I have a client who initially asked, “Why aren’t we closer to the top of Google? We should be.” That was before they were my client. Their past website and Local SEO was handled by a local advertising agency.
They fired the ad agency and hired me. After I built their new website and planned their SEO around the keywords and phrases they wanted to rank for... their rankings started to shift pretty quickly.
They moved from approximately #8 (on average for all keywords, to #3 or #4 after about 4 months. It’s been about 2 years now. And I can proudly say they’re at #1 for 5 out of 6 relevant local keywords. And the 6th one tends to teeter back and forth between #1 and #2.
They've gone from about 100 “users” per month on their website to over 400. Guess what that does to your business.
If you’d like to know who this local business is... where you could even confirm with them their results... just ask me. I’d be happy to share.
There are really fancy websites that focus 80% on their look and the bells and whistles... and then there are websites that look great, are easy for people to navigate, and are more SEO-focused. Guess which one results in more sales for the local business owner?
And guess which one costs less?
All I care about is getting you a higher web ranking and moving people closer to doing business with YOU. That takes unique web content and extra planning and thought. Not everyone is willing to do that for you.
If you’d like to discuss your new website and website design, give me a holler!
If you don't have a website, you may feel you're missing out on some business. You'd be right. Being found in search results will gain you some new customers. But you'll also snag more of those prospects that are referred to you... because they'll need some added proof that you are what people say you are. They'll visit your website and gain confidence in your abilities and add to your "trust factor".
What kind of website to I specialize in? Small to medium sized local businesses. Service businesses mostly. The best websites are clean, nice looking, answer questions that potential customers are asking, and are easy for visitors to find what they're looking for.
And you don't need "fanciness". You just need to be clear with who you are and how you help your customers with the problem you solve (or improve their lives). Your website is a marketing tool. And I'm a marketer. I know how to write website copy and create elements that move the customer closer to doing business with you. Because if your website can't help persuade people that hiring you would be a good choice, then you're leaving money on the table.
I've seen what some web builders charge someone like you to create a website. Wow. Way too much. And they build it and they're done. Anything extra you want is an extra charge. There are also people out there who try to sell you cheap websites... but those websites are so limited in what they can do. And the SEO seems to be lacking. Others might guarantee a page one google ranking, but they fail to say that it might not be the ideal keyword that they'll be ranking you for. Or the design elements on those websites are also pretty limited.
Granted, some web developers are perfect for certain website projects. You may be looking for specific elements in your website that takes specific coding and web developer skills. If you're in need of something a bit more complicated, I'm happy to refer you to those specialists. These are the type of people who can handle huge websites. Like for Sanford for example.
But if you're a small to medium-sized local business, I can most likely help. Here are a few examples of websites I've built >> Website Work That I've Done
I've built websites for businesses in Sioux Falls, Salem, Platte, Rapid City, Harrisburg, and Flandreau, South Dakota. I'd love to help you out with yours. If you don't have a website, I believe you'll love the benefits of having one.
To get started, go to my contact page, and let me know about your situation. Then, I can give you a call to discuss a few things... and then set up a meeting. Looking forward to helping you out!
OR... if your website is just old and out of date...
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, SD
(and serving any big or small town in the area)
Online Reviews: Beware
I'd like to think that most consumers are wise enough to be able to sift through your online reviews to know which are fake, sincere, or just some pissy customer who didn't want to pay their bill or something. I'll remain optimistic, but I thought it was worth writing a little bit about.
I have some really great clients. They're good at what they do. Good people. Good employees. But once in a while you'll see a review that doesn't fit. So, I ask them about it. I've heard some explanations that just go to show that sometimes you can't please people. At all. Ever. Some people don't like to pay full price for anything. Even if it's the service they asked for. Or they are whiny and mommy and daddy gave them everything, and they're not used to not being treated like princes and princesses. Some people just like to complain no matter what. It's in their nature. And they'll always have a crappy life.
Here are a few examples of why people leave a bad review that's not warranted:
Didn't pay their bill. Now, they're getting calls from the business trying to collect and they feel they're being harassed. Hey... wake up... and pay your bill! Pay for what you received in product or service!
Disgruntled employee. Sometimes you have to let people go. That's business. Not doing your job... you'll probably get asked to go find another place to not do your job. So, then, they'll put a bad review up and usually make up or exaggerate something about the company or owners. Grow up. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. : )
Complainers. You can't satisfy these people. Nobody can. It's not your fault. It's what they do for a living. Too bad for them, it doesn't pay well.
They didn't understand what they were paying for. These people had something in their mind about what they were getting before they purchased a product or service from a business. So, when the job was finished, they say, "No, that's not what we agreed to." But they just weren't listening. They didn't read the estimate. They assumed they were getting something that wasn't agreed upon. The variables are all over the place here, but there was a miscommunication. I would just advise business owners to be very clear in describing what the customer will receive. Put things in writing. Go over it with them and say, "Do you understand?" "Do you approve of this?" Something to that effect. Consumers shouldn't assume things and neither should business owners. Just go over things a second time to make sure. Measure twice, cut once.
Family Members and Friends of the ticked off reviewer. It really sucks when you get a bad review that's not a truthful picture of how the transaction went down. But sometimes, they'll get their family members and friends to post bad reviews on your behalf, basically making up their own bad stories so Google or Facebook "thinks" it's real. Now, instead of one bad review, you get 8 of them within a week. Boo. Again... grow up, people.
