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Social Media, Local Search, and How It Effects Your Business
 

Social Media, Local Search, and How It Effects Your Business

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Presentation given at the Northeast IWLA Conference

Presentation given at the Northeast IWLA Conference

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  • My name is Joe Restivo, I currently work for ebasedEVOLUTION as a search engine analyst, and I am here today to talk to you about Search Marketing, and how to best utilize search engines for your business.
  • Before I begin, for those who don't know, let me tell you a little bit about myself, and ebasedEVOLUTION. We are a small company, about 8 employees, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, established in 1996. The company began as an e-mail marketing company, but due to growing client needs, we have evolved into a full-service internet marketing company that specializes in SEO. I've been with the company about a year, and manage about 40 accounts. I have a couple clients in the logistics industries, but also deal with companies as large as the PGA, to your small local jewelry stores. ebasedEVOLUTION and the IWLA have been working together for the past 9 years. ebasedEVOLUTION has over 100 SEO clients, 50 of which are in the logistics industry. What sets us apart from competition is our emphasis on customer service. We believe client communication is critical to the success of our SEO program, and strive for 100% complete customer satisfaction.
  • Here are some of the logistics clients we work with that you may recognize.
  • Before I begin explaining how to use internet marketing for your business, I want to share some statistics is sure to grab your attention. As you're all aware, we currently are not in the best economic situation. Employers are slashing jobs, and looking for ways to cut costs. More often than not, marketing initiatives are typically at the top of the list when it comes areas where you can cut costs. However, since 2004, internet marketing is chugging along at double-digit growth rates. According to SEMPO's Sixth Annual State of Search Engine Marketing Report, the North American search engine marketing industry will grow 14% this year from $14.6 billion in 2009, to $16.6 billion by the end of 2010.
  • Search Engine Marketing is a relatively new approach, that many businesses are not fully utilizing yet. There are several ways in which you can use the internet to market your products or service.
  • - Search Engine Optimization: SEO refers to the practice of using targeted keywords to gain traffic to your website. For example, if you want to be the number one listing for "Warehousing and Logistics", you will need to optimize your site to do so. This is usually accomplished by customizing title-tags, meta-tags, page content, link-building, analytics, and various other methods.
  • - Paid Search: For those who do not have the patience for SEO, and have deep pockets, Pay-Per-Click marketing is right up your alley. Paid Search results appear on top of, and to the right of organic search results. This method automatically puts your site at the top of search engines. Google Adwords is the most popular PPC tool.
  • - E-mail Marketing: Most people refer to this as 'spamming', however, when done correctly, e-mail marketing can be a great way to gain new business. The trick is to send the e-mails to prospects who already have interest in your products or services, and not to use a general mailing list.
  • All of these methods involve a significant time investment, and can get pretty technical when it comes to planning the right strategy. However, the most important thing to consider when it comes to internet marketing is current trends, and right now, there are two that are completely taking the industry by storm... Local Search Marketing, and Social Media.
  • What is local search? Search engines are beginning to put a strong emphasis on local search results. Local Search is the map that pops up when you type in a query in any search engine. This type of search results is evident in not only Google, but Yahoo & Bing as well. These 3 search engines comprise of 95% of all searches done online.
  • Local Search Marketing is becoming a critical part to any internet marketing campaign. One of the main reasons is because people who are searching locally are typically ready to make a purchase. It has been predicted the local search market would grow over 400% in 2010. Additionally, Local Search Advertising has grown over 80% over the past 5 years. There are 3 ways in which search engines acquire you location:
  • 1) You are currently logged into your Google, Yahoo, or Bing account. Your account has your location defined in your profile.
  • 2) Your IP address... This method has yet to be perfected, and has been an ongoing process for search engines for the past couple years.
  • Thirdly, The keyword a searcher uses. For example, if you do a search for "New York Logistics", you will see local results displayed above the organic search results. This can be true for any variation of the keywords, including "warehousing new york city", and even "logistics company", which doesn't even have a location set in it! However, search engines know that if someone is using the word "company" in their search phrase, they are more likely to click on a local business, versus one located far away.
  • We often get one common question from our clients... "How do I get my company to the top of these search results". Well, it is a lot easier said then done. But first thing's first... you need to get your company INTO the Big 3 business directories.
  • You must go to Google (or Yahoo or Bing's) online business directory, and complete a company profile. In order to have this listing verified, Google will send a postcard to your company's address, that will contain a 5-digit PIN#. OR, you can verify by having Google call your business phone number, which is faster, but if you have an automated phone system, can be difficult to acheive. Once you have this number, you must go back to where your listing was created, and submit the PIN#. It's also important to note that your company must have an actual physical location. Local Directories tend to shun PO Boxes. Now that Google knows your company exists, you can start moving your way to the top! There are 3-ways to do this:
  • Post Coupons. Inform visitors of discounts and savings. Don’t do discounts? That’s okay. Just create some type of content that calls people to come to your website, or contact you via Phone or E-mail.
