Saturday, November 17, 2012
Imagine running your business without Google. With soaring online ad cost and disastrous Google algorithm changes, many businesses need alternatives. Five tips for the post-Google era in 2013.
How should your business find customers? The standard answer used to be to simply rank well on Google. Business owners set up websites, keywords, articles, link exchanges, and blogs, and watched traffic pour in. Now, those same steps can get a site banned from Google, and it’s a fight to regain lost ground. For some businesses, it is a losing battle. Small businesses now enter the post-Google age. There is no need to be tied down to a company that doesn't want to be tied to you.
Here are 5 tips for Google-free business in 2013:
Go 100% online free. This “cold-turkey” approach eliminates wasted man-hours and unrealistic expectations. Social marketing may be hip, but for many small businesses it is time consuming, has not proven itself thru actual sales, and may even invite trouble. At best, lots of people click “like,” and at worst, no one clicks “buy.” With social sites changing their rules at will, your social media effort could unexpectedly capsize your marketing boat, too.
Get to the job of selling - and be ready when people need what you sell. In business, making a sale trumps making a “friend” or “follower.” The real job of a business is to make money. Customers don’t really need a one-on-one conversation to make every purchase. A family-owned lawn maintenance company, for example, does not need online "fans" and barely needs a website, except to list services and contact information. Most local small business can afford to advertise on local television with [b]CheapTVSpots.com[/b] and quickly become known as the trusted brand in the local community.
Use branding to recruit future customers. People go with what they trust -- this is the basic concept of branding. Brand advertising focuses on leaving a good impression with potential customers and is most effective via TV, radio, and print, where you get the opportunity to tell your story, uninterrupted. This positive impression (goodwill) sticks with people, even if they're not ready to buy at that moment. Goodwill really counts when a consumer is ready to choose between friendly, familiar, trustworthy "you" or unknown "them."
Make advertising a consistent part of the company budget. Cutting advertising is like cutting off your oxygen supply. To breathe life into sales, it is vital to increase advertising. The rule of thumb is to budget 10-15% of gross sales for advertising, but in a slow economic climate, more advertising is needed, not less -- spending 25% or more goes a long way to keep a business operational until sales pick up.
To attract customers, use traditional media. Many types of traditional media are available at very reasonable rates. Virtually no traditional advertising platforms have disappeared, having innovated to remain competitive and relevant. Successful businesses use television, radio, and print platforms every day. Television is exceptionally effective. TV is called the "king of media" for its reach (98% of U.S. homes have at least one television), and studies have proven the consumer preference for finding out about new products and services via TV advertising.
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