(505) 259-0563 slwmrktn@gmail.com
On of the hottest things going on right now for business owners who want to get exposure and traffic in a local market is Google maps and the Local Business Center (LBC). I’ve been involved in SEO (search engine optimization) and marketing on the internet for a few years now. Conventional SEO, while it is effective at getting lots of traffic, is very time consuming and slow.

That is not the case with the LBC! Take a look at this graphic –

This is a screen shot from the analytics account of one of my customers, a custom furniture maker here in Albuquerque. He is a small one man shop. His site traffic has always been small as he never wanted to go to the trouble and expense to get ranked high in the organic rankings. His site severed more as a photo album for his traffic and that was just fine with him.  What the graphic shows is that he was running along at about 40 – 50 visits a week to his site until the end of January. That’s when I put a simple listing into the LBC for his business. The very next week, his traffic doubled! Not only is he getting more calls, but his walk in traffic has increased as well.

The thing that amazed me the most was the speed with which this change occurred. Normally, any type of SEO is very slow. With the LBC, your changes are recognized within minutes. There is simply nothing that compares with this in terms of making your phone ring!

If your business is not in the LBC your missing the boat. If it is, make sure it is well optimized. There’s lots that can be done in the LBC to increase the number of views that it gets.


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I Just Gotta Say, Avoid Graphic Artists who want to Build Your Web Site!

It happened again today, and it was my fault!

I feel really bad, but there’s nothing I can do except to warn you. I had a past local client who was very challenging to work with. He was a nice enough guy, but no tech skills at all, and not convinced he had any budget to spend. His particular business is very tough for internet marketing as well. As a result, we parted ways and he hired a new web designer. That term is very misleading to those who understand internet marketing – “web designer”.

The problem is that most “web designers” have no clue about what it takes to make a site successful on the internet these days. There was a time several years ago when you could just throw something pretty up on the internet, and traffic and customers flowed to your door step. That’s history now, sorry.

I recently coined a new phrase for what I do – eCommerce Repairman. eCommerce Engineer is also a good way to think of it. Success on the internet starts with a site that is constructed with a proper understanding of search engine optimization (SEO). Unfortunately, most “web designers” have no clue about SEO. Once this step is completed, the real work starts. I can go on for hours, but there is one fundamental concept to understand. A web site is just the beginning to marketing your local business on the web. Having a pretty web site with no SEO, and no continuing efforts at refining and promoting your web presence is very much like setting up a beautiful billboard for you company in the middle of the New Mexico desert. It may look awesome, but no one will see it!

Here’s one simple test to help you when you have someone who wants to build a site for you. Contact their past customers and ask them how their web site performs. If they don’t come back with an immediate resounding “great”, find another “web designer”. Better yet, hire an eCommerce Engineer. After all, we’re talking about your lively hood here.


Google is adding features so fast I can barely keep up

The host of new Google Adwords features continue to improve marketing for local businesses!

It seems like every week Google hands us a new tool to check out. I don’t know how anyone running a small business can keep up, it’s a challenge for me and I do it full time!

I’ll just mention a few of the cool things Google Adwords has given us lately. For starters, they now show us data that tells us how many clicks or ad gets in the various positions that the ad is displayed in, i.e. – top vs. side position. This is a huge thing to consider. In almost every case the difference in CTR (click through rate) between top and side is a factor of 10 or better. Why does this matter so much? Because the price you pay for your click is directly related to something called Quality Score, and Quality Score is largely determined by your CTR. High CTR = High QS = Low cost per click = big savings for you!

The next logical question you should be asking yourself is how do I get my ad to show on top? I don’t want to give away the farm here, but it boils down to your bid price, copy writing skills, and keyword relevancy. Master this skill set and you will get lots of clicks and traffic to your web site for less per click than the guy who is listed below you! Now, this is certainly no simple feat, but it can be done in any market, and I have data to prove it if you’d like to see it.

Adwords has also done some cool things that show us a lot more about different platforms that people use to find you, I’ll save that for the next post! 🙂

Google Adwords Express for Local Business Advertising

If you haven’t heard of Google Adwords Express you’re losing business!

I call it Adwords for dummies. There is certainly no question about the difficulty of trying to master a normal Google Adwords account to promote your business. I run several accounts for clients and it’s just about a full time job. How many business owners have that kind of spare time? None that I know of. But if you want to get your feet wet with Adwords, Adwords Express is a great place to start.

