Although a year old the following study by eMarketer demonstrated the mind shift in businesses to focus on online advertising rather than more traditional advertising like print. By far the biggest increase in spend of businesses was in WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT! What can we infer from this? The clearest inference is that most companies have websites that arent working or are outdated.
This was validated by our own research … we interviewed local businesses in the lower mainland – on a scale of 1-5 (1 not important and 5 very important) local businesses overwhelming agreed that the internet would be important to the growth of their business (avg 4.45). In addition most business agreed that potential customers were using the internet to search for their business(avg 4.15).
Perhaps most interesting was the facts that almost every business we spoke with indicated their sites were critically bad at generating business/customers (avg 1.60). This was further demonstrated by follow up questions regarding conversion tracking (75% of businesses don’t know if/when/or where they are making money from their advertising) and almost all businesses were not using the internet to increase the lifetime value of their customer base (95%).
This demonstrates the need to not just have a website (since most aren’t performing well at all) but to have a website that can be found and has a definitive goal of converting traffic to customers (ie conversion marketing).
B2BOnline further validated these findings by demonstrating where increase in marketing spend were being allocated and more importantly … where that marketing spend was being transferred from.
The top areas that will see increases are Web site development (cited by 57% of respondents), search (55%), webinars, podcasts and online events (50%), email marketing (49%), social networks (47%) and blogs (44%).
Areas that will see budget cuts include print advertising (51%), printed vertical directories (50%), direct mail (37%), outdoor (34%), TV advertising (31%), sponsorships (30%) and events (28%).
However, while budgets are increasing for digital marketing, there are still barriers to investing in online, the study found. Foremost are lack of resources (cited by 55% of respondents), the unproven value in some marketers’ industries (25%) and lack of executive support (25%).
If that was 2010 and focused on the US market how will this impact the Canadian market? US businesses spend, by far, more on internet marketing advertising than local Canadian businesses (http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1005622) … the challenge is convincing Canadian businesses they are missing a massive opportunity AND how they can cost effectively transition their marketing spend.
Everybody, I am sure, has heard of this quote “He who fails to plan, plans to fail”.
This is true for every aspect of our personal and professional life and is even more true for our marketing initiatives. When it comes to social media and facebook you MUST have a plan or strategy in place or you will fall victim to what I call “the facebook hook”. What was meant to be 5 minutes checking status updates and stalking old girlfriends/boyfriends turns into 2 hours of facebook hypnotherapy.
Here is a recommended 6 step strategy to building your facebook fan page:
Like any business strategy, marketing strategy, advertising strategy or any strategy at all you need to know WHO your targeting and WHY … which will ultimately lead you to WHAT you want them to do … your objective, as a business, shouldn’t be to “get fans” or “likes” but to build and solidify customer and client relations and retention AND provide a sales funnel!
2). Design Strategy
There are some ugly ugly sites out there … facebook makes it so you page wont be ugly … but it sure can be boring. Below I have some examples of really cool facebook pages from a design point of view. To really ENGAGE your market you need to do something different …
http://www.facebook.com/1800flowers (SUPER sneaky offer available when you LIKE the page!)
http://www.facebook.com/LocalTrifecta (ok ok … maybe not yet but we have a strategy in place! kind of …!) While your there you might as well “LIKE” us .
3). Content Strategy
Any internet marketer will tell you “Content is King” this is true when it comes to optimization and true when it comes to social media. Content is what keeps you coming back for more, encourages you to “like” a page, entices you to share with others and evokes feelings of happiness and well-being … maybe not that last one … but the first 2 for sure …
4). Promotion Strategy
How, Where, When and WHY should you promote your newly created fan page!? From facebooks Ads to installing “Like” buttons on your actual site you CAN engage more of your customers and potential customers if you make it easy.
5). Engagement Strategy
Although strikingly similar to your content engagement takes it to the next level and asks “How do I make this CDC”? (Consumer Driven Content!) This is web 2.0! Rather than YOU having to do all the work encourage your customers to participate! Ask questions, get survey’s, make absurd suggestions, ASK … and ye shall receive …
6). Conversion Strategy
Finally … with all that strategizing (yes I realize thats not really a word) in place to penultimate strategy will come back to your objective … WHY would any business create a facebook fan page … ultimately it should play a roll in increasing the life time value of your existing customer base and/or facilitate in generating new business! Ensure all your strategies in some way or another build on this strategy!
If you own a small business, and you’re on Facebook, do you have a business Fan Page?
My wild assumption is that if your Facebook friends will be open to becoming a fan of your business. And every time you update your Fan Page with some great business news, a limited-time offer, photos or videos, it will display on the News Feed of all your “fans.”
Fan Pages is really an easy way for a local business to reach out to a LOCAL audience.
According to research by eMarketer:
Engagement, interest and constant connection keep fans coming back to a company’s Facebook fan page, and local businesses can learn from these larger examples as they create and populate their own Facebook fan pages.
On the big company level, the largest Fan Page with over 26 million fans is the YouTube Fan Page, and the second largest is the Coca-Cola Fan Page. With Fan Pages, the ability to create and share is the same whether it’s a local business or Fortune 500 company.
Seeing as LocalTrifecta Internet Marketing is a small business, with a focus on helping other small businesses attract and convert more customers online, I think what the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), and Federal Government have done is wonderful.
In naming 2011 the Year of the Entrepreneur, I hope that this goes beyond the typical lip service, feel good type media announcement. Small business is the life blood of the Canadian economy, and it is the industrious, creative, and effort of business owners that drive this country.
As a past funding recipient from CYBF, I can assuredly say that it is a terrific organization that has a clear and organized mandate.
The following is taken from the joint press release sent out today:
As leaders in small business in Canada, CYBF and CFIB recognize that the country’s future depends on the continuing contributions of entrepreneurs. Small- to medium-sized businesses account for 98 per cent of all businesses across Canada, and with more than 19 per cent of owners plan to retire within the next five years, The Year of the Entrepreneur is a prime opportunity for Canada’s frontrunners to create entrepreneurial initiatives that will help move Canada into more prosperous times.
Read the official government press release on this.
A number of months back, I was researching some statistics of small business in British Columbia.
I came across a very helpful email from Gary at Small Business BC, and I’ll share some of what he shared below.
Have a look at the Small Business Profile Study by BCSTATS:
It states that in 2007-2008 there were 384,300 small businesses in BC. 58.3% of those were in the Mainland/Southwest region of BC.
City of Vancouver Statistics are harder to find.
http://www.metrovancouver.org/about/statistics/Pages/KeyFacts.aspx (for the GVRD)
You may try asking at the City of Vancouver (although I don’t know if they compile that info). You can find the number of business licenses issued at the metrovancouver site..but not by size of business.
You can also try Statistics Canada:
Small Business BC does not define what a small business is. We use the Provincial Government definition of any business with fewer than 50 employees. I don’t believe I have ever seen a definition of a "medium" sized business. It is either "Small" (50 or under employees) or "Small and Medium" (50 and under employees..same as "small") and "Large" (over 50 employees)
eMarketer forecasts that Twitter ad revenues will rise this year and next, from $45 million in 2010 to $150 million in 2011 to $250 million in 2012, BUT the one prevalent question is if Twitter has saturated the marketplace.
Can Twitter maintain the same stratospheric growth it has experienced in the past several years? Has it plateaued? The simplicity of Twitter is its inherent beauty, but it’s the visual, engaging element that has continued to feed Facebook’s growth.
Twitter seems to be growing most in spam-type accounts that people open up and fill with autotweets, program with auto retweets, etc, etc.
Overall ad revenues for the major social networks (MySpace isn’t a major any longer) are trending up. Twitter and Facebook to a lesser extent are in a race to grab as much market share as possible, before the next big thing appears on the scene.
The video is half a year old, but provides great insight by the Google Engineer (and prolific blogger) Matt Cutts and his team.
Google rules the Internet. We all know that.
I have a love affair with many things Google. Now you know that.
One tool that I adopted over a year ago is Google Alerts.
Pick whatever keyword terms you want (the most obvious to start with is your name!), pick the frequency of when you’ll receive the updates and VOILA, magic to your email everyday. OR if you’re just not that popular then magic weekly … monthly … or maybe never – which is what I’m sure some insane people would want .
Eric Enge of Search Engine Land recently made a very insightful blog entry regarding “What’s Next In The Evolution Of Local Search?“
In it he states:
The first thing we need to be clear on is that there are major differences between traditional SEO and Local SEO. A wholly different set of algorithms is in play here, and the type of work is quite different.
With Google increasing its focus on search queries with local intent, the importance of having a local SEO strategy is growing rapidly. Whether you are a national chain with lots of local brick and mortar stores, or the local laundromat, you need to play here.
The problem is that for a small local business, it is very hard to play effectively in this space. This is a trend that strongly favors the larger business that can invest in a significant Local SEO strategy, and can afford to re-invest every time there is an algorithm change.
In our experience the businesses we work with, even with a “marketing department”, are focused on more traditional forms of marketing and advertising. The knowledge a business needs to stay ahead of not just the local marketing opportunities but organic search AND pay per click creation and optimization takes a team of highly focused individuals.
At Local Trifecta our objective is to help small to medium brick and mortar businesses get all the benefits of a large corporate spend for a fraction of the price. We understand what it takes to leverage the full “Trifecta” of SEO, PPC, and Local and understand how critical it is to have all 3 components working together to accomplish the main objective of increasing revenue.
For businesses located in the USA finding local citations is actually quite easy. There are a couple of BIG players that help you submit your business to the biggest citations on the web. The 2 big players for US companies are localeze and getlisted.
For any other company and specifically those located in Canada the process is a bit more involved. The 2 big players are the internet yellow pages (yellowpages.ca and canpages.ca) but this is nowhere near as powerful as mass submission resources like the US has access to. So the real question is where and how can a business find good citations for their local maps!?
I stumbled across an AMAZING resource/tool yesterday and with their permission am sharing it now. The company is Whitespark and the tool is a local citation finder or http://www.whitespark.ca/tools/local-citation-finder/.
Simply put you can enter either a keyword or phone number and the tool will find citations on the internet and provide you with a list of highly relevant sites to submit your business to! Even MORE powerful the tool will also help you track and monitor which citations you have submitted to and which work best for your businesses.
As an internet marketer I have to say this tool is nothing short of incredible! Please … do yourself a favor and check it out!