November 19, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- What's the best way to attract customers to your business? Until recently, the standard answer was first, rank well on Google. Second, rank well on Google. A distant third, consider other promotion platforms as a supplement. Business owners could spend a bit of effort on a website, twiddle with keywords, link exchanges, articles, and a blog, then watch the ranks, clicks, and sales grow. At least, that was the idea.
Those standard steps are now a sure way to attract the wrong kind of search engine attention -- and get banned from the ranch. Many businesses that previously relied on search engine traffic now suffer from post-traumatic economic distress, longing to recapture past popularity and sales numbers by spending ever more on online ads.
There is no need to be tied down to a company that doesn't want to be tied to you. Welcome to the post-Google age.
Here are 5 tips for running your business Google-free in 2013:
Tip #1: Embrace the job of selling - then be easy to find when people need what you sell. The real job of a business is to make money. Making a sale trumps making a "friend" or "follower." If customers truly needed a one-on-one conversation to make every purchase, retail giants like Amazon and WalMart would not exist. A family-owned plumbing company does not need online "fans" and barely needs a website, except to list services and contact information. A typical local small business can afford to advertise on local television, where they quickly become known as a trusted brand in the local community.
Tip #2: Go all-in on your quest to be free of online entanglement. This "cold-turkey" approach eliminates wasted man-hours and unrealistic expectations. Abandoning search popularity, only to pin hopes on other kinds of online popularity, is like fad diets where only one "bad" food is avoided. Soon, double-portions of other bad foods spoil the effort. Social marketing may be in fashion, but for many small businesses it is time consuming, unproven in actual sales, and may even invite trouble. At best, lots of people click "like," and at worst, no one clicks "buy." With social sites changing their rules at will, your social media effort could unexpectedly capsize your marketing boat, too.
Tip#3: Understand branding and use it to recruit future customers. People go with what they trust -- and branding is about trust. Brand advertising focuses on leaving a good impression with potential customers and is most effective via TV, radio, and print, where you get the opportunity to tell your story, uninterrupted by commenters, naysayers, or competitors. Your business "personality," expressed in your advertising, leaves a positive impression (goodwill) that sticks with people, even if they're not ready to buy at that moment. Goodwill really counts when a consumer must choose between friendly, familiar, trustworthy "you" or unknown "them."
Tip #4: Make advertising a consistent part of the company budget. Cutting advertising is like cutting off your oxygen supply. To breathe life into sales, it is vital to increase advertising. The rule of thumb is to budget 10-15% of gross sales for advertising, but in a slow economic climate, more advertising is needed, not less -- spending 25% or more goes a long way to keep a business operational until sales pick up.
Tip #5: To find new customers, think "traditional media." A great way to go kick the online advertising habit is to return to traditional media. Despite the fanfare of the internet, virtually no traditional advertising platforms have disappeared, having innovated to remain competitive and relevant. Successful businesses use these platforms every day. Television is especially effective. TV is regarded as the "king of media" for its reach (98% of U.S. homes have at least one television and the vast majority of screen time is spent with TV), its low cost per impression, high value for targeting consumers, and studies have proven consumers prefer finding out about new products and services via TV advertising.
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