Tag Archives: local-business-advertising

Do You Have A Local Map Listing?

Ensuring your business has a local map listing is an essential part to being found by your potential customers, especially when it comes to being found on the major search engines.

Before you can add your business to the search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, you must first be sure that you meet their quality guidelines, including having a valid mailing address. However, if promoting a brand, organization, or a product, without an address, you should create an account for a branding page.

Here are helpful tips to get you started on your local map listing on Google My Business:

Step 1- Create a Google account, then navigating to Google My Business.

Step 2- Chose which type of business you are:

  • Storefront: Choosing this option would be if you are intending on serving customers at your business location, such as a retail store, restaurant, or hotel.
  • Service Area: Choosing this option would be if you are intending to service customers at their location or within a certain area. For example, pizza delivery, taxi services or even a plumber.

Step 3- Enter your business information, selecting your business if it appears in the drop-down menu.

Step 4- If you don’t see anything showing up in the menu, you should then be prompted to enter in  your business’s details. Be sure everything is accurate, ensuring your business can be reached  directly.

Step 5- Next, you will need to verify your business. Most businesses verify by postcards, or if you  already have a listing, you can be verified by phone.

If you need help ensuring your business can be found online, contact Windy City Strategies for more information today!

Ensuring Your Business Can Be Found Online

With the Internet, users can quickly find everything they need about your business, simply by using their tablet, computer, or mobile device. Since this is the primary way for people to find businesses today, it is essential that you ensure your business can be found online and is listed on all applicable online sources.

Be Found On Search Engines

The following list of search engines are most recommended and popular directories for businesses, which can help your business be found:

  • Google my business- Receives about 6 million searches a day and it is easy, free to register for your business.
  • Yahoo- This is the third most popular search engine and you can list your business on here for free.
  • Bing- Second most search engine used, it too is free, and easy to use. You can add more than one business location at the same time, and able to add all other content to your listings, such as pictures and videos.
  • Angie’s List- This site is a well-respected online directory  and is known to provide accurate reliable reviews for users.
  • Manta- Receives 30 million visitors a month and able to increase website traffic with paid business packages and highlight your product or brand on your profile.
  • Yelp- Best options on the Internet for users to find reviews about businesses, this is a site your able to communicate to your customers within the account.
  • Foursquare- With this site, you get benefits of a popular directory and social networking, and you are able to add a map so people can check-in when they come to your business.

Be sure your listings consist of your business’s name, address, phone number, as well as any other information that you feel is important to your users.

If you need help increasing your business’s online presence, contactWindy City Strategies for more information.

What Is Pay Per Click Advertising and How Can It Help My Business?

One of the most successful online marketing techniques utilized by businesses these days is Pay per click marketing (PPC). You may be asking two things right now: What is pay per click advertising, and how can it help my business?

Windy City Strategies has some helpful information about a pay per click advertising campaigns, which will help you to decide if PPC is right for you and your business:

What is Pay Per Click Advertising?

Pay per click marketing (PPC) are paid keyword search campaigns. Your business will pay to have an ad posted on search engines, making you easier to find. When an Internet user clicks on your business’ ad, they will automatically be directed to your website. You, the advertiser, will only pay a fee when your ad is clicked.

In order to have an effective PPC marketing campaign, it is important that you have the right keywords; otherwise your campaign will be less effective and will result in a loss of potential traffic to your site. This is why PPC is not something that can be done once, but will take time, thought, and effort in order to ensure success.

How Can Pay Per Click Advertising Help My Business?

An effective PPC marketing campaign will drive more traffic to your website, which will often result in increased business for you. Here are the ways a PPC marketing campaign will drive traffic to your website:

  • Change and improve your campaign ads
  • Expand your keyword lists
  • Organize your keywords and ad groups
  • Analyze the data, improving your actions based on these results
  • Filter unwanted keywords, create a negative keywords list to refrain from using these again
  • Continually monitor your campaign’s progress

How Do I Run a Successful Pay Per Click Advertising Campaign?

Pay per click and search engine optimization (SEO) require continuous updating. Not only it is critical to understand the importance of staying on top of managing your PPC campaign, but it will help you to stay ahead of your competition as well.

In order to do so, it may be essential to hire a PPC and Internet marketing firm, like Windy City Web Designs. We not only manage your AdWords account for you, but help you to ensure you are using the most effective and affordable keywords to drive traffic to your website.

Windy City Strategies is Chicagoland’s leader in Internet marketing and web design. From custom web designs, to successful Internet marketing and PPC campaigns, we are available to meet your business’ specific needs.

Should Search Ads Be Locally Relevant?

When you are searching for a restaurant or a specific store, what is the likeliness you will want your search ads to be locally relevant?

Earlier last month, Google shared some research that they had commissioned from Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased. Over 5,000 people were surveyed, in which they either through an online survey, or by logging their smartphone search and in-store activities into a mobile diary.

