Google Local Marketing Tips for Small Businesses on a Budget


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Most local small business owners realize the importance of Google local marketing but simply do not have the budget or marketing dollars to invest in local online marketing. Ron Rod, Jr and Ryan Paul Adams discuss this topic and provide some Google local marketing tips to help you get found online and to help you keep the clients you already have.

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Google Local Marketing Tips for Small Businesses on a Budget

  1. 1. Google Local Marketing Tips for Small Businesseson a BudgetRon: Good morning! It’s Ron Rodi Jr. of PME360.Welcome to our weekly business growth podcast. And Ryan Paul Adams is with me today.Ryan, good morning.Ryan: Good morning! Glad to be doing this again.Ron: Thanks for joining me.Ryan, you know, each week we explore some topics, provide information for local smallbusinesses to help them learn some nuances on how to grow, what they can do as localsmall businesses to get started.Today’s topic is interesting. Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about local marketing andlocal SEO, why it’s important for small businesses.But we’ll put a twist on it. We’ll talk about it on a standpoint of a new business that mightnot necessarily have the largest of budgets or no budget at all.So we’re going to provide some tips on how that small business can get started – whether ornot you have a website, whether or not you’re just getting started, whether or not you’rebrick and mortar, we’ll talk some tips there.Ryan, let’s go ahead and set the table.Ryan: I ran into a couple of local businesses this week that have been in businesses for 15 to20 years – both of them. And they’ve never done any marketing.Really, they have never invested in marketing at all. And one of them had a website, whilethe other one didn’t. Whatever we’ll talk about really applies to those types of businesses aswell.So not necessarily somebody who like started yesterday but…Ron: …someone looking to get started on the online world.So whether you’ve been in business for one month or 10 years, some tips you could do on arelatively small budget. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses
  2. 2. Ryan: Exactly.Ron: Fantastic. So let’s take a look at that Ryan. Let’s dive into that. Because I know we’veboth had discussions this week with local small businesses that are looking to get started.Inevitably, they are extremely overwhelmed. They have many things to do on a day to daybasis. And they wake up in the morning, they realize the importance of trying to establish apresence online.And to me, they get too carried away with all the things that need to be done. And theybecome paralyzed because they simply just don’t know where to get started.Ryan: It could be completely overwhelming. And I’m in this market, every day the optionsfor marketing online are crazy. I mean, there are so many options. So many things that youneed to learn to do, that you feel you need to do because in every seminar you go to,everybody you talk to says,“Why are you not in Facebook? Why are you not in Twitter? Why are you not in LinkedIn?You have no videos on YouTube.”Ron: …why aren’t you blogging? Why aren’t you pushing out content? Why aren’t you doingSEO?Ryan: And everybody’s intention is good.You really should, at one point, be looking at doing some or all of those things becausethere’s built-in traffic in every single one of those sources. And also, the ability to get foundbetter online. You have great rivers of information as what we call it.But I think you’ve got to clear out the clutter and all the noise. Focus on what’s the numberone most important thing I need to do to get started so that I can start getting found online.There are 3 billion searches done in every month for local products and services. And tocapture a small percentage of that traffic, what do I need to do right now to make sure thatall people who are looking for me online can find me easily?Ron: Let’s forget acronyms. Let’s forget about the noise. Let’s start with bare bones, what’sthe best thing that I can do?Ryan: So I think if you don’t have the budget. I’m a big fan of having a website but you don’tactually need one at this point.Ron: Or you need a simple one.Ryan: A 1-page website is fine. Get a 1-page website with a webform, your phone numberand a good description of who you are. Just get something up. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses
