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Your Digital Marketing Agency for Website Design, SEO, Mobile App Development, & Search Engine Marketing in Birmingham, AL

High Exposure, Low Cost Internet Advertising

Advertising has always been a big factor in business success. The SBA recommends that you spend about 7% of your annual budget on marketing efforts to grow your business. It’s all about the presentation of your product or service to potential customers. Marketing is all about sharing a story, and a great way to tell your story is with online marketing. It’s important to create a compelling presentation and then get it in front of the right audience. We can use all the SEO tricks in the book or spend thousands on a pay-per-click campaign. However, it’s all in vain if we don’t target the right audience. Our goal at Webology is to work with you to find the right audience so we can provide the best value to our clients. We think online marketing can be very cost effective versus traditional advertising platforms. There are also some advantages to print ads. We’re going to take a look at both today. So, let’s get started. Here are some of the advantages of online marketing with Webology:

Advantages of Online Marketing

Better Targeting: SEO and Coffee

Sure, a lot of people think SEO marketing is sophisticated when compared to print ads. It’s true that we can target specific search terms in very targeted geographic regions. You can’t easily do that with print. It’s a more general audience with different age demographics. Let’s pretend just for a moment that our name is John and we

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own a small coffee shop with 5 employees in Birmingham, Alabama. Well, doing a generalized traditional Ad might work okay for John. Back in 2013 a survey found that 83% of US adults drink coffee. That’s a big percentage of the overall market. However, you have to wonder how many of those coffee drinkers are willing to pay over $3 to get their caffeine fix? Maybe a lot of the people reading the local paper are already drinking coffee at home or from the office coffee pot? How many of the local newspaper readers work within 10 miles of John’s shop?

Targeted Ads

A major problem with traditional advertising is generality. With online marketing, we get specific. Suppose John’s shop is actually just over the mountain in Vestavia. As an online marketer, I want to make sure John is ranking high on terms like Vestavia Coffee Roaster, Vestavia Coffee Shop, or Coffee Shops Near Me when someone searches from the parking lot of the Vestavia Hills City Center. Hopefully, we direct people away from the big chain and into John’s shop where the coffee isn’t burnt. Just saying…

How Much SEO Does My Business Need?

With SEO, we recommend at least 10 hours of work on your website each month. I think that’s the minimum to get any value out of SEO. But it really all depends on how much competition you have. If competition is light, 10 hours each month works just fine. We can do that for less than the cost of most print Ads. So, in 10 hours we might write a compelling 1200 word article on the superior taste of small batch roasted coffee. We would target the keyword Vestavia Coffee Roaster and tell Google to look for it in our text. Because the term is more specific than just targeting Coffee Roaster, we find it is easier to rank high. There are less people competing for keywords specifically related to roasting coffee in Vestavia, Alabama. Hopefully, we get John into the top three which is where about 35% of all users click when they do a Google search. We’re only going to be ranking in front of people who are in Vestavia and looking for a good cup of coffee. That’s okay! We’re targeting the exact group of people John needs to share his message with. With print, we might have readers from Downtown, Hoover, or Gardendale. John would have practically wasted his Ad budget on some of those readers. They are just less likely to visit than someone looking for good coffee who is already in Vestavia. So, John needs to choose SEO for lower cost and better targeting. If he wants to get even more specific in his location targeting, we can setup geofencing. I’ll explain that option later on, so keep reading.

Capture Market Share with Link Building

Meet Jane. She owns a home inspection company in McCalla AL. Jane helps potential homebuyers avoid a lemon. The problem is, Jane isn’t getting any leads from her website. She’s relying exclusively on referral marketing from several real estate agents she knows. In business, two is one and one is none. Jane needs a second source of leads to make her business more sustainable. She has a great site with some technical on-page SEO optimization, but the problem is domain authority. You see, Jane’s competitors have been in the business for decades. They setup their websites in the late 90’s, so the search engines rank them a little higher simply because they have been around longer. It also doesn’t help that her competition has been blogging for years. Over time, her competition wrote compelling articles about the industry that got picked up by online trade journals. These journals all link back to the competitions website, giving them a boost in the search engine results. Jane needs to build her domain authority to get onto page one.

Competitor Analysis: A Foundation for Link Building

Jane came to us for help ranking higher in Google. She needed to grow her business with more online leads from prospective homebuyers. So, we used an SEO technique known as competitor analysis. We looked at the top three home inspectors in Birmingham, and found out exactly who was linking to their sites. This allowed us to find several online directories that just list home inspectors. Talk about low hanging fruit! All we had to do for Jane was list her business in a few directories to get quality links back to her website. In a couple of hours spent listing her site, we were able to increase her rank significantly. However, our work wasn’t done. We found several online trade publications that were linking back to her competition.

So, we started typing like madmen! We drafted a 2400 word article on home inspection complete with a compelling infographic about potential cost savings for new homebuyers. Google likes content rich articles, and the most prominent trade journal was more than happy to publish our article on their site. They linked back to Jane’s website which finally ranked her on page 1 for a few keywords. Within a month, Jane started getting a call or two each week. Over time we kept submitting articles and building links to Jane’s site. When she ranked 2nd for the term Birmingham Home Inspection, things really took off. Congratulations Jane!

