Most people see online marketing as technology — difficult, hard-to-learn technology that they find frustrating and try to avoid like the plague. Just because words like “Google Analytics” are used, does not mean it is technical at all or even difficult. It’s just new.
Once you get a hold of something new, like a smart phone, it’s not too long before you master it and start downloading apps, sending multimedia messages and even changing your settings, profile and ringtones. It just takes time. Nothing in marketing should be ignored because you don’t know it. Take the time to learn from a 30,000-foot view. You will be amazed at how creative you become once you understand the concepts at hand.
Remember that online marketing is based on objectives, strategies and tactics. Knowing these tactics and how things are put together are instrumental for your venue’s online marketing success. That said, find a good pad of paper and read ahead to learn how things are put together from a marketing and sales standpoint — not a techie’s perspective.
Your local establishment needs local traffic, and lots of it comes from different sources around the web. Let’s look at the top sources of traffic — and marketing tactics — in general:
• Search-engine results produced by online searches.
• Web maps and searches (e.g., Google Maps, Mapquest, Garmin, etc.).
• Business listings (e.g., Google Places, Bing Local, CitySearch).
• Social-media outlets (e.g., Facebook, Yelp and Foursquare).
• Email marketing through an in-house list (such as with newsletters, e-blasts, etc.).
• Mobile apps, searches and maps.
• Other mediums, such as public relations, quick-response codes, text messaging, POS and other advertising.
Knowing that the majority of the mentioned sources link to your website is the very reason your website needs to be at the center of all of this “marketing.” It’s the one common denominator that acts as a catalyst for all results to flourish. Getting more sites to link to your website, using the same keyword strategy, helps Google rank you higher.
Google’s ranking system also loves websites that continually add new content according to your keyword strategy. This can be done by updating a blog that is fixed on your website (e.g., www.yourcompany.com/blog) on a regular basis.
Search engines rank higher based on multiple variables; however, the two most important variables are content and popularity (links back to your website). This can be done via a blog, updating news and refreshing and updating content on your website. Additionally, posting online news releases, social media and other tactics that include links back to your website is a perfect strategy to increase popularity, the other imperative element in achieving higher ranks. Let’s see how this works.
When search a keyword like “nightclub,” you see two things on Google: 1) Google Places listings A through G, what we call the lucky seven; 2) organic, natural listings found with Google’s web index — hopefully, your website. You also see paid-for search results on the top of the page and on the right-hand side, but let’s ignore advertised results for the time being.
Google’s job is to return the most relevant results to their “searchers.” Additionally, almost all of the tactics mentioned previously have strong search capabilities for their users. So, having a complete and consistent keyword strategy surrounding your online marketing efforts is absolutely instrumental for real success and returns from the new marketing tactics you will be using every day.
Imagine having a website that includes the same keywords as your Google Places and Yelp listings, which in turn include the same search key terms as used on YouTube videos, Flickr photos, Facebook posts, online press releases, Foursquare, Delicious, blog posts, online reviews, e-newsletters archived on your website, location-based mobile applications and everything else you do online. All of these items would be linked together under very specific terms — consistency counts. Can you imagine your website’s relevance in a search for “nightclub” if all of those areas were connected?
List the keywords you think people are using to find a business like yours online. Study your competition as well as those that are showing up in the high rankings. What categories are listed under their Google Places listing? Do their reviews include keywords? Does yours?
Connecting these “iDots” is important; learning how they function and leveraging each to create a “web of relevance” for people searching the web is critical to driving more people to your website each month.
Ninety-nine percent of businesses have the capacity to organize and connect all of these iDots under one roof; they just lack the direction, know-how, coordination, communication and execution to do it effectively from onset to ongoing. Perhaps they also lack the knowledge about how to connect each one efficiently.
Now, imagine using your website as the core or center of your marketing efforts, building content around it every month, developing a case of rising relevance glued by a solid keyword strategy — keywords we know people are searching for to find a business just like yours.
Understand that it’s not difficult to tie all of these areas together. These are tactics that you already are incorporating — or should be — in your daily marketing activities. Try looking at your business’ Google results as well as listings, including Yelp, Google Places and CitySearch, and write down what keywords and categories are used to describe your business. You might be surprised to find out that your venue isn’t described using the keywords you wrote down a minute ago. Of course, that is going to change today, right?
For more great ideas, be sure to check out Boris Bugarski’s session, “Online Marketing: Connecting all the iDots Into One Complete Strategy for Boosting Sales Every Month,” on March 12 at 9:30 a.m. during the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas. For more information, visit www.ncbshow.com.