07312015Fri
Last updateWed, 29 Jul 2015 8pm

Columnists

Internet Marketing Strategies: The 2010 Smart Phone explosion! - Is your marketing ready?

Move over iPhone - you have competition.  This past fall Verizon introduced the Droid which officially began the Smart Phone revolution. It is full featured, super fast, and incredibly useful; performing a multitude of functions that go beyond what a conventional cell-phone can do.  But most importantly, it’s just the beginning of a wave of Smart Phones that will sweep the cell phone market in 2010.  Everyone; T-mobile, ATT, Sprint, Garmin, Blackberry, Palm, Microsoft and even Google have or will be releasing their own version of Smart Phone.  While the iPhone remains a respected player in the upscale phone market, their cool-phone monopoly has ended.

Internet Marketing Strategies: Google Local Business Center

During the past year, Google has made some major changes in Local Search, making it vitally important that every brick-n-mortar retail business establish their Local Profile in Google.  Search Engine Marketing is very competitive, and getting your business to show up for prime keywords such as “jewelry” or “diamonds” has been nearly impossible unless your website has been established for those terms for several years.  However, this past year Google made some major changes which tip the scale in favor of local businesses.  And the best part is, setting up your account in the Google Local Business Center is easy and FREE.

Internet Marketing Strategies: The problem with and solution to SEO and Yellow Pages

Today there exists an unprecedented opportunity for local retail businesses to market their services and products online.  Many small business owners will miss this opportunity.  They are either not advertising online, or they are so caught-up in their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts and Yellow Page and other directory listings that they don’t see the problems or the new opportunities that lie before them.

Now before I go any further let me say I’m all for SEO and directory submissions.  I’ve written several articles about those aspects and they need to be a part of your online marketing efforts.  However, today it needs to become a smaller part of your overall Internet Marketing.  Before I tell you about this new opportunity let’s take a look at the problem with these traditional Internet marketing methods.

The Problem

If you advertise your jewelry products and shop services on the Internet and work really hard to optimize your website to get a high ranking in Google or the other search engines, you’ll be rewarded with a top 10 listing.  Maybe you have worked really hard and are rewarded with the #1 top spot for your keywords in your local area. The problem with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is that after all your hard work; there you are, listed with 9 of your competitors.

The same is true of online Yellow Page and other local directory advertising. Sure you can (and should) get a free listing in all the online directories, but there you are listed with all your competition.  Even if you pay exorbitant fees for a featured or enhanced listing, you are placed at the top and all your competitors are listed below you.  In addition to all your local competition, the Yellow Page directories have the audacity to place online jewelry company ads around your listings.  They then charge you a premium to have those ads removed.

The Solution

Today there is a window of opportunity for business owners to completely dominate Google and the other search engines.  It is possible to not only get listed in the top 10 of a search, it is possible to secure 6, 7, or even all 10 of the top positions on a search page.  By doing so they push all the Yellow Page directory listings and competitors’ websites to the second or third page of the search results, effectively neutralizing their value.

This window of opportunity exists for one lucky business owner in each local market who is wise enough to jump on this bandwagon before any of their competitors.  Once a local business dominates Google for searches in their product category all their competitors are not only left behind, they’re left out.

In order to understand how a business can dominate Google and the other search engines you need to know two facts about search engines.

First, search engines DO NOT list websites!  They list web PAGES.  Therefore any page you put on the Internet, regardless of where you put it has a chance to be listed on a search result page.

Second, search engines will typically list only one web page from a website for a search.  On occasion they will list a second or rarely a third page from the same website.  If they do, they put the pages together and indent the second and third pages so that everyone knows that they are related and from the same website.

So in order for you to get 7, 8, or more of the top listings you cannot just add more pages to your website.  If you do, the search engine will list the most relevant one to the search and ignore all the rest.  To get around these rules, smart marketers are using Web 2.0 websites.

Web 2.0 websites allow you to put pages on their website about your business.  Since these new pages are on different websites, Google and the other search engines will list them on their search results pages along with your website.  The more of these pages you create the better opportunity you have to get all of the top 10 positions on a search result page.

