Generate Qualified Leads From Your Website

What would you do if you had a sales rep that month after month took a salary from your company yet week after week after week… they did not generate one single sale?  What if this had been going on for years?  What if not only were they not generating any sales, they were not even generating any leads?  What would you do?

Of course you would fire them!  Without a doubt!

The primary purpose of a sales rep is to generate sales and at the very least to generate some leads!

Yet every month, we pay hosting fees, website maintenance fees, software fees, and much more, to maintain a website whose sole job is to generate sales… yet we do nothing when the website fails to perform.

Is it time to fire your website?  When was the last time your website generated a sale?  A lead?get-more-leads

Sales is all about numbers.  If we know that our closing rate or conversion rate is 5% then we can know that we need a specific number of leads to generate a target revenue.

For example, if you have a product that sells for $100 and you want to generate a monthly revenue of $10,000 then you know that you need to sell 100 units to achieve your revenue goal.  If you know that you can close 5% of the leads, then you know that you will need 2000 qualified leads to be able to close 100 new customers.  This math helps you to determine where you need to focus your efforts to reach your target sales goals.

If you know you need a minimum of 2000 qualified leads per month and your website is only generating 100, that that is the first place to focus your efforts.

So how can you improve your website to capture more leads?

When I work with my coaching clients, one of the first things we do in our coaching calls is to take a look at the website and do a series of 5 minute checks on the basics.  Here are some of the questions I usually ask:


Site Review

  1. Is the site visually pleasing?
  2. Is there a clear call to action?
  3. Is there a web form to capture email addresses?
  4. Are there credibility symbols above the fold?
  5. Are there testimonials?
  6. Does the site guide the user to the next step?
  7. Can you easily answer this question: What action do you want them to take?
  8. Does the site allow people to self select different areas of the site based on different market segments?
  9. Is the site converting visitors to leads and leads to sales? Is the conversion rate at least 5%?
  10. If I send more traffic to this page will I get more sales?

Review Character Shows Assess Reviewing Evaluate And Reviews

SEO Site Review

If your site passes the initial Site Review, the next step is to review your site for search engine optimization factors. If you want your site to rank high in the search engines, you will need to have an SEO friendly site.

  1. Does the site have good SEO friendly title tags?
  2. Does the site have well written description tags? (Benefits plus call to action)
  3. Is the url structure of the site static and seo friendly?
  4. Are all pages on the site easy to find and easy to navigate to?
  5. Is there a blog?
  6. Is it linked to Google+?
  7. Are there social media share buttons on the site and the blog?
  8. Is there duplicate content on the site? (Copyscape)
  9. Has the site been penalized for bad links? (Google Analytics / Penguin Analysis)
  10. Is the site using keywords correctly through the site?shutterstock_77500738


Blogging Review

The next step is to review your blog!  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. When was the last time the blog was updated?
  2. Are the blog posts written for the readers or are they articles posing as blog posts.
  3. Are people commenting on the blog posts.
  4. Is the blog the central hub for all content creation?
  5. Are there share buttons on each blog post?
  6. Is the time on site greater than 2 minutes?
  7. Is the bounce rate lower than 55%?
  8. Is the click through rate to other pages at least 2?
  9. Has the site been verified in Google+?blog


Social Media Review

Social Media is an integral part of an online marketing strategy.  To be able to promote the blog posts that are being written, you must establish an online presence with social media.  In the past, you could get top ranking in the search engines with just “link building”.  This is no longer the case.  Here are some questions to ask yourself about your social media presence:

  1. Does you have a Facebook Fan page, Twitter page, Google+ Page, and LinkedIn Page for their company?
  2. Are your social media accounts well designed with graphics?
  3. When was the last time you updated each of your social media accounts?
  4. What is your Klout score or Kred score?
  5. Are you engaging your market online or are you just talking to them?social media 3


Local SEO Review

Do you have a brick and mortar business? Do you have a physical location customers can make purchases at?

  1. Are you on Google Local?
  2. Are you on Yelp?
  3. Do you have a Google Map on your website Contact Us page?
  4. Are you optimizing for Google Local terms? (Geo-modified keywords)
  5. Do you have a system for getting reviews?
  6. Are your public citations SEO optimized and optimized for conversion?brickandmortarbrickandmortarbrickandmortar


We have actually created a guide called the 7 Step Gap Guide where not only do I map out the above questions, but also explain how you can work with my company, Start Ranking Now, Inc. to close the gaps!

