Local Marketing Source Blog

Local Marketing Industry Weekly Update – #143 – 1/14/15

Weekly Update Overview

This week’s agenda:

-Bing Ads, Too, Says Goodbye To Phone Numbers In PPC Ad Copy

-75% Of Small & Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs) Say Internet Marketing Is Effective

-Local SEO In 2015 – Look At The Big Picture

-Zomato Buys Urbanspoon For $50 – $60 Million To Enter US Local Search Market


The Local Marketing Industry Weekly Update, presented by Scott Gallagher. Scott is the co-founder of Local Marketing Source and has become the recognized expert in providing local marketing services to local businesses.



Transcript of today’s update call

Good afternoon everyone. Scott Gallagher here with Local Marketing Source, bringing you our weekly local marketing industry update. Next week’s LMS member call is going to be Wednesday January 21st at 4:00 PM Eastern. Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, as well as our YouTube channel.

This is going to be an interesting day. I’m sitting in a hotel room right now in downtown Chicago, because last night I had the privilege of seeing one of my favorite high school bands at a place called The House of Blues. I saw The Tragically Hip, it was fantastic. If we have any Canadians on the line and know the Tragically Hip, know that they’re a stadium band up in Canada and down here there are just no fans unless you’re a Canadian living in the U.S., but it was a lot of fun. So I apologize if you hear it a little bit in my voice. All I can say is last night was a late night. I have a friend down from Canada and there was a good group of us, we had a really good time.

In any event, I am here and chipper, and ready to talk about this week’s update and answer any questions that you guys might have at the end of the call.

Today we’re going to talk about Bing and some additional conversation from what we talked about last week in regards to call tracking numbers and how call tracking works in pay-per-click. Next, we’re going to talk about a study that BrightLocal has put out that has a variety of neat statistics, some of the results that small and medium businesses are getting from internet and local internet marketing.

I want to talk a little bit about some of your SEO plan for 2015. I have an unannounced gift for every LMS student and it’s available already in the Facebook group. It’s a 30-page document, it’s a template that we use that’s a full step-by-step plan for a local internet marketing strategy for a local business. You can go ahead and download that, that’s something that you can give and utilize in your sales process or give it to a client prior to closing them to demonstrate what you will do for them. It’s a document that’s intended to get in the hands of your clients.

Finally, there’s a new business on the block that you’re going to want to get familiar with, it’s called Zomato. Zomato just purchased UrbanSpoon here in the United States. UrbanSpoon, as you know, is one of the largest local search engines, predominantly for restaurants. Zomato is now entering into the United States, they’ve been around for quite some time. This is something that we’re seeing more and more of. Chinese companies, and in this case Zomato is an India based company, relatively large. We’ll talk a little bit about that.

Call tracking. As you know, it’s something that I’ve wanted to be able to employ for quite some time. There are tools out there like Call Rail that allow you to dynamically insert a phone number onto a webpage, based on the source it will display a particular number and give you call tracking. In the paid channels you can no longer put your phone number into your ads, you have to utilize the internal tracking tools that will dynamically change the number on the fly. Bing has now joined Google in regards to this, and this probably not a trend that’s going to go away.

It makes sense. Right now Adwords is paid on the number of clicks it gets or the number of impressions that it shows. Well, with 23 million small businesses in the United States, the Google display network inevitably is a fantastic source to showcase your business to a targeted local market. The search engines want to make money off of the number of phone calls that they’re going to generate for you. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to.

I’m going to skip over the discussion of the SEO plan. Well, I’ll talk about it.

As I mentioned, there is that gift that you can go and grab. Take that and take a look at it. It’s color coded internally where everything in black is descriptive, everything in orange is the responsibility of the agency, and everything in purple is the responsibility of the client. This will hold your client accountable for what they need to do and get information readily available to you so you can do your job.

In there with the step-by-step strategy, we pull the curtains back for our clients, we tell them exactly everything we’re doing. I’m a firm believer in that. I’m a firm believer that all the content we create is owned by the client. We go to great efforts to try and organize all of that different content that we create into a manageable form where the business owner fully understands “this is how many videos I have, this is how many are on my YouTube channel, and these are all the different profile properties that exist with Google, Facebook, Yelp, Angie’s List,” and the hundreds of different sites that we acquire, along with the usernames and passwords, and what email address is attached to them.

In addition to that, over the course of the year there’s also discussion in regards to a quarterly aspect and monthly aspects. Monthly aspect is going to be a regular 10 or 15 citations that you’re acquiring per month. In the bigger picture, from a quarterly aspect you may put a lot of time and effort into writing a high quality article that is going to be published in the industry trade publications, or published by the local Chamber of Commerce or the local newspapers.