A Competitor. Your competitors aren't all about appreciating good competition. They're out for blood. And sometimes they go down the darker paths of spreading false rumors or giving a bad review as if they were a customer. These people have a special place reserved for them in heaven where they don't get to ever have ice cream again or something. I'd say "Hell"... but that's a bit harsh I suppose. But needless to say, I really don't like these people. If you want to increase sales and take a bigger slice of your market, then how about just running a good business that treats their customers well? Try that.
I suppose there are many more reasons, but I'll stop there. You get the picture.
So, how do you fix a bad review? Sometimes, you can inquire with the Goog and FB people about getting a bogus review taken down. But don't bet on it. Hard to prove. Here's what you do. Give your customers the opportunity to give you good reviews. People are more apt to search you out when they're pissed off. The happy customers are satisfied with everything, and the thought of giving you a good review doesn't even cross their mind. So, you have to remind them. You give them an easy way to give you a review. Whether it's an after sale email with a survey on it and a button to click that takes them to a review spot, or just asking them if they'd mind giving you one as soon as the transaction is complete.
Yes, you'll also be asking for some bad feedback... but if it IS warranted... that gives you great information on where you need to improve service. On the flip side, if you're a GOOD business who does good work... then you're going to have about 99% happy customers. Even if just a small portion of those give you a review... those good reviews will far outweigh the bad ones.
And this brings me back to hoping that consumers are smart enough to sift through the good and the bad. If they see a heck of a lot more good reviews, you're going to be just fine, even if there are a few weirdly bad ones mixed in there. Just drown out the bad with good.
But that also takes effort on your part as the business owner who gets a bad review here and there. You need to be proactive in harvesting / asking for reviews. It's the world we live in. And bad reviews and bad word of mouth travels faster than ever now.
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Because you want more business? More customers?
You call up some place to advertise then. You say, "I'd like to run some ads." And a lot of times, you have no idea how the whole process works. Maybe you place a few ads in a shopping news publication, or put some coupons in some mailing pack, or in a local magazine, or on the radio, etc. Your choices are overly abundant, which is confusing as hell. Everyone seems to have the answer for you. But they really don't have the answer, do they? They want your money. You want results. They get what they want... but you don't. Happens all the time. Then, whatever place you decided to advertise with, you say, "I doesn't work." But they didn't know how to make it work. They just knew how to place your ad and take your money.
Let's go back to the original business problem you have. You want or need more customers. Maybe sales are down. Maybe you have more competition in the area and it seems to be affecting your number of new leads coming in. Let's break this down about
When you don't have as many customers as you'd like, it means your business is not anchored in enough MINDS of the people that could be your customers. So, then you should ask, "How do I get in more MINDS?"
This is what true branding accomplishes. And branding isn't about buying "awareness" ads that you may have already tried. It's about having "bonding" ads created and put in front of people on the proper advertising medium.
In my experience, radio is one of the best platforms to do this. But how do you create "bonding" ads? How do you get people to bond with your company so they think of you first when they need what you sell?
You get them to like and trust you.
And that's not by telling them that you're dependable, quality, and you have a knowledgeable staff to serve their needs. These are the crappy "awareness ads" that don't work. You have to PROVE those things to people - not cram those cliche words down their throat. You have to tell stories, give PROOF that your product is great or service is superior, play to their emotions, and be sincere as possible. As if you're chatting with your best friend.
These kinds of ads are harder to create. Which is why they work better. Doesn't it make sense that if we put more thought and time and research into your marketing message that it will actually work better? Of course it does!
Don't just buy some advertising. Buy the means to help you reach your goals. WHAT YOU SAY in your ads matters 10x more (or is it 100x more?) than where you decide to put some advertising.
If you decide to advertise in the Sioux Falls or surrounding areas, first, set an annual advertising budget. You have to. This is a process. You'll get far better ROI if you do it consistently with a great message. No more of this "shooting from the hip" and hoping you hit something. When you do it right, you'll love it, and you'll do it forever because of the new customers you consistently attract.
Want more help? Just let me know. I'd be happy to.
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Cookie Cutter Websites: Good Idea or Bad?
What's a cookie cutter website? It's when your website looks exactly like thousands and thousands of others out there. It's when someone offers you a super cheap website. It's super cheap because they're not putting much effort into it.
You're usually not getting many web pages. And that hurts your potential to rank well on page 1 of Google (SEO) when people type in the services that you and many other businesses provide.
What other things does a cookie cutter website hurt?
Plus I add unique elements, such as video, audio, custom graphics, etc. It all helps you get more return on your website investment.
Let's discuss your situation. I have options for you. We can customize a plan just for you. Plus, it's affordable. There are a lot of places out there charging a huge chunk of change just to have a website built. And then you're on your own. Plus, there are a lot of places out there overcharging monthly fees for doing just a few things for you each month that takes them nothing to do - and you don't even understand what they're doing because they try to use big words to make it seem important. Then, there are the cookie cutter sites who will have your website built literally in about 30 minutes. That doesn't seem like much of a great deal to me.
Hope to talk to you soon! I love to help good, local businesses get the biggest bang for their online and offline marketing buck.
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, SD
Don't settle for an average website. And by average, I mean, one that doesn't do what it's supposed to do.
Example: You used to put an ad in the Yellow Pages. But just because you were in the book, didn't mean that it would automatically work. No. You needed an ad that "sold" people. An ad that motivated people to give you a try before they moved on to your competitor's ad and gave them a try. It's the same with a website. Just because you have one, doesn't mean you automatically get a "slice of the pie".
Your website needs to be easy on the eyes, be easy to navigate, be visible to search engines like Google, and it has to communicate easily how you'll solve a visitor's problem. It has to illustrate competence in your abilities to solve people's problems. Just because you have some flashy graphics doesn't mean people will become your customer. It takes way more than that.
You need to talk to people on your website like you're in front of them face to face. Don't robotically write what you think you should write on your website. Don't fill your website full of cliches and empty promises. Be sincere and helpful. That's what will help your site convert more lookers into customers. Of course, it should be designed well, but don't just stop there. The content on your site needs to persuade people to do business with you. You never want to give them the chance to "back out" and search for a different business' website.
So, it's more than just looks and SEO... you also need to be mindful of what kinds of things that your website viewers will be seeing, reading, and feeling. Because it doesn't matter if you get everyone in the world to go to your website first... if they don't get what they need once they're there.
Which brings us to "analytics". If you're getting viewers to your site... but they're not buying... what's the point? Don't obsess with digital data. You'll drive yourself insane. Just find someone who knows how to put it all together for you and explain it all in simple terms along the way. Like me. I'll be happy to give you your web building options up front with nothing hiding in the fine print.
I just like to help good, small businesses have a great-looking website that gives you ROYWI. Return On Your Website Investment!
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, SD
A Different Perspective on Website Building
This would be stupid and crazy to most website builders:
But that's what I do. That's why the websites I build for small business tend to perform pretty darn well.
We'll call it "Roywi". Return On Your Website Investment. Because if it's not attracting AND converting people into customers, then it's not doing it's job.
Too many times you'll see a "pretty" website that doesn't help convert a looker into a customer. Then, what's the point of it being pretty, right?
I build websites through "marketing eyes". I think about what it's going to take to make an impact with a prospect of yours. And usually, it's all about the words we use and the manner in which we arrange those words. You want a great picture? You can paint a masterpiece with only a few words.
So, let's build you a website that looks great, is easy to navigate for the online lookers, and moves them closer to being one of YOUR customers instead of one of your competitor's.
Let's discuss your situation and I can share some options with you.
I build affordable websites for small businesses.
Local Marketing Cafe
How Much Money Are You Wasting On Your Marketing Efforts?
Of course, there's a saying, "I know half of my advertising works, I just don't know which half." I'd like to help you fix that.
Most of the problem usually, is because there's no solid game plan. There's no strategy behind the money you throw into the wind hoping that new customers will come back in replace of it.
The cause of that "waste" is because you've been taught that WHERE YOU ADVERTISE matters the most. But the cold, hard, truth is... the people who believe that are naive and under-educated in the world of marketing.
Oh, sure... there are better places to advertise than others... but the "degree of better" won't be very large if the ideas you're communicating to the public in your advertising isn't hitting any hot buttons. When you advertise, you have to ask yourself if your "target" is going to give a crap about what you're saying to them.
I'd like to help you do 2 things.
1) Help you create a smart strategy that gives your advertising at least twice the traction it currently has.
2) Help you spend less on advertising and get more back.
The first one has a lot to do with your strengths, weaknesses, your competition's strengths and weaknesses, and why your current happy customers truly do business with you right now. If you don't have a lot of happy customers, you're in trouble.
The second one can be accomplished through a smarter online marketing plan. I'd like to evaluate your online presence. There are so many things you can do to your website, your online listings, and any online advertising you're doing to trim the fat and make everything a heck of a lot more efficient.
In the end, your marketing simply needs to communicate things that will persuade people to buy from you. Or at least move them closer to buying from you. But what most business owners think is "persuading"... is usually "pushing" or saying things in their marketing and advertising that nobody really cares about. A good marketing person will help modify your marketing to help it say the things that people will react positively to.
When all you do is say Who you are, where you are, what you sell, and Buy Now... you're going to be very disappointed. It means you're WASTING A LOT OF MONEY ON YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS. Let's change that. And move the needle.
It's amazing how many places you could waste advertising and marketing money in Sioux Falls. A thousand? Out of all of those people selling all of that marketing stuff, how many of them do you think really know what it takes for advertising to work? Or are they just a salesperson? Do they care about making it work? Or just getting the sale?
There's a strategy that needs to be uncovered before you decide to spend any marketing money. Who are you targeting? (and I don't mean demographics) What is your competition doing? What are your main profit centers? What are your best customers thinking about you?
You don't have to try to "do marketing" all at once. You start somewhere, then learn from it, and grow.
But I have a shortcut for you. Instead of learning all the bad ways to advertise and market your business yourself, why not let me share with you some of the things to avoid? It starts with a conversation. We'll talk about your goals, and how I think you can get there.
Maybe you're just tired of doing all of the marketing stuff by yourself and need someone to take a big load off of your shoulders. Of course, advertising agencies do a lot of that... but they like to handle pretty huge accounts. But I don't. I want the small to medium-sized businesses who can't justify paying big bucks to an ad agency for what you need handled.
