Securing Your Rank & Space in a Digital World
Top tips for upping your restoration business traffic online.
When building your online presence, it's all about location, location, location. With a variety of options for the startup independent business to the established veteran owner, it's easier than ever find a strategy that works for your business online.
What is Internet real estate?
Where are your potential customers online? Are they using Google keyword searches to find businesses? Are they on Facebook? Do they click on the maps? Or, are they clicking on the paid ads? All of these places are prime online real estate options to increase your presence and grow your business.
The more comprehensive your online strategy, the more visible you become. The goal is to not only to be on page one of Google, but to also find ways to be everywhere online. When your customers are searching online, you want to give them the choice of you, you or YOU! You do this by leveraging different platforms. For your business, the right combination may be search engine optimization (SEO) and social media, or maybe a focus should be Google AdWords (Pay Per Click/PPC) and local maps.
The right strategy is going to vary, but there are more options than ever for businesses of all sizes to have a strong representation online.
Do I really have to pay to play?
It's true that Facebook and Google have both made big moves to monetize their platforms. More than ever before, things that were previously free now come with a price tag.
You now see the top four locations on Google are paid ads. These are followed by the maps, which now also have paid options. That means you are literally seven places down page one before you even hit the number one organic listing. So what use to be number one on Google is now actually number seven.
Think of the paid positions on Google as rentals. There are a couple of things to consider. First, renting can actually be a better option than buying. In life, there are advantages to renting. It's faster than buying a home, it can be a good transition, and it can be more affordable. Things such as PPC and Facebook advertising provide some of the same benefits. If you are looking to ramp up your online presence quickly this is a great way. You can turn it on and off immediately and it is highly targeted. This may need to be your "online home" until you can invest in SEO and "own" your space.
You can also look at this strategy as an investor. Owning rentals can be lucrative. When you "rent" online space you are essentially locking up additional online real estate that can give you a competitive edge. The biggest downside to this strategy is you really aren't building any equity. Investing in your own website with consistent and appropriate SEO, blog writing, and video production is a long-term commitment. It will take time to see a return, but the property is yours. It does not go away the minute you turn off the ads.
Owning versus renting is very much like organic versus paid. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Ideally, you're going to want to work to get to a place where you can invest in both -- this is where the magic happens and prospective clients get to choose between you, you, and you!
Know when to pivot
Things move quickly online. It's critical that your company be aware of algorithm updates and marketing trends. I always hear people say things such as "well, as soon as I figure it out, Google will just change it again". While there is s lot of truth to the statement, having this attitude is dangerous. Don't allow yourself to become overwhelmed with the fast-paced world of Internet marketing.
All real estate moguls do their homework, and so should you as you build your business. There are great resources where you can learn and stay on top of trends
Another option is to get someone on your team who is already a pro at this. You wouldn't hire a water tech to handle your bookkeeping would you? The same mentality should apply when it comes to your online marketing. Whether you decide to hire in-house or outsource it by bringing on a marketing company, you can dramatically speed up your learning curve and you'll make fewer mistakes by partnering with pros.
If you are saying, "but I like to handle my Facebook or I like to write my blog," that is fantastic. The next question should be: "am I consistent and effective with my efforts?"
This is most often where things fall apart. Business owners with the best intentions and best ideas too often fall victim to their own business. Meaning there will always be something more urgent that demands your time and energy results in your marketing goals being left behind.
The key to any brick and mortar business is to have a prime location. The first rule of business is - location, location, location. The most successful online marketing strategies are the ones used by companies who have multiple "online locations" so it's easier to be found. If you own every store in the mall, where will someone shop? With you! The same applies to the Internet. Be found on Facebook, Google and Bing ads, in the maps and in organic search, and watch your business thrive from being ONLINE.