How to Do B2B Internet Marketing for Local Companies
June 27, 2008
One of the biggest questions we come across are from b2b companies (or retail) with limited geographic areas they cover and want to know if Internet Marketing is right for them. They’re usually skeptical, because companies in our industry working within their price range don’t do a good job yet of customizing packages geared for companies with tight geographic restrictions.
They also usually have a small bag of tricks to break out so creativity is minimal. Getting noticed by your customers these days (our definition of marketing) absolutely requires creativity because of all the competition for peoples’ attention.
Pay per click (or PPC) marketing
Running a campaign for any local or regional business is a no-brainer because you can pick exactly what keywords you want to bid on (e.g. contstruction equipment chicago), and you can bid so only people in geographic areas can see your ad (e.g. “construction equipment” but only for people in the Chicago metro area, as determined by google’s IP tracking. This usually has a legitimate setup fee if your company is doing a seriously good job on it because it is not as easy as google makes it look and if done poorly can cost you 2-5x more in ad costs than it should. There is also a monthly management fee as they knock out underpeforming keywords, test new ad copy, etc – it is (or should be) a constantly changing program.
If you’re not doing PPC, start it today… I’m serious. Quit reading this, go start it up, and come back because the rest of the article rocks. 🙂
What about SEO?Search engine optimization is all the rage these days, which involves getting a site ranked in the regular, unpaid section of search engines. This “free traffic” can have a tremendous ROI for obvious reasons, but does involve some cost to get there. SEO typically has 2 components.
- onpage optimization where we make sure search engines can tell your site is about what you think it is. Search engines decide this based on extensive user studies so you’re really benefiting your visitor by having this done for your site. This is more complicated than most local designers or IT guys think and the information on the web is often outdated – even 1 year ago could be outdated, and there is so much speculation as to what actually matters. You need someone who does this all day and has a track record of making companies filthy, stinking, rich.
- offpage optimization, where we “make your site more popular” in the eyes of search engines by getting other sites in your relative market and a few outside, to link to your website. This is a time-intensive, confusing, and often frustrating aspect to an Internet Marketing project, so link building typically is very expensive. You can’t usually trust it to overseas (Indian) providers unless you want other sites in your market incessantly spammed and ticked off at you.
To be honest, if you rent construction equipment in Charleston, there are probably very few competitors, so heavy-duty linkbuilding is unnecessary, but what if you have a very competitive local market like “Commercial Real Estate” or “Commercial Banking” but aren’t at the point where a $2k/month link building project is something you’re willing to stomach?
A Great Idea, Even Though It’s Not Real
The following video received well over 500k visitors in a couple days from Youtube. IT IS NOT REAL, but it brings up an amazing point about internet marketing. and now check out the site http://www.jonesbigasstruckrentalandstorage.com/. These guys really committed to the joke, down to the last detail. Phone number is from the southside, web company is, too. Even the building is accurate.
How This Guy Could Rank #1 in Google By The End of the MonthPretty funny in our opinion… If you’re saying, “Matt, so what? You just said this isn’t a real business, and why would Youtube help me anyway?”
You would be right – most people aren’t checking Youtube for how to find a storage facility, commercial banker, etc.
But tons of websites and bloggers are watching Youtube. This video made it to the first page, so it will probably end up with millions of views. Better yet, you have all kinds of people talking about it on the web already trying to figure out if it’s real or not.
The key is they gave a web address in the video, and all these bloggers and websites are linking to the site.
If this comedian who created the video just optimized his site for the phrase “storage chicago” and a few related ones, his site will get enough links so search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN will almost assuredly rank him on their first page if not #1 overall for those terms….
Even though this isn’t a real business.
Crazy, I know but how else is a search engine supposed to know what is the best company? They do it by relevance and popularity.
Takeaway for your business
I understand many markets are too stodgy to have a guy talking about being drunk, smoking weed, etc but I’m saying creative thinking with viral content can get you serious traction on the web. Search engines are moving even more toward mixing in user’s actual results with how sites rank, too. So, this method of marketing could be even more important as the next few years play out.
How to Implement
First, I recommend getting a company on your team who is actually good at this. Chances are if you produce it internally, it will be awful (see local television commercials) unless you have the funniest or most creative people in the universe in-house. I wouldn’t even include yourselves in the creative process – just farm out everything but giving the okay on the concept and release.
If you find some good local talent (preferably nobody over 35 yrs old – the kids innately understand this media without being patronizing or obvious) it could run 1/3 or less the cost of a linkbuilding campaign. Granted, it’s a bit more of a crapshoot, but have you seen the costs of print ads these days? You don’t even know if the ad or their traffic will convert into sales unless you have considerable experience with media buys, either.
Hope this spurred on your creative juices. Btw, if you are in the Chicago area, you can go see Toby perform his comedy live. Oh, at btw – while I wrote this little article, their video picked up another 45,000 views on Youtube. If you want to learn more about social media, give us a shout.