I've talked to business owners who went the ad agency route for about a year and then pulled the plug. Why? Because they were expecting it to be just a big green "Go" button to push and all of their marketing woes would be dissolved. After all... the ad agencies are the pros, right? Usually, you're shocked when you see what they charge for creative and handling your marketing. It's not that they're charging too much... it's just that they're better suited for the bigger companies who have over a half-million in their advertising budget.
You don't need that. You need to run a good business and have smart and strategic local marketing.
I've been in the trenches for almost a dozen years now. Meaning, I talk to business owners every day about their business, about their customers, about their troubles, about their frustrations, and about their marketing and advertising. I've been there. I've heard it. I know how difficult running a business can be. I understand.
All you need to do is have one meeting with me. If you want to continue... great. If you feel we're not a good fit... we'll both move on. All I want to do is help good local businesses succeed in a highly competitive business landscape.
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, SD
My wife is fairly new to real estate. But she's already sold a few homes. She's so passionate about it! She sold the last one in about 6 hours. Which brings me to my point. Speed.
She gives a lot of attention to her clients... and she's fast. Well, maybe it's not that she's fast... but that she's a hard worker. She's focused and dedicated.
And that's how I feel I am when it comes to getting you the new WEBSITE you want. Is 6 hours possible? Well, if the stars are aligned, and I can have your attention whenever I called, then maybe. But let's be a little more realistic.
In the past before I did this kind of thing, I referred a few business owners to some website builders / designers. People who I trusted. Well, after following up with the people and asking if their new website was almost done, I never got a good response. They were usually far from a finished product. Nothing ever would get done in a timely manner. Communication was horrible between the web builder and the business owner.
Now, I understand that you're busy if you own and run a business. But I think because I've worked with business owners for over a decade, one-on-one, that I can keep the communication flowing a bit better. I have to let you know what is expected. I have to let you know what I need in order to do my job for you in the most efficient and fruitful manner.
After we meet, and I get the first deluge of basic information from you... I'm confident that I can have a website for you within 48 hours. I don't think you'll need one that fast... but if you did... I'd love the challenge. Stay up 24 hours, sleep 8, back to work for another 18? Yikes. Maybe some naps in there.
Ok, maybe that's not ideal, but my point is that I'm not afraid to get in there and get after it. I grew up on a farm and hard work is imprinted on my soul. And I take pride in my work. It's important that YOU are happy with the website you get. And it's also important that I build a website for you that I'd be happy to have myself.
I think every local business in Sioux Falls needs a website. It's a source for so many new customers to find you. It's a source for those people to LEARN more about what you do and how you help people.
And who does the writing of the content for your website? I do. I don't just ask you for some copy points, so I can cut and paste into your website. No. I'm a writer too. And a marketing guy. So, I have the know-how to write a better selling / converting website. Because what's the sense of having a website and getting people to visit your website... if they don't end up being impressed and buying from you? Rhetorical. There is no sense in that!
I'm one of the very few in Sioux Falls who focuses a major amount of time on the content, words, stories, sales aspect, etc. of your website. The others are just graphic designers whose only concern is "pretty-ness". There's more to building a website than that. Much more.
So, let's get this started. Give me a call. I can be there soon. Have you visited my Website page? Click here. And if you're interested, here's a link to another blog I wrote... Gathering Info for Website Content.
And if you need a real estate agent, I know someone really good. : )
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, SD
So you need a new website?
There are basically three different kinds of website building options that most business owners know about.
1) A pro web builder. Cost: Thousands and thousands of dollars upfront... and then some. And when you want to make any changes... that costs more money. Want to change the look and feel of your website in a few years? That's a complete new re-build and huge cost... again.
2) Your neighbor kid. He kind of dabbles in this kind of stuff. He'll start on your website... and it will be half-finished in about 6 months. Hey... he's a kid. He doesn't quite understand that you might kind of NEED this sooner than 18 months. Also in this category is doing it yourself through GoDaddy or some other platform. I think these can be really good...as long as you put the time in to learn all about it and do it right. And then you have to learn about SEO, keywords, webmaster tools (maybe even Google Analytics), etc. Most of the business owners who do it themselves are trying to save a buck. I understand. But the finished product they build usually ends up looking like it's missing some things. A bit too skinny, like it needs to eat a burger or two. Now, back to the saving a buck part. That's why I'm here...
3) I build websites for the small business owner who wants a great website that can attract a lot of new local customers... for a lot less than that pro web builder who specializes in $10,000 websites. You're probably looking at around $700 for me to build you a website. That includes me setting up the SEO and making sure that Google and other search engines can find it.
Another option is to waive the upfront fee and be put on a monthly plan. That monthly plan includes Social Media setup and postings every week, create videos for your YouTube channel at least once a month, add a blog to your site (and write it for you), and maintain your website (add things, make edits, improve upon it consistently, etc.). And when you want to to a major overhaul of your website (different look or style) ... it's all done at no extra charge.
A plan like that will give you peace of mind, knowing that everything is all taken care of. You won't ever have to wonder if you're doing the "online thing" correctly. It's something that I love to do. And I love meeting new people and forming new, positive relationships.
