How Inbound Marketing Can Help My South Bay Business

Does your Torrance or Los Angeles South Bay business have a billboard on Crenshaw or Hawthorne? Of the thousands of cars that drive by Rolling Hills Plaza each day, do you hope a driver interested in your service drives by and sees it? And remembers the phone number and calls you?

Today’s world is about attracting customers vs. hoping the right person sees your ad. And what do DVRs and Caller ID have in common? An easy way to skip advertisements.

Have you heard about inbound marketing and content marketing but are not sure exactly what it is and if it could help your business attract more customers, grow your brand and bottom line? You’re at the right place.

Inbound marketing uses the reach and power of the web to generate traffic and leads. And with the right tools, track leads to customers, and the ROI on the marketing dollars you spend on it.

What is inbound marketing?
Simply put, its sharing information for your target customers that they are looking for, capturing their contact information, and nurturing that relationship by providing education, help, and useful content. It’s not about “selling” them. It’s about being helpful and seeing if there is a mutual fit. Through exploration and sharing, you and your lead will uncover whether your products and services would be a good solution to their problem.

A very positive aspect of inbound marketing is that they are “warm leads” by time they’ve reached you. They wouldn’t have downloaded your content if they weren’t interested in the topic.

How does inbound marketing work? Here are 5 basic steps.

1. Set specific, quantifiable goals with deadlines.
Or how else will you know if you’ve been successful or not.

2. Define who you are targeting and create a persona.
A persona is a fictitious representational of your ideal customer. This should include what they care about, what their challenges are, and where they research answers to their questions.

3. Create a content strategy.

  • Determine topics by what your personas want to know. What do they need help with?
  • Determine what content is appropriate for each stage of the Buyer’s Journey:
    – Awareness – finding out what solutions exist to their problem
    – Consideration – Researching pros and cons of each solution
    – Decision – Evaluating providers of chosen solution to make buying decision
  • Research and use keyword string for SEO

4. Launch your campaign!

  • Based on your persona’s behaviors, determine where to promote your offer.
    Download our free campaign checklist to get started!
  • Create CTA offer and lead capture forms
  • Create promotion content (e.g., landing pages, blog posts)

Download our free inbound marketing campaign checklist.
Download Checklist

5. Analyze your campaign and use learnings for the next campaign.

Wondering if inbound marketing will work for every business?  Ask yourself these questions to see if inbound marketing might work for your business.

 

Will inbound marketing work for every business?

As much as I’d like to say yes, there are some businesses that benefit from inbound marketing more than others.  Ask yourself the following questions to decide whether inbound marketing may work for your business:

  1. Do you want to increase leads or lead quality?
  2. Do you want to increase sales?
  3. Do you want to increase brand awareness?
  4. Do your potential clients do online research?
  5. Do you want to demonstrate your expertise in your industry?
  6. Are you willing to invest (directly or through hiring) in your marketing (approximately 10 hours a week)
  7. Are your current “traditional” marketing efforts not enough? (Everyone loves referrals, but are you missing a larger percentage of the market?)
  8. Are your competitors out-ranking you?
  9. Do you want to know the ROI on your marketing efforts?

If you answered yes to these questions, contact UmeWorks for a free exploratory consultation.

Want a preview? Get a jumpstart by downloading our free inbound campaign checklist here.

Download Checklist

What to know about Business Citations

A business citation is a mention of a local business on the Internet. The information listed varies from citation source to citation source, but commonly included items are:

  • company name
  • phone number
  • location address
  • website link
  • business hours
  • logo
  • photographs
  • a description of the business

There are literally thousands of places where there are business citations on the Internet. Some common types in the U.S. are data aggregators (e.g., Infogroup, Acxiom, Factual) that index millions of business located across United States. In turn, the data aggregators license or syndicate their data to most local search engines including google any Bing.

Other common types of business citation sources are local blogs, locally focus directory, and industry-focused directories for blog. For the latter, look for industry directories in your specific niche by searching “your industry” + directories.

You can also check to see where your top competitors are listed by “Googling” their names, and being sure you’ve claimed your listings there as well.

