One of the biggest challenges for any tower is to know when they have gathered enough information to make a business decision. This is the case with internet advertising too.
It is difficult to figure all this out without dropping everything else your job requires of you and feel like you have a good understanding of what the right approach is to internet advertising for a small towing company. After all it seems very confusing, there are way too many options to choose from (and more popping up every day) and you feel the pressure to do something soon before its too late. And you keep on hearing people tell you the yellow pages are dead and 80% of customers look online first for a local business, alright already!
But take a deep breath. The solution to this problem, just like all of the others we face as towers, is to slowly but deliberately work our way into the issue and get comfortable as we go. I will attempt to show you how to do this and provide help options for you along the way. So whether you choose to manage the entire process yourself or hire a company like mine so you can stay focused on running your business, you will feel better about the decision you are making.
Step 1: Create a Business Profile- Creating a profile for your company is easier than you may think. Just write a few sentences about your company history. Show potential customers that you are reliable and trustworthy. Include a complete list of services offered and thorough descriptions of your service area. This is how searchers will find you. Include photos, links, hours of operation, address and contact information.
Step 2: Claim Your Profiles- Go to local business directory sites like Google Local and post your profile. There is a huge competition going on between search engines, traditional phone directory providers and new companies to be the source for local business listings. And what they all have in common is a desire for you to post your business profile on their site. This gives them the ability to provide the best search results for their users. A list of the add pages can be found on my web site.
Step 3: Start Keyword Search Advertising- This is probably the most confusing part you will have to deal with, but it is also probably the most important and this is why. Most everything you do to promote your tow company online is information your potential customer has to find through a search engine. That is, you put the info up, they go to a search engine like Google and type in what they are looking for, then Google decides if you are a good match for their search. But with Keyword Search advertising, you target the customer directly. You can, for example, have you ad appear every time someone searches "Poughkeepsie, NY Towing." I recommend starting with a Google AdWords account (you can also work with Yahoo Search Marketing and Bing adCenter which provide the same services for their searchers.) Start small and increase your spend as you gain confidence.
Step 4: Read and React- Perfecting your Keyword Search Advertising plan takes time. Watch each of your ads carefully for performance. Your goal is to have that ad appear before potential customers. If you observe an ad getting many impressions but generating little traffic that is a sign that either the ad copy is not effective or you are not targeting the right traffic. Test the same ad across several keywords and then several ads for the same keywords. When you see spikes in positive results work note the mix that is working and then try to expand. Test similar ads and similar keywords, keep the ones that work and deactivate the ones that don't work.
Step 5: Develop a Social Media Campaign- The final piece of the puzzle is to start using tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace for you business. These efforts are free but can be time consuming. They require active participation to generate the type of excitement necessary to do what we want them to do which is increase your company Search Score. This is a number used by search engines to measure to "buzz" about your company. The more buzz they see the more important they feel it is to provide your information to searchers. Search engines figure the more frequent you update information about your company the more likely it is that you will be providing up to date, accurate and relevant info for their searchers. So they equate buzz with value.
Whether you choose to manage this process yourself or to bring in an expert it is important to get started soon. You want to make sure you're getting your share of the 80% already looking for you online.