According to this research, 4 out 5 consumers said that they want search ads customized to their city, zip code, or their immediate surroundings. In addition, 76% of the surveys participants said that they search for local information from their computer or tablet from home, as well as 24% said that they do from work, and 18% from hotels. When it came to using their smartphones for searching locally, 53% say they search from home, 51% search on the go, and 41% search from the store or at the mall.

“Here’s what we learned,” states Bao Lam, Performance Ads Product Marketing Manager at Google. “People expect search ads to be relevant to their context and location. If they search for ‘car rental’ or ‘Mexican restaurant,’ they prefer ads that are customized to where they happen to be and that help them take the next steps in their shopping journey.”

Lam goes on to state, “More than 60% of consumers say they’ve used ads with location information like address, directions, phone number or a click-to-call button, and, more than 70% of consumers who have used location information in ads say that information is important. Consumers choose stores close to where they happen to be. 72% of consumers who searched for local information on their smartphone visited a store within 5 miles.”

With all things considered, it seems that search ads are playing an effective role in ensuring your customers can find you, especially when they are searching locally.

For help with advertising your business, as well as increasing your business’s presence online, contact Windy City Strategies.

By Stephanie Brown

What to Look For in Your SEO Agency

When it comes to marketing your business on the web, nothing is more important than deciding on the right search engine optimization, or SEO, company. Unfortunately, there are many supposed Internet marketing companies out there that make promises that they simply cannot keep. In order to ensure you don’t fall victim for their antics, here are some things to look for before making that big decision.

What are your business’ needs? Since most SEO firms offer a wide variety of services, it is important to decide what your business needs. Are you looking for an SEO audit, content marketing, pay-per-click advertising campaign, or link building? Be sure to have a set goal in mind when consulting with an Internet marketing firm and know how they can help you achieve that goal.

SEO requires time and effort. SEO is a long-term investment. With that being said, if an SEO firm is promising you fast results, then you are more than likely being scammed. Unlike pay-per-click advertising, SEO requires work with you and your website over time in order to achieve results. Even then, on-going website monitoring and updating will need to be done in order to keep your search engine rankings higher.

Customized marketing plans- Upon your first consultation, it is important that you are becoming educated in the process. If you walk away failing to have a full understanding of the process and you have unanswered questions, you more than likely should look somewhere else. A good firm will explain each detail, answer your questions, and work with you to ensure your marketing plan is not only individualized to fit your needs, but to your satisfaction.

Ask to see references. With any business nowadays, reviews and references are ultra important in helping to make the right decision. By proving you got the job done successfully with similar businesses, potential clients will be more inclined to see you as the one can provide them with results.

One thing is for certain, all websites need to have a good SEO campaign. Our team at Windy City Strategies not only specializes in SEO and PPC campaigns, but we also offer web design and Internet marketing consulting. Contact us so we can help your business succeed and become a business leader in the ultra-competitive web marketplace.

5 Internet Marketing Trends for 2014

With another year in the history books, it is time to reflect upon the past year and look ahead to see what we can expect for 2014. The last year seemed to have had many hot trends like social media growth, an increase in use of mobile devices and tablets, and the increased importance of relevant content on a website. While I don’t expect to see any of those trends to go anywhere over the next year, I do expect to see content continue it’s reign as king.

Here are a few other web marketing trends to look out for:

1. Mobile is a must. Since the use of mobile devices is on the rise, it is essential for businesses, especially small businesses, to consider responsive web design. By ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, you are able to stay competitive and increase the potential to be found and seen by mobile users.

2. Niche sites are growing. Due to media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, websites will have a harder time being found organically. For this reason, niche sites are going to become more in demand, especially for smaller businesses looking to get connected to a more specific audience.

3. Write a blog. Blogging is a prime example of the use of relevant content and is an effective way to market your brand. Since blogging is becoming more popular, especially amongst smaller businesses, I think it is safe to say most businesses will have developed a blog by the end of 2014.

4. Get a Google+ account. Since the use of social media giant Facebook appears to be on the decline, other social media networks will be looking to take over. Google+ is a rapidly growing network that has added benefits, such as the search benefits that comes from using Google, that all businesses need to be taking advantage of.

5. Include videos on your website. In order to create a more meaningful relationship with your users, the use of educational videos is on the rise. By providing informational snippets, the consumer can better understand what you have to offer.

The way you market your brand is essential to your business. By hiring a professional Internet marketing firm, you can ensure that your users know your value all the while increasing your business’ profitability. Our team of Internet marketing professionals at Windy City Strategies will work with you to develop an individualized business plan that fits your needs, whether it be from search engine optimization to web design, we can help.

The Importance of Facebook For Small Businesses

Social media is what makes the marketing world go round these days. For this reason, it is important for businesses, especially small ones, to take part in all the rage. With all the choices, it seems that Facebook is one the most influential social media sites. Here are some reasons why your business should be on Facebook!

Build Relationships- Not only do businesses that use Facebook have a good way to connect with their customers, but it an effective method to spread the most important word-of-mouth referrals. By building these relationships, businesses can personalize their marketing efforts based on their audience, allowing you to build offers and promotions based on their demands.