  • Update Status. As if Twitter wasn't enough, you now have the capability of updating your status in Google's directory. The more often you update this, the higher you site will climb in results. You will typically want to post on any news occurring within your company, any current deals / specials, and things of that nature.
  • Bring in Reviews. The more reviews your company has, the more creditable Google will find your business to be. Spread the word. Reviews can be posted in Google Local from a user’s Google Account, but can also be pulled from other sites. Pass the message along to your Sales and Business Development crew to spread the word in a personable message to clients. Sites where reviews can be pulled from include: Yelp.com, Local City Directories (CitySearch.com), Yellowpages.com, InsiderPages.com, Foursquare.com, and several others.
  • For companies that operate on a national or international level, you might be thinking this is not relevent to you. In reality, this gives you an even greater opportunity, however, requires some additional leg-work... Think of it like this. Let's say you have 50 warehouses through-out the country, each with it's own physical address. If you place each one of your warehouses in Google's Local Directory, you automatically have 50 links going to your website. This is of great value, and will significantly impact the placement of your company in search results. Placing your company in local directories is a tedious task and can be time-consuming, but is also very important for getting exposure for your business.
  • Google announced this week that "Google Maps" and 'Google Local' will now be known as "Google Places". You can sign-up to become a "Favorite Place", which gives users the capability to enhance their listing through hotos, correct hours, coupons and more. These enhanced listings come at a price, however, starting at $25 / month, and will be referred to as "Tags". Enhanced Listings also come with customized QR codes that are unique to an individual business and “can be placed on business cards or other marketing materials, and customers can scan them with certain smartphones to be taken directly to the mobile version of the Place Page for that business.” This is a relatively new marketing concept that will probably be best utitlized in the retail and dining industry, however, there are some creative ways in which the logisitcs industry can utitlize this.
  • Here are a few quick statistics to consider when thinking about Google Places.
  • The most important thing to take away from this lesson on Local Directories is knowing their value is increasingly growing, and that you should encourage clients to leave positive reviews on your business listings. Now that we have Local Search Covered, let's go ahead and get started on Social Media When speaking to clients about social media, I really get mixed feelings from clients, as to what social media sites they should have presence on, and why they should even invest time into it. I'm going to tell you a little bit about each one of the major social media sites, how to utitlize them for your business, why you should care about them, and how to measure the return on investment.
  • Here are a couple key statistics about some of the most popular social media sites, LinkedIn & Twitter. You'll notice the number of people who are accessing these sites through their cell phones. As cell phones become more advanced, people will spend less time visiting these sites on their computers.
  • Facebook has placed itself in a league of it's own. It's latest accomplishment was surpassing Google as the most visited website in the world. It's popularity keeps growing, and it is constantly upgrading the site to make it more user-friendly, visually appealling, and relevent to peoples needs.
  • In fact, these sites are becoming so popular, companies are now driving people to their company Facebook pages versus their actual website. I first saw this about a year ago on TV. It was a Honda commercial, and at the end, rather than driving people to Honda.com, it told people to visit their Facebook page. Why would a company do this? Because Facebook is a universal tool that people are familiar with using. Websites are great and can be a great tool to inform & educate visitors, but can sometimes be difficult to navigate through. Facebook has a universal platform that companies need to follow when creating their pages. However, it gives people enough freedom to customize the page to reflect your business. If you haven't noticed already, you'll start seeing this more and more often. Another great example is on ESPN, or CNN. Rather than telling people to visit their websites, they are asking people to follow their news anchors on their social media sites.
  • Hate it or love it, you need to have a Facebook profile for your company. Having a link back to your site from Facebook should be reason enough to have presence on their, but you can use it to your advantage. Facebook can be used to communicate to your clients and prospects. You can inform them of any promotions, share with them any promotional videos or links, as well as company or industry related pictures.
  • Recently Facebook came out with what is referred to as FBML, which essentially is HTML (a code used to build websites), but designed specifically for Facebook. FBML allows users to create custom content on their page. Bud Light has done a pretty good job at utilizing this, but we have taken advantage of it as well.
  • You want to have as many 'Fans' as possible for your Facebook page. I'll explain later why this is important, but a great way to accomplish this is to create links back to your Facebook page in as many places as possible. This can include your actual website, or your e-mail signature.