Subscribe to our Newsletter and Download the 7 Step Gap Guide Now!



FourSquare – The App that Buzzes Local Marketing


FourSquare is the pioneer of “check in” technology, has over 33-million members and is growing at an astounding rate.

How can FourSquare help you as a business?


Increase Customer Return Rate

FourSquare has a moderately competitive culture to it. Friends want to have more badges, more checkins and more mayorships than other friends.

Naturally, if they frequent your business, they’re going to want to come back even more often so they can check in more, get more points, more badges and perhaps even become mayor of your location.


Bring in New Customers

Other people will see their friends checking in to your location. If one or more of their friends are regulars, they’ll of course want to check it out for themselves.

The more people you get to check in to your business, the more new people they’ll bring in.


Create Buzz & Contests

If you create special incentives for mayors, you can often get a nice competition going amongst your customers.

For example, if you give the major and his/her friends all a 20% discount as long as they’re mayor, you could get a lot of people competing for the position. The discount will easily pay for itself in terms of increased sales.

FourSquare has also recently launched a program that allows you to create your own custom badge. This does require a small fee however.


Get Spot On Feedback


It’s rare that a customer will give a manager honest feedback. It takes quite a bit of effort on the customer’s part. Usually, managers only hear feedback when it’s a complaint.

FourSquare can change that. With FourSquare’s “tips” and other people’s “check ins,” you can get to hear what other people really think about your business.

They won’t feel like they’re leaving feedback for management; just that they’re sharing their opinions and tips with their friends. But you can use a lot of what was shared as valuable data to help improve your business in the future.

In order to take advantage of FourSquare, you need to first claim your location. This gives you administrative access, so you can add events, to-dos, badges and change other settings.


Step 1: Search for Your Business

Is your business already listed in FourSquare? If so, try to find it by typing in your business name and the city.


Step 2: Claim Your Business

If your business is already in the system, click on the “Claim here” button on the right hand side.

Click “Get started” when prompted.


Finally, tell FourSquare whether you’re a chain or not.


Step 3: Verify

FourSquare will need you to verify that you’re authorized to manage the account by either answering the listed phone number or accepting mail.

They’ll first prompt you for phone verification. If you can answer the phone, click #1. If not, click #2 to go to mail verification.
Upon verifying your authorization, you’ll then have access to your FourSquare location!


Step 4: Adding a Location That Doesn’t Exist Yet

What if your location isn’t in FourSquare yet? If that’s the case, you’ll need to add the venue.

Go to:

Add your venue by filling out the information form.


After adding the venue, follow the same steps to claim authorization.

Congratulations! You now know some of the main benefits of using FourSquare, as well as how to claim your venue or setup a new one.

10 Smart Moves for a Successful Local Marketing Campaign


Marketing for local businesses has come a long way. Just 20 years ago, “marketing” meant buying newspaper ads, yellowpage ads or perhaps billboard or radio advertisements. Marketing was costly and often ineffective.

Today, the game has changed. There are literally dozens of tools available to the smart entrepreneur for marketing his or her business. Many of these tools and techniques can drive hundreds of paying customers to your business, without costing you a single dime.

This checklist will help you get the most out of all the tools, technologies and techniques available today.


Step 1: Get on Facebook Places

Facebook places allows users to find you through their friends’ checkins. People who like your business can “like” your page or comment on your page and their friends can see that on their walls.

It’s a powerful way of spreading a great business virally. It uses the interconnectivity of Facebook to a local business’s advantage.

Make sure you claim your business so you have the ability to change its information, as well as merge the Facebook Place with the Facebook Page.

Step 2: Get on Google Places

There are many great reasons to get on Google Places.

First, your business will show up ahead of other non-local businesses in the search engines.

Second, people will be able to leave reviews for your physical business.

Third, people will be able to find your place on Google Maps. For example, a user with an iPhone might type in “Pizza” into Google Maps to find all the pizza joints near them. If you’re listed on Google Places, your restaurant will show up.

Step 3: Get on Yelp

Yelp is a user-driven review site with a very active community. People who visit local businesses use Yelp to leave reviews of their experience. Other people who are thinking of going there can use Yelp to see previous reviews.

Yelp is extremely popular in some cities, like San Francisco and New York, while virtually unnoticed in others.

