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Online Marketing for Local Contractors in a New Economy

What is best way to market your business in this changing economy? Local business marketing used to be fairly simple. In times past you could place an ad in the yellow pages and you were all set. You’ve probably noticed that the Yellow Pages aren’t as successful as they use to be. Now, people just type their local search parameters into Google or other search engines to quickly and easily find local businesses. More and more consumers each year are turning to the Internet to research local companies and services, before they buy. Search engine marketing is the key to harnessing the profit power of your local customer base; traditional Yellow Page advertising is expensive and doesn’t drive customers to your website that provides 24×7 information.

A number of businesses are devoting their marketing dollars to search marketing. If you search for industry keywords, i.e., “leak detection in my town”, you most likely find that the industry leaders in your market are marketing online. This is because search engine marketing is the single most effective way to drive local traffic to your business website and get phone call leads. If you’re not marketing online, you are leaving sales on the table.

The goal with any search marketing program is to get your website to the top of the search results based on keywords of your business and your competitors. When your website dominates Google search results, you can be assured that you are driving the optimal leads to your business’ website. There are four main types of search marketing tactics: natural search optimization, paid clicks or pay-per-click (PPC), local directories, and map marketing. Each of these unique tactics offers different advantages; it is when they are strategically blended together into a search marketing plan they yield the best results.

A comprehensive marketing strategy that includes all of these elements gives your website significant advantage over your competitors. The end goal is to have multiple listings on the first page of Google, which is when you know you are properly optimized. This ensures that customers seeking the products and services you offer find you first. The more times you appear on the first page of search results, the better chance you have of getting the customers you desire.

Natural Search Optimization
Consumers use natural search, also known as organic search, on platforms such as Google to research products, services, and companies before they buy. Of course, if your website doesn’t appear on the first page of results, your chances of increasing sales diminishes significantly. Google isn’t the only search engine that consumers use; MSN, Yahoo!, Bing, and are important to note as well.
Search engines use automated software called crawlers to comb the billions of websites on the Internet and bring back the most relevant results for a certain query. These crawlers use algorithms that determine the relevance of these websites and their corresponding ranks on the search engine results page. It is because of these crawlers that business websites need to be optimized using various on-page and off-page SEO techniques including the use of relevant keywords and optimizing website content. Increasing the number of off-page links to your website is also very effective.

Paid Search (Pay-Per-Click)
More commonly known as pay-per-click advertising, paid searches are the fastest way to make your business visible to your target market. Unlike a local search and a natural search, though, paid search requires an initial investment, albeit smaller than the investment you put in traditional advertising media, to pay for every time a person clicks on the link to your website. In a Google search, a paid search result appears in the form of an advertisement on the top right side of the natural search results, allowing your users to see you right away instead of having them rifle deep into the search results first.

Map Marketing with Google Places
A typical search query by a potential customer often looks like this: “Manhattan Italian cuisine restaurant.” In a Google search, the search engine displays a local map of the area and the top 10 listings for restaurants in Manhattan offering Italian cuisine.
Map marketing is achieved by creating an active Google Places listing that shows your location and relevant business information. When properly created, the listing includes targeted keywords that will help the listing to show for relevant local searches.

Local Directory Listings
Local directory listings are online directory services such as Yahoo, Superpages, Citysearch and Yelp. These listings show up in local organic searches for your company and are also utilized by smartphone companies when they are compiling their databases. Submitting a listing for your business is another great way to drive local traffic to your website from desktop and smartphone searchers that are looking for your services.

To succeed in business today, you must have a comprehensive search engine optimization marketing plan. When you are ready to expand your customer base, grow your business, and experience greater revenues, it is time to implement an online marketing plan that incorporates local search, map marketing, pay-per-click, and organic search to draw potential customers from your service area.

Push Local specializes in online marketing for small businesses including Servpro Franchises.  Our services include search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, map marketing, and local directory submissions.  Some of the organic terms we go after for Servpro franchises include: Carlsbad mold, San Marcos mold, San Marcos water damage, Vista water damage, Carlsbad smoke damage, and Carlsbad water damage.  Push Local has shown continued success marketing for Servpro franchises with a number of clients currently ranking number one for their targeted organic search terms.