Local SEO and SEM for SMB’s – Ten 2011 Predictions Effecting Your WOM Marketing Effort

  1. Traditional WOM (word of mouth) is still a huge driver of new business to all small local companies. But internet WOM is already or will be the number one source of new clients in 2011. The single most important component will be Reviews, Testimonials, and Reputation Management. Whether on Yelp, Google Places or your own website or blog, folks will use the words of your existing customers to determine whether to buy from you or not.
  2. Email Marketing will continue to be the number one ROI (return on Investment) among all marketing tools available to small businesses. Sending relevant and fun emails to your clients past, present, and future is producing fantastic returns for everyone we know. If you are not currently sending out emails to your own list, make it a priority in 2011.
  3. Google Places will continue to baffle and befuddle with their changes and their buggy applications, but they will also continue to produce huge results for those who are highly ranked under important keywords. Our expectation is that Places will become even more dominant in 2011.
  4. YouTube now sees 35 hours of video uploaded every minute. Nationally YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine and drives business to every kind of company. Every single pundit sees even more emphasis on this category of marketing as smart phones become the number one way to view videos.
  5. Social Media to grow exponentially as SMB tool. Facebook will be a tool we will all need to become more familiar with. During 2010, I jumped into the social media pool with the intention of streamlining the effectiveness of Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In. Most SMB’s cannot effectively manage all four or sometimes even one. Not enough time. He who figures out how to optimize the use of these four products with the least investment wins.
  6. Websites are, says Google, critical to your ranking on Google Places. Moreover, with Google’s new Preview tool on search, the front page of your website needs to be an attention getter in two seconds or less of viewing time. This will be a major bonanza for web developers and designers who get it! Most don’t. The ones who get that you have to weave the marketing and the local SEO into every aspect of the website will become heros to their clients.
  7. Local Networking: WOM from your customer to their friends and neighbors is fantastic. WOM online through social networking, videos, and reviews is really great. But many small businesses fail to appreciate the importance of WOM from peers, suppliers, and community resources in traditional and non-traditional face-to-face encounters.. In 2011, we expect this type of marketing to continue to be increasingly useful and popular. Meetup.com will be an important part of this equation along with Le Tip, BNI, and similar groups.
  8. Local businesses will need to figure out ways to get around Google Places domination under their major keywords. A plumber is going to need to create videos and articles about how to choose a plumber. Bakers are going to need to give online lessons in cake decoration. There just isn’t enough room for every company in every neighborhood to be on page one for Google Places.
  9. Obviously, even the one man business is going to need visibility on smart phones and IPads. Look for niche players to get into the business of helping SMB’s get visible on mobile units in 2011.
  10. The biggest unknown for 2011 will be how truly local businesses can get any kind of exposure beyond a five mile radius on Google Places). Will Google find a better way than the current service area concept?

These are the biggies for 2011. There are many other important marketing developments that will effect us all in the new year, but if you get these ten right, I suspect business will be quite good.

Three Interesting Tactics To Make SEO And SEM Fun Again

It is important to do something different to enhance the efficacy and efficiency of your search engine optimization strategy every once in a while. Sticking to the same set of activities and strategies can convert your task into a boring routine. Nothing can be more harmful for your site’s popularity than implementing SEO strategies as a formality.

Email Marketing

Try to use e-mail marketing to popularize your website. Many persons are of the opinion that e-mail marketing has become obsolete. They feel that nobody will be interested in checking out e-mails in today’s age of Twitter posts and Facebook updates. Well, sending unsolicited e-mails may harm your brand. However, using e-mail marketing smartly can make a huge impact on your existing customers. Providing useful and exciting information about your brand and related topics on a regular basis through e-mails can help you maintain a personal connection with each and every customer.

Focusing on your existing customers can help you streamline your search engine optimization strategies accordingly. What is the point of attracting new customers to your website if you are not in a position to retain them for the long term? By relying on social media and other such new age solutions to find new customers, you can make use of a smartly created e-mail marketing strategy to keep your existing customers happy.

Co-Citation

Many persons are beginning to feel that the importance of anchor keywords has come down drastically. Excessive reliance on this strategy can result in your website looking spammy and of poor quality. There is a possibility that Google may penalize you for providing poor quality content just because you have focused entirely on creating links with your anchor keywords. In such a scenario, cross citation can make a huge difference to the overall popularity of your brand. The fact that your company is mentioned along with other reputed companies operating in your niche can automatically improve your search engine ranking.

There have been instances where certain organizations and companies have ranked high in search engine results without using keywords even once in the content. The mere fact that they have been crossed sited along with reputed organizations is enough to convince search engines. Unfortunately, you cannot try to manipulate the number of cross citations. Rather, you have to provide quality content and wait for reputed organizations recognize your value. Focusing on the strategy for a short period of time will automatically make SEO exciting again.

Offline Marketing

You can also make smart use of off-line marketing activities. Instead of relying on the same old Facebook updates and article directories, you can create an event that is designed specifically for off-line public relations. You can then align your online strategy with this event to create a buzz around your brand. Bring something different need not necessarily be an expensive affair. You just need a good expert by your side.

Thankfully, identifying such an expert is not difficult task. You just have to make smart use of online resources to find an expert who is well aware of these interesting tactics and strategies to enhance the quality of the SEO campaign.