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Reason #4 – Thinking you can hire a search marketing expert to get traffic to your site

This is one of a series of 12 posts that will show you how to take full advantage of the business-building power of the Internet and not get left behind as your prospects shift from using the Yellow Pages to the Internet to find a martial art school. Click here to view the first post and to access links to the others. 

Reason #4 – Thinking you can hire a search marketing expert to get traffic to your site

With well over 45 billion web pages on the Internet, getting your website found isn’t easy – and requires some effort.

Business owners faced with this problem often hire search marketing experts (known as SEO or search engine optimization experts) – individuals or companies who charge hundreds to thousands of dollars a month to fiddle with a company’s websites in an effort to increase their search engine ranking.

There are four problems with these supposed “experts”

1.  As Perry Marshall, a world-renown Internet guru says, “70-80% of SEO guys are incompetent and 5-10% are Con Men.” Here are just a few of the cons these guys get away with:

  • They use SEO “tricks” that end up getting a site banned from the search engines.
  • They make a big deal about the value of search engine submissions. The truth is that search engines will find your site on their own – if your site is findable – so there is almost no value in this heavily promoted practice.
  • They focus on “on-site” SEO when effective “off-site” search marketing accounts for 80% of the difference in search results – but off-site efforts are difficult so it’s often completely ignored.
  • They apply the same methods across all market segments when Google actually uses different criteria for ranking sites in different business categories.
  • Rather than trying to optimize both Traffic and Conversions, they only emphasize getting visitors and few leads are generated.
  • They fail to apply the 80/20 principle, focusing their energies on the 80% that produces meager results rather than the 20% that has the most impact.

2.  Even if you find a search marketing expert that isn’t incompetent or a Con Man, they will likely know little about Local Internet Search.

See, the goal of traditional search marketing is to get traffic from all parts of the world. As you can probably imagine, this is a completely different challenge than getting traffic from interested prospects who live within a few to several miles of a local business.

For example, to be effective with Local Internet Search, here are just a few of the search categories that need to be understood:

  • Organic Search (Google, Bing)
  • Paid Search (Google Adwords, Facebook Ads)
  • Local Search Directories (Google Places, Yahoo! Local)
  • Online Yellow Pages (YellowPages.com, Switchboard, com)
  • Online Review Sites (Yelp, Angie’s List)
  • Local Classified Advertisements (Craigslist, eBay)
  • Local Deal Sites (Groupon, Living Social)
  • Local groups within national social media (e.g., Facebook)
  • Business Category Search (business-specific category directories)

Knowing how to work with these search categories is a completely different animal than knowing the ins and outs of national/global Internet search.

That’s the problem most national organizations make. They implement national search marketing strategies to try to get local traffic to location pages on a national website – a losing proposition.

3.  Even if you learn of an individual who claims to be a local search marketing expert (you probably get calls from these folks every week), their “expertise” likely comes from taking a $1,000 to $2,000 Internet course about local online marketing and working with a few local clients. I personally know of five outfits that offer such courses and they’re quite successful – meaning there are tens of thousands of these minimally-trained “experts” competing with each other for local clients (and calling you).

4.  No matter who you use, it’s going to cost a ton of money. Local Internet Search is such a hot area right now that these experts – whether real or not – have extremely high rates. The true experts charge a few hundred dollars per hour and the individuals signing up for the local online marketing courses are being told they’ll be able to charge $2,000 to $5,000 per month – per client! – for their services.

This is crazy – but that’s the kind of money they’re trying to get from local clients who don’t know any better.

So, for a local business, hiring a true website traffic expert who can help a local business at a reasonable cost is almost impossible. I’m sure you get plenty of calls from companies who say they can help, but they all have at least one of these problems:

  • Generally incompetent or are a con man
  • Unknowledgeable about Local Internet Search
  • Minimally trained by some “business opportunity” outfit
  • Too expensive

Reason #3 – Building a website that is invisible to the search engines

This is one of a series of 12 posts that will show you how to take full advantage of the business-building power of the Internet and not get left behind as your prospects shift from using the Yellow Pages to the Internet to find a martial art school. Click here to view the first post and to access links to the others. 

Reason #3 – Building a website that is invisible to the search engines

There are only four ways for someone to find your website:

  • Entering a keyword phrase (e.g., dentist in Milwaukee) into a search engine like Google or Bing
  • Following a link from another Internet property to your website
  • Clicking on a paid advertisement
  • Learning about your website from an offline promotion (e.g., postcard, flyer, media article)

If you know anything at all about the Internet, you understand that the first one is critically important. Most people who are looking for a local business just go to Google or Bing and enter keywords they think will get them to what they are looking for.

Sadly, many local business websites are built in such a way that they are completely invisible to the search engines. In other words, these websites will NEVER show up in the search results – no matter what keywords are entered.

What a travesty!

You have paid good money to have a website developed, due to mistakes made, no one will EVER find it via an Internet search.

There isn’t room here to explain all the ways a web developer can make a website – for all practical purposes – invisible to the search engines. But, trust me, there are a bunch of them.

Here are just a few:

  • Using “Flash” as the technology on which your website is built
  • Not including appropriate “Title Tags” in the source code for your site
  • Not using “SEO-friendly URLs”
  • Implementing “tricks” that get your site banned by the search engines
  • Not having a version of your website that can be easily viewed on mobile devices

Whatever you do, to be effective with local business online marketing, make sure your website is visible to the search engines.

Reason #2 – Not having Traffic and Conversions as the top priorities

This is one of a series of 12 posts that will show you how to take full advantage of the business-building power of the Internet and not get left behind as your prospects shift from using the Yellow Pages to the Internet to find a martial art school. Click here to view the first post and to access links to the others. 

Reason #2 – Not having Traffic and Conversions as the top priorities

To get new customers from a website, there are ONLY two things that matter: Traffic (prospects finding and visiting our website) and Conversions (visitors deciding to contact you or make a purchase). You want lots of prospects to visit your site and you want a high percentage of them to contact you.

Let me state this again because it’s critical to success on the Internet.

Traffic + Conversions = New Customers

What is so disappointing is how few website developers understand this fundamental principle. Instead of concentrating on what is important, they focus on such trivial issues as:

  • Selecting the coolest technology
  • Designing the fanciest graphics
  • Developing the slickest logos and slogans

We call the resulting sites “brochure-ware” – because, just like fancy four-color glossy brochures, they are very expensive to develop (sometimes ridiculously expensive) and they do almost nothing to help grow a business.

In fact, much of the “brochure-ware” work actually detracts from what should be the two goals for any website – traffic and conversions (I’ll give you some examples of this problem later in this report).

You have to ask yourself why this happens.

If the equation – Traffic + Conversions = New Customers – is so fundamental to success on the Internet, why do so many web developers get this so wrong?

  • They don’t know any better. Often business owners try to get by on the cheap by hiring a family member, friend or customer to develop their website who, honestly, know very little about how to be successful online.
  • The website developer is like a carpenter with only a hammer. If they’re a technologist, they want to use cool technology. If they’re a graphic designer, they want a fancy look. If they’re an advertising agency, they want to promote your “brand” or “image” (more about this misconceived idea below).
  • The ego of the business owner. Yes, sometimes, the business owner’s ego gets in the way of creating an effective website. They put form (cool-looking design) over function (traffic and conversions) and the site ends up being completely ineffective as a business-building tool.
  • As I said above, the mistaken belief that a national organization can have an effective Internet strategy using a single website with just a page or two dedicated to each location.

If you want to have a website to generate new leads, you must protect yourself from these barriers to developing an online system that prioritizes Traffic and Conversions – the two essential factors for the success of any Internet strategy.

Reason #1 – Not having a local website

This is one of a series of 12 posts that will show you how to take full advantage of the business-building power of the Internet and not get left behind as your prospects shift from using the Yellow Pages to the Internet to find a martial art school. Click here to view the first post and to access links to the others. 

Reason #1 – Not having a local website

This one is pretty obvious. It’s darn tough to get new customers from the Internet if you don’t have a website.

What’s surprising is how many local business owners are making this costly mistake.

They don’t have a website despite the fact that over 85% of all North Americans are using the Internet to find local businesses and social media has become the new word-of-mouth.

Not having a local business website is just plain crazy. These businesses are missing out on a big opportunity to get new customers with almost no extra effort, but, more importantly they are taking the risk of giving up the prime Internet real estate to their competitors – potentially forever.

Why are so many local businesses missing this opportunity?

Our research tells us there are four primary reasons:

  1. Confusion as to what to do (being effective at Internet marketing can be extremely complicated)
  2. Bad experiences in previously trying to develop a website (some of the stories I’ve heard would curdle your blood)
  3. Lack of time and/or interest to hassle with “this Internet stuff” (local business owners have plenty to do beyond fussing around on the Internet)
  4. For local businesses that are part of a national organization (central ownership or franchise), the mistaken belief that a directory on a national website is a better online strategy than having each franchisee have their own local website.

Later, I’ll offer up a solution on how to deal with each of these issues. But, for right now – don’t be the proverbial “deer in the headlights” to your competition. If you are a local business owner and don’t already have a website or, if you are a national organization and each of your locations doesn’t have their own local website, you need to act quickly.

10 Mistakes That Make 99% of Websites a TOTAL WASTE of Time and Money

This is the first of a series of entries that will show you how to take full advantage of the business-building power of the Internet and not get left behind as your prospects shift from using the Yellow Pages to the Internet to find a martial art school.

Dear Business Owner,  If your community is like most, your prospects are now using the Internet to find local businesses. In most communities over 85% of searches for local businesses are occurring online. In fact, advertising experts expect that it won’t be long before the paper Yellow Pages are dead, having been completely displaced by Local Internet Search. In addition, with over one billion people now using Facebook, social media has become the new word-of-mouth. In the following pages I’ll show you exactly how to take advantage of this trend to help grow your business using local business online marketing.

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For local business owners, the Internet represents either a huge opportunity or a pending disaster

Our research has consistently shown that 99% of all local businesses are throwing their money away on poorly designed and ineffective websites. That means only 1% of local businesses have websites that are effective in bringing in new customers. What are the 1% doing? Well, for one, they are making a lot of money, each and every month by making the Internet an integral part of their business and getting new customers every month, with little extra effort. In other words, the Internet represents a huge opportunity for local businesses. It is a great lead-generation tool, but more importantly, with only 1% of business owners doing the right things, it is possible to effectively own the Internet for your local business niche within a geographic area. However, due to how the Internet works, it could be a pending disaster for many business owners. Here is why.

  • This shift to Local Internet Search is not going unnoticed. Over $16 billion in Yellow Pages advertising revenues is at stake – so everyone from venture capitalists, to opportunistic entrepreneurs, to proactive local businesses are trying to make an Internet “land grab.”
  • Local Search companies have gotten billions of dollars in investment capital.
  • Local business category domain names (e.g., milwaukeeattorney.com) are being grabbed up in mass (one company paid $160 million to acquire 100,000 such domain names).
  • Paid Search (pay-per-click advertising like Google Adwords) is exploding for the local business market.

In other words, if local business owners don’t act soon with a comprehensive local business online marketing strategy, they may be left out in the cold. During the age of Yellow Pages, if there were more advertisers, they just add pages. But, with the Internet, once spaces on the first page for a given Internet search phrase are gone, they may be gone forever – or only available at a ridiculously high price. Bottom line, you can’t afford to NOT be one of the 1% – because the upside opportunity for your business is so large and the downside risk of being locked out is so great. My name is Allen Oelschlaeger and I’ve been involved in helping local businesses take advantage of the business-building power of the Internet for the last 10 years (and since 2007, via a company I founded called eInnov8 Marketing). During that time, I’ve worked with local business owners from throughout the U.S. and Canada to improve how they use the Internet to give them a very real and sustainable edge over their competition. As you’ll see, the local businesses I’ve worked with have experienced tremendous success. Why? Because I know what it takes to be part of the 1% – where a business:

  • Has established claim to one of the top Internet positions for search phrases used to find their local business
  • Has a fully-integrated online presence that converts interested visitors to paying customers

In these pages I’m going to disclose the secrets for accomplishing this. To get started, let me share the ten reasons why 99% of local-business websites are a total waste of time and money.