Industry Specific Marketing

Lots of businesses look for marketing companies that specifically work in their industry. There are pros and cons to each. Many HVAC Marketing companies for example have already done trial and error on numerous strategies and because of this your business can often benefit from this experience.

They know that email marketing is a great way to continue to sell to your existing customer base instead of trying to develop new leads from this format. SEO and AdWords in Google are extremely strong in generating new business and for those areas that are highly competitive, PPC becomes almost essential to your marketing plan.

For those that have been in the industry long enough they know that co-op dollars are available for campaigns set up to manufacturer’s standards. They can also predict changes in the market because they have been through the yearly cycles that accompany the weather in your industry. If it’s September, the AC is out and heating is on the horizon.

This and a number of other factors help to make a decision to go with an experienced industry expert.

Now the other side of the coin is the fact that most Heating and Air marketing companies take an easy path by doing exactly the same thing for all of their customers and fully automate the process to increase profitability. This means often times when they write a blog post for one company, it will be replicated across multiple customer websites. This can be counterproductive to SEO goals.

You will find that many work with multiple competitors in the same city, Basically they are competing with themselves. This includes ad spends through pay per click advertising.

In addition, they usually use the same strategy over and over which means that they do not usually keep up with the latest trends in the market. So the strategy becomes stale and less effective as time goes on.

Best thing to do is talk to a potential agency and have them walk you through the campaign strategy they intend for you and make sure you feel comfortable making the investment in them.

What Marketing Managers Need to Know

What Marketing Managers Need to Know

If the management in your company does not have a full grasp on how to market, then they better educate themselves or find someone in the company who can do it. If not, they need to interview a new employee or hire a firm. Even if you utilize an employee, hire a person or contract with an agency, it is a really good idea for management to get a crash course on some of the basics so they are familiar with the industry.

Everyone can spend your money really fast and I am always amazed how many owners know the amount they are spending on marketing but literally do not know any of the results that are being produced. If your person in charge of marketing cannot explain what they are doing or the results they are getting to a ten year old, you need to start being suspicious.

If they are unable to show you the ROI for their efforts or at least explain how it ties in to the branding of your business, (again, explaining to that ten year old), then you really need to rethink the relationship, the strategy or both. Big business many times has layers in their marketing strategy. Lots of large companies have long sales cycles and many touch-points with prospective clients.

Most small businesses are not this complicated in their sales process and as such, the marketing plans should not be too complicated. Most business owners just want to make the phone ring, have clients submit a contact form or simply walk into their store.

Judging Whether It Is Working

Sorry guys, these points are not going to shake up the world. They are basic and straightforward.

• Are you looking to save money on marketing?
→ Have an outside marketing company conduct an audit on the work and results

• Are you achieving the results and are profitable?
 → Sounds like business is good, don’t make many drastic changes

• Happy with the way things are going but are concerned about the future?
→ Make small investments of time and money to research and test new strategies

• Unhappy with your current results?
→ Look to hire a new manager or outside firm.

How Much Should a Small Business Budget for Marketing?

If I were a teacher in a classroom and asked how much should be spent on marketing I would have to stop and ponder, then give the following answer, About 10 to 15 percent of revenue should be spent on marketing. That is the short answer. Easy, wrapped in a bow, done.

Business doesn’t occur in a classroom though. For a small business that is looking to bring in $250,000 their first year, it can almost come as a shock to the system to realize you will need to put up $35,000 in marketing for one year.

In some cases it is almost unavoidable to do so. If you are opening a divorce law practice in Chicago, it would be near impossible to expect clients without investing in online advertising and SEO. Legal Practices and digital marketing go hand in hand nowadays.

So What is a Business to Do?

If you don’t have the capitol to spend on marketing, then you are going to have to do it yourself. Now, some expenditures are unavoidable. If you are going to run Google AdWords or sponsor a local Chamber of Commerce event, dollars will have to be spent.

But it is always wise, if you or your employees have the time, to figure out what you can do and what needs to be spent to have others do. You will sometimes be surprised by how much your employees can do in these instances or even family and friends.

• Do they own a quality camera?
• Do they spend a great deal of time on social media?
• Do they like making videos?
• Can they describe a product or service you offer in writing to create unique written content?
• If they don’t like to write, can they talk about it and record it on their phone recording app?
• Does anyone take classes on graphic design?
• Do they manage a blog for themselves or a nonprofit?
• Etc.

Most small businesses do not require a full time marketing manager. So don’t get carried away reallocating resources for this one business practice and don’t just hand them the keys. Stay involved and and learn along with them.

Knowing your clients, developing a strategy and having solid people to execute is a recipe for success.

Google + Is The Easiest Win For Local Businesses

Without a doubt, Google My Business is one of the biggest missed opportunities for local businesses.

  • It is free
  • It provides you the opportunity to show up near the top of page 1 on Google in a competitive market
  • Believe it or not, it does not even require your business have a website to show up

Google attempted to create a social media platform years ago to try and compet with Facebook. User adoption did not go over so well so Google turned their focus onto businesses. They integrated this platform with their maps and this turned into a big success,

Since the name has changed over the years, you’ll hear it reffered to as

  • Google +
  • Google Plus
  • Google Maps
  • Google My Business

It is still an integral part of that social media platform and there has been some user adoption. You will find a community that likes using Google plus. In this case though, we are looking at this online profile as more of a directory listing. A directory listing in the largest and most used search engine in the world.

First, an understanding of why this listing is so important. Since searches online for businesses or services end up having mostly local intent, Google developed a verifiable system to confirm actual businesses. It can thereby provide a reliable source for it’s users.

So that there is confidence that the business address is correct, they will actually send a postcard in the mail with a code that needs to be entered into your profile. Even businesses that work out of their home can uses this because you can hide your address once confirmed. The team at Google just wants to know that the address is legitimate.