Although each page has a chance to show up on a search results page, many of them will not.  It is kind of like throwing mud on a wall.  Some of the mud will stick but a lot of it will fall off.  In order to get a lot of mud on the wall you have to keep throwing more mud at it.

As with all Internet marketing there are NO guarantees.  How effective this type of marketing will be and how much effort will be needed to become successful depends a lot on the size of the market area, the number of competitors, and how aggressive they have been marketing their websites.

Some of the best types of Web 2.0 websites to use for your marketing are:

Social Bookmarking Websites - Websites such as delicious.com, digg.com, folkd.com, faves.com, mix.com and propeller.com all allow you to create a listing (a bookmark) telling everyone, including the search engines, about your webpage.  It is free to sign-up and list your webpages.  You should bookmark every page on your website and every page you create on other websites in as many of these types of websites as possible.  Bookmark pages already on your website gradually over time, then bookmark new pages as you create them.

Every bookmark you create provides one more link to your website raising its value to the search engines.  Plus it is a new page that can also be listed in a search engine results page.

Blogs - Blogs are an important aspect of your online marketing and a good way to keep in touch with your customers.  Every business should have a Blog and post to it regularly.  Every post you make on your Blog is a new page for the search engines to index, and list on their search results page.

You need one main Blog that you post to and have a place for your customers to subscribe to your postings.  But don’t stop there.  Websites like Blog.com, Blogger.com, WordPress.com, and Ning.com allow you to create Blogs for free.  So sign up for one or more Blogs on each one.  You can have a Blog for your diamonds, one for colored stone jewelry, one for engagement and wedding rings, one for jewelry repairs, one for custom jewelry designs, and more for any additional products or other services you offer.

Place links in your Blog post to different pages on your website and to other social media pages such as your Facebook page.

Once you create a new post be certain to bookmark it on all the Social Bookmarking Websites on which you created accounts.  Each post on a Blog is a separate webpage and needs to be marketed as such.

Social Media Websites - Social Media websites are those websites like Facebook.com where you can create a separate page about your business or the products and services you offer.  Facebook Fan Pages are the most popular, but you should not stop there.  Create pages on Hubpages.com, Squidoo.com, Xanga.com, WetPaint.com, Weebly.com and others as well.  The more pages each month you create the better chance you have of dominating Google and the other search engines when someone searches for the services you offer.

Place links in your social media pages to different pages on your website and to your Blog post.  Don’t forget to bookmark all the Social Media pages you created.

Online Video Host - Online video ads placed on video hosting websites such as YouTube.com is one of the best ways to advertise your products and services on the Internet.  Online Videos get some of the top rankings faster than any other type of webpage.  When you submit your video be sure to include a link to your website in the description of the video, also include information about your jewelry, your address and phone number.

YouTube is by far the largest video host on the Internet, but it’s not the only one you need to use.  Some of the best listings come from video hosts other than YouTube.  Some of the video hosts you should use include Revver.com, MetaCafe.com, LiveVideo.com, DailyMotion.com, Kewego.com, and Veoh.com.

Create a new video or two each month and submit it to each of the video host websites.  It’s free to create an account and to up-load your video.  After you have up-loaded your videos make sure to bookmark all the videos from each host on every bookmarking website on which you have accounts.

In addition, the videos playing on these host websites can easily be placed in a Blog post or on a Social Media webpage.  This is an easy way to develop new content for these pages, and by placing the video on your page it creates a link to the video on the host account helping it rise in the rankings.

Good News and Bad News - The good news about these Web 2.0 websites is that Google and the other search engines constantly monitor these websites and quickly list new pages.  It is common to see your new page listed in the top 10 in a few days, sometimes sooner.

However, the bad news is that the search engines are looking at these websites to provide current, up-to-date information.  Because of this they don’t typically list these pages for more than 3 or 4 months.  After that time they start to lose their luster and begin to slip in the rankings.

The way to avoid this downfall is to constantly make new pages month after month.  As one page starts to slip in the rankings you have another new page to take its place.

