3 Ways to Get More Customers For Local Business Owners

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    3 Ways to Get More Customers For Local Business Owners

    Traditional forms of advertising have been rapidly decreasing in value every single day for the past few years. Buyers have switched from a phone book to the internet to find everything they are looking for (whether that be clothes or a roofing company) to the point where up to 85% of consumers are going online to find services.

    This means that if your business does not have a strong online presence, you are losing money to your competition who does. In this post I will talk about 3 simple ways to strengthen your business online and get in front of customers who are looking for your services.

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    Get Social

    One of the best ways to become more visible to potential customers is to get social with the ones you already have.

    Although advertising platforms have changed drastically, word of mouth is still a very viable way to attract new customers. By having a strong social profile, you provide your existing customers a place to refer their friends to. It also gives them a chance to leave reviews which might motivate someone on the fence about your services to turn into a customer.

    A profile that is a must in today’s business world is Linkedin. This will allow potential customers to view your business, previous work, past customer reviews, and a little bit more about you personally.[/text-with-icon]

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    Invest in Advertising

    While I do not personally feel that paying for advertising (referred to as Pay Per Click or PPC) is the best investment to make as an SMB (small to medium business), I do know that some businesses have had massive success with it. I also feel obliged to include it in this list because it can be so effective and has a long standing lineage in the marketing world.

    By and far the most popular PPC method of advertising these days is with Google Adwords (when you type in something like “Buffalo Plumber” you will see ads on the top and on the right side of the page – Adwords puts your ad there). Considering over 80% of the internet uses Google, it seems logical that you will get the most traffic advertising with them. Unfortunately this is not the case.

    A long and in-depth study has found that an ad will only receive 6% of the total search traffic. This means that if a term (like “Buffalo Plumber”) gets 100 searches per month, your ad will only get 6 clicks, whereas the website that is ranked number 1 will get 30-40 extra clicks.

    A better form of advertising (in my opinion) is Facebook ads. Facebook has created a very in-depth advertising interface that allows you to target potential customers with incredible accuracy. For example, you can select the age range, gender, profession, education, income level, interests, and much more of your target audience, and send out ads geared specifically to them.

    Typically, Facebook will bill you at the end of the month for the amount you have spent, and allow you to set daily or lifetime limits to ensure you do not overstep your budget.

    This method of advertising works extremely well if you have a Facebook fan page, because you can choose to only target people who like your page, or exclude them from the audience the ad will be showed to. This can be a great way to build up user engagement with your posts or website, and get people talking about your business.[/text-with-icon]

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    Rank Your Website

    Ranking your website in Google is accomplished through a process known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO has morphed dramatically over the last few years and now there are over 200 factors Google looks at when it is deciding to rank a site. An SEO will examine the most important of these factors, and optimize your site to get it ranked #1 for keywords relevant to your business.

    The main strength SEO has over other forms of marketing is that it can put you directly in front of people who are actively looking for your services. For example, if you are looking for a roofer in Buffalo, you would type in “Buffalo roofing” (or some variation of that), then you would click on the top site and probably give them a call. This is different from other forms of marketing like billboards or banner ads on websites because the potential customer is looking for you instead of you throwing your ad out there and hoping someone is interested.

    There are some inherent risks with SEO that you should be aware of however. The most common is getting your website penalized. What this means is that Google has decided whatever you are doing has broken their terms of service, and has prevented your site from ranking for anything ever. Penalties can vary in severity depending on the infraction, but are never good for your site and are typically caused by someone implementing out of date or unprofessional tactics (such as link wheels, spamming, or keyword stuffing).

    Another risk you should be aware of is hiring cheap labor. I will go into more detail regarding what to look for when hiring an SEO agency in another post, but much like physical products, digital services have been known to be outsourced to less than reputable third party companies in other countries. These companies tend to get paid a fraction of what an agency charges the initial client, and implement tactics like the ones mentioned above.

    Despite all the doom and gloom, the potential reward for a business who hires the right professional and gets results can be astronomical. For example, the “Buffalo roofing” keyword I mentioned above actually gets 170 searches per month. This means ranking number 1 would give you approximately 50 extra people clicking your site per month. Depending how good your sales process is, you could end up with between 5 and 15 extra clients per month. If you are a roofer, you know how much extra that could net you in profits. If you are not a roofer, I will just say that (depending on the size and scale of the job) a full roof repair could run anywhere from a couple thousand, to $100,000+.

     

    With that, it is up to you as the business owner to decide where to allocate your marketing budget, and it is crucial that you make the choice that best suites your business needs (especially if you are on a shoestring budget).[/text-with-icon]

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