One of the the reason that the listing is so powerful is that you can tell the search engine about your business. When you put information on your website, no matter how great you are at SEO, The search engine is trying to match the term that someone is searching for to the most relevent page. It does not see your website as a business. It cannot tell the difference between your fishing store and someones term paper on the book “The Old Man And The Sea”,

Do not misunderstand. Search Engine Optimization is one of the strangest marketing tools today. But when someone has the intention of finding “fishing store nashville, tn”, Google is going to be far more likely to place that local listing at the top of the search results.

Now the question becomes, “how do I do that?”

Believe it or not, these listing can become optimized. Just because there are over 20 fishing stores in doesn’t necessarily mean yours will be the one that makes it to that three pack on page 1. That term three pack is derived from Google’s guidelines that 3 listings will show up together with the the map on page one when a search is conducted.

If you click on the bottom for “more places”, it will take you to the map section where you will find the extened list of bsuinesses that also met the search criteria. Whether you are in forth place or ninth does not matter. Most people will not go past the three pack on the first page.

These listing within the maps are sorted by most relevant to your search. They take into account the trust that Google has in the listing. The location of your computer or phone is even taken into account. Yes, they usually know where you are.

So what can be done to Optimize this listing? – Answer: Lots!

Fill out as much as possible. The more data that Google has, the more it can understand your business. Remember, the algorithm knows your website as just that, a website. It doesn’t understand that it represents your business. This is your opportunity to tell Google about your company.

Citations are a big piece of the puzzle. To learn more about these, go to our post about NAP Listings.

Add your address to your website if possible. The search engines will match your Google My Business listing to your address on the website.

If your business has multiple locations, create a page for each location and then use the location pages for each respective listing. so if you have a location in Detroit, the Google plus listing should use a URL like domain.com/detroit or something like this. If all of your listings for all locations are the main Domain.com, you’ll find it to be a less effective strategy.

Which Social Media Platforms Are Most Impactful for Your Company?

Which Social Media Platforms Are Most Impactful for Your Company?

There are literally hundreds and to some extent thousands of social media platforms online where you can promote your business. Social media accounts set up for your business can have a cumulative effect on building your SEO strength by establishing a stronger online presence. They are one of the easier wins for internet marketing.

This is not to say by setting up 25 different social media profiles, you will conquer the web. As always, it is just one more opportunity to make an impact. Multiple social media platforms allow for you to show the search engines you are serious about your online strategy. There is a lot of opportunity to optimize these profiles as well.

➤ Most profiles allow you to create a link to your website.
➤ They allow you to add a description of your business
➤ You can usually add an address

You should also think in terms of these social media platforms as a communities. Whether you like social media or not, know that there are lots of potential clients out there that have there select few that they read and follow. Many times this is where they will go when looking for a product or service because they trust the platform and the community.

What you as a small business owner needs to consider is where do you spend time maintaining these platforms. Updating your multiple social media accounts can be very easy. If you have one message that you want to go out to all of them and you want to do this regularly, there are solutions such as ITTT. It takes a little bit of time to set up but will allow you to post once and it will propagate that message out to all accounts you have set up. This is a very common tool that is used n the industry.

Become an Active Member of the Social Media Community

The only down side is that some communities have different messaging techniques, different voices if you will. The way you talk about a particular topic can vary from each account. The community on Reddit will react very differently than Twitter if you are putting up a purely promotional post. Although these automated systems for multiple posting are a recommendation, they are not a final solution.

To get the most out of social media, you need to be an active member of the community. For your business to get known and for others to promote you, you need to engage. When you post, you want to reach out to others in your niche. You want to encourage your clients to share your business and get them to start dialogues.

Which Social Media is right for my Industry?

Do some resarch and spend time on the different platforms. This is the best way to find out which ones are best for your business. Below are some insights that I think may be helpful to start though.

Facebook for Business

Facebook is one of the all around solid choices for promoting your business. Since it is the largest social media platform, it pretty much covers you whether you are B2B, B2C, national or local. It is hard to go wrong with this choice.

Google Plus for Business

Google my Business is a no brainer for business. The community is not nearly as active as it’s shear size mainly because most people never fully embraced the concept. Since everyone who has a gmail account is automatically a member, you have a wide array of people who are a target audience. I personally find the best time spent here is improving the Google listing for your business.

Twitter for Business

I’m going to get in trouble for this one. Twitter is like the siren song that attracts so many but they spin their wheels. Even Twitter itself has trouble figuring out how to make money. It can be useful for businesses to push out special offers and those that depend on announcements. Bands that want to keep fans up to date, celebrities and even restaurants. I you have a winning solution, I’d be happy to post your ideas.

LinkedIn for Small Business

This social media platform was made for businesses. If you are B2B in any form, you would do well spending time here. It is mostly used as an online resume but there are many groups that specialize in niche topics. You’ll find salespeople get more use out of it, but a well done profile is worth the effort.

Instagram for Business

Instagram has gained a lot of traction over the last few years. It is a great way for a business to build brand awareness. It is a lot less complicated than Facebook to use and since it is so image focused, millennials and others prefer to use it to keep up since they can absorb information and run through it at such a fast rate. It is great for a company looking to have a national presence on a budget. Just know, it takes a commitment to your audience and Instagram makes it less desktop friendly and really caters to tablets and cell phones.

Pinterest for Business

Another strong social media outlet, Pinterest is an easy to use platform based on the idea that people are pinning photos to boards. What it has evolved into the worlds biggest window shopping mall in the world. Based on peoples preferences or search, Pinterest provides almost a never ending funnel of imagery from individuals, professional bloggers, retailers and manufacturers. Almost any business out there should at least set up an account and post a few photos.