Small businesses are often challenged with modest marketing budgets. Traditional forms of marketing and advertising, like print ads, radio, television, signage and flyers are still relevant and effective depending on the market segment. However, the drawback is that conventional forms of promotional material can be expensive for the budget-conscious small business in Toronto. Fortunately, the internet has transformed the way consumers discover and communicate with local businesses online.
How a small business navigates these radical times can impact the speed of their growth and prosperity. When online marketing is executed in the right way, it can equalize the playing field. This provides small businesses with the ability to compete against larger companies, without breaking the bank.
For successful small businesses, local SEO is now topping their marketing checklists. Additionally, search engine optimization and Google AdWords management offer SMBs the opportunity to reach their audience in an accurate and cost-effective manner.
Consumers are looking to learn about goods, services and the businesses that they care about in their local communities. For this reason, a well executed digital search strategy for a small local business can have lasting effects on its online presence and profit growth.
To understand the value that local SEO and Google AdWords management can offer a small business in Toronto, consider the following two real life examples.
Helen has a new hair salon and wants local women in her area to find her business. She’s also offering a 50% discount on a client’s first hair colour appointment. After contacting a local flyer service, she has a beautifully designed brochure, with the offer on one side and the business address on the other.
She wants to reach the 25,000 women that live in the surrounding area. Flyer delivery is based on FSA (the first three digits of a postal code) and LDU (the second set of digits of the postal code). There is some data that suggests that the homes she is targeting have an average household income of 100K+.
At a cost of $1,000 for 25,000 flyers, which includes printing and delivery, it may sound like a fantastic deal. Helen goes for it and she attracts some new clients and succeeds in covering the costs of her flyer investment.
She even makes a small profit. However, Helen now has two dilemmas:
1. Flyer distribution isn’t measurable. Helen doesn’t know that 25% of her flyers flew off in the wind or were immediately discarded by the homeowner. Another 25% reached the intended addresses, however her desired audience did not reside in those homes. A further 5% were duplicate deliveries to the same address.
2. Now that the flyer campaign is over, Helen is no longer “discoverable”. Although she gained some new business, once the flyer campaign ended, there was no lasting impact of Helen’s discoverability.
Helen may be inclined to give another flyer campaign the go-ahead, but recently she learned that there may be a more cost-effective way to reach more of her client base.
Helen cares about potential clients in her local area finding her salon whenever they search for beauty services and hair stylists. She’s done some research into online marketing and learned that 50% of local searches made on smartphones drive the user to visit the brick-and-mortar location within a day, and that 18% of consumers will make a purchase within a day of their local search on a mobile device.
Helen indexes her business information (name, address, phone number) on local listings like Yellow Pages, knowing that these citations will increase her visibility in a Google search, and will also provide searchers with a map, directions, and salon hours on the results page. Citations sites also offer users the ability to write reviews of businesses. Helen’s salon has an excellent reputation for service, and because 88% of consumers regard online reviews with the same trust as personal recommendations or word-of-mouth, Helen knows that her salon can profit from accruing reviews online.
Helen has also learned that, on average, a Google AdWords campaign provides a two dollar ROI for every dollar spent, and that SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, compared to only 1.7% for traditional advertising.
She wants to offer the same promotion of a 50% discount for a client’s first colour appointment, as well as promote the other services that her salon has to offer. But before she does that, Helen decides to invest $1000 per month on a local SEO strategy, $500 per month on pay-per-click management, and another $1000 on Google Adwords.
Helen’s research helps her understand that one facet of local SEO is that it helps create content that answers the questions that her potential clients care about when they search on Google for her services.
She understands that hiring a small business SEO service will benefit her overall site health, because the service will optimize her website so that it is user friendly, easy to navigate, and in-line with Google’s best practices. Finally, she realizes that her PPC ad campaigns will be highly targeted so that her message will reach her target directly.
Helen has learned that with PPC advertising, she’ll always know which keywords are performing, and which aren’t. She also recognizes that every person that sees her PPC ad will be someone in her desired target audience:
Women 18-45, within 20kms, income 20k-100k, that love fashion, care about natural self care products, animal welfare and other relevant topics.
Helen’s SEO and Google AdWords provider will also create optimized booking and lead forms. Now people can book her services online directly. Helen makes it easy for her clients to pick a convenient time for their visit, and pre-pay online.
The result is that potential clients are finding Helen’s business when they are actually looking for a local hair stylist–and that’s the benefit of a well curated local SEO and paid search strategy. Three months later, Helen’s salon is being found online for services like waxing and threading.
In fact, “threading” has become her largest revenue stream and she has had to hire a new full time employee to meet the demand. She now has 8-20 clients per day.
After six months, her revenue has tripled. Not only does Helen’s revenue cover her digital marketing expenses, but she’s managed to make an excellent profit. She also has an enduring presence online–her content appears at the exact moment clients are looking for services like hers. But the beauty of a local SEO and paid search service in Toronto is that she can track every dollar she spends so that her marketing budget stretches further.