Here are 4 things to keep in mind when you’re claiming, editing, or adding your business listing:

  1. Be sure to keep your NAP consistent. What is NAP? Your business Name, Address and Phone number. Why is this important? Because Google may penalize you in their SERP algorithm if your NPA is not consistent across citations.
  2. Keep account logins. Most business directories will require you to set up a free account to verify and verify your relationship to the business. Be sure to keep the log your login for each of the business listing this is important did you need to go in and update your listing at a future time.
  3. Be sure to optimize your listing information. What this means: within the constraints that the specific business listing has, and be sure you take it vantage of what they are they allow you to live. For example in the description of you better be sure you use keywords that people would probably use to look for business. Use attractive pictures. Keep your information up-to-date and accurate. If it includes reviews, be sure to read them and respond to them professionally, both pop to pop positive and negative feedback.
  4. Be sure to add a link to your website if allowed.  This is a great opportunity to add a backlink to your site and help your site’s SEO.

While it is not difficult to claim your business citation, it can be consuming by the sheer number of them. Focus on the top ones for your area. The chart below shows the top citation sources for Los Angeles, provided by Moz.

Top Citation Sources in L.A.

And you can also hire someone to do this for you. Be sure they know what they’re doing, how to optimize the listing, and are reputable. A few years back, we ran a test with a low cost provider who promised hundreds of links. We found they had added links from some questionable sites (e,g. New Dehli escort service). Also be sure before you engage in any of the services, that should you cancel your subscription with them (many do have ongoing fees), that you will be able to get access to your listings after your service with them has been terminated.

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Why You Should Care about Backlinks

Getting Started: Search Engine Optimization and Backlinks

If you have a business, we assume you have a website and want it to be found on Google.  Having your business listed on the top of search engine results is critical.  There are many factors that search engines take in consideration when serving up web pages upon keyword searches.

Google does not publish their algorithm to discourage people from “gaming” the SERP (search engine ranking position) results.  However, one of the known factors is the number of quality backlinks (also known as incoming links or inbound links) going to a website.  In fact, most website professionals would agree it is very difficult to get a website to rank well without backlinks.  So, that’s why you should care about backlinks: cultivating links from other quality websites that point back to your own site is a great opportunity to your site turn up in searches, and increase leads to your business.

Please note the word quality. Sometime ago it was true it was a good strategy to get as many links as possible to your site. This led to, however, things such as link farms and paid links. Because of this Google changed their algorithm and only rewards links from high authority sites; that is, those that have high visit rates and are reputable.  You can check a website’s authority on Moz.

What are backlinks?

A link is a connection between any two web pages. A backlink, or inbound link or incoming link, is one that links TO your website, so called because it points back to your website.

Why should you care about backlinks to your website?
From a search engine optimization perspective, links demonstrate a website’s popularity because it indicates someone has deemed your site worthy of sharing from theirs. The more links found by search engines going to a website, especially from authoritative sites, the higher the backlinked site is valued from a search engine ranking perspective.

Google and other search engine’s goal is to serve up websites that have quality content for the searched term.  So the assumption is, if many other sites reference yours, then your site much have quality information that readers care about.

How can you start acquiring backlinks to your website?

Business Citations

Although technically not considered backlinking by some SEO gurus, this is the easiest and most obvious way to get started, and are a key component of the ranking algorithms in Google and Bing.

Citations are any mention of a local business out on the web, typically in an online directory listing. Commonly included are the company name, phone number, address, and may or may not include a website link. For those citations that DO offer the opportunity to include a link to your website, you can claim your listing, or add your business listing, and update it to be sure it includes a backlink and pertinent keywords.

Examples of business citation listings are YellowPages.com, Manta.com and a chamber of commerce website. Types of business citation sites include industry-specific, geo-targeted, or general business listings.

“Other factors being equal, businesses with a greater number of citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer citations,” stated Moz.1

Some important tips about claiming business citations:

  • Be sure you enter your company name, address and phone (NAP) consistently across citations. Search engines will penalize you for inconsistencies.
  • Most citation sites will require you to create an account to login (typically free) and will need you to verify your relationship to the business. Be sure to keep your logins documented in order to update your citation in the future.
  • You can hire firms to claim or add your business listings on your behalf. This can be a huge time saver for you. But just as stated in the bullet above, be sure you’ll have access to edit the listing yourself in the future, should you need to.

Learn more about what to know about business citations here.

Produce Awesome Content

When you produce great content that educate or entertain, and make the reader glad they found it, the probability of someone sharing it increases.  How could they share it? My including a link in their own website or blog: a backlink!