I’ve never been a fan of looking at search engine optimization as a science. The fact of the matter is that most marketers out there, SEO experts, do look at SEO with a microscope and look at it in terms of a science. They understand the number of links and what types of links and rate links. Remember the days of Page Rank (PR)?

I myself look at SEO as an art. All we’re doing is digitizing effective marketing that has existed for decades. Whether it’s creating a press release that is some newsworthy information from a local business being published in the local newspaper.

We don’t use a lot of tools at our agency. We definitely use BrightLocal. I use BrightLocal in both the sales process and operations process. Analytical tools – obviously, Google Analytics. Other than that, we don’t get into some of the bigger tools, like Moz Tools, that are out there.

There could be 10,000 different factors that a search engine looks at. When you start to get anal about two or three different factors, it’s very difficult to isolate that one particular factor to determine, “Did this actually effect my results?” It’s darn near impossible.

BrightLocal has just put out a study. They communicated with a couple thousand different local businesses last month to get an understanding of what is important for them and what works for them in terms of internet marketing. Most of these respondents, 95% of them, were in North America, 90% of those were from the United States, less than 10% were in Canada. As we know, Canada and U.S. businesses tend to generally operate in the same fashion. In addition to that, these were businesses that were 1 – 50 employees in size, so a true small business.

The definition of a small business actually is interesting. It’s less than 500 employees by definition to be a small business. I think that’s kind of mind blowing, but I guess there’s a lot of big corporations that are out there.

How much money they spend; the increase did significantly go up from 2013 to 2014. But, the majority of businesses only 16% spend more than $1,000 per month, 12% spend approximately $1,000 per month, and 68% spend less than $500 per month. That’s significant; 68% spend less than $500 per month, and 80% are spending less than $1,000 per month.

We’re going after the 20% of companies that actually spend that kind of revenue. We’re not a McDonald’s shop where we want high volume. We enjoy low volume and higher margins.

There is a correlation between size as well, and the size of the business in terms of employees. You’re looking at businesses that have anywhere from 5 – 20 employees to fit into that category.

What BrightLocal has allowed us to do is further segment our target audience just looking at the data. We can further define what a target audience is by different parameters. This is stuff that you guys already know.

What I found interesting is the fluctuations of a business’s marketing budget and how much of that budget is being spent on the internet. I just gave you figures that are internet based spends.

34% of businesses, one-third, have less than 10% of their marketing budget being spent on online channels today. One-third of businesses have less than 10% of their marketing budget going to online channels – that blows me away. That also spells a tremendous amount of opportunity when we identify growth within that.

50% of businesses, half of the companies, allocate less than one-third of their marketing budget to online. Folks, it’s arguable that most of these small businesses truly are going to get more customers from being found on organic search results than all of these mediums combined. For us to be effective, to get the number one results, we do have to charge that $1,000 a month. It costs me, my variable spend on that is $500 – $700. That’s not even covering my fixed costs at my company.

What is exciting is 29% spend more than 70% of their budget to online, so there is a group that “get it.” There’s a massive disconnect between this. On each end of the spectrum there’s a big group of businesses, very few that are in the middle, where very few companies are spending (let’s say) a 50/50 budget. It’s either pretty much all offline or the majority of it is being spent online.

That also, in my opinion, spells opportunity. You’ll find in this plan that you get some of the things that we ask our clients to do is to make a commitment, for example, of $100 per month to a charitable organization. Our objective is you give that donation, you get listed on the site and you get exposure. Try to look for .EDU based sites or government based sites and it does lend a lot of trust and authority. That’s an offline expense, whether we’re printing up our online acquisition review system cards or taking videos and putting video in print brochure form.

Just like how organic does not replace paid channels; they don’t cannibalize one another, they complement one another. I don’t think that’s any different for a marketing budget for a small business. There has to be a mix. You can’t have all your eggs in one or the other basket, but that’s where the majority of businesses are.

Another key finding was small businesses intent and where they’re going to spend money. Almost 40% said that they would look into almost doubling their internet marketing spend over the next 12 months. Only a small percent, 16%, have no plans to increase their budget. A whopping 47% are completely unsure.

Those are some of the key findings that I was able to pull out of this report and some of the interpretations that I get based off of that data. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, if there’s anything that you’d like to share or any opinions that you may have in regards to some of that data.

Finally, as I mentioned, the company called Zomato just bought UrbanSpoon in the United States. They’re actually going to kill the UrbanSpoon brand and build their Zomato brand. This will likely put them in par in an opportunity with what they offer to compete against a company like Google. They’re already further ahead of, let’s say, Facebook. Zomato is going to be a head-to-head competitor, hands down, with Yelp.

That’s everything. I’m just going over my notes here and I don’t have anything else to add. But I will take 30 seconds here and come back to open the floor to any questions that you guys might have today.

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