Oh... and one other thing. I do all of the website content writing. Most places that build websites ask you what you'd like to say in your website and then just cut and paste from the email you send them. Yuck. They don't understand that how a website is written is not only important for SEO purposes... but more importantly it needs to convert more visitors to your website into CUSTOMERS. Into SALES. Into $$$. I have a technique for getting the content for your website that nobody else does (not that I know of).
And I've been dealing with local Sioux Falls and surrounding area business owners for over a decade on their marketing. I know that it's tough. I know change is hard. I know that your time is valuable.
Let me know if you'd like to discuss your options for having a brand spankin' new website built!
Thanks! Have a great day!
Successful advertising doesn't manifest because of the advertising medium you choose (Radio, TV, Billboard, Digital, etc.). It's all about your ads.
Think about it. What if you wanted to run a Radio ad, but your ad talked about how to make the perfect pot of coffee and nothing about your business? That's obviously not going to bring you any new customers.
It's the same thing when your advertising message (your commercial / ad) doesn't shine a very pleasing or persuasive light on your business. When the ad message and ad strategy stinks, then your ROI stinks.
Most advertising mediums can work to some degree as long as it as an "audience". Radio, Television, Online, Newspaper, Billboards, bus benches, sandwich boards, etc. are just a place to get the word out there about your business. You're basically just renting an audience.
Yes, most options CAN work, but rarely do... because of the poor ad writing, poor strategy, no thought put into it, no research on competition, and poor research on your current customers.
When you hire LMC for your advertising... before we even consider deciding WHERE to advertise, we're going to talk about WHAT to advertise. Meaning, we'll talk about your overall branding, your goals, your competition, etc., in order to figure out the best things to say to your potential, new, profitable customers.
Do you need marketing help from the ground up? Don't know where to start? I love to help with that.
I ask you, "Do you have a slogan?"
You say, "No, not really."
I ask, "Have you done much advertising before?"
You say, "A little here and a little there... but nothing has ever worked very well."
I ask, "Are you happy with your website?"
You say, "No."
I ask, "Do you get many leads or sales from your website?"
And you say, "I have no idea."
I love helping smaller businesses get straightened out and set up with their branding and marketing. From the ground up. And many times you may have some things in place, but would prefer to start over from scratch.
I'd like to discuss your situation with you. Oh, and have you ever been "pitched" by anyone about marketing and websites and stuff? The way I do business is the farthest thing from ... "a pitch".
You call. We chat about your situation. About your business. About your goals. And about what you're doing now to attract new customers, and what you feel has worked for you in the past (or what completely does NOT work).
First, we'll talk about your website. If you need one, we'll build you one. A very reasonable price for building it (possibly the lowest you'll find), and a tiny maintenance fee once per month - about 8 bucks. We'll also look at how you may or may not already be ranking on Google for the keywords that are relevant to your products and/or services.
OR... you might want us to not only maintain your website, but also make changes when you want (we suggest consistent, small changes to your website so Google keeps deeming it relevant and worthy of as many eyeballs as possible!). We also optimize the site, and make tweaks every so often, so you can start ranking well in Google and other search engines. Plus for added SEO purposes, we will write a blog for you, set up and post on your Google+ biz page, set up your YouTube channel, create some videos for you, etc. If you go this route, we skip the upfront initial website-building fee, and just charge you a low monthly fee.
Your website would also be mobile-friendly. And of course, at no extra charge.
Depending on the services you want us to handle, your monthly fee for this would be between $50 and $300 per month. This beats the heck out of paying THOUSANDS just to have a website built... and then pay hundreds each time you want a web company to make changes.
After we look at your online presence, we can talk about any local advertising you may want. Depending on what you're trying to accomplish, and what your competitive landscape is like, we'll put together a proposal for your very own unique advertising campaign. It could be Radio, TV, Digital, Billboards, Direct Mail, etc., or any combination of things.
Maybe you need a new logo. Or a catchy slogan. Or marketing videos for your YouTube channel. Whatever you need, we can help you make that happen. If there is any task that's not exactly in our "wheelhouse", we'll find the right company to handle that specific job...and we'll handle everything so you just deal with one easy-to-work-with company, Local Marketing Cafe.
And if you're already working with a marketing company, but need us to do the ad writing for you, we can do that.
So, the bottom line is that we're here to help you get your local marketing running on all cylinders without any clunking, chugging, or misfiring.
It all starts with a Free 45 to 60-minute evaluation and discussion about what you want to make happen. Give us a shout.
Looking to the Future...
That was an ad slogan I heard on the radio the other day. And the business had nothing to do with time travel.
The thing about slogans is... don't even bother having one if it's not going to give people a clue as to what kind of business you are or what kind of company culture you cultivate.
When your slogan is nothing but a cliche phrase, it means nothing to people. It's invisible. Nobody's going to say, "Oh...well I should buy from them because they're looking to the future."
For a slogan to be worth having, it needs to be unique to you. It needs to give people one or two great reasons why they should do business with you. And if you're paranoid about offending one person out of a hundred thousand with your slogan or any of your marketing messages, you're going to have a tough time getting anything OUT of your marketing.
If any other business could attach your exact slogan to the end of their business name, pick a new one. Make it fit YOUR business only. Then, you're on the right track.
Restaurant advertising is a tough one. Right?
Naw. Not really. The only thing that's tough is making a profit if your only ad strategy is the use of coupons.
Restaurant ad strategies:
If you're a unique restaurant, with not much competition in terms of the kind of food you serve... then all you have to do is describe your food. But do it in a fun way in your advertising. Have you tried a radio campaign? Radio gives you free reign with the creative. You can make people actually SEE IN THEIR MINDS whatever you want them to.
If you're a restaurant that's a dime a dozen... you'll have to kill'em with kindness. Customer service and friendliness flippin' matters! Especially when you ain't nothin' special in the Food area. You'll have to talk about being a gathering place or get emotional or really creative with your advertising. But most of all... you'll win over all the other restaurants that have some similarities to you by being CONSISTENT with your advertising. While all the others will be couponing people to death, you can establish a relationship with people by helping them get to know you in your advertising. Become something COMFORTABLE to your customers. Be the ONE THEY CAN COUNT ON.
If you're a restaurant with a great "back story" or if you have a "secret method to your madness", then that's what you talk about in your restaurant marketing and advertising. It's all about setting yourself apart from the others when it comes to the big marketing picture... so whatever you can snag that's unique to talk about, DO IT.
What if you'd like to CREATE something unique about your restaurant? GREAT! That's a superb idea! Most restaurant owners are too lazy to do that. Maybe you want to name some new menu items something wild and crazy. What about decorating one half of the restaurant in ____ colors and the other half in ____ colors. "Would you like to sit in the polk-a-dot section...or the rainbow explosion section?"
I'm just making things up off the cuff. Doesn't mean that's what you have to do. You need to brainstorm with about 7 people or so. It's something I love to do if you're interested in having me help with your marketing.
I think the best advice for restaurant advertisers is to NOT get hooked on the COUPON. It's a profit killer. I use coupons at restaurants that I already love and have been eating at for years. And I eat there even when I don't have a coupon. I don't remember the last time I CHOSE A RESTAURANT based on what coupon was available to me. If you want the profitable customers...appeal to their taste buds creatively and to their emotions.
Hey... come on... this is Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We're known for having an abundance of places to feed our face. I bet there's a pretty big statistic for Sioux Falls restaurants failing too. There are a lot of options out there for you in regards to promoting your business... let me help you wade through all of it. We'll keep what we need, and toss what we don't.
That's all for now. I have lots of other restaurant marketing and advertising ideas if you're interested. Thanks!
Gathering Information for Website Content
There is no way I'm going to give out my secrets to gathering website content. Actually, I'm just getting started with my "system". It's a work in progress. Because it's tough, right? It's hard to come up with original content. It's really hard if you're lazy.
To get the information and the stories to write great website content, you need to actually have a background in ad writing. Why? Because you need to know what to listen for and look for. You need to know what kinds of questions to ask in order to get answers that are different and might actually "move" someone into have half a feeling towards you.
If you ONLY write web content for SEO... yuck. What a crappy website to visit. You won't get any real substance. You'll only get the who, what, when, and where. Well, whoopidy doo.
Websites will get far more action and people will stay longer when you have something interesting and differentiating in it. And aren't ad writers going to be able to best write an interesting and PERSUASIVE website? Well...not all ad writers are created equal. It took me over 5 years to go from writing mediocre ads to "not too shabby" ads. And then another 5 years to step my ad effectiveness (potential to bring phenomenal results to clients) up another notch or two.
Oh, you think that the best websites are the ones with the fanciest images and elements with motion and other pretty things? I agree that a website needs to look good, but if all your website has are huge, high-quality images and close-ups, and custom buttons and 3-D icons, without good written content... then all you have are a few pretty pages on the world wide web.
If it doesn't help sell your product or service any better than most of your competitions' attempts at selling on their websites, then you haven't accomplished anything.
And if you don't know how to gather really good information from the company or small business you're building a website for... then don't start because you've just skipped over one of the most important parts.
Please don't pay for a cliche website. Don't pay for extra SEO services if you don't need them. It doesn't take thousands of dollars a month for most local businesses to have their website show up on Google for some strong, relevant keywords.
For sure ask around and get a few different quotes or plans from some different web and SEO companies before you decide on one. Don't jump at something and throw money at a company just because they spammed you with an intriguing email. Be careful.
Best thing you could probably do is give me a call and we can discuss your situation. I'll never suggest anything to you in regards to marketing and online marketing if I don't think you need it. Bottom line... I'm one of the most honest advertising and marketing people you'll ever meet. And you'll realize that after just one quick meeting with me.
Just hit the CONTACT button and get a hold of me.
Silly Radio Advertising - There's a Limit to My Sanity
I've been hearing more and more "silly" radio ads lately. These aren't the ones that are totally ignorable and look like,
"ABC Cleaners has been in business for 37 years. That's right, you don't have to worry about getting the job done right the first time. We're fast and dependable. And we have a knowledgeable staff. Call us at 555-5555. That's 555-5555. And like us on Facebook. Go to www.ABCCleaners.zzz. Call 555-5555.... that's 555-5555! You'll be glad you did!"
No. I'm not talking about those kind of crap-i-licious radio ads. I'm going to discuss the "silly" ones that get on my nerves. They're the ones that I feel insult our intelligence constantly.
These ads say things like... "Yes, Brian...we ARE the cheapest in the universe." OR "Nobody, I mean nobody, ever ever ever ever will ever beat our prices." OR "Hey Dad... remember when I crashed the family car into a tree? Gee wasn't that funny? Now, that I think about it, you were really peeved at me and you taught me how to be a better person..." Blech.