  • LinkedIn is a social networking site designed specifically for doing business. It's a great way to network and find new contacts. I strongly recommend that you encourage each one of your employees to have linkedin accounts, as well as create one for your own business. LinkedIn is a great source to find people to do business with, as their search functions are designed for that purpose. Additionally, I find LinkedIn to be the best tool to use when recruiting new employees. There is also value in having a link from LinkedIn back to your site.
  • Infamous Twitter... Twitter has been the fastest growing website for the past 2 years. What is funny about this, is that when I talk to people about it, they seem to use the same word to describe it, which is, 'annoying'. I completely agree. I don't really care to know what my friends are having for lunch that day. What I do care about though is how to utitlize this tool for business. What we encourage clients to use Twitter for is news. Businesses need to use this tool to communicate with their clients, whether it be a 1-day only sale, a new press release, or the announcement of a new office location. Specifically for the logistics industry, you can use Twitter to communicate to your clients on current shipments or tracking information. For example, FedEx has employees who's sole job is to monitor Twitter traffic, and respond to anyone who would be 'tweeting' about FedEx.
  • Twitter is also starting to be integrated into live search results. As you can see from this image, any type of search query that is 'time sensitive', or related to the news will now be pulled into search results. You also want to 'Follow' as many people as possible, as well as get as many 'Followers'. I will explain why this is important at the end.
  • One of my favorite social media sites is YouTube.com. YouTube came about years ago, but people didn't quite know how to utilize it. Ever since Google started using it in search results, this has been a key factor in search engine optimization. Google, as well as other search engines, find a lot of value in YouTube, and realize that people like to watch videos. YouTube allows users to create their own channels in which they can post their own individual videos. You can also sync your YouTube channel to your other social media sites, as well as update your channels status, which is a new feature. Remember, the more often you update your status, the more SEO friendly your page will be.
  • When I first got into internet marketing, I did not find that much value in having a blog. However, just as search engines constantly change, so did my opinion of them. Blogs are a great source to share news about your company and industry. It's also a great place to build links back to your site. Blogs enable you to build your brand, exploit niches, position your company as the 'industry leader', and is of very low cost to your organization.
  • Foursquare.com is the newest social media site that is taking the industry by storm. Brace yourself, because this is a new technology, and completely new concept. Foursquare.com is currently growing faster than Twitter & Facebook did, and I forsee this site becoming the most popular website on the planet within the next 2 - 3 years. Unfortunately, since this is so new, I have not yet discovered a way for our logistics clients to fully utilize this yet, but it's worth learning about. Foursquare.com is made for mobile devices. With iPhones & Blackberrys becoming increasingly popular, people are spending more and more time on them.
  • Here's how Foursquare works... Let's say I have created my profile, and I have an iPhone. As I am walking down the streets of New York, I receive a message from a nearby pizza parlor saying "Hello! I see that you are nearby... Why not stop by and have some pizza, and we'll give you a free soft drink!". How did this happen? Foursquare uses GPS to detect your location through your phone, and the pizza parlor just happened to be logged in at the time you were near. Pretty crazy huh? Think of it as the offspring between a GPS device and Twitter.
  • Now that you have learned a little bit more about each one of these sites, we come to the question of the hour... "Why should I care about how many Fans or Followers I have?". The reason is because the more followers and fans you have, the more reach your marketing is going to have, enabling you to market to more and more people.
  • This can be very confusing to explain, but I'm going to go through a real-life example on how these are all connected. If you look at the slide, you will see a search result for when I searched "Internet Marketing" which has 103 Million other sites also competing to rank for that keyword. However, what pops up in the number 8 listing? That would be my boss, Korey Kashmer, and his personal SEO blog. Now Korey is a smart guy, and that's a good blog, however, he's not that good to be ranking this high for such a competitive search term. How did he get that ranking? He's part of my 'Social Circle'. In this case, I was logged into my Google Account when I ran this search. Since we are connected through our Google accounts, Google is putting emphasis on his site, simply because we are connected. You can also acquire connections through your social media sites. Essentially, everything is tied to your personal e-mail account. Statistics show that people tend to use the same e-mail address for all of their social media profiles and accounts.
  • Why is this important? Because when you are creating your accounts on these sites, you are asked for specific information, and almost always, this will include your e-mail address, as well as your location. For example, look at the first questions asked when creating accounts on Twitter & Facebook.
  • Not only are all of these accounts tied together through your e-mail address, but you now have the capability to sync your social networking sites to eachother. For example, you can have your blog imported into your Facebook, have your Facebook synced to your Twitter, while also having your Twitter tied in with your personal LinkedIn account. People respond positively to this capability, as they feel they do not have to be constantly updating their pages constantly.
