I wanted to take some time and share some advertising wisdom I picked up over my years of doing PR work. I am asked at least once daily, “what is the most effective way to advertise online?” Their question is usually followed by, “I have spent thousands of dollars online advertising my business but it hasn’t seemed to make a difference. What am I doing wrong?”
After doing a quick search, I can see the problems right away. Therefore, I figured I would share some tips with you to help you save a load of money!
Starting from the beginning:
Let’s say you just started your business, everything is legal and you are ready to advertise. Just for examples, Let’s say you need to market one of the following, “Lonnie’s Lawn Care”, “From the Heart Photography, or “Actor Bill Bob Balinsky.”
The very first most important thing you need to do no matter whom or what you are advertising is make an official website. Believe me when I tell you, going with a free website or super cheap site is a BAD idea. People really do care about presentation and if they see a cheap thrown together website, they will think your service is the same. Plus, most free sites have ads on them that annoy people and also can steal your business. The ads placed on your website so you can host your site for free are generated by your location and keywords. The last thing you want is for a potential customer to visit your website and see an ad offering a better deal then you are currently giving.
When you are out seeking ways to advertise your company, think of yourself as the potential customer.
If you were on Google, looking for a local lawn care service to come trim your trees, which company would first catch your eye? It’s obvious it will be the companies at the top of the search engine with the most reviews or stars. Did you know 90% of people scroll down past the paid ads to get straight to the websites?
To help you get a better picture I did my own search for a local lawn service:
In this first photo, you can see what first pops up. I marked it with a big red circle and X because 9 times out of 10 people do not click on those links. Why? Because, over time most of us have learned those ads are usually full of malware, a scam, a gimmick, or the most expensive option out there. I would tell you to test it yourself, but I don’t want any of you getting a virus. I don’t think it’s the companies themselves who put the malware or adware in the links but some how they manage to get there.
In this photo, I put a green check mark so you can see this is a good place for your business to be. If your business has a Google+ page with location enabled you will be listed in this spot after so many people view your page as long as you use the right keywords. The number of votes or reviews does not matter at all as far as getting you listed in this section. But, this is STILL not the best form of search engine advertising. Not everyone uses Google. Bing uses Bing Local. Yahoo has Yahoo Local Businesses. If you would like, just take a minute to run the same search in all three engines and watch how you will get completely different companies on each search engine.
What I would recommend is use something like, https://moz.com/local or if you would like to list in more of a manual way you can visit, http://www.locallytype.com/pages/submit.htm Of course, if you don’t have time to do either you can always hire me at Hollywebonline.com 🙂
Exhibit C is where you want to be! Those who know me should know I love taking surveys through my company. It helps me to find out exactly what the people want and how they want it. A recent survey I did of over 1200 people via email in June 2014 showed me that 90% of the people look at company’s official sites more than anything else. Reviews are good but can’t always be trusted. I was surprised at how many people said they don’t even read company reviews from Google+, yelp or any site for that matter. People want to form their own opinion about the company and not take someone else’s word for it. Instead, they just want to see what the company has to offer, how long they have been in business, what their prices are, and where they are located. If the website looks nice and has all the information the customer needs, you can just about bet they will make a phone call. If I were a potential customer looking for lawn service, using the search results I found pictured, I would choose Acutaboveorlando.com. They are not listed in the ads, Google local does not list them, there is not reviews or starts, BUT they are #1 on the search engine. The company’s website is nicely done and has all the information I need. This tells me this company didn’t pay there way to the top. They got there because of the traffic to their website. Think of it as a “people’s choice”.
It’s great to have your business listed in the Yellow Pages or on Yelp but those sites are nothing like they used to be. When the apps first came out everyone was using them but it wasn’t long before people figured out ways to fake reviews. Then, the two companies were so worried about fake reviews they began deleting real reviews causing people to just stop leaving reviews at all. Some companies were even afraid to list their business for fear some aggravated customer would use the opportunity to attack by posting mean reviews. When both companies went public saying they would not remove negative unfair views, lot’s of businesses removed their pages. With all that said, they credibility of websites like the ones mentioned have went way down. Just like the saying goes, “Don’t believe everything you read online.”
Once your stunning website is built and full of information to satisfy the potential client, start building your social sites. This is SO important nowadays! Your business needs to be listed on Facebook, Twitter, Google + local, LinkedIn, and possibly Instagram or Pinterest depending on what your business does. You want to get people talking about your business, sharing your photos, deals, offers, ect. Let’s face it, the majority of the world visits social sites at least once a day. If you want to be seen, you need to be on social media! This also increases your rank on the search engines BIG TIME.
Show off your goods!
Now, let’s use the made up company “From The Heart Photography.” You want to show the locals that your photography company is the best around but you are just getting started and don’t have 1000’s to advertise. No worries! Create your website and include a portfolio showing off your work. Add galleries to your social sites and update your pages daily with new work or some of your favorites. Just make sure you watermark your images to stop thieves from stealing your precious work.
Have contest & giveaways! Trust me when I say, if you want numbers on your social sites all you have to do is host a giveaway. People love getting stuff free. Come on! Who doesn’t? Every couple of months, have a little giveaway or host a contest. For the photography company, a great way to get attention on Facebook would be t0 giveaway a free 8×10 photo or small package to one lucky person who likes your page and shares it. In the past, I have seen photography companies gain 10,000 followers in a month by using this strategy.
Using printable coupons on your website is another great way to reel in customers.
Get that website at the top of the engine fast!
Once your website and social sites are created, start using Google adWords or SEO plug-in on your site. Every page of the site needs to have several keywords about your business tagged to it. You need to have a eye catching meta description that’s catchy.
Going back to the lawn care service, this would be a good example of what your listing needs to look like on the search engine.
LONNIE’S LAWN CARE
Most Affordable & Dependable lawn care service in Orlando FL! We work hard to give you luxury service for a low cost.
People love simple and sweet. It has all the words we like to hear and it has the main words the search engine needs to properly list your business.
You can see how this business would be one of the first to pop up if you searched, “Affordable lawn care service in Orlando Florida.”
Now all you would need is a good amount of visitors to look at your website, which can easily happen through social sites, and in no time your site is at the top of the engine!
This day and time it’s all about numbers and presentation. People want to see that other people like your company but in the easiest fastest way possible. Most people don’t have the time to sit and read reviews or comments left by others. They want to check out your social page, see some catchy graphics, and most importantly see some big numbers!
Be honest, if you visit a Facebook page for a business and they have no profile photo or header, you immediately click away. It’s just as bad if you have some bland logo or background that’s easily forgettable. What REALLY matters is how many other people you see that’s liked the page. If you visit and they have 48 likes you will think, “Wow they aren’t very popular, or their business must be so bad no one cares to even like their page. However, if the company’s page has 1250 likes, you are automatically impressed and the company now seems creditable to you.
It is the same for Twitter. How many of us are followed by a person or company that has 30 followers and we just ignore them? If the person or company has 30,000 followers though, we check them out real fast and follow back.
I have now pretty much summed it up for businesses; it’s really no different for marketing yourself. If you are an actor, artist, or some type of public figure trying to get seen and heard, just use the same advertising tips. Build a great website, get on all the social sites, hire a publicist to create you some cite sources and make your notable, and most importantly stay active online.
Using the fake guy I created, “Actor Bill Bob Balinsky”, let me give you an idea of what his online presence needs to look like for him to be successful.
Let’s say, I just saw him as a guest star on a TV show and thought, “Wow he’s hot! Who is he?” I look up the shows current guest stars and find out he is Bill Bob Balinsky. After, I giggle about his name, I do a Google search on him. One or two things could happen, I could find tons of info on him and because his next biggest fan, or find hardly nothing about him and five minutes later forget he ever existed.
Every public figure relying on fans or popularity to grow their career needs an outstanding website, they need to be booming on social media, and they need those notable cite sources. For actors that would be IMDb, Wikipedia, Youtube, and have at least 5 articles written about them from notable sources.
In this fast pace world with so many other people or businesses out there struggling just like you, it’s important you don’t let them forget you! Send out email newsletters, blog, post to your social sites daily, and interact with the people.
I promise if you do all those things, you will be on top in no time!! If you just can’t do it on your own and need help, I’m here!!! Just email me or give me a call. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading!