I recently caught up with Michael Mothner, a serial entrepreneur and Internet pioneer who founded his first software company at the age of fourteen (yup, he's an Upstart!). In 2001, out of his dorm room at Dartmouth College, Mothner founded the online marketing company, Wpromote, where he is currently CEO. The company has been recognized four times by Inc. Magazine on its annual Inc. 500|5000 list, which recognizes the fastest growing companies in America. Mothner offered to share some great online marketing tips with his fellow entrepreneurs. Here they are:
1. Local Search. Search engine optimization is all about widening the online profile of your business and your brand in a really effective and responsible way, and there is really no simpler way to do this than to maximize your local search profiles. All one has to do is manage a places listing, and Google local search takes care of the rest. Don't neglect your Facebook geographic profile either; you want to cover all the bases. Citysearch.com is a great resource to take a look at as well.
2. Importance of blogging. Every website owner, brand and company has got stories or case studies that are relevant to their product. A blog is the single best way to carpet bomb the Internet with content and potentially rank for keywords that might not have otherwise been canonical on your web pages. Each blog post has the potential to rake in traffic via a new set of keywords; each blog post can attract an entirely new set of customers that you never even knew existed, and each blog post is a golden opportunity to introduce something new. Use the opportunity that a blog can provide to humanize your company and put a face to the brand. Something to keep in mind: make sure you talk WITH them and not AT them.
3. Encourage Clients/Customers to post reviews. Reputation management is one of the most important components of an online presence. That is why it is essential to encourage your most loyal clients and customers who are familiar with online media to go and write good reviews about your business anywhere they can. Tell them to start with Yelp (which is very often on page one) and then move on to the other local search and resources pages like superpages.com and local.com. If they are fans of your service and product then their testimony can do wonders for your future business. If a person Googles you and finds a glowing review at the top of the result, you can bet they will be coming your way.
4. Run a locally targeted PPC (pay-per-click) online advertising campaign (in Google, Yahoo, Bing). Whether you're a brick and mortar operation serving the community, a local professional who can only travel so far for a job, or even an e-commerce store on a budget, a locally targeted PPC search campaign might be the perfect fit for you.
Both Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter offer the ability to target metropolitan areas, individual cities or even zip codes within those cities so that your budget is spent on the most relevant users to you: your neighbors! In AdWords, you can even limit your ads to show within a certain radius of your location. By restricting your ads in this manner, advertisers can ensure that they aren't wasting money on users outside their target market; limit test initiatives to smaller populations and differentiate ad messaging from broader campaigns or other areas.
These decisions can be made nearly instantaneously by adjusting your campaign settings. Geotargeted advertising with PPC can allow smaller, local advertisers to defend their turf effectively against large, national and multinational companies with much deeper pockets.
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