I can't give exact examples because I don't want my house to get egged. Actually, I wouldn't care if I ruffled some feathers, but it's not the business owner's fault that their radio ad copy writer needs a few extra creativity synapse connections.
My point is... I don't like to create advertising that insults the public's intelligence.
The radio ads I write are all different. I don't have one kind of ad that I keep regurgitating. Or a template where I just fill in the business name and the product or service and "Voila!, here's your amazing radio spot!"
I'm good with humor, with testimonials (real, raw ones, not fake, scripted ones), storytelling, and if you want to get people's attention with an event... I WILL NOT let your ad be ignored.
Let's stop with the silly advertising and get down to the sincere, intelligent, and persuasive stuff that moves the needle for local Sioux Falls businesses.
I'm in it to win it with YOU. Let me know if I can help out.
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, SD
I don't think you know what advertising is supposed to do. That's ok. Let's talk through this.
It seems most think that "advertising" is supposed to be about "getting your name out there". But what's the point of getting your name out there? That implies that you're going to advertise for just a few weeks...and then stop. And everyone is going to remember who you are.
It doesn't work that way. Especially since you probably have more than one competitor. Or more than ten.
Advertising either needs to help you sell something RIGHT NOW. Or it needs to be a consistent kind of Branding advertising.
Those things we attain instantly...don't seem to stick around long do they? And those things we receive at the drop of a hat don't seem to be the best quality either, right?
Well, it's the same with your advertising. Do it consistently. But don't try to force people to buy from you NOW.
Set a yearly advertising budget. Yes. Yearly. Don't fly by the seat of your pants with advertising expenditures.
First, you'll want to figure out what to say in your advertising. This is where you dig deep to find the messages that help you stand out from your competition. This isn't easy if you want your advertising to pay you back plenty more than you invest in it.
How do you do that? You call me. It's my specialty.
Then, figure out where you want to spend your ad budget. If the budget is enough, I recommend Radio first. If you can saturate a fairly good size audience with your killer advertising campaign... you'll be on your way to more growth than you thought you could have achieved.
We're branding. We're teaching people WHY they should do business with YOU instead of your competition. We're making friends with the public. If they like you...they're more apt to buy from you. And you can't get someone to like you if all you do is spout things at them in which they have little interest in. Understand? We're not reading a boring newspaper ad into a microphone to come up with your radio ads. The ear is a powerful tool in the art of persuasion.
Think about how the right song can instantly change your mood from ho-hum to cheery and optimistic. That's through sound.
How do we communicate best? Through conversation, right? That's with our tongues and our ears. And think about some of the conversations you've had over the years. Some are not that interesting. Others had you chatting for hours. Some had you holding on to every word coming out of someone's mouth. You were engaged. And that's the key to successful advertising. You must engage your prospect. Talk to them about what interests THEM... and what can help THEM... not you.
So, you see, an advertisement should not be looked at as a necessary evil that you have to do once in a while. If you look at it that way... save your money and invest that into your employees, training, customer service, etc. Advertising done right... will bring you dividends that you never thought advertising could deliver.
Don't just buy some ads. Let's create a plan for growth. Continuous growth.
Have a great day!
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
What's the point in marketing in the Sioux Falls area? We're a small, close-knit community, right? Why should we have to "market" ourselves? Word-of-mouth should be good enough.
Bzzzzt. Wrong. Ok, maybe if you don't have any competition. But if that's the case, consider yourself lucky. And it probably won't last for long. But what about YOU, who has plenty of competition? You can sit back on your heels. If you want to grow your customer base, you need to market yourself.
Because what if you don't? If you just keep sputtering along being afraid or unwilling to accept the truth...soon you'll possibly need to consider a different way to provide for you and your family. I'd rather see your business flourish. I'd rather see you grow and take a bigger slice of the market.
There are only so much "pie" to go around. Meaning, there's only so much business to GET at any one certain time. So, since you can't make the pie bigger...your only option is to make your slice of the pie bigger. You and all of your competitors are fighting for bigger slices. Well, if you're not fighting for a bigger slice, your current slice will just keep getting smaller.
Your competition in the Sioux Falls area is clawing and scratching for business. They'd love to snag a few of YOUR customers. Seriously. They would. And if you let them, that situation can have a snowball effect. Let's not let that happen.
I'd like to talk to you about how to attract more new customers and how to keep your current customers longer. And even sell more to those current customers. Whatdya say? I don't bite. I just love to help good businesses grow. I like to take ad budgets and make them about 10x more effective. You might not even know if you ARE getting much of a return on your marketing investment right now. Let's change that.
It's not a one-size-fits-all type of plan. You are unique. Your marketing and advertising should also be unique. You can't just tell people, "We're here for all your _______ needs. It doesn't work. Oh wait, it does, only if you don't have any competition.
Have a groovy day!
Local Marketing Cafe | Sioux Falls
Make Friends with Potential New Customers
What if you're doing everything right...but you just aren't growing like you think you should?
Then I'd say, you probably have ample competition, dividing your market into a lot of little slivers. Your plan of attack then, is to implement a long-term advertising strategy. Instead of all your potential new customers wondering WHO TO BUY FROM, make them think of you first. Help them get to know you in your ad campaign and feel most comfortable buying from you instead of someone else.