Hassle Free Marketing

Most businesses already have a website. We can often work with an existing WordPress site to improve rank and achieve your business goals. You already invested in the site, so why not let us optimize it for your goals? We can handle all the technical work for you. Most of our clients only need to devote about 20 minutes a month to working with us. We like to go over our reports with you either in person or over the phone. That way we can suggest changes in strategy and plan for the next month’s work. SEO takes time and dedication. If you can devote 20 minutes each month to working with us, we will gladly do all the heavy lifting. If you’re not marketing your website, it’s probably not doing anything for you at all. We find that a lot of businesses only build a site out of a sense of obligation to their customers. Businesses feel that they have to have a site, but often view it as just another cost. Instead, you should see it for the opportunity it is. A properly marketed site brings in new business.

Would You Rather Run an Ad for a Month or a Decade?

TV and print Ads need to be updated regularly. This can involve paying a graphics company to design a full page ad or shooting a new commercial. It can be cost prohibitive. Additionally, most businesses can’t afford to run ads for more than a few months in the local paper. This severely limits the effectiveness of traditional ads. One important aspect of marketing is to practice consistency. If people are exposed to your message more often, it tends to lead to more conversions. Time is your ally in the struggle to differentiate yourself and increase market share. The longer you advertise, the better the results. What if I told you there was a form of marketing that is fire and forget? What if there was a permanent ad that you pay for once and it just keeps delivering? That’s pretty much what you get with quality content marketing. We have a client who started publishing blogs about his business in 2013. We helped him select good keywords for each post. We made sure Google and Bing indexed his posts for those keywords. Here we are in 2016 and he is still getting phone calls each month that we can track back to those articles he wrote in 2013! Provided you keep your site up to date, content marketing can be a permanent form of advertising.

Geofencing Banner Ads for Local Marketing around Birmingham

Geofencing is a fancy way of saying we will only serve your ads to a certain zip code. We can place banner ads on tens of thousands of different websites for your business and only serve the ad up when someone within a few miles of your business visits the site. Instead of waiting around for Shunnarah’s contract on the billboard down the road to expire, we can have you setup and serving ads by this afternoon with targeted geofencing solutions.

Disadvantages of Online Marketing

Yes, there are some areas where print and TV work better. Just being honest here! I’d love to tell you that SEO/SEM/SMO are the be all and end all of advertising, but it’s not. We excel at conversions and usually provide higher quality leads. In fact, online marketing leads to about 14% conversions versus 1-2% with print ads. However, there are some disadvantages to online marketing. Here are a few:

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Limited Demographic Scope

People respond slowly to change, or not at all. Traditional advertising is still effective for targeting baby boomers. If your target demographic is over 55, you should probably still use some traditional advertising. That’s not to say that online marketing is totally ineffective, it just needs to be managed differently.

Added Costs Up Front

I’ll be completely blunt here. If you’re not willing to build a killer website up front, it’s difficult to rank your business in 2017. Google and Bing look at things like how long it takes to load a page on your site, or how much work went into custom coding and design. While these might not be the most important ranking factors, SEO is cumulative. We need a great site from the beginning if we want to rank high. Your site is the foundation of our SEO efforts. In late 2016 Google started looking more into sites with a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) cert. That’s just one more up-front cost you probably want to invest in to rank well. You can tell if your site has an SSL cert installed by navigating directly to it in your browser. You will either see “HTTP” or “HTTPS” in front of your domain name. The “S” stands for secure and means that your site is trusted. This is one of many ranking factors we look at when doing on-page optimization for our clients. Building a great site for our clients is time consuming and costly. However, with the competition for page 1 ranking these days, it’s often necessary if you plan to generate sales from your site.

There’s Nothing Tangible about a Great Site

Humans are tactile. We like to have something to carry with us. If you’re in a referral based networking group, you probably already use this fact to your advantage. I’m in such a group, and I like to give out things like refrigerator magnets and useful gifts for our weekly prize. When it’s my turn to speak, I try to buy a gift that the winner will get a lot of use out of. Why? I want to stay on their mind! If someone uses something you gave them, they might think of you from time to time. My goal is for that person to be thinking of me when they meet new people that might need my help with web development or SEO. Likewise, I have a few refrigerator magnets in the kitchen. You can bet that if I ever need a realtor again, I’m calling the guy that sends me a magnet each year with the Alabama football schedule. Newspaper and magazines still have that tactile element that we can’t really reproduce with technology…yet.

Some Final Thoughts

Online and traditional marketing can both be effective. It’s especially good to find ways to integrate them. You might want to include your website or e-mail address on your print ads. Additionally, you could do things like share the fact that your coupon will be in the Tuscaloosa News on your company Twitter feed. With SEO research we can provide you with data that might be useful for designing your print ads. Overall, the two different advertising mediums have their advantages and disadvantages. We can find that interactive edge where the two can work together to benefit your business. Let us help you form a strategy that incorporates both print and online ads.

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