A recent study released in early 2018 by Brand Muscle has revealed that only 3% of small and medium businesses in the United States are hiring getbusinesstoday experts or external agencies to do the marketing for their businesses, with over 60% choosing to do the marketing themselves, or relying on in-house “specialists”. The study also mentioned SEO, or search engine optimization as one of the popular local business marketing tactics for SMBs because they find it to be one of the easiest strategies to implement. The report’s authors however concluded that small and local businesses were getting miserable results and low return on their investment by taking the do-it-yourself route, especially regarding SEO.
So, why is it highly ineffective for local business owners to try and optimize their web properties themselves?
I have compiled 5 reasons why it is not only ineffective but risky as well for a small business owner to go the DIY route when it comes to optimizing their websites, Facebook pages, Instagram, etc for the search engines.
1. SEO is an ever-changing landscape and what works today may not work tomorrow. In other words it’s not for the jack of all trades. As a business owner you would be well advised to dedicate any spare time you have to trying to get better at your business so you can get terrific reviews – not moonlighting trying to learn the latest website ranking tactics or how to beat the latest updates to Google’s or Bing’s search algorithm.
2. Bad SEO can harm rather than help your search engine marketing efforts. The search engines, especially Google are known to penalize websites for over-optimizing or for using spammy tactics designed to game their system. In fact, for local businesses, not optimizing your website at all may be better than for example spraying spammy backlinks all over the web to your web properties, or overly optimizing them.
3. Choosing the DIY route can get you trapped in a skills spiral -you learn to do one thing today and it leads you down another rabbit hole tomorrow – and a new learning curve. Before you know it you could be spending more time learning the web optimization game than running your business. Almost every month new tactics come along how to rank websites or how to drive traffic to your websites. You want to focus on your business – not run around chasing visitors to your web pages!
4. While your web properties are a good way to attract new prospects into your business, most experts agree that to multiply your profits, your time would be better spent “wowing and wooing” your existing customers. SEO isn’t the game changer it’s often billed to be, especially for local businesses. According to marketing guru Jay Abraham, author of “Stealth Marketing – How to Outmaneuver, Outwit, and Outmarket Your Most Formidable Competitors… Before They Know What’s Hit Them”, the key to staying ahead in competitive times is to tune up your marketing – “to make sure you’re getting new customers coming in, old customers coming back, and customers purchasing more.”
SEO will get you new customers but these are in many cases “bargain-hunters” -rarely your ideal customers. You get those through referrals, or by word of mouth marketing…
5. Lastly, even assuming you did the grunt work and learned the ropes of search engine optimization, a really good SEO should give you phenomenally better results, plus, outsourcing to a good provider is always a great return on investment because it saves you that most precious of commodities – time. Time you can use to get to know your customers better, to communicate with them, to improve their experience process when they buy from you.
In closing, as a small business owner you should learn what you can about web search optimization, just so you know what’s good for you and how to tell a good SEO from a bad one. But you stand to gain more if you outsource this part of your marketing efforts; both in terms of time you can save, as well as costly mistakes you can avoid – and ultimately, to ensure you get good return on your investment.
We all understand that Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms in Australia. However, recently some of our clients have expressed their frustration with their ‘Facebook business pages’. The key frustration is that their business page just doesn’t seem to be driving traffic and generating leads and there is little engagement. Lots of time and energy going in but not too many results.
Why are small business owners getting these results?
Let’s take a closer look at why there might be a lack of engagement on Facebook business pages. Let’s also explore how you might be able to work smarter and use Facebook more effectively and discuss some of the common pitfalls to avoid when it comes to using Facebook for Small Business Marketing.
Understanding how Facebook works
Facebook determines what people see in their “news feed” based on an algorithm. It’s a mathematical formula used by Facebook to determine what to show people who are Facebook users. Facebook focuses on the posts that people ‘like and engage with’ most. Therefore, if people like, share or comment on a post from a particular Facebook page, Facebook believes that this information is more relevant to the person because they are spending more time ‘engaging’ with that content. As a result, more content from that page is placed into the person’s news feed.
Facebook Small Business Marketing
Facebook is a “social” media tool and therefore will always favour content posted by friends, family and social connections over business content. Business content usually doesn’t get the same traction as personal content and often requires a ‘boost’ so that the content can get in front of people. In general, business content gets seen by very few of the people who have liked your business page, these days you need to use paid Facebook advertising to get in front of your audience.
Business content on Facebook
Ultimately, like any other business, Facebook is a commercial entity and needs to make money and profits to satisfy stakeholders and investors. As many of you may have already realised, Facebook knows it’s worth and understands that it can be an effective digital marketing tool, that gives business owners access to a large world-wide audience and prospective customers! Facebook also understands that business owners are willing to pay to access new customers and reach new audiences and therefore has tapped into this market.
Boosting Posts & Paid promotions
One way to get more people to see your posts or news items is to pay so that you can ‘boost’ your post. Remember ‘organic reach’ which is not paid for, is very limited on Facebook nowadays particularly for business pages. Therefore, to get in front of your target audience you really need to consider boosting your posts or running paid advertising campaigns or promotions to increase reach and engagement.
How can I get some traction without paying?
There are a few ways, at the time of writing this article, but they take more effort.
Facebook “Live” which is a newer feature that Facebook has introduced, allows users to run live video streaming events. This is a fun and engaging way to reach your audience but you need to be comfortable in front of a camera and ready to answer questions and comments as there is also live interaction features that lets you know what’s on your customers’ minds. It’s not for the faint hearted but gets better cut through and larger reach.
Facebook groups are different to Business pages and seem to be able to achieve more organic reach. Facebook groups are online forums that allow for small groups to communicate they generally focus on a topic of interest and are there to allow people that share common interest to interact and share knowledge, opinions and ideas. People can join groups that are often administered or moderated by one of more Facebook users. It could be a group that centres around a common cause or an activity such as mountain bike riding or photography, or it could even be centred around supporting others who are in a similar life stage or have similar circumstances such as a single parents group or an Autism Parents network or a group specific to small business owners.