Jan 302011
 

Looking for a quick way to boost the traffic to your business Web site?

Increase your Web Traffic

Increase your Web Traffic

It may have been a while since you added your business to Google Places.  Google Places is where you can manage your business listing displayed on Google Maps.  Perhaps you didn’t even know you could get a free ad listing for your business on Google Maps.

Well, if you build it, they will come.  People love Google Maps for getting directions and finding places of interest.  For instance, if you are looking for a Web Designer in Lebanon, Ohio (shameless plug coming) then you can go to maps.google.com and type in “Web Designer near Lebanon, Ohio” and find our listing (ranked 2nd as of this blog post).

Here is what you get with your free listing:

  • Basic information including business name, address, phone number, email & Web address
  • 200 character description and up to 5 business categories
  • Service areas served
  • Hours of operation and payment options
  • Up to 10 photos and up to 5 videos
  • Any additional details you want to include such as discounts and free estimates

Once created you will have a nice display on Google Maps.

Web Street USA on Google Maps

Here’s how to get your ad:

  1. Go to Google Places (places.google.com/business)
  2. Create a Google Account if you haven’t done it already.
  3. Login to your Google Account.
  4. Click the “List your business” button.
  5. Select Country and Phone number then click the “Find business information” button.
  6. If your business is found then you can click the “Edit” button.
  7. If your entering a new business then click the “Add a new listing” button.
  8. Enter your basic business information such as Company name, address, email and Web address.
  9. Be sure to add a good description of your business using lots of keywords that people might use to find you.
  10. Select a business category.  Do this by starting to type into the category field and Google will make suggestions for you that can be selected.  You don’t have to use the ones they suggest.
  11. Enter additional business categories.  You get up to 5 categories so I would suggest using all of them as these categories can contain keywords that will help draw traffic.
  12. Next enter the service areas and locations if this is applicable to your type of business.
  13. Enter the hours of operation (this is optional).
  14. Select payment options.
  15. Add some photos of your business.  The first photo will be used on your map listing (see sample to right).  Up to 10 photos are available so you use this to show just about anything related to your business.
  16. You can also add videos to be displayed with your listing.  If you have videos you would like to use then make sure you upload them to YouTube and then enter in the complete Web address for that particular video.  Use the YouTube link here (youtube.com) to find out more information about this free video service.
  17. Next enter any additional details about your business.  This is where you can enter a detail category followed by the associated details.  For instance, on my listing, I display how long I have been in business, veteran discounts and free estimates.

For future editing be sure to log into your Google account.  From most Google pages you will be able to click on the “Settings” link and go to the Google account settings.  Go to Google Places to see and edit your ad plus see how many people viewed your ad and clicked on the listing.  This is all great stuff and it really is free.  It shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes to setup a basic business listing.  I hope you found this information useful!

Jan 262010
 

Headlines are Critical 

Headlines are critical to the effectiveness of your Web site, especially on your home page. 

The headline is like an ad for the words that will follow.   It is important to the reader (human) and to the search engines (computer).

It needs to stress benefits and help answer the key question, WIIFM? 
(What’s in it for me?)

The You-Focused Opener

An opening headline like “Welcome to XYZ” isn’t going to cut it.  The home page must focus on the visitor and why they might benefit from your Web site.  The home page should emphasize the top benefit and motivate them to read on and take an action.  You must never forget that a Web site is there to please your visitors.  Put yourself in their shoes.

Strong Motivation is Needed – Pain or Gain!

The headline should introduce a cure for the target audience’s pain or fear of loss.

Or, the headline can hit on your most important benefit and how your target audience can gain by reading further.

Targetted Headlines are Best

The headline should be very important to your target visitor.  The more targeted the better.  And it needs to be a short, sharp and benefit-laden punch line.

What Professional Copywriters Say… 

Do:

  1. Write several headlines before choosing your perfect one.
  2. Address the needs of your target audience and dramatize the benefits.
  3. Stir emotion by getting the reader excited, fearful or protective.
  4. Use the present tense or better yet, the imperative tense. The use of “you” often works well.
  5. Use strong and essential action verbs.
  6. Use short words that create an image in the mind of the reader.
  7. Eliminate most adverbs and adjectives.
  8. Write headlines that stand on their own.
  9.  Write headlines that foreshadow the message that follows it.

 Don’t:

  1. Don’t write about you… write about them.
  2. Don’t write headlines that create curiosity without stressing benefits.
  3. Don’t be “catchy” or “cute” unless your target audience appreciates that type of headline.
  4. Don’t worry about losing visitors that aren’t in your target audience.  That is to be expected.
  5. Don’t use jargon unless you are certain that everyone in target audience will understand it.

 Other Suggestions:

  1. Use words and phrases that evoke emotion…
              You, Now, At Last, Free, Finally, Profit, New, Secret,Ultimate, Fantastic,
              Guarantee, Today, First, Amazing, Discover, Yes, Best, Instant, Powerful
  2. Ask a question.
  3. Make your promises credible.
  4. Put your headline in quotes for extra credibility.
  5. Challenge the reader. (ex. “Only for Businesses Who Want to Increase Profits”)
  6. Test your headlines to see which one works best with your target audience.
  7. Test some more. 
    (Check back soon for an article on Web analytics).
Dec 092009
 

Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving, proved to be strong despite the lackluster economy.  According to comScore, Inc., Cyber Monday 2009 had online sales of $887 Million vs. $846 Million a year earlier.  This represents a 5% increase since last year.  The number of online buyers increased 6% to 8.7 Million and similar results have been seen for entire holiday shopping season so far.

Internet retailers are drawing in buyers through convenient shopping and great deals.  According to Yahoo Search Marketing, online advertisers are beginning to master aggressive marketing campaigns that entices consumers to shop online.   Online sales promotions are largely handled through paid search advertising such as Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft AdCenter.  Microsoft continues its efforts to improve its search capabilities with such innovations as the Bing.com search engine.

Savvy online marketers understand that paid search (aka pay per click) advertising works.  You are in complete control of the message, keywords, bid amounts (costs) and attributes such as geographical location to help in precisely targeting your audience.  The news continues to get better for advertisers as competition is starting to heat up with the announcement that Microsoft and Yahoo are joining forces in their search and online advertising technology to take on #1 Google.  Yahoo and Microsoft, just this past week, have worked out the details of their partnership that is likely to be approved by government regulators in early 2010.