Adwords Express is a fairly new feature for advertising a local business that is built right into your Google Places account (don’t have a Places account – better get on the stick!) The way it works is you log into your Places account and find the fairly obvious link that say “create an Adwords Express ad”. You create a few lines of copy for your ad, choose a category for your business, set a monthly budget and say go.

Usually within a couple of minutes, the Google bots will build several ad groups, load up several hundred broad match keywords and you’ve got traffic! Now it’s important to understand that this is not the most efficient means of buying traffic from Google to promote your business. A well managed Adwords account will out perform an Adwords Express account hands down.

However, if you would just like to see if Google can make your phone ring, this is a great place to start. Using the data you get from an Express account, you can build a regular Adwords account, and drive sales and customers to your business.

As always, if you have any questions or need some help, just give drop me an email. My address is on the “About SLW” tab!

The Newest scam involving your google places listing and Google maps

The scammers are after small business again – now it’s your Google Maps listing!

I will talk more about Google Places soon but for now ignore phone calls from people offering to keep your Google Maps listing active in exchange for money.

small business scamsIf you don’t know it, small business owners have a target painted on them right now. Everyone is promoting small business owners as a place to make money with a wide array of services and products. While some are legitimate, most are just crap.

Google is actually calling people and offering money right now if you try out Google Boost, an enhancement to you Places listing. I am currently testing this with a couple of my clients and will have more on it soon, but it looks promising.

Cool WP Plugin helps track local search effectiveness

There’s a WordPress plugin called WP Download Monitor that is very useful for small business owners!

One of the biggest challenges for small business owners is making sure they get value for the money they spend marketing online. This means that everything needs to be tracked. Having Google Analytics installed is of course the first step. But if you’ve messed with Google Local Business Center (LBC) you know that Analytics and LBC don’t play too well together!

This subject came up for me recently when I was asking some questions about Google Boost. For those who don’t know, Boost is a sort of “Adwords for Dummies” program. No insults intended here, I was a tad in the dark about Boost until just a couple of days ago, but that’s the subject for another post – coming soon I promise!

This post is about the plugin remember? It’s called WP Download Monitor. This free plugin solves a very important problem for the small business marketer. Here’s what it does. After some fairly simple set up, it will track and record how many times a pdf is downloaded from your site. You can have as many downloads entered into it as you need. Why is this useful?

Because these downloads are PDF versions of your coupons! That means there is an easy way to create separate channels to track downloads for all of your coupons, one for each traffic source, i.e. – Adwords, Craigslist, and now Boost. Put a little text on the very bottom of the coupon to key it, and when some hands you a coupon, you’ll know exactly which traffic channel brought you this customer! Very cool…

Of course it also allows a lot of other great stuff like testing different versions of the coupons, and measuring different traffic channels with different sales copy. Over the next week or so I will try to get a short video up showing new users how to set this up, and I’ll talk more about Google Boost and why you should be using it with or without Adwords. Hint – part of the reason is because Google has a nice promo going on and they will give you $100 worth of impressions if you spend $50. I’ll take that offer any day of the week.

Is Adwords worth it for my business?

There a lot of people who will tell you that Google Adwords doesn’t work, that it’s just a scam for Google to rake in cash!

Having used Adwords for several years now, I can understand how some people who tried running ads with Google were not happy. It’s not easy to do well. But just so you know that it works, I have uploaded this screen shot from one of the campaigns I manage:

adwords works

If you’re a business owner who doesn’t use Google Adwords, you should look at this carefully! First know that I pay an average of $0.22 per click or visit. That means that for this period, 30 days, I spent 883 x $0.22 or $194.26 for traffic. Now look at the revenue generated – $4343.27. Now look at the conversion rates for some of my search phrases, several are around 20%. One in every five persons that clicks my ad after searching on that phrase buys! I have two phrases with a per visit value over $8.00, it costs me $0.22 cents to get them to my site!

If these kinds of numbers would help your business, call me or drop me an email. I’d love to talk to you!  🙂

On of the hottest things going on right now for business owners who want to get exposure and traffic in a local market is Google maps and the Local Business Center (LBC). I’ve been involved in SEO (search engine optimization) and marketing on the internet for a few years now. Conventional SEO, while it is effective at getting lots of traffic, is very time consuming and slow.

That is not the case with the LBC! Take a look at this graphic –