  3. 3. I think, this is probably better than having nothing. But even before that, if I was a localbusiness owner, I’d make sure my local business listing data was plentiful, updated andaccurate.So I just ran into a situation the other day. I needed to have my dentist appointment. Andmy dentist doesn’t have a website as he’s a little bit old school. But he knows that he needsone. I haven’t really pushed the issue at all. You know, he knows what I do and he knows thevalue of it. But he feels that he just cannot handle it.Ron: How often have we heard the phrase “I can’t handle it.”He’s overwhelmed.Ryan: He’s overwhelmed as it is. As a business owner, he just can’t handle that process andwhile we could handle all of that for him and he doesn’t need to do anything, in his mind it’sjust too much. That’s normal.Ron: I think, I know where you are going with this. So go ahead.Ryan: So I had an appointment. I was looking at my card. I didn’t have my card. So I don’town a yellowbook or a phonebook at all. We don’t have one. None at the house either. Ilooked around the other day just for kicks to see if we had one because I wanted to see whatpeople were doing in there. And I don’t have one.So I went online and I search for this dentist’s office name and nothing was coming out.Ron: The doctor’s name.Ryan: So I searched for a doctor’s name and it did come up. But the listing data didn’t have aphone number in it.I went through 5 listings and I finally got to page 2 and there was a listing in there that had aphone number.I just thought that it was difficult. If I were somebody who was a new patient, consideringhow hard it was, I’d be definitely annoyed.Ron: So you were still at home.But what happens then if you were in the car, you’ve got your mobile device and you’resaying. “Okay I need to go here and then I need to stop at the dentist because I have anappointment. Everything’s at home because I got my device.People are searching on their devices. It’s the same thing. It’s the same way as if you’researching on your desktop. People now are doing 1 to 3 searches and it’s done. It’s local. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses
  4. 4. Ryan: And it’s going to grow. It’s going to get bigger.Ron: And half of them are done in mobile devices. So what this leads to is okay, youmight not be ready to be found for those who are searching for your business category,in what’s a general and broader search.However, it is extremely important for those who know about you, those who have seenyour business location, those who have been by it, those who know your name andthose who know your office and business name.Okay, you are referred to this particular doctor, particular business. People want to goand validate you – see who you are.So the first step, to me, is if you’re already known, people already know you, great.That’s a great thing if you’re giving out business cards, if you’re in a local publicationperhaps. Again, people drive by, you’re referred.But people still need to know where you are located. They still want to know whatpeople are saying about you. Anything! Like are there any reviews or maybe where didthis doctor go to school.Do you have that information? That’s the conversation we both had with local businessowners recently.Half the battle is making sure that people who know about you can find you. It soundsobvious but it’s a huge pain point.Ryan: it sounds obvious but it’s not. Because more times than not, when we’re looking forthe businesses we already do business with, we’re getting frustrated that we don’t havewhat we need quickly – especially if we’re on the phone. We’re in a rush and we’researching on our phone or using Siri. And Siri cannot find anything.It starts to raise questions about the business. Also, these are your customers, you want tomake it easy on them as many ways as you can. And this is one of the most important waysthat you can make it easier on your existing clients to find you.And if they need to call you or contact you, you have your information out there, on a lot ofdifferent sites. Choose the sites depending where your customers are. They might love usinglocal like to search for you. If that’s what they do and you’re not there,then it’s aggravating. They might go and find someone else.Ron: Or they’re searching for you. They’re searching for your name, and you have a commonname. And they’re giving search results from a different state or a different city. Thatdoesn’t help right? Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses
  5. 5. Ryan: Exactly. It leads to confusion.Ron: Not to confuse or complicate it, but then you get people squatting on your searchterms. And basically, what that means is if you’re searching for a dentist’s name and if youhappen to have a similar or common name.People are searching for what’s this dentist’s on Brown Street in Chicago. Well, there aredentists in Chicago inevitably. If they’re aggressive, they’re trying to take that business awayfrom you.Ryan: Yeah. An internet marketer such as myself can go in right now and create a strategywithin a couple of days and own your name.And I think that it should be an eye opener for some people. You don’t want to leave it up tosomebody else to take over this for you and control that. You want to make sure that you’redoing this.Ron: So what’s out there Ryan, as far as tools and advice for small businesses to just take alook and see if they exist anywhere?Ryan: We have a listing tool on our site at PME360. You can go and fill in your businessdetails and see just how you are showing up right now. See what sites you are showing uponline.Ron: And by doing so, the business owner could request this information and they couldwalk away with them. Easy to understand. These tangible action items are what they needto get started on their own.Ryan: And I would just start going through the list of the top 20 or so local listing sites,claiming and optimizing those listings.And it takes time. You’ve got to write a good description. You’ve got to get images in there.Make sure you are using all the categories that they allow you to use.So like on Google Places, they allow you up to 5 categories. Just make sure you use all ofthem. And if they don’t have the category, type in a phrase that makes sense for what youoffer. And at least get something in there.And if it’s more keyword-focus or if it’s what people search for, then it’s better for you. Youwill have a better chance of showing up.Make sure your profiles are 100% complete. If they offer images, then get some images upthere. Even if it’s just 1 or 2 pictures. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses
  6. 6. Ron: So it’s safe to say that this would take a significant amount of time and resources. Butwhat we’re trying to offer here is valuable information for that business owner that mightnot have a substantial budget to get this going.So as we all know that budget is not just money. It’s also time and resources. However, thisis something you can do as a business owner. And you can try dig yourself out of thisproblem.Ryan: And interestingly, this week, we ran into the same situation twice. And I hadn’t runinto it for a while. Which was, both local businesses don’t have a physical location.They’re working out of their house. And there are a lot of people who are in this situation.So, you know, Google Places has done this many, many times. I know this works. If you havea P.O. Box that isn’t blatantly a P.O. Box. Like it doesn’t actually say “P.O. Box”. The listingsthat we’ve done that way are fine.Ron: In other words, what do I use as my address?Ryan: So like a UPS store or there are a couple of options out there. I’m trying to think ofthem.Ron: …there are a number of places.Ryan: But I’d never use my house for these local listings. Don’t use your home addressbecause people move. They change addresses, whether they’re renting or buying a newhouse. And you have to go and change all this data if you do that.So find a location that’s going to be your primary address for the life of your business andkeep it. Because this becomes really, really hard over time if you continue to change youraddress and phone number.Ron: Some people are going to say, “Well I don’t know that I’m always going to stay in thisaddress.”Look, we’ve had the same address for about 7 years now in Chicago. We weren’t sure if wewere going to ultimately move or change locations. But we still have a hard mailing address.And it’s not at anyone’s house. It’s a business that exist. It’s a brick and mortar.And like what you’re mentioning this week, partner with someone where you can pay asmall fee to have a hard location. There are many offices I know in Chicago. There’s RidgesOffices. There’s Office Sharing. You don’t have to rent a suite but you can agree to pay theland lord or whoever owns the property. However the arrangement is. You can pay a smallfee to have your mailing address there. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses
  7. 7. Ryan: Absolutely. It’s a small price to pay. I mean, $50 to $75 a month to have that locationin the area that you are doing business in, or where you want to do business in. So, I am notsaying to go out and do this in 20 different cities if you don’t actually work there.Because I think Google will catch on to that if they haven’t already. They’ve kind of clampeddown on that a little bit. But in theory, you could do that if you did want to target. You havea better chance of showing up, too.And then, the big thing there is, if you want to have exposure for your business and you areusing your home address – do you really want your home address to be used all over theinternet?Just think that it doesn’t make any sense. Then you can’t get a map listing if you’re checkingoff that you don’t do business in this location. So it won’t even reveal the actual physicaladdress. It would just say that you work in Chicago, Illinois. But you don’t have an address. Itjust, to me it makes a lot more sense if you are working out of your house, to go get a P.O.Box (that doesn’t say P.O. Box).Ron: Just to go back quickly, we’ve seen a lot of law firms that have 30 different officelocations. That’s blatantly obvious. It’s not even possible to have 30 different locations in 30different cities. They’re setting up addresses in this city. What does Google say about that?Ryan: Well, in Google Places, they’re telling you to register only one location. And then youcreate a radius for all the areas you serve like 20 or 30 miles around that.But that doesn’t work for the business that actually has physical locations and offices inother locations that have different phone numbers, right?They are not all answered by the same person. They get mail at those locations. Theyactually need that listing. So for me, if you actually have an address and a unique phonenumber for all those other locations, set up that Google Places and listings for thoselocations.And the key that I found is that you don’t want to drive (if you have a website), you don’twant to use the same website. Don’t use the main domain for every single listing.Establish your primary office and use your main website. And then build out office pages, forevery page, for every city that you have an office in. And use that as your web address.Ron: But what happens when you don’t actually have office locations or you just have aphantom address in multiple cities? Then that’s something that Google frowns upon,correct?Ryan: Yeah. But at the same time, Google is not the police. You know, they’re not going tocome and arrest you if you try it. So what’s the worst that will happen is that they’re Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses
  8. 8. probably going to take one of your listings. They’ll decide which ones are fine and whichones they will ban – until you remedy the problem.We’ve done this many times where our clients loosely have offices in other locations like 5or 6 other cities. And we do it exactly as that. We set up the listing, use a specific landingpage for Boston, Detroit or wherever they’re located in. And use that listing that way. Itworks out pretty well.The other thing I want to touch on real quick is the reason why it’s so important to havethese local listings is that one of the people I talked to this week. He mentioned that hedoesn’t have the physical address.“Well, a lot of my competitors don’t. But there are a few that do. They have store fronts oroffice fronts.”And I was thinking to myself, “Well, they’re already ahead of you by a lot.”So internet marketing becomes so much important to you than them. Because they’re goingdrived by traffic. They’re going to get recognition by signs and people coming into theiroffice. They’re going to look more professional. They already have a leg up.So for all you businesses that think that don’t have a storefront and that are working out ofyour house, internet marketing becomes that much more important.And you’ve really got to get this. You’ve got to do this better than the guy who has a storefront.Ron: Sure. That’s a good point.Ryan: Because you are not going to get the benefit of those extra leads or deals that comefrom people seeing you.Ron: And don’t just assume that because you don’t have a store front that you cannot workaround it. We’ve just provided information to help you.Ryan: Exactly. I think you can actually…So you can keep your cost down by not having that store front. Get rid of that completely.Because most businesses we talked to, you don’t really need it. So don’t worry about havingone.But you’ve got to have a way of having that physical address that is not your house as it doesnot look professional. And it’s not the way to go.Ron: We’ve got to talk about the validation. So now that you have an actual addressestablished, let’s go back to you leaving your house searching for that dentist. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses
  9. 9. So now at least the location is established. Or you have your business in 100 localdirectories. You have your citations down (we’ve talked about this before). But now peoplethat are searching for you can find you. This is the conversation I had yesterday with thisgentleman out in Ohio was,“Look I’m not being found by people who know my name.”So this is a solution to that problem. And to go back to the topic of today’s call, some tips onwhat we can do to get started. Even if you don’t have a glamorous or huge website. One ofthe things you can do is make sure that you’re consistent in establishing these localdirectories.Ryan: It’s the same idea with TV advertising. So you’re sitting down, you’re watching TV. Andyou see the same ads coming up. Maybe you already know the business. Maybe you don’t.But you keep seeing it. The thoughts that start entering your mind subconsciously is, “Thiscompany must be for real. It must have a big marketing budget.”That’s how I’d think. Along the lines of like they’re everywhere. Wow, great! Even if I’m notinterested in the product.Same thing online. If you have all these listings that have all your information in there, thathave images that look nice – each one of those can be treated as their own webpage.You can use it in your business card if you don’t have a website. Use your Google Places pageas your website. Shrink the URL using a URL shortener.Just Google the term URL shortener, there’s a bunch of free ones. Use that as your freewebsite or register a domain and forward it to Google Place page or a Yelp page. You don’tnecessarily need anything more than that to get started if you don’t have a budget.Ron: A great idea.Ryan: So again, if you have all this information and it looks good, what do you think yourprospects and the people who don’t know you are going to think?And what do you think the people who are already doing business with you are going tothink? They will look at you and say, this company is for real. And that’s all you want them tothink at this point.Ron: You don’t want them to question you.Ryan: And they will. And they are.So again you want to take up that the next step is to get that website. I now will weed outthe companies I’m going to do business with by their website. Even though they have greatinformation and I’m able to find them. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses
  10. 10. Ron: You’re talking about how you search.Ryan: I’m taking that step further where we’re going to order Chinese food. And there are acouple of places. You’re in the Portland area and I went to 2 websites and narrowed it down.I search for some reviews for both. And both were pretty good. Then, I went to theirwebsites. I actually didn’t go to their websites until I look at their listings first. So just to seewhat other people were saying about them. Because I wasn’t going to waste my time. I didthis all in under 5 minutes. I was not going to waste my time going to a website that hadhorrible reviews or whose rating wasn’t good.Ron: You weeded the top ones and the bad ones were out. And you got it down the top 2.Ryan: I did it in a matter of a minute or 2. This is how fast this happens now with people.They’re ruling you out versus ruling you in.Ron: Absolutely. I do the same thing.Ryan: So they’re in the process of getting through all these massive amounts of informationfast. This is how we’re doing it now. And then I narrowed it down. I went to two of thosesites. I looked at them. I looked at their menu. What sold me was how they had their menushowed.One of them, it was so hard to get to their menu. God I can’t remember exactly how theyhad it set up. But the other one was a fast loading PDF, it came right up. And I believe I didthis on my phone too. So this was even better. It was easy to see.And that’s how I made my decision. And they got a $50 sale. That was pretty good. I almostwanted to tell the owner, “This is why I ordered from you. Good job!”And I can’t be the only one who’s making that decision.Ron: But I think you are thinking about it a lot. Everyone’s experienced it.You’re thinking about it in terms of how a business is doing it. Because you know how to doit.Ryan: just make it easy. Get your information out there in as many local sites as you can.Ron: And think about just how many of these Chinese boxes aren’t even in consideration.How many were not even in consideration because they did not have the right directory.They didn’t have this sort of local listing present.Ryan: And for me, there was this Chinese food restaurant that’s right around the cornerfrom me. It would have been a 2-minute drive and I didn’t even give them a considerationbecause I couldn’t find their website. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses
  11. 11. I couldn’t find them. I don’t even know what they offer or how I am going to order it. I don’teven have a phone book. It wasn’t even in the realm of possibility of going in there, orderingand waiting.It wasn’t going to happen. So I narrowed it down quickly to the two restaurants that havepresence. And, BOOM! They got the business.Ron: And think about how many other business categories that we see this happen in a bigcity like Chicago – there are 3 or 4 dentists on the same block or on the same neighborhood.There are 2 or 3 business professional services that are located right next to each other.Ryan: Competition’s everywhere.Ron: Chiropractors. You name it. So the ones who are aggressively pursuing and doing thesmart things. Doing the things we’ve talked about today. I don’t want to go too far and saythat they’re easy but they’re smart. These are ways you can get started immediately toensure success for your local small business.Ryan: The competition is everywhere. And if you’re in a small town and you think. “Wellthere are only 3 dentists”, think of that example that I gave about the Chinese foodrestaurant.There are only 3 Chinese food restaurants in the area that I’m living in and one of themwasn’t even in the realm of consideration because they didn’t have any information. Icouldn’t even find them, but I know that they’re there because I drive by them every day.And the other two, I narrowed it down and one of them got the business and they got adecent sale out of it.Ron: And look, as a business owner, you can’t make the excuse that people are not spendingmoney because people are.The economy is not on fire but people are still spending money. I see it all the time – goingout in the weekends even for a little bit of higher services. People are still in the market.There is still business to be had. So stop making excuses for “well it’s the economy” whyyou’re going out of business.So there’s definitely people out there. You’ve got to get out and grab that business. You’vegot to know how to be found and tips like these are gold to me.Ryan: Michael Gerber says in his e-Myth book all the time that if you don’t have the moneyand you want to start this business or you’re already in the business and you don’t have themoney to do stuff like this or if you don’t have the time then you’ve got to find the money.And that’s just his point. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses
  12. 12. You’ve got to get the money. You’ve got to get the money. Go get it. Go find it. Find themoney.That’s his big thing. You’re trying to build a business and you don’t have the money. Whatare you doing?You’ve got to have family, friends, investors or somebody that believes in you. If you don’tbelieve in your own product and service enough to go and get some money.I’m not saying go and raise a million dollars but you’ve got to be able to raise something – toget the money, to get your website set up, to do some of these things if you don’t have thetime to do it and learn it yourself.Ron: And thinking about it, there’s really no excuse for it actually.Ryan: There really isn’t.Ron: Some of the people we talk to, the average sale. You get one sale and it’s worth$12,000. What are you doing? You’ll spend 200 hours on marketing. You tell me, where I cango and spend 200 hours to get a $12,000 return. And I’m there.Ryan: Does it make sense for a Chinese restaurant to go and invest $2,000 a month on this?No.Does it make sense for them to invest something to get this set up the right way?Absolutely.Because those $50 sales add up really quick on a Friday night. Or the people that are sellinghigh ticket items: cosmetic dentistry, home improvement and hot tubs, etc. It really doesn’ttake more than one of this sale to hit every month to pay for your time, hiring somebody orhiring a firm to do this.The excuse of not having the money to do it is garbage to me.And you’ve got to find the money somewhere. Whether you don’t have the money to investlike what I said $2,000 a month. You’ve got to find it to do some of it.Ron: Well, if you don’t have a monthly budget. It’s a recurring monthly cost. I’d look at itthough, as an investment.But if you are looking at is as a cost then I don’t want to talk to you. But if you are looking atit as an investment, that’s the way you need to be looking at it.But even the firm or the company or the small businesses that don’t have that, there’s one-time engagements that I know we offer. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses
  13. 13. You can do a one-time engagement for local listings pack. Boom! Done – you’re everywhere.Ryan: You’ve got to start somewhere. Because the longer you wait. Just think that it’s goingto get that much harder because there are companies that have already recognized this asimportant for the last couple of years.And these companies have continued to grow and they’re gaining market share. And nowthey’re investing on other things like remarketing, nurturing and email campaigns. They arebasically not letting go of people that they’ve already captured.This is pretty powerful to understand. The longer that you wait, the more market share theother person gets.And if they’re smart about what they’re doing, they’re not letting go of those people. So thatslice of your pie is getting smaller and smaller.Ron: And not only that, they’ve already paid and invested to get that following, to get thattraffic. So as you mentioned before, forget about all the complexities. And that advancedstuff. That’s intimidating. And that’s what we understand.We understand that, “Oh I’m going to do remarketing. I’m going to do your banner, etc.”And you don’t know what the heck is this person talking about. Well, if you’re just gettingstarted or if you’re just getting online.First thing you need to do is claim your local listings. Get started with that. Do itprogressively over time. Revisit building a website in a short period of time.And like you mentioned, then you can start catching up with the marathon runners. Becauseyou’re taking off from the starting line. Your competition is ahead of you. And some peopleare behind you. They’re not even listening to this podcast.But some people, you’ve taken off from that starting line, you see the competition ahead,you’ve got to catch up. You don’t even have to go gang busters. You’ve got to do it smart.You’ve got to do it efficiently. And I think the tips that we have provided today is a very goodstart. Hopefully, we’ve been helpful.We appreciate your time this morning. Ryan, do you have anything to close this with?Ryan: Just reinvest in your business. Don’t treat every dollar that comes in needs to go inyour pocket. I understand the issues that you have bills to pay and you’ve got a family tofeed therefore you need an income.I understand that. But you’ve got to be reinvesting in your business. And I think one of firstthe places is reinvesting in your marketing and your products and services and making thembetter. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses
  14. 14. I just think that’s very important. And finally, if you go the next step and get a website, makesure it’s mobile – that it renders well in a mobile device.Like what we talked about, that’s why that Chinese food restaurant lost that deal - becauseit just didn’t render. I couldn’t see their information on my mobile.They’ve done a couple of things right. And then they went to build a website that didn’trender in a mobile device.You’ve got to at least have those if you do take that next step. That’s an important one intoday’s market for local business.Ron: That’s next week topic right there.Ron: Great Ryan, I appreciate your time. Thanks for joining me again in small businessgrowth podcast.Ryan: Yeah, thank you.Ron: We’ll be in touch.Ryan: Bye. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses