in the right area so its properly optimized. You can use keywords to help with this, but don’t go overboard. That can lead to negative effects, so strike a balance.

·      Find out what the local listing sites are and make sure you have an appearance. That means claiming your business, checking that NAP are accurate and spelled correctly, and making any changes that are needed. Local sites are of huge importance so take the time to do this right.

·      Later on, consider adding photos, URLs, videos, or other information that makes your listings more informational and useful for those who might stumble upon them.

Respond and Acknowledge

Once you have listings on various sites, you’re also going to have reviews and ratings to consider. Engaging with those is an important part of ensuring local SEO. This can be time-consuming but the benefit outweighs that to a large degree.

·      Give your customers a chance to leave feedback if they appreciated your work. This could be via an email, flyer, or rating on Yelp or a similar site. The more positive reviews you get from actual customers, the better your business will look on both review sites and on search engines.

·      Don’t post reviews that are fake. You may think they will never be discovered but they probably will be. When they are discovered, all of your ratings and reviews are going to be scrutinized and that’s extremely difficult to come back from.

·      Respond, respond, respond. If someone leaves positive feedback, thank them and welcome them to use your service in the future. If the post is negative, let the person know you appreciate their review. Then give them a way to contact you so you can address whatever issues they brought up.

Utilize Social Media

Social media has a huge amount of influence on how your business ranks in search results. If you have a great social media strategy, your page will likely find more fans and then come up higher in searches. It’s a win-win and something that needs to be worked on regularly to ensure the best results.

·      Engage your social media followers in interesting and fun ways. Offer updates, giveaways, and promotions that get people excited. You can also highlight various customers and offer links or stories that will matter to them. Always make sure you also reach out when questions or feedback come in via your social media page.

·      Have a real strategy for your social media on each site you use. Companies that do well on social media engage on a regular basis. The more you interact, the more followers you’ll get, and the higher you’ll rank on search engines.

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If you are looking for a way to market your business locally, but you don’t have the money to dip your toe into every pool, you aren’t alone. There are many ways to make an impact on the local area without spending much, or any, of your precious capital on it. Some of these ideas are likely old hat, but you may find that some of them you have not considered. We hope at least one or two of them spark something and give you a way to further market your business without dipping into the bank.

Research the Market

This is an option that costs nothing, at least in terms of money. It may take some time, but it can certainly be worth it in the end. By researching your target market and the characteristics that are shared by them, you can even save money in other ways.

Are you curious how?

Focus your marketing efforts on the people who are most likely to be a customer to begin with. You can also change the way you write messages to make them more likely to pull in those who may be customers down the line.

You can also study your competition and determine what their strengths and weaknesses are. From there you can capitalize on their weaknesses instead of going toe-to-toe in an area where they have an advantage. Turn those weaknesses for them into benefits for your company.

Use Business Cards

Sure, this might seem old-school, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Meeting people face to face is a great way to get your name out there. Introduce yourself to new people you encounter, whether that happens to be someone in line behind you at the grocery store or the person behind the counter at the gas station. Pull out a card, jot down a freebie code, and sign it with a date. Many will use that business card coupon, and that can lead to returning customers.

Turn to Email

Email marketing is an inexpensive way to get the word out to people. A bare-bones marketing company may cost you only a few dollars a month, yet allow you thousands of contacts and more than enough space and span for a local business to do well. But what makes email stand out is that it is known for having a huge return on marketing dollars.

There are dozens of studies that show consumers prefer email communication. So, give the people what they want and save a bundle while you do it. It’s a situation that’s perfect for you and excellent for your customers, as well.

Engage Quickly

You want to engage and convert as fast as possible in the modern, digital world we live in. Most people look for a service or product online. In fact, studies show that many people use online research so much that they no longer need to ask questions of a sales person. They show up wanting what they want and knowing exactly what they expect.

One means of increased engagement comes through being aware of the device someone uses to browse your site. There are inexpensive methods to offer different iterations of the same site, so it looks great, no matter how a customer chooses to navigate. This can lead to someone who sticks around longer and gives you a sale.

Optimize for Crowds

Most consumers visit the web before making a purchase, and they often do this weeks or months before a decision. People are interested in having all the information they need to make the best choices. This applies whether the item in question is something expensive like a car or something low-budget that may not seem worthy of research. The starting point for buying is searching on the Internet.

Build your sites using best practices of search engine optimization to give yourself a leg up in rankings. Your business will be more prominently displayed and in turn get more traffic as people see you before other offerings.

Consider Cross Promotion

If you know another business that needs some marketing help, think about joining up with them. You could offer them a flyer for their store to pass out with a discount code. You could even offer to do the same back for them. You end up advertising to people out and about who may not know you exist and customers may stop in due to the discount code or other perks you offer them.

Other Ideas

There are tons of other ways to market inexpensively if you get creative. Here are some ideas that you could consider implementing. Each of them is inexpensive, and most won’t take up too much time, either.

·      Place a magnet on your company car with your business’ name on it. You could also use a window decal or bumper sticker if preferred.

·      Hold a business card drawing. Take visitors cards and then offer a prize to one lucky person at the end of the month based on who is randomly picked.

·      Have an event or offer a class. You can often post a flyer with your company name, plus you get to help the community with something.

·      Apply online for awards in your industry. Having badges from awards makes your website look more credible and reputable, leading to more sales.

·      Offer a small online contest with a prize to the winner. This will pull people in, some of whom will stick around after the competition is over.

·      Implement a customer referral program where an existing customer receives a free product or a discount when they refer a new customer.

·      Recycle your content by turning a blog post into an eBook or a video into a webinar.

No matter what kind of business you are and what kind of services or products you provide, there are ways to get new customers without spending a ton of money. This list above should be a good basis for finding a few marketing ideas that work for you. Good luck!

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