Google has been constantly evolving and testing recently, particularly with respect to Google Places results, making these listings of increasing importance. Additionally, the use of mobile phones is escalating, making traditional websites difficult to use, often at the precise moment when succint information about a local business is most needed. How can local businesses meet the challenges before them? With 29.6 million small businesses in the US, what do recent changes mean to both consultants and small business owners? Carolyne McCourtie recently answered these questions and provided an action-oriented strategy in an informative webinar.
“Businesses should be building sites that work well with smartphones” Matt Bruce, Nielson
- Website Ranking is now a larger factor in local search results.
- Local citations and reviews help the rankings.
- One in five searches is now a local search.
- 1.3 billion people can now access the Internet on a mobile device (1.7 billion are expected by 2014). There are 45 million US smart phone users. There is a 23% market penetration globally. According to Matt Bruce of Nielson, businesses should now be building sites that work well with smart phones.
- Currently less than 1% of .com, .net, or .org are mobile friendly.
How can a consultant best assist businesses in this environment? First, establish yourself as an expert. Find out what the business owner wants to accomplish and help the business achieve its goals. You can do this from anywhere in the world, by targeting businesses NOT currently on the first page of Google. Carolyne suggests first finding those businesses listed beyond page one in targeted niches and then sending out a free-to-create Jing video as her main marketing tactic. In the video email video, she offers to:
- Create a mobile ready site for the business
- Update Google Places Listing
For those choosing to engage, she then provides the code for the client’s main website that detects a mobile device and redirects the user to the correct mobile site. The .mobi sites are created using a hosted WordPress site and plugin for mobile sites. For the Google Places listing, she starts by creating a listing at InsiderPages.com (or any popular directory) and CitySearch.com (or any other popular directory), and linking these with the company’s Google Places listing in a link “triangle.” This avoids getting slowed down by the review process, which may involve several weeks for a postcard from Google to arrive. It may still take 30 to 60 days to establish a good Google Rank, once these updates have been made.
On an ongoing basis, she then enlists the help of friends to create 10 Insider Pages Reviews, 10 City Search reviews, and 10 Google pages reviews all coming from different computers. All reviews must be legitimate in this process. She often assists by developing a marketing tactic to encourage reviews from their customers.
What are the mistakes to avoid, if aspiring to become a local internet marketing consultant? First, you must remember it’s about the client vs. your own needs. Don’t be needy and fearful or expect clients to change for your needs. Don’t make assumptions; rather ask questions about their business in order to validate any research you’ve done. Your goal is to target businesses strategically vs. some kind of mass marketing. In addition think about how you can leverage your time, eventually outsourcing aspects of your business.
Carolyne’s webinar presentation was an excellent “teaser” for anyone aspiring to help small business owners market their businesses online. Her complete offline marketing methodology is available in online course format and has already resulted in many successful online marketing careers.