If you’re in a city with a strong Yelp user base, getting to the first 3 or 5 results in Yelp can bring you a huge influx of customers. Many small businesses are packed every day purely from Yelp traffic.


Step 4: Give Incentive to Review


 You’re much more likely to get a lot of reviews if you help the process along by providing a few incentives. That’s especially true if your business is relatively new.

Keep in mind that you can’t incentivize o1thers to post a good or positive review. You can only incentivize them to post a review. What they say is up to them; they get the reward either way. Naturally, if you provide a great service, most reviews you get will be positive.

What are some examples of ways to incentivize reviews?

  • First 10 Yelp reviews gets 50% off their next meal.
  • First 10 Google reviews gets a free coffee.
  • People who have posted a review for our service get 10% off all purchases.
  • Etc


Step 5: Host a Meetup is designed to help bring people with similar interests together. It’s an online site with an offline focus.

One great way to bring more people to your venue is to host an event. The event can be related to what you do, or it can be one or two steps removed. Here are a few examples:

  • A co-working space – Monthly talks on marketing for small business.
  • Classy café – Monthly philosophy discussion group.
  • Dance studio – A free monthly “open floor” dance event.
  • Rock climbing gym – Free “intro to rock climbing” event.
  • Bookstore – Monthly book signings.

The list goes on and on. Talk to your customers and find out what they’re interested in. Then create a meetup to cater to that interest.


Step 6: Open Your Space to Other Organizers


If you browse through Craigslist events, Meetup events or other events sites, you’ll find that 5 to 10 event venues tend to be used over and over again in any given city.

You can bring in a lot of business by opening your space to other organizers.

For example, let’s say a restaurant makes its back room available to a Toastmasters meeting (a public speaking group.) They use the back room free of charge, and most members end up ordering food and drink anyway.

The restaurant profits from the food and drink and gets the benefit of being exposed to a whole new audience. The back room probably wouldn’t have been regularly booked out anyway, so there’s no real cost to the restaurant.

Another example might be a shared co-working office. It allows its members to use the conference space for educational events free of charge, provided that all its members can also attend free of charge.

The organizer gets the benefit of having a professional space for free. The shared office space gets the benefit of having more to offer its members. Furthermore, every person who attends that event is a potential customer.

It’s much more efficient to open your space up to many event organizers rather than try to organize many events yourself. Doing so can bring in a lot of new people to your business, as well as build general goodwill in your community.


Step 7: Market on Local Mailing Lists

email mkt1

In any moderate to large city, there will be dozens of mailing lists on a variety of different topics.

For example, in San Francisco, there are lists for hikers and runners to meetup, lists for announcements of art events, lists specifically for the yoga & meditation communities, lists specifically for the startup business community, so on and so forth.

Make an effort to ask the people in your target audience what kind of email lists they subscribe to. Write these down and do some research.

Some lists will have “open announcement” policies, meaning anyone can post to the list. Others are curated lists, where events are sent to a single curator who posts approved events all to the lists.

Some lists will have very stringent requirements on what it’s okay to post and what it’s not. Others will be rather lax.

Try to find as many large, active lists in your community as you can. Market to the lists anytime you have something significant to announce. Avoid burning out the list by over-emailing; but use the power of pre-existing communities to your advantage whenever you’re doing a special promotion or event.


Step 8: Get a Booth at Events

In person events allow you to market your products directly to your ideal audience, while building connection and rapport through face-to-face interactions.

An “event” can be as sophisticated as a trade show, conference or seminar. Or it could be as simple as a college fair or farmer’s market.

The specific events you choose depends on what market you’re in. If you run a temp agency, you’ll probably want a booth at college job fairs and at trade shows (to find employers.)

If you run a small, organic restaurant, you might want to get a booth at your local farmer’s market and appear at all the “for fun” fairs around. (E.g. The local renaissance fair.)


Step 9: Flyering and Other Local Marketing

Leaving flyers at local businesses, putting flyers on walls, putting door hangers and perhaps even mailing postcards all still work. Just because a tactic is old doesn’t mean it’s no longer effective.

When using these tactics, the most important thing is to make sure you’re reaching the right people. If you’re promoting a nightlife event, flyer outside nightlife venues. Don’t leave your flyers in restaurants.


Step 10: Negotiate with Groupon or LivingSocial

Groupon, LivingSocial and other group-buying organizations can bring you a lot of business. In fact, it can bring you hundreds of orders in a 48 hour period.