Free Awareness- In addition to building relationships and spreading your name, your business will be generating awareness amongst others which is all free of charge, of course! With every “like” or “share” of your business’ page or post, the greater your exposure is and the chance your page will be seen by hundreds of people, possibly generating a “buzz” for your business.

Increase Your Traffic- There are a couple of ways you can drive traffic to your business’ Facebook page. One of the most effective ways is an application called Foursquare, which allows users to “check-in” to your place of business, letting their Facebook friends know that they are at your location. An additional way is by sharing any of the products or services they may have purchased from your business.

Free Analytics- Facebook includes this useful tool called Facebook Insights to help businesses learn the trends of their customers and how they interact with your page. It also gives you additional information on who your Facebook fans are are what they are interested in.

Additional Input- There is nothing more important to a business that input from their customers. By having a Facebook page, your business can reach out to their audience to generate suggestions for future products or services, solicit feedback, or most importantly, show your customers how much you value them.

For help generating your Facebook page or suggestions on how to increase your business’ marketing profitability, contact Windy City Strategies, Chicagoland’s leader in Internet marketing.

 

Google Ends Google Checkout To Focus On Google Wallet

Google is putting and end to Google Checkout and placing its payment processing future solely on Google Wallet. Google has officially made the announcement last week along with a long list of other enhancements, upgrades and new products. While Google Checkout is still available to use currently, Google has announced that it will be shutting it down in six month which is why now is the perfect time to make the switch.

The new Google Wallet is designed to make checkout easier for users to buy physical goods and services through the Android app in as few as two clicks.  The new Google Wallet will also integrate with Gmail and enable users to send money to friends and family within Gmail using Google Wallet.

Overall the new Google Wallet sounds like it’s going to an outstanding platform for purchasers to use. If you haven’t made the switch yet, we would recommend upgrading and checking out how simple and easy Google Wallet is to use.

By Alisha Lowans

Google+ Gets A Facelift

Google announced earlier this week that it was giving Google+ a facelift and if you haven’t seen the new look, click here to check it out! While some people might not enjoy the new layout if your an avid Facebook or Pinierest user you will find many similarities which make using the new platform easy to navigate.

Google+ has been updated with 41 new features. One of the most talked about feature is it’s content feed. When you or someone else makes a post to your Google+posts show up in one, two or three columns depending on the screen size being used to check out Google+. Previously, the site displayed just one column, so the new look makes it easier to see more posts at one time. Google+ is also allowing video or photo posts to be displayed across the entire width of the screen.

Overall, we think the new Google+ look is much easier to use than the previous version. It gives users a more inviting experience and displays activity much better than before.

And…..If you haven’t already heard as well, Google is launching a new music system, Google Maps and the ability to search using your voice. Google once again is leading the pack of Internet search engines with it’s latest updates.

By Alisha Lowans

How-to SEO for your business

Although it’s common to assume that web marketing should be handled by the “techies,” don’t make this huge mistake. Your knowledge about your business make you the person most capable of generating big web marketing results – more sales leads and new customers for your business.

Small business owners who use this process acquire new customers at much lower costs than someone who buys visitors through pay-per-click ads. Research shows that following this process over one year produces high quality free website traffic equal to that from a $100,000 paid search engine advertising campaign. These are just a few ways to market yourself to make your website the most viewed in your industry.

Build a Website that You Control

You probably already have a website for your business, and if you don’t, set one up immediately. A business website is the digital representation of your personal expertise. It’s where you build your authority as an expert on the topics you know best.

To establish your expertise write blog posts and articles using keywords that your prospective customers are most likely to use while searching for you. In order to do this, you need to be able to quickly and easily add new blog posts and pages to your website. If you can’t easily edit your current business website, just create a new website.

Choose the Right Keywords For Your Business

In web marketing, keywords are the building blocks of success. Having the right web marketing strategy really just boils down to having the right list of keywords. It’s that simple. Your best keywords are the words that your customers are already using. Ask a few of your customers how they describe your business when talking with friends. Think about the problems that your prospective customers are experiencing that your business can help them with. Add descriptions of those problems to your keyword list too. If your business serves a local region make sure to include all of its names too.

You should have 25-50 words or short phrases in your list now (each on its own line). Copy your list and paste it into the Google Keyword Tool to see which keywords have the highest volume of searches and lowest level of competition.

Create a Content Schedule

You need to begin writing blog posts and articles about each of your top ten keywords. Don’t expect to do this today. It’s actually best to add these new pages to your website steadily over time. A good blog post or article page is three to four paragraphs in length, is focused tightly on a single keyword from your list, and is written in a friendly, conversational tone. Include links in the article, where relevant, to product or service pages on your website.

Optimize Your Pages

Give your new blog posts and articles the best chance possible to pull in new visitors by making sure they’re optimized for the search engines.

The search engines pay special attention to certain page fields so you can gain better search engine rankings just by putting the right words in the right places. Check for basic optimization by making sure that each page’s keyword can be found in the page title and is also used several times in the article.