An ideal link will be an inline anchor text link containing keywords, not just your company name, “click here”, or a naked anchor (http://domain.com). An example of an anchor text link to a reptile pet store is “Everything you need to create a perfect home for your new pet iguana.”

How can you help develop these links?

  • Submit article or Be a Guest Writer. Identify heavy-hitter bloggers, news, and emagazines in your niche.  Offer to write content specifically for their site.
  • Where are your Competitors? You can also target sites that are linking to your competitor’s sites. Search for your competitor’s URLs, or use tools to help you do that like MajesticAhrefs, and Moz’s Open Site Explorer.  Consider whether it is feasible to provide content to these site owner’s that they would publish.For example, let’s say you are in the children’s birthday party entertainment business.  You find a popular Mommy Blog that included a mention of a local magician. You could write an article about how your games are a fun, more engaging and active alternative for kids’ parties.
  • Press releases. If you have something newsworthy to share, an online press release can boost your backlink count.
  • Social networking. When you actively participate on social networking sites, you not only brand yourself as an expert, but you also can pick up a number of backlinks.2You can add teasers to your blog posts with backlinks, but keep in mind, if the pages are Private or you must be logged in to view the page, search engines can’t crawl these pages.
  • Product/Service Review. If you provide a quality product or service that you could offer a free sample to a respected evaluator or “best of” writer in your niche, and ask them to do a review.  Of course, this can be a double-edged sword, so be sure you have a GREAT product or service.
  • “Unclaimed” Opportunities. Search your company/brand name in a search engine. If you find any mentions on a website where there is no attribution link, contact author and ask them to add a backlink to your site. And provide the link to the web page that most closely matches what the mention is references.
  • Comment on other’s Blog. Use this one judiciously, as robotic comment spamming is very common and annoying tool used by Black Hatters and phishers. Find a respected blog in your niche, and write and intelligent and value-added comment. Many blogs will require you include your name and website.
  • Provide Testimonials for Others. If you sincerely like another firm’s product or service, leave a testimonial. The owner may include a link to your site so their readers will know you are a real person.

Backlink Don’ts

  • Don’t add backlinks from sites whose only purpose it to provide links, or other “thin” (no value) content.
  • Don’t pay for links.  This is considered a “black hat” strategy that Google does not condone.
  • Don’t attempt to acquire all backlinks at one time; trickle them over time. If not, search engine may assume you are trying to manipulate the rankings and penalize your site. 2
  • Of course, you cannot control what somewhat else writes, but pay attention to this when you are guest writing and submitting articles:
    • Be sure backlinks are not over-saturated on a single page or post. Google perceive this as an attempt to over-optimize and to game ranking results.
    • Do not over use exact word anchor links, meaning link from the same words repeatedly. Example “best pet store in Torrance”.

Keep in Mind…
Providing great content is important NOT just to encourage backlinks, but at least as important, if not more important, is that no matter how good your SEO is, if you get visitors to your website, but they are disappointed when they land there, all this is for naught.

Not sure what you can do to improve your website? Get a free website evaluation.

  • Is your site mobile-ready?
  • On-page keyword usage
  • Citation claiming and consistency
  • Backlink SERP
  • CTA usage
  • and more…

Request a Free Website Evaluation

References:
1 https://moz.com/learn/local/citations
2 https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223157

Pedro Pet Pals Looks to a Brighter Future with their Website Redesign

Here’s one of UmeWorks’ recent website redesigns: Pedro Pet Pals.

Pedro Pet Pals is a local Los Angeles South Bay non-profit organization, dedicated to saving as many homeless animals as possible.  They raise funds to provide services and supplies for animals, many in the local animal shelters.

We first sat down with Pedro Pet Pal Board members to understand their goals for the website redesign. The goals of redesigning the Pedro Pet Pals website was to update the look and make it mobile-friendly. UmeWorks worked with the client to identify the most important call-to-actions they wanted the readers to take: donate, volunteer and adopt.  So we design to make that front-and-center.  We also made changes to so website visitors could understand more quickly what Pedro Pet Pals’ does, while ensuring the site’s post contributors would be visible.

Where practical, UmeWorks kept the same page URLs as the previous site, and created 301 permanent redirects and a custom 404 page.  This helped protect the site’s SEO ranking.

You can learn more about how to avoid losing your site’s SEO juice in our free white paper.

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