Generally these sites will want to only work with established businesses. They need to know that you can handle the sudden volume that they’ll send you.

They also need to know that you’ll be able to give their users a significant discount, while still paying them a percentage.

Let’s say you run a health and massage spa center. The standard price for a massage is $90, but for Groupon members you’re offering it for $55. In addition, you need to pay Groupon $5 per sale.

If you’re hiring your masseuses’ for $60 an hour, you’re essentially breaking even. If you’re paying them $65 an hour, you’re losing money. You need to know that even if you spend $5 to get someone through the door, you’ll still make money in the long run.

In other words, Groupon is such a high volume business that it takes experience, knowledge of your customer behavior and strong financial muscle before you can work with them.

All that said though, if you can get your business to meet their standards and criteria, the amount of sales you can get from Groupon or LivingSocial is simply astounding.
These are some of the most powerful methods available for marketing an offline business today. Try to apply as many of these tactics as possible, identity the ones that work best for your business, then rinse and repeat.

7 Steps to Use Google Places to its Full Potential


Creating a Google Places listing is just the beginning for local marketing. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add photos, offers and reviews to a Google Places page. (If you haven’t created a listing yet, then check this guide first – How to Claim Your Business on Google Places).


Step 1: Log into Google Places

Use your login to access the Google Places dashboard.


Step 2: Edit your page

When you signed up for Google Places, you had the opportunity to add photos to your page, if you didn’t include them at that point, you may add images by clicking on the edit button, above your business information, on the right.



Step 3: Collect photos for your page

If you have a brick and mortar business, you may want to add photos of your shop. Helpful photos may include the front of your shop, the parking area, specialty products, etc. Remember when adding photos, keep safety in mind. There are photos which you wouldn’t want to include such as the registers and security system components.


Step 4: Add photos to your page

Once you’ve collected or selected your photos, scroll down the page to the photo section. You may choose to upload photos from your computer or add a photo that is already online. Here we are uploading a photo from the computer.

Select add a photo from your computer. Click the browse button and then the add photo button to upload it to your page. Click the submit button at the bottom of the page when finished. You may upload up to 10 images.




Step 5: Create an offer

You can let your Google Places audience know when you are running a special or have a coupon. From your dashboard page, you should click on the “offers” tab.


You will be taken to the offers page that will give you a brief overview of offers. To begin creating your offer, click the “add an offer now” button at the bottom of the offers page.


Step 6: Add offer details

You will be taken to a page where you can add information about your offer or coupon. You can add headlines, offer details, coupon codes, expire dates, photos and more.

Begin by adding a headline, sub-heading, details, and an image. When you add an image, you will see a popup which allows you to choose and edit the image. This image is placed in the top left corner of your printable coupon.


Next you will insert or select the expiration date, offer code, distribution type, and redemption location.


As you add details, you can preview the offer at the right. There are two types of previews. You can see the printable view or the offer view as it will show on Google maps.

The printable preview looks like this:

Note: When adding a photo/image, it’s best to use a square image. Although the image looks skewed on the preview, it looks fine on the actual coupon. Be sure to check it when you’re finished.


The Google map preview looks like this:


Your actual map listing may look something like this:


Note: Here you see a link to the offer and a review. To see the offer, click on the link and you will see the previous image. Click the new link and you will see the printable coupon.


Step 7: Respond to reviews

Now that you’re curious about the review, let’s talk about replying to reviews when a customer adds a review to your page.

There are two ways you can get to the appropriate screen where you will add your reply. You may either click on the “view” link in the top of the sidebar or you may click on the “review” link, found in the section below.


You will be taken to a new page. On this page, scroll down to the review section. Click on the “Respond publicly as the owner” link to open the reply box.



Add your reply and click on the “publish” button.


This is how the review and reply will look from your “owner” screen after you publish.


Note: If you have and want to respond to “Reviews from around the web,” you must visit the respective website to do so.

Now that you know how to add photos, offers, and reviews , you can make your Google Places page more interactive and profitable.

Getting Traffic for Your Local Business


It’s a digital world out there and instead of pulling out the old Yellow Pages, savvy consumers are taking to the Internet before they visit local businesses in their area. This means you need to be visible online when people are searching for businesses like yours.

