The number ONE answer businesses owners give me when I ask them what he/she feels the business needs more of is: Customers.
I prefer to refer to them as clients rather than customers. This evokes a different psychology. Customers are people who buy a product or service from you and usually are never heard from again. Clients on the other hand are people you develop on-going relationships with and are under the business’ care and protection.
Which business can’t use more clients? After all, this usually leads to more sales.
To get more clients, you’ll have to market your business. When marketing is done right, you generate lots of qualified leads.
In a report from the Internet Advertising Bureau and Price Waterhouse, online advertising for the third quarter of 2005 rose 33% from 2004 with $3.1 billion being spent. With the current trend, online advertising will likely hit a new high of $12 billion!
Local search in the U.S. is growing rapidly. Yet, nearly 14 million companies (the small and medium businesses) are missing the boat on the local search marketing revolution because they lack a website. How can a small business without an online presence take advantage of the traffic online without having to invest in creating and hosting a website?
The answer lies in Pay-Per-Call Advertising. It is search advertising that literally make your phone ring. Pay-Per-Call is a mix of regular search and phone interaction that enables any local business to compete for online sales without a website. All businesses have phones but not all have a website. It solves the problem for the millions of businesses out there that don’t have an online presence and yet wants to take a slice of the online traffic.
If your business sells to consumers, many of them prefer to speak to a live person to ask about products/services, availability, incentives, prices, etc. They want the answers to their questions fast and prefer getting them over emails or searching for the information on the myriad of competitive websites out there.
Here are the 3 steps you take to get your business setup for this type of marketing:
- 1. Define the relevant keyword phrases people would search for. (e.g. a locksmith could enter “los angeles locksmith”)
- 2. Decide on the geographic area you are prepared to service and this will be the vicinity where your ads will appear.
- 3. Create the ad with the company name, address, description of product/services, along with a trackable toll-free phone number which redirects to your business’ actual number.
When completed, the ad simply displays the title, description and a phone number. When search users click on your ad, they’ll be directed to a profile page describing your business. A well-written ad and profile page that engages your prospects will generate the interest to call you for more information.
Users of the service are charged on a cost per action (CPA) basis which means you only pay for the call and not when they click on your ad to view the business profile. As a part of the service, call tracking information and call statistics are available to business owners to track and measure results. These statistics are also much easier to make sense of compared to web statistics obtained with website analytics software.
These pay-per-call ads are distributed across local search providers, Internet Yellow Pages, and other search platforms. These calls, however, are more expensive than the regular pay-per-click advertising that can be used for businesses with a website. They are, however, more likely to be qualified prospects for your business since it takes them to the next step of calling you.
The largest provider of this online service is AOL. They use the Ingenio platform for AOL search and AOL Yellow Pages.
Currently, this technology is rather new and as an early adopter of this technology, your business could gain a marketing advantage in highly competitive industries like travel, loans, and real estate. AOL also gives priority in paid search listings to pay-per-call customers. It offers another alternative advertising venue to reach out to qualified prospects.
[dels]marketing online, lead generation, online web site marketing[/dels]