20 Places You Can Promote Your Business Locally Right Now

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Gone are the days where you would exercise your fingers in that famous yellow business directory. Well, I guess you still could but it’s tantamount to having an AOL address. It’s just not relevant anymore.

You need to be found where and when your buyers have a need.... and that could be right now.

There's a myriad of opportunities to promote your business online, let’s start by exploring the numbers. 97% of people are at least looking online for local businesses (that's the good news) and will click on the first search result. (People can be lazy. Their clicky finger may be tired or they want to get back to Netflix or … no, they’re really just lazy.)  75% of people never scroll past the 1st page (that's the bad news) and you might NOT be the one that they will find.

Here’s my point, your business doesn’t exist to them if they can’t find it easily. (In fact, maybe that was one of your potential clients that just walked past your front door with a Starbucks and a big bag of money...don’t let that happen again.)

Here’s what you do.

Get one of those sandwich boards and a big bell, the kind a Town Crier would ring, OR even better, you could do a simple Google search of local business directories and that alone would probably yield 20 or so sources. But we’ve made it even easier for you. The main ones are listed below.

Yelp Manta Foursquare

DexKnows Trip Advisor Kudzu

Mapquest Local.com Hotfrog

 White Pages Superpages

YellowBook YellowBot YellowPages(online)

MerchantCircle Angie’s List The Business Journals

Facebook my Business Google My Business Yahoo Local

...and that was 21 for those of you who weren’t counting.

At a minimum each directory allows you to list your

  • Location

  • Hours

  • Phone Number

  • Website address

  • Type of business

Each directory may be a little different but some will allow you to list more features of your business (including your branding) and you certainly want to take advantage of that where you can.

READY TO SHOW UP?

Correctly setting up your online business listings is a good place to start! Do a scan to see what's right and what's wrong. You'll be surprised. 

SCAN YOUR BUSINESS NAME NOW AND SEE WHAT PROSPECTS FIND ABOUT YOU!

Think about what Google, Google Maps, Apple Maps, Facebook, Bing, Yahoo, and Yelp, (and all those 21 we previously listed above) can do for you. 

Having business profiles in as many places as possible makes you rank higher on all search engines. Always remember the more sites, the more links and the more consistent/accurate and relevant business content you put in about your company, the easier it is for complicated algorithms to “like” you.

So, your objective is simple. Make some noise, link to your website, and get found when people are looking for you. 

…. And if you need some help….there’s always The Limelight Marketing Team

Make a good first impression: Designing Your Website

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By Tricia Allenson

When it comes to facing the cold hard truth that your business absolutely needs a website to survive in this web-based world, we can look to the timeless wisdom of vintage shampoo commercials for guidance. By which, we mean, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”; a good website can make or break your business, and design is the foundation of a knockout website that’ll grow your business and put you head and shoulders (see what we did there?) above your competitors.

If you’re not sure where to begin building your company’s online presence, don’t worry – we’re here to help, beginning with three surefire paths to approaching design for your website:

Start Where You Are

What is your current marketing and branding plan? How are you getting the word out about your business? If you are relying on word-of-mouth, or if your business card is actually just your phone number scribbled on the back of someone else’s card, you should take some time to think about your company’s purpose before you throw yourself into website design.

The answers to the questions of who your customers are, and what need of theirs you are uniquely able to satisfy, will inform every decision that goes into the design of your website. The more you know about your customers and their needs, the easier it will be to launch your site. Even if you make the wise decision to go with a professional to design and write the content for your site, (more on that in a minute) you will still need to be able to communicate the impression you want to make to visitors of your site.

Use What You Have

You didn’t build your business without some kind of a plan, so neither should you develop your company's website by the proverbial seat of your pants. You don't have to know every detail, and you don't need to be the next Thomas Kinkade, but pre-design sketching is essential to the design of your website.


Decide what pages you’ll need to include on your site and how you’ll want them to look. In addition to cornerstone pages like your About Us, Services and Contact pages, you may want to add features like a blog, or a page for testimonials from satisfied customers.
For inspiration and ideas, write down what you like about sites you enjoy visiting and check out your competitor's websites to see how they structure theirs.

And while it’s great to have specific ideas about look and content, don’t forget to leave a little wriggle room for development and growth; keep in mind that second drafts are almost always better than the first!

Do What You Can (Do Well)

As a business owner, once you have your blueprint in hand, you might be considering doing all your own coding or contacting your nearest tech-savvy friend or relative to put the finishing touches on your design. While we admire the ingenuity, we must urge you to hire professionals to help you plan and launch your site.

Not only are professional designers experts at what they do, but they also keep up with trends and concepts that can make your site shine. A good designer is your secret weapon for making your website effective and memorable. However, they can’t do it alone: you will still need to communicate clearly so that you get exactly what you want. So, your last step in the design process is to express your expertise to your hired guns; after all, no one knows more about your business than you.

Hopefully, we haven't scared you off from doing the hard but very worthwhile work of designing your website. If you'd like a hand in taking this vital step for your business, give us a shout by visiting our site and scheduling a visit. Limelight Marketing Systems is here to make you look good, and we consider it our privilege to help small businesses like yours reach new heights.

Email Marketing by the Numbers

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By Tricia Allenson

It’s no surprise that 97% of businesses are currently using e-mail to turn subscribers and readers into buyers.  If you’re in the 3% who haven’t gotten on board yet, maybe it’s because you’re skeptical and want to see some proof that this particular marketing technique is effective before getting going in 2019.  There’s nothing like hard numbers to win over a skeptic, and we’re ready to win you over today.

