Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Digital Marketing · Local Search/Google · Marketing

Google is putting their money where their mouth isn’t:  brand marketing via broadcast media.

The internet advertising behemoth has been running broadcast ads since mid-January and invested an estimated $5 million for a single 53-second Super Bowl TV ad.  The spot, an emotion-laden story about life, love and adventure, driven by Google searching, was one of the critic’s favorites this morning.

What most advertising pundits missed was this:  Why does a company that has unlimited ability to advertise and build name recognition across billions of web pages every single day need to advertise on TV?  The answer:  Google is facing real competition today from Microsoft/Bing, and soon probably from Apple.  They realize that they can’t just win with superior algorithms any more.  And they know something that a company learns by driving and analyzing 60% of internet advertising:  internet ads do a lousy job of branding and building desire. Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Digital Marketing · Local Search/Google

If Google has its way, its new local search technology will soon be the arbiter of ‘hot’ or ‘not.’  The latest (local) product, Google “Favorites,” is designed to label one business per specific locale the ‘favorite’ for its business category.  This nod will be driven by consumers in a variety of ways involving social and mobile tools that are part of the new product launch.

If you’re one of the small businesses that hasn’t paid much attention to Google and it’s local search, you’d better start before this tech creates a hard-to-crack stratification of haves and have-nots.  If you’re familiar or active with Google Local, use your knowledge to start fighting for this new beach-front real estate today.   Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Customer Retention · Digital Marketing · Local Search/Google · Marketing · Social Media

With recent advances in search technology, your customers’ experiences can now be instantly in the public domain and, in many cases, magnified by the size and nature of social networks.  This adds to the existing risks posed by sites that offer un-moderated ‘ratings’ of local businesses – many of which you may not even know exist.

If you don’t already, its time to start taking steps to manage your brand’s reputation online – at the very least, to find out if there are any reputation-killers lurking in the dark recesses of the web.  For most businesses, this can be as simple as a doing a couple of quick searches each month, or setting up an automated Google Alert to do the searching for you.  Other businesses may need to dedicate more effort to this issue; particularly ones that are active in social media, have high staff turnover, face very aggressive competitors, or who’ve had problems with product quality or customer service.

In this, the first of two posts on Reputation Management, we’ll cover why you should be concerned and how you can take steps to monitor what’s said about you or your business online.  In the second post, we’ll focus on how to use this information, including strategies for remedying bad situations. Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Digital Marketing · Marketing · Social Media

According to several recent studies, 75-90% of small businesses get no return on investments in web marketing via social networks.  This, despite the fact that about 50% of small business owners spent over 100 hours last year engaged in social media marketing. In one recent survey conducted by BizLaunch, owners were asked a very general question:  “What social media platforms have contributed to your sales?”  The answers were pretty dismal:

  • Facebook: 14%
  • Linked-In: 7%
  • Twitter: 5%
  • Blogs: 4%
  • YouTube: 1%

So what’s going on? Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Digital Marketing · Local Search/Google · Marketing

Every month, our team of marketing, operations, and strategy professionals put their heads together to answer a reader’s question about growing his/her small business. You can click here to submit your own question, and please feel free to join this discussion by adding your comments below

Rachel H., Stamford CT

Q: My staff and I put a lot of time into our website – it has a fantastic design, includes video testimonials, detailed pages about all of the services we provide, and have a very good page of Frequently Asked Questions.  It’s so much better than our competitors’ sites that several are even starting to copy us.  I get a lot of positive feedback from customers about the site so I know it does what we want it to do.  The problem is that it doesn’t generate a lot of traffic.  But the traffic it does get results in an email to us about 20% of the time, which I understand is a very high converting level.  I have our www address on our direct mail pieces and very large print in the occasional newspaper ads that we run. I’ve had web programmers offer to do things (that I don’t fully understand) to make it show up more often in Yahoo and Google, but the bids are pretty expensive and I just don’t know if they will work.  What do you recommend? Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Digital Marketing · Marketing · Social Media

If you’re like most managers, you’ve migrated from print media to the web to keep up with business, your community, and areas of interest.  Once there, you’re finding many more useful niche sources of information than you had offline.  This can be a good thing and a bad thing:  good in the breadth and depth that you can now explore, but bad in the amount of time that you spend simply trying to make sure that you’re not missing something important.

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is here to help make your online reading much more efficient.   RSS is a free tool that you can use to have new information from your favorite sources sent to you, instead of you looking for it.  RSS doesn’t fill up your inbox, can save hours each week, and will greatly increase the odds that you don’t miss anything important.  This video from commoncraft.com explains everything you need to know:

Read more »