  • I know that this is all a lot of information, and can be confusing but the most important thing to keep in mind that the more followers you have, the more people you are connected to. The more people you are connected to, the more likely your site will be to appear at the top of search results.
  • It's clear that having presence on these sites has value, but some companies like to determine if it is worth their investment. Larger organizations typically handle their social media by having someone in house manage it, which could cost about $35 - 45K a year. Smaller companies that do not have the man-power will outsource internet marketing operations to company's like mine, which can range anywhere between 8K - 12K a year. Either way, you're talking about a significant investment.
  • The best way to measure the success of your social media program is comparing data to before and after you implemented such a campaign.
  • Key figures you will want to look at include sales revenue
  • And The number of transactions being made
  • If you see a positive change in either one of these figures since you started a social media campaign, you will know that it is working.

Social Media, Local Search, and How It Effects Your Business Social Media, Local Search, and How It Effects Your Business Presentation Transcript

  • Using Search Marketing To Your Advantage Presented by: Joe Restivo, SEO Analyst
  • Who is ebasedEVOLUTION?
      • Based in Charlotte, NC
      • Established in 1996
      • Internet marketing firm, specializing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
      • Over 100 clients
        • 50+ clients in the Logistics Industry
    copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • SEO Clients copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • Statistics
    • Search Engine Marketing will grow 14% this year from $14.6 billion in 2009, to $16.6 billion by the end of 2010
    • 14.3 billion searches done on Google in March 2010
    • 65% of searches are done via Google
    • 16% of searches are done via Yahoo
    • 11% of searches are done via Bing
    • = 92% of all searches
    copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Pay Per Click Management
    • Email Marketing
    Internet Marketing Strategies copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • Search Engine Optimization copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • Title Tags
    • Meta-tags
    • Page Content
    • Link-Building
    • Website Analytics
  • Pay-Per-Click copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • Top listings
    • Monthly budget
    • Target ad’s based on keywords, time and geo-graphics
    • YOU control your budget
  • E-mail Marketing copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • Targeted Contacts
    • Detailed Reports
    • Campaign Development
    • HTML Template Designs
    • Best Practice Implementation
  • Current Trends copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential Local Search Social Media
  • What is Local Search? copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • Local Search Marketing copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • People searching locally are more likely to make a purchase
    • Local Search Market will grow over 400% in 2010
    • Local Search Advertising has grown over 80% in past 5 years
  • Acquiring Location copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential Logging In
  • Acquiring Location copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential Each computer has its own individual IP address IP Address
  • Acquiring Location copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential Keyword
  • Local Search Marketing copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • How do I get my company #1? copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • T
  • Coupons copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • T
  • Status Updates copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • Reviews copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • T
  • Multiple Locations copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential Announced on April 19, 2010 Enhanced Listings Business Photos Favorite Places Customized QR Codes
  • Statistics copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • 4 million claimed Business Listings on Google
    • 20% of searches on Google are related to location
    • 50 million ‘place pages’
  • Current Trends copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential Local Search Social Media
  • Social Media Marketing Statistics copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • LinkedIn has over 65 million users in 200 countries
    • Twitter now has over 75 million users
    • There are on average 27 million ‘tweets’ a day
    • 65 million people are accessing their social media sites through their mobile devices
  • Social Media Marketing Statistics copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • Facebook passed Google last month as the world’s most visited website , and currently has more than 400 million active users
    • Average user has over 130 friends
    • Average user spends more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook
    • Over 100 million users accessing Facebook via mobile devices
  • Marketing copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • s
  • copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • Why is it important to get Fans & Followers? copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential Because it’s all connected
  • Your Social Circle copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • s
  • Growing Your Social Circle copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • Bottom Line copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • The more Fans / Followers you have, the more people you are connected to.
    • The more people you are connected to, the more your website will appear in their search results
  • ROI (Return on Investment) copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • ROI (Return on Investment) copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • ROI (Return on Investment) copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • ROI (Return on Investment) copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • ROI (Return on Investment) copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
  • The Future copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential There’s an App for that
  • Sources copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential
    • www.SearchEngineLand.com
    • www.Google.com/Places
    • www.SocialMediaStatistics.com/Wikidot.com
    • www.Facebook.com/Statistics.com
    • www.Mashable.com
    • www.RynoWeb.com
    • www.eConsultancy.com
    • www.Web-Strategist.com
  • copyright www.ebasedevolution.com | confidential Joe Restivo, SEO Analyst [email_address] Corporate Headquarters 14825 Ballantyne Village Way, Suite 275 Charlotte, North Carolina 28277 Tel: 1-704-849-0528 Fax: 1-704-943-0545 Thank You!