If all this sounds like too much work for you to accomplish, since you are already busy selling jewelry and running a business, Internet 4 Jewelers has programs especially for retail jewelers.  These programs start at $247 per month.  Which program is right for you depends on your market area and how aggressively you want to advertise.  For more information on the services they provide contact Brad Simon at www.Internet4Jewelers.com/marketing.

Internet Marketing Strategies: Local search marketing

Even though it is still in its infancy, Local Search is shaping up to be one of the dominant players in Internet Marketing.

Facts:

  • 30 percent of all search queries are Local Search (contain a city, state or zip code).
  • 2.6 billion Local Searches each month - its bigger than all the Yellow Pages combined.
  • Local Search Marketing is already a $31 billion industry.
  • Numbers of Years to Reach 50 Million Users:
    • Radio: 38 years
    • TV: 13 years
    • Internet: 3 years
    • Local Search: 9 months

Local businesses are at an extreme advantage if they learn how to leverage Local Search. The growth potential for local search is staggeringly high, and the impact on your business could be enormous!

Simply put, Local Search will soon dominate the brick-n-mortar world of marketing. Ready or not, Local Search is here and getting stronger.  If you are not optimizing your search presence for Local Search, you are making a BIG mistake. The fact is most retail businesses are not making local search optimization a priority yet, so there is still time to get in the game, but your window of opportunity is closing fast.

Optimizing your Internet Marketing efforts for Local Search is fairly simple and straight forward.  And in spite of the billions of dollars being spent on Local Search, most small businesses can make a big difference in a few hours of work.

The two areas you need to work on are your website’s Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Local Directories.

Local SEO

You actually don’t need a website to rank in local search. If you added your business to the Local Directories listed below, you will find your store showing up in Local Searches.  However, if you do have a website, then there is a lot you can do to optimize your website to help improve your rankings in Local Search.

The most important factor is having information on your website that relates to your local geographic area.  The search engines cannot list your website in a local search if they don’t know your store is located in that geographical area.

The following information needs to be on every page of your website, in text that is easy for search engine spiders to read.

Address - Include your street, city, state and zip code. Spell out your state name in most places, but use the two letter abbreviation as well in different places on the page. Do NOT use a PO Box.  List your street address so that the search engines can pin point your location on a map. Do not list multiple businesses with the same address - you could get banned for spamming.  If you are in a strip mall or shopping center where other business have the same address be certain to use your suite number to differentiate your business.

Phone Number - List your local business phone number (not an 800 number) including area code on all your pages. If you have multiple business locations, make sure they all have their own phone number. Listing the same phone number for different business addresses is a proven way to kill Local Search rankings.

Local Nicknames or Neighborhood Names - If the area your business is located in is known to all the locals by some name other than your city name, this name needs to be on every page of your website as well.  Your potential customers will more likely use this name in a search and the search engines will not know to list you unless you include it on your webpages.

Business Hours - This doesn’t have to be on every page, but you should list this information somewhere on your website, as users and search engines both look for it.

All the above information needs to be typed out in the body text of the webpage.  Also, it is helpful to include it in your page titles. Page titles are very important. At the very least, have your city, state and zip code in the page title of your homepage, your Contact Us page and your About Us page.

Local Directories

It is important when listing your business that your business information remains consistent throughout all of the directory websites and matches the information on your store’s main website. Information consistency across all Internet websites is crucial to the process of getting your business listed quickly and accurately in Local Search.

Internet Yellow Pages

Internet Yellow Page Directories remain one of the best places to list your business for Local Search.  Do a search in Google for Jewelry Store followed by your city name or zip code and see which directories come up in the search results.  These are the ones you will want to start getting listed in.  If you are already listed make certain that your information is accurate, correct any mistakes, and add any additional information.

In addition, fill out the free business profiles at YellowPages.com (AT&T) and SuperPages.com (Verizon). These two directories have the broadest reach and many other IYPs (Yellow Page Directories) syndicate their content, so listing with them will get you a lot of exposure across numerous sites.

Be sure to include your website URL in your listing.  This link to your website from the local listing in the IYPs will help establish your website’s Local Search importance.

The category you’re listed under is perhaps the most effective way to tell the local search engines what your site is about. Mis-categorized listings make it very hard to rank your products and services.

If your business fits under multiple categories, most local search listing centers have custom fields where you can list those additional categories. So list yourself under the primary category your business is relevant to, then list the other services your business provides in the custom fields. Only include services you actually provide, however, and don’t use these fields for keyword stuffing.

Only list your business in the city in which it is located. Listing your business in several surrounding cities is considered SPAM and the search engines will devalue your listing.

Don’t worry about purchasing an expensive listing in the IYPs.  It’s possible to blow hundreds and even thousands of dollars on these listings with little to show for it.

Also remember that many IYPs will try to sell what they call search marketing services. In general, their sales people are stumped by the simplest SEO questions, so avoid these services, as the return is rarely worth the investment.

Online Maps

These are becoming more and more important to Local Search and their value may soon pass Yellow Page Directories.  Fortunately, claiming your business’ listing in Google Maps is pretty easy. It doesn’t matter whether you are already in Google Maps or not. Simply go to www.maps.google.com and enter your company’s information. If you are already in, Google will find your existing listing and give you the opportunity to claim it.  If it is not listed fill out the form and submit it. Next you need to verify that you really do represent the business by either having Google call you with a special PIN number, or having Google send a postcard to your business with the PIN number.

If you are verifying by phone, be sure that you have access to the same phone number that is in your Google Maps listing. If you are in a new development and Google doesn’t recognize your street address use the post card to verify your listing, proving the address does exist.  This process takes only a few minutes and is actually pretty easy.

Once you have verified your listing, add all the information about your business including your website URL.  The more information about your store the greater the chances it will come up in a search result list.  Include all the products and services you carry.  If you don’t list a product or service, Google will not know to list you when someone searches for it.

Customer Review Websites

Having customers review your store on websites such as Yelp.com or directly in Google Maps is an important element in Local Search Marketing.  The more reviews you have the better your chance of receiving higher listings.

Do not worry about bad reviews.  If you receive a bad review add your comments to it including your side of the story and how you resolved it.  Also remember that Google looks at the number of reviews, not the rating or content of the review.  There are numerous reports of companies that tried to do a smear campaign against one of their competitors by posting bad reviews on all the different review websites.  The only thing they accomplished was to drive their competitor’s website to the top of Google search listings.

If a customer reviews your store on Yelp and is an inactive user, their review may become suppressed.  A suppressed review is still on the website, it just doesn’t show up when a person views your listing.  The important thing to remember is the review is still on Yelp’s website and Google sees it and gives you credit for it.

Some thing you can do that might help to keep the reviews showing up are:

  • Find someone who is active on Yelp to comment on the review (or comment yourself).
  • Link to the review in your Blog, and other places around the Internet.
  • Share the review on Facebook, Twitter, etc. by clicking on the buttons to do so at the bottom of the review.
  • Bookmark the review on Social Bookmarking websites.

Every brick-n-mortar retail or service business will need to have an Online Local Search presence, similar to the way a phone book listing has been essential in the past.  These steps will greatly improve your chances of getting listed and ranking well in the major local search engines. Then it is just a matter of keeping your listing accurate and up-to-date. Doing so will help to ensure that the major local search players have your latest information, and that there is no conflict between the information they are pulling from the various directories.

For more information on marketing your jewelry store on the Internet, getting higher search engine rankings, or using the Internet to keep in touch with your existing customers visit www.Internet4Jewelers.com You can follow Brad on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BenchJeweler.

Internet Marketing Strategies Facebook: the new ‘Face’ of business marketing Part 2

Facebook Pages are for businesses.  Your customers and potential customers can then become “Fans” of your business page.  Because of this association to the page, Facebook Business Pages are most often referred to as “Fan Pages”.

You can have as many Business Pages as you want.  You can (and should) set-up Business Pages for any and all business activities and/or products of your store.  You should first set-up a main Facebook Page for your store using your store name.  Then over time start making additional Facebook Pages on all aspects of your business.  For example you could make a page for jewelry repairs, custom designed jewelry, appraisal services, diamonds, gemstones, engagement and wedding rings, different lines of jewelry and watches you carry, etc.

  • Newsletter

  • Latest Post

  • Most Read

Columnist



Media Kit