When your local customers are searching, you want them to be able to find you:

  • For your business name. This seems simple enough, but there are so many local small businesses that miss out on a tremendous opportunity when their potential customer cannot find them online.
  • For your type of business in your local area. For example, if you are a hairdresser in San Diego, California, you want to be found when they search for “hairdresser San Diego, California”.
  • For your product or services in your local area. Building on the previous point, you also want your potential customer to be able to find you for your individual services. For example, “children’s haircuts San Diego California”

Now, how do you make sure this happens for your business? It’s all part of the search engine optimization (SEO) process. Whether you hire a designer to create your website or you make it yourself, make sure everyone is aware of these important steps.


Part 1: Your Virtual Real Estate


Before you start building your website, there are a couple of important things to set up properly. If you already have your website, you don’t need to rush out and change what you have because your established website is already valuable when it comes to ranking well in search engines.

These are just extra considerations you should make if you happen to be starting from scratch.


analyze_crazyeggDomain Name

Register your own domain name and do not rely on other services that display a URL for you. You want to own this important virtual real estate for your business.

Consider purchasing a domain that is specific to your country and even your state or province if your business is specifically relevant to that area.

For example, you might register a domain with .us for USA, .ca for Canada, .uk for the United Kingdom, etc. You can also go further if you want to target your domain for a state or province. For example for websites from New York, USA or for websites from British Columbia, Canada.

NOTE: While a geographically specific domain can help target your website locally, it is not totally necessary. If you want to capture a worldwide or multi-national audience, a .com domain will suit your business just fine.


Web Host

Where possible, choose a local web host for your business. The location of your web host’s server  can provide clues about where your website is from and helps return your website in the search results for that area This isn’t a make or break factor, but it can helpful.

You can also ask your web host for what’s called “unique IP”. They will probably charge a small fee, but it ensures that your websites has its own unique space and you can’t be affected by any search engine cheating done by the web host’s other clients. You never want to put yourself at the mercy of other people’s mistakes.


Part 2: Building Your Website


websiteNow you’re ready to start building your website with search engine optimization in mind. If you already have a website, it is worthwhile to go back and fix what you can to ensure your pages are optimized to get highly targeted traffic from search engines.


Geographically Organize Your Website’s Directories / Folders

Many websites have information that is relevant to different geographic locations. For example, if you have a retail store that is located in different cities and offers different products or service, you may want to provide appropriate information for each area.

To help search engines understand which area the information is relevant for, you can label the directories (or folders) with the appropriate information. For example, your site might have folders like this:   – for your information for your store in San Diego

or  – and for your store in Carlsbad


Relevant Content

The content on each page should be relevant and useful because search engines rely very heavily on this to determine what your pages are all about. Include descriptive content about your products and services, where they are offered and more. Don’t repeat words to try to game the search engines, but write naturally and descriptively.


Add Your Business Address

Add your business address to all the pages of your website. Include your full address, including city, state and phone number with area code.

You can also add an interactive Google Maps map on your Contact Us page. To get a map for your page, go to:

Enter your address and once the map appears, click the link icon on the left side of the page:


That will give you some HTML code, so you can insert the code into your website.


Optimize Your Title Tags for Search Term + Location

Search engines use certain “tags” used in your website code to help them understand what each page of your website is all about. A title tag is the title that appears at the top of your web browser when you are looking at a particular page. It is also the title that appears in search engine listings.

For example:


In the above example, “Haircuts & Haircare Products | Great Clips” is the title tag. To target your title tag locally include:


  • What product / service you are offering
  • Your location
  • Your company name


For example, “Hairdresser in San Diego, California – Jenny’s Great Cuts” would be a descriptive title tag.

How you insert your title tag depends on the type of tool you are using to build your website. Consult the help files of your website builder to find out how to modify yours. The basic HTML code looks like this:

<title> Hairdresser in San Diego, California – Jenny’s Great Cuts</title>

IMPORTANT: Use a different title tag for each page of your website, so that search engines can find your different pages that are relevant to specific searches.


Optimize Your Headline Tags

Headlines are the large bolded headlines and subheads on your page. They are important in helping search engines understand what your various pages are all about. Just like with your title tags, you can include relevant information like the product/service you are offering and your location.

How you insert headline tags depends on the website building tool you’re using as well, but the basic HTML looks like this:

<H1>Professional Cap Highlights in San Diego, California</H1>

The number 1 in the tag <H1> is for your main headline. You can make subheads by using <H2>, <H3> tags, etc.


