How to Dominate Your Local Competition Online

2011 was the year that turned the tide towards online marketing for businesses worldwide, including small businesses. In the US alone, businesses reduced their offline marketing budget for printed media by as much as 41%. Radio ads spending took a 36% cut followed by television at 31%. Budget for direct marketing went down by 28% while telemarketing budget was reduced by 27%. And that marked only the beginning. In the ensuing years, more and more businesses have been realigning their marketing budgets to favor online means more and more.

On the other hand, small businesses have been favoring online marketing strategies in an increasing fashion because 1) the have lesser budget to start with; and 2) online marketing is proving to give them more bang for their bucks over the long term. In terms of specific online marketing approaches, 2011 figures say that social media marketing takes the biggest increase with small businesses increasing their budget for it by as much as 68%. Search engine optimization comes in a close second with businesses increasing their spending for it by 64%. Next in line and in close proximity to each other are the following: mobile marketing at 56%, email marketing at 54%, and pay-per-click advertising at 51%.

By 2015 these figures have steadily increased and the trend continues in its upward swing.

In the Philippines, the telephone directory a.k.a. Yellow Pages has been a ubiquitous presence in almost all business reception areas and even in most households. But after the advent of the World Wide Web in the mid-90s, these paper-based business directories have slowly faded from people’s choice as a business tool. More and more consumers are turning to the search engines to find a local business or service provider. Sadly, however, even an informal survey among business establishment in a local community would reveal that most do not yet have a website or at the very least, some form of Internet presence. What’s even worse is that even those who do have some form of online presence do not fully understand its potentials and does not have a comprehensive online marketing plan, much less even just a rudimentary blueprint for executing one.

For those small businesses who don’t have a website or Internet presence yet the obvious conclusion is: You need to be on the Internet soon! For those who already have some form of Internet presence or a website but don’t have a clue up to now how it can benefit their business, the question to ask is: Is it time to update your website?
Let’s take as an example the following sample case study of Famous Joe’s Kitchen. It is important to understand that one’s website is just a tool and unless that tool is used properly and powerfully it will just be a useless expense that is not contributing to the business’ bottom line. Your website has to be used in conjunction with a comprehensive digital marketing plan.
In the case of Famous Joe’s Kitchen, their website looked like this before a digital marketing plan was executed:

famous joes website before

The following digital marketing strategy was then implemented:

• Website Design and Branding
• Integrate Online Ordering System Using eHungery.com
• Search Engine Optimization: Page #1 Google Rankings for…
• famous joe's kitchen
• Italian Riverside
• Italian kitchen Riverside
• Italian food Riverside
• Italian restaurant Riverside
• best Italian food Riverside
• best Italian pizza Riverside
• Italian pizza Riverside
• best pizza Riverside
• pizza Riverside, ca
• Email Marketing
• Email Auto-responder
• Mobile Friendly Website

and the resulting new website looked like this:

famous joes website after

The difference between the old website and the new one can be summarized in the following table:

Old Website New Website

×         Plain Design

×         No Email Capture

×         Lack of Pictures

×         Lack of Information

×         No Menu

×         Doesn’t Engage Visitors

×         Poorly Branded Design

ü  Email Capture

ü  More Appealing Images

ü  Rotating Banner

ü  Special Events Listed

ü  Menu & Online Ordering

ü  Engages Visitors More

ü  More Established Design

As a small business struggling to compete in a local market, a major key element in your new strategy should revolve around optimizing your website and Internet presence. As more and more consumers turn to search engines to look for businesses that can supply their needs, will they find your company listed in the search results they get?

Marketing your website and establishing an online presence requires a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that revolves around your website and in the following areas:

 Search Engine Optimization
 Video Marketing
 Social Media Marketing
 Email Marketing

Your strategy does not end with just simply knowing these terms. It should involve mapping out a cohesive blueprint of knowing how these areas work and successfully implementing activities that use them to your business’ advantage.

In the next part of this series I will talk about these areas in more detail.

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