The Battle of Search Engines: Who’s your daddy now?

Remember in the days gone by, when America On Line Inc. (AOL) was the only internet player in the entire world? Well no longer is there a monopoly of search engines. Today, there are at least three major (and several smaller) players in the market, Google, Yahoo and Bing. Though there’s just one undisputed king amongst them.


According to research firm comScore, the leader of the pack still remains Google, even as recently as June 2014. With almost 68% of the search market under its domain, Google overshadows its other rivals by a country mile!



To Google or not to Google?

While size (we’re talking ‘market share’ here people!) does matter, Google has done a lot more than just grow big.

  • It is the undisputed leader in search engine innovation
  • It has built a range of value-added tools, including Google Maps, Google Street Views and AddWords advertising
  • Google has technology that ensures speed, accuracy and relevance to searches that none of the others can rival

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Local SEO tips for small businesses: Get found locally!

The age of the internet has made the world into one big shopping plaza, with businesses from one corner of the world vying for consumer’s attention in
another corner. Big multinational corporations are spending billions of dollars to carve themselves a BIG slice of the global pie. So how can small
businesses compete against those giants?

Here are a few tips that will help you make your mark in the highly competitive world! Learn more here.

  1. Optimize your digital footprint: Invest as much time (and money!) as you can afford in developing your digital profile. Your website, blog or other
    online presence is your “digital personality”, and it is what attracts customers to you. Optimize your content properly, choose domain names
    carefully, and cater to local content (references to nearby locations, mentioning local events etc.) where it makes sense.

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Online shopping: The 5 biggest industries

Retail e-commerce has seen explosive growth over the past decade or more. And more and more shoppers have become savvy enough to rely on online shopping sites as their primary source to purchase every necessity (and luxury!) of life.


One estimate puts growth of retail e-commerce, just in the U.S alone, at over 400% between 2002 and 2013. Another well known source[1] estimates that Business-to-Consumer (B2C) sales worldwide is likely to grow to $2.357 trillion by 2017, a nearly 123% jump since 2012!

Online shopping has become so pervasive, that online shoppers even go out of their way to visit brick-and-mortar stores first, to inspect the merchandise, and then buy online. So let’s take a look at 5 industries that are changing our retail lives by leading the way in online shopping.

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How pest removal companies are using hyper-local marketing to grow their business

Marketing and promotion are essential activities for growing your business – whatever type of business that you run or whatever size your business is. Some types of businesses however rely specifically on sourcing their customers from a defined geographic area, the local neighbourhood. Quite often these are service-related businesses such as pet groomers, cleaners, or pest removal companies. In this article we will use pest removal companies as an example, but the principles of hyper-local marketing can be applied to any business with a similar type of approach to customer acquisition and retention.



What is hyper-local?

If you go back to the basics of marketing, some of the first questions that you need to ask yourself are who are you trying to reach, what message are you trying to get to them and what action are you wanting them to take.

Service-oriented businesses that work on a defined geographic catchment are generally looking at a target audience that is within easy reach of their base or home premises – there isn’t much point advertising beyond that catchment area because anyone outside of your locality isn’t really a suitable customer for what you are selling.

There are a couple of really effective techniques that you can use for hyper-local marketing and in this article we’ll discuss a couple of them.


Use the technology

pest control website photo

Do what it takes

The idea of targeting your communications, marketing, and messages to local people that you want to connect with isn’t anything new – when you think of traditional methods of hyper-local marketing then posters, flyers, door knocking, and advertisements in the local media all count and can all be effective.

However with the exponential popularity if smartphones you can now get a lot smarter with your digital marketing.

Smartphones are equipped with geo-location functionality which means that there are a whole range of apps and websites that can now deliver your advertising to smartphone users specifically within your catchment area. You can increase the precision of your advertising by targeting your ads to people based on age, occupation, interests, marital status, sexuality, or just about anything else you can think of.

This is effective use of your resources.



Searching for something?

It’s not just phones that have become a lot smarter. All of the popular online search engines can now use your computer’s IP address to work out where you are and deliver you search results that are geographically relevant to you. This also helps target advertisements that you are running through search engines, but it increases the importance of maximising your organic search performance. What this means is that if someone in your catchment area searches for “pest removal company” you need to make sure that your website is being accurately indexed by the search engines so that you are listed as one of the top search results in your area. Online blogs are a great way to boost your organic search performance. Pest removal companies offering online blogs as a way to communicate to their customers are seeing great results- An example can be seen at The Attic Pest Authority where topics such as ‘Rats in the attic’ are discussed, among other unusual pest related situations. This helps business communicate with potential customers and be seen as an authority, ultimately leading to more sales.

Hyper-local marketing isn’t anything new but it is important to ensure that you are effectively using the tools and capabilities out there in order to maximise the potential growth of your business.

Here is a great video with tips on local service based business marketing. For more helpful tips, visit the ‘Start and grow your business” youtube channel here.

Back to the SEM homepage- an information hub for local businesses trying to succeed online!

A Great SEM Training Video, This one’s on us…

We often get asked about which training courses are the best to learn SEM (search engine marketing, PPC, Facebook ads etc)

Now, there is not simple answer to this, as there are thousands of strategies and even more courses online – its a crowded market.

Its not often that we come across a video that pretty much covers all of the SEM content, but today is a different story….

We were recently emailed this video by a reader, and to be honest we were impressed!

If you’re an SEM newbie, be sure to grab a coffee (its a long video) and give it a good once over.



Online Marketing Tips for Plumbers

The key to building a successful plumbing business is in your marketing: if your potential customers do not know about your services you will lose out on key opportunities!

Marketing can sound like a challenge if it’s not something you have ever thought about before, however, it’s quite simple: Think of marketing as shaping the way you want your customers to view your business.

You’re about to learn five easy marketing tips that can help you increase your customer base, and you may surprise yourself as you may be doing some of these already!


Have A Plan

Half of the battle of growing your business is about understanding where you want to go:

  • Take some time to learn about the market that you will serve.
  • Figure out how your customers find you.
  • Are they calling you because you have a shop with a neon sign and they recognise your name?
  • Are they doing a Google search for plumbers and your name is first in the search?
  • Create a plan based on your geography and customer demographic and invest in strategies that will appeal to that target.


Ask For Referrals

Word-of-mouth referrals are the best source of business – and this applies to service based businesses (like your plumbing business) more-so than other businesses!

The only problem is, they are sometimes hard to obtain! (read this article for some tips)

If you do a good job, your name and business may come up the next time one of your customer’s friends has a broken water softener system. If this happens, you an be sure that you are doing a good job, however, you may be missing some opportunities.

Your customers are just happy that you’re fixing their problem; so before you leave a job, ask them if they have any acquaintances with a plumbing project or problem: you may just be surprised with what opportunities come your way.


Look Out For The Customer’s Interests

Customers want to deal with honest service people – build trust with customers by recommending good products, even if they decide not to contract your services. For example, if a customer wants advice on finding the best water softener system, send them to The Water Softener Critic, or some other resourceful website.

If you’re looking out for their best interests when their water softener system breaks, you will start to see those word of mouth referrals calling you the next time they have a problem.


Offer Unique Value

Determine what makes you different from the other plumbers in your town and highlight that in your advertising:

  • Will you make 24/7 house calls?
  • Make sure your customers know you offer this (but be prepared to deliver).
  • Have you installed a large number of a specialised type of product? – Market yourself as a plumber that specialises in this area of plumbing then!

It all comes down to having a clearly defined USP, and marketing it!



Be Professional

Above anything else you do, your customers will remember how you treat them. When you service a home or business, your demeanour and professionalism will set you apart from other local plumbers.

If you handle challenges with integrity and a pleasant attitude, people will appreciate your work and if a problem arises and you address it with the customer’s best interest in mind, people will remember your business.

Conduct your business with honesty and treat your customer’s well.

In addition to this, your website’s homepage is a great way to enhance your professional image. Does your website:

  • Convey trust to your customers?
  • Have a Clear CTA (call to action)
  • Make it easy for users to navigate your site?

Keep the above 3 points in mind when designing your company website and your business should covert more customers than your competition. Here is an example of a great Plumbing company homepage: (Courtesy of The Pipe Relining Experts Sydney)

Clear Call-To-Actions and signals of trust

Clear Call-To-Actions and signals of trust


None of these tips require much more than some thought and planning, so If you’re willing to put just a little thought and effort into executing on the above suggestions, you will grow your business tenfold!

Make sure to revisit your marketing plan from time to time and give yourself an honest review. Adjust as necessary based on changes in your business structure or the economy. DO this and not only will your clients trust you, but so will google!