Optimize Your Description Tags

Another HTML tag that is relevant to your search engine optimization is your description tag. It is often shown in as the description in your search engine listing, so it’s worth ensuring this is descriptive and relevant to each page’s content.



In the above example, “Haircare services from Great Clips. We provide quality, no-appointment haircuts for adults and kids alike.” is the description tag.

Just like the other tags we mentioned, how you update yours will depend on your website builder, but the HTML code looks like this:

<meta name="description" content="Providing a variety of hair services for women in San Diego, California, Jenny’s Great Cuts is looking forward to giving you your next haircut, color or perm." />


Part 3: Listing Your Website

While search engines can find and ranking with little to no intervention on your part, there are some promotional activities you can do that will improve your chances of being found in the results. Here are some of the most important ones.


Add Your Website to Google Places

You’ve probably noticed that when you look for a type of business, Google returns its “Places” results that look something like this:


Google is the largest search engine, and you should take the time to get yourself listed in Places to ensure your site appears when people search for businesses like yours in your area. Rankings are based on a number of factors including how often your listing is clicked, how many other websites mention your business and the reviews listed in Google Places.

To add a website go to You have to log into your Google account (you can create one for free, if you don’t have one) and then you’ll be able to start the process. Encourage your customers to submit reviews and get listed on other local websites in your area.


Add Your Website Bing Listings

Bing also serves local listings and they look something like this:


You can add your through the Bing Business Portal at, but note that the service is only available in the United States at the moment. For other countries, Bing seems to pull data from Yellow Pages and possibly other location-based sites.


Add Your Website to Yahoo Local Listings

And of course, Yahoo has their own version of Local Listings at  (USA only).

You can choose a free basic listing or pay for an enhanced one. Yahoo Local Listings are available for other countries, but they have a different website set up for each country.


Local Directories and Review Sites

How often your site is mentioned and linked to from other websites plays a big role in how well you rank for your relevant keywords. Look for local directories and review sites where you might get listed and reviewed.

Local Small Business Online Marketing Checklist


The marketing landscape for local business has changed dramatically. Smart business owners, like you, are relying less on print and traditional media advertisements and are instead embracing the power of the Internet and mobile technology. Consider this your checklist for ensuring you have all your bases covered when it comes to marketing your business locally.

Your Website

If you don’t have a website, now is the time to create one. Your potential customers are searching for you online and they want to see your operating hours, address, catalog or menu before they visit you. If they can’t find you, they’re likely to move onto the next business that readily provides the information they’re looking for.

Your website needn’t be complicated, but should include the following:

  • Hours of operation
  • Catalog / Menus and Pricing, where possible
  • Any specials you are currently offering
  • Contact information including address, phone number and email address
  • An interactive map to help users navigate to your place of business (Use Google Maps)
  • “About Us” information about your company
  • Customer / Client satisfaction and testimonials information
  • Website privacy policy and other legal documentation


Search Engine Traffic

There is plenty of potential for local traffic from search engines. Whether your customer is searching for your business name or searching for the type of service you offer in your local area, this is highly targeted traffic.

Free Search Engine Traffic

Most of the business listings you see in a search engine are free and businesses do not pay to be listed there. Search engines use a complex algorithm to determine which pages are relevant for each search its users make.  For example, if a user searches for “kids clothing boutique Raleigh, North Carolina” and you happen to own a kid’s clothing boutique in that city, you’re more likely to be found, provided that your website is descriptive and includes those keyword phrases.


Main Listings

Always be descriptive when creating your website pages. Include your complete address on each page and describe your products and services. Make sure you or your web designer also includes descriptive keywords in your title, description and headline tags. If you’re building your site yourself, find out how you can modify your title, description and headline tags as the method varies depending on the type of design tool you are using.


  • Google Local: On Google, you may have noticed that there are Places results that often appear before the other listings.
  •  Bing Listings: Bing also has a similar service to “Places” for U.S.-based businesses. You can learn more at
  •  Yahoo Local Listings: For American businesses, add yourself to Yahoo’s listings at
  • Yelp: Go to to unlock your business listing.

Pay-Per-Click Traffic

PPCIf you’re not familiar with pay-per-click advertising, it is advertising that you pay for only when someone clicks on your ad. Unlike traditional advertising where you pay simply to have your ad shown, you are only paying for the results of clicks. You can also target your campaigns by only advertising for certain keywords and your ads will only be shown to people who are looking for the type of information or products you provide.