From the time they wake up in the morning until they go to sleep after dark, most US consumers will interact with an average of 11 brands through their e-mail inboxes.  Compare this to exposure on Facebook (approximately 9 brands) or Twitter (falling further to 8), you have a much stronger chance of interacting with your base via an e-mail marketing campaign.  Of course, you won’t be alone in utilizing this resource.  On a global basis, we send 205.6 billion e-mails every day.  13.64% of those are spam messages (though it certainly feels like more!), and when we narrow in to business e-mails received the number falls to about 88 billion daily.  That’s a lot of noise for you and your brand to cut through, but well worth it!  76% of subscribers will make purchases after reading your marketing material.

It’s Not All Good News

Like any marketing technique, there’s a careful line to walk between informative and annoying.

66% of consumers will unsubscribe to e-mails when they don’t feel the message is relevant, and 72% will delete e-mails for the same reason.  Another 69% will delete messages from marketers sight-unseen if they feel they are getting too many e-mails from them.  No one likes cluttered inboxes, after all!  One way to mitigate this effect is to utilize an e-mail marketing automation software.  This will save you both time and money by sending a mass e-mail to connect with customers while not overwhelming their e-mail.

So how to stand out a little more and avoid some of these pitfalls?  The number one way to stand above the rest is to understand how consumers interact with their inboxes.  

Battle of the Sexes

Did you know that men and women use and experience e-mail differently from one another?  Both are equally likely to use desktops, but when it comes to using smartphones men are 5% more likely to be checking e-mail than women.  They switch positions when considering tablets, with women becoming the more likely culprit.  

When it comes to the content of those e-mails, men tend to respond better to more formal e-mails when compared to women; that being said, women are much more likely to pay attention to marketing messages.  Regardless of gender, more than 50% of e-mail users agree that humor is welcomed.  So keep those joke books close while tapping out your drafts!  But don’t tailor too much to gender or you might alienate your audience: 74% of women prefer gender neutral marketing messages than messages intended for men or women specifically.  

Keep things open, keep things funny, keep your name in the good graces of both men and women who may read your marketing campaign!

Taking Things Personally

Consumers like to be reminded that you value them as individuals and not just as a number on a spreadsheet.  Even as you’re sending out mass e-mails, you can still keep things personal—in fact, you can’t afford not to.  Personalized e-mails deliver 6 times higher transaction rates, and marketers can see an average increase of 20% in sales.

The number one threat to your e-mail marketing campaign is being mistaken for spam. Blech!  Luckily, it isn’t too hard to avoid being categorized in this way.  For instance, include the consumer’s name in the subject line.  That alone will win you a 26% greater chance to having your e-mail opened.  Take it a step further and personalize product recommendations.  This will put you above 61% of other e-mail marketing campaigns.

In fact, your e-mail marketing campaign will live and die on your subject line.  E-mails containing a short compelling subject line will be opened 60-87% of the time, whereas more spammy phrase—Last Minute Gifts Available Now, Give a Gift Certificate This Holiday, Shop Early and Save!—will often see open rates tanking at 1-14%. Avoid spam vocabulary such as “percent off,” “make money,” or “claim” and you’ll reach more readers.

CTR and You

The main purpose of e-mail marketing is to improve your business’s click through rate (CTR).  The more people who visit your website (and if you don’t have a website, we should be having a completely different conversation!), the more revenue you will generate. Personalized e-mails improve CTR at an average of 14%.  Meanwhile, if you include a button to share on social media, you’ll see a massive CTR increase at 158%.

Marketing by Device

We read and take in information differently when we read it on paper compared to reading on a screen.  As it turns out, what kind of screen also plays a role.  These days, most of us check our e-mails via our smartphones.  In fact, 74% of us do!  We open a whopping 54% of our e-mails on our mobile devices.  Breaking it down by provider, we see that 68% of all opens for both Gmail and Yahoo occur via a pocket-sized screen.

If your message isn’t rendered well on that small screen, 70% of consumers will immediately delete it.  We like convenience in our busy lives, and don’t have time to squint at indecipherable, tiny type.  And it’s well worth catering to smartphone users as 23% of users who open an e-mail on their phones will open it again later.

So, what?

Now that you’ve evaluated who you’re trying to reach and how you plan on doing so, what impact can you expect to see on your business?  Perhaps the most enticing thing about e-mail marketing is the rate of return for a relatively cheap marketing method.  For every $1 spent, you can expect to see $38 in revenue.  Not too shabby!  And that could be a little bit of a lowball.  1% of companies report a return of interest (ROI) of more than $76.  The ROI of email marketing rolls in at 28.5%, a significant amount when compared to direct mail’s 7%.

Trends to Watch

New year, new goals, new horizons!  We all want to invest our time and resources into marketing techniques that can grow our business into the new year in order to be ahead of the curve.  What’s up and coming in the world of e-mail marketing?

First, like in most fields this day, 53% of experts expect to see a huge increase in automation.  Using automated services free up time and energy for other endeavors.  After reading this far, it’ll probably come as little surprise, too, that 76% expect to see an increase in personalization—because it works! Finally 85% believe that an increase in integration with other marketing channels is coming down the turnpike.  This might be traditional mail campaigns, social media marketing, or more.  With so many platforms available to us, it’s good to present a unified brand that’s easily recognizable and unified over multiple sites and approaches.

What are you waiting for?  Get out there and get your e-mail marketing campaign rolling for a profitable and personalized new year.  Not sure where to begin?  Contact Limelight Marketing Systems today.  We’re ready to make you look good.