It's called LOCAL BRANDING. It's the best way to make the name of your business a household word in your market. And it takes patience. This isn't going to be a "slam bam thank you ma'am" advertising plan. This is relationship building with a group of people who you can afford to advertise to, day in and day out...forever. Or as long as you plan on being in business anyway.
Why a long-term strategy? Because not everyone needs what you offer right now. Most of your prospects probably won't be ready for months or even years depending on the length of their purchase cycle. Grocery stores will see a faster return on a good ad campaign than an electrician or a mattress store because we all need groceries a heck of a lot sooner than a good electrician or a new bed.
The first step is to figure out what you can say to potential new customers to help them trust you and feel more confident in YOU versus their trust in your competitors.
Did my wife trust me enough to marry me the day after we met? No. There were a lot of long hours of talking and getting to know each other before we felt comfortable enough to consider marriage. Every day...for months and months. Do you still have friends from high school? They'll always be your friends. You'll never forget them. But that didn't happen quickly. You developed a deep relationship with them over a period of years.
It's the same thing when you're trying to "make friends" with new customers. If you're good at what you do, and treat your customers right...then start building relationships with your prospects. Start communicating things to them in your advertising that would move them closer to trusting you and doing business with you. It's a process. It takes patience. But when you finally get over that hump of branding the essence of who you are into people's brains, you'll start getting more of their business when they need what you offer.
Local branding isn't telling people who, what, when, and where...it's telling stories. When you tell stories in your advertising about a customer's great experience or about how you helped someone out or about someone with a specific problem that you provided a solution for...then people begin to trust you. This is not awareness advertising. That won't work for someone with a lot of competition. Putting up a billboard with your business name on it is not going to cut it. You're trying to build relationships.
So whether you're embarking on a Radio ad campaign or a Direct Mail campaign, you're going to need ads with emotion, that tell a story, and that make people want to be "your friend". It's a process that takes patience and persistence...but it also holds the key to GROWING more than you ever thought possible...and climbing the ladder of increased market share.
Have a great day!
Serving Sioux Falls SD, Brandon SD, Brookings SD, Luverne MN, Madison SD, Sioux City SD, Mitchell SD, and everything in between.
Local Marketing Cafe | Sioux Falls
Let’s discuss the expensive ads in those free local women's magazines in Sioux Falls. I’m picking on the women’s mags because it’s where I see a lot of marketing dollars flushed down the toilet…
I picked up one of those mags because I’m in advertising and that’s what I do. Anyway…I noticed it was taking me a while to get to any content. So, I went back and counted. The first 17 pages were all ADS!!! Do you think anyone is stopping to read those ads? These first 17 pages are before any actual story appears! And these are full-page ads that cost a premium!
People are paging through them at 3 pages per second…so you better have a nearly-naked body in your ad if you want someone to stop turning. It better be a more exhilarating picture than a sofa. Or a bunch of meaningless words. And it better be more than a stock photo of someone smiling, photos of your staff (eek), and please stop with the photo of someone with their arms folded in front of them trying to look tough or smart. Please. Pleaassse!
Nobody is stopping to read your ad within that first 17 pages. I’ll put my ad up against yours and see which performs better. Mine will be a quarter the size of yours…and placed adjacent to an article in which I believe has enough good content within it so someone may actually PAUSE on that page longer than 3.5 seconds.
I don’t know what a business owner thinks they’ll get out of these ads. Awareness? Branding? Phooey. 99% of the ads I see in these mags are a waste of money for the advertiser.
MY AMBITION at this moment in my life is to help businesses attract more new customers with better advertising. I’m sure I’ll upset someone with this little rant and there will be a minor “hub-bub” somewhere about it. I’m OK with that. But I’m NOT ok with businesses being sold something that has basically zero chance of working.
Have a nearly-naked day! You’ll get more attention.
Have a great day!
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, SD
In your marketing...never try to portray something you're not. Because if someone decides to do business with you, and their experience doesn't reflect your marketing...it will leave a sour taste in their mouth. And open you up to negative reviews and bad word-of-mouth.
So, be yourself! You're passionate about your business, right? You're happy to give the best service, aren't you? If not...good luck...and you can stop reading now.
I suggest to a lot of people to have real pictures of themselves on their websites. Not stock photos. We know your stock photos aren't real. And it takes away from "the first impression". I also like a "welcome video" on websites. Something short and heartfelt. Something to let the people that land on your page know that you're down-to-earth and that you have their best interests at heart.
Sincerity and "openness" in your marketing and advertising will work wonders for you. Don't be afraid to show that you're human. People like doing business with people...not corporate robots.
When your marketing messages match up with the customer experience you provide, you'll have laid the foundation. Then, you can keep working on providing an even better customer experience, which will give you more "ammunition" to use in your marketing and advertising.
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls Website Design -
I've been taught the finer points of persuasion and creativity in regards to marketing. 13+ years of writing, sales, and marketing experience - clashing beautifully together into helping you with advertising & marketing. Extraordinary radio advertising, website, digital advertising, social media set-up, etc. I love helping good, local businesses get noticed and attract more good customers. Contact the Local Marketing Cafe today to discuss a smart plan for your business.