You can see pay-per-click ads in the search engines and they are labeled as an ad, but it’s not always immediately apparent. Here’s how pay-per-click ads look in the search engines…

Google: Ads are labeled as “Ads” and often appear at the top, before free listings and on the right side of the page.

Bing: Ads are also labeled as “Ads” and often appear at the top, before free listings on the right side of the page.

Yahoo: Ads are labeled as “Sponsored Results” and often appear at the top, before free listings and on the right side of the page.

Of course, there is a learning curve to pay-per-click advertising, but it is definitely a source of highly targeted traffic to explore.

A Few Pay-per-Click Tips

  • Set a budget and use the budget tools included in the pay-per-click program. They are designed to keep you from overspending when you’re not available to monitor your campaign closely.
  • Use coupon codes or other tracking methods, so you can calculate the profitability of your campaign and know what you can afford to pay for each click.
  • Be as targeted as possible. Don’t use the same ad for multiple keywords. Use different ads that you use the specific keywords in your ad text.
  • Make targeted landing pages for your campaigns. For example, if you are advertising “blue widgets Birmingham England” in one ad and then “red widgets in Bradford England” with another ad, not only will you use different ad text, but each ad should go to a different page that is highly relevant to those keywords.

Where to Purchase Pay-Per-Click Ads

  • Google Adwords: Google runs the most sophisticated and well-trafficked pay-per-click program and is the perfect place to start to learn the ropes and tweak your campaigns. You can sign up for an account at


Mobile Technology

Mobile Technology is booming and we can see it everywhere we go. Whether it’s cell phones, tablets or other devices, this has opened up new marketing opportunities for local businesses. People are searching their devices for business information, “checking in” at various locations, sharing reviews and more.

Mobile-Friendly Website

While mobile technology has come a long way and many devices display web pages well, anything you can do to make the pages load faster and easier to navigate can go a long way. There are a lot of tools that can help you set up mobile-friendly websites, but you can also use the following tips in designing your website:

  • Make clear and simple navigation.
  • Avoid the use of Flash as it excludes your content from a large portion of mobile users.
  • Keep the number of images to a minimum. This helps ensure your pages load more quickly and your mobile user is more likely to stick around longer.


Text Message or SMS Marketing

You probably already have an email newsletter and understand the power of reaching your prospect directly in their inbox. Now text message marketing provides even more instant connection and results from your efforts. You can set up a cost-effective campaign using a variety of services, including


QR Codes

You’ve probably seen these black and white codes on printed advertisements in your area. They look something like this:




These special codes are a great way to connect your traditional marketing with digital marketing. QR codes can be printed on any brochure or advertisement and mobile users can scan the code and automatically be connected to your website.

QR codes are an easy way to share coupons, special offers, schedules and more with your prospective and current customers. You can make your own QR codes for free at


Coupons and Deal Sites

You’ve probably heard about sites like Groupon and Living Social that offer a special deal daily. These are a great way to get extra exposure for your business as these sites market locally and help ensure your offer reaches your local audience.

The deal site sells your special offer, collects the money and typically you receive about ½ the profits back. While it may seem like a large upfront cost, it can be a very effective way to get first-time customers through the door. After all, remember that satisfied customers are likely to come back for more, so the long term profits from a campaign could be very worthwhile.

Social Media

It seems like everywhere you go, people are talking about Facebook, Twitter and other social media. If you already have a large customer base and mailing list, growing your following on social media makes perfect sense. If you are a budding young business, it may take more work and strategy to gain a following, but your efforts can be very well be worthwhile.

  • Facebook: It seems like everybody’s kid and grandma is on Facebook these days and that makes Facebook a natural choice for embarking on a social media campaign.
  • Twitter: Not quite as popular as Facebook, Twitter’s beauty is in its simplicity. It’s a great way to provide a sounding board for your business and to connect with your followers as well.
  • Google+: This is a new social network created by the search giant Google. It attracts an older and more technologically sophisticated audience, but comes with some very powerful marketing possibilities.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is known as the professional’s social network. It is a great place to connect with other likeminded business owners, make important connections and more.


Where to Start

It’s true, there is a lot of information in this checklist and the thought of getting all these things done can seem overwhelming. Consider this your ongoing checklist to work through over time. Start with your website, get listed in Google Places and work on the other points. Just remember to track your results and see what’s working, so you can do plenty more of what does.