On today’s blog, I want to explain certain aspects of Google to those of you who feel they don’t understand how Google marketing works or why it’s so important. Having an Internet presence is essential nowadays, and we want to help you see that Internet marketing isn’t much different than the kind of marketing you’re already familiar with.
Let’s talk about how local businesses were found in the past. Word of mouth is as important as ever. But years ago, once your buddy told you the name of a good plumber or a property manager, you’d pull out a phone book to find them. Very few people really do that anymore. Now, people go to the Internet. But here’s the thing: in some ways, it the same thing.
Back in the day, if someone already knew the name of the company, they’d grab their phone book and consult the White Pages. Your business would be listed there without any effort on your part. Google is doing that right now. They put your business address in Google Local (a part of Google+), even if you didn’t do anything to get it there. People searching your business name will find your address and maybe your phone number when they do a standard Google search. But if you want people to take that next step and reach out to you, it’s important to show much more information. That’s why you want to claim and complete your Google+ page.
Using Google+, you can add a lot more information to your online “listing.” Think of it as paying that little bit extra to have your name listed in bold type in the White Pages. It’s the same concept, but Google+ doesn’t cost you anything. You can add your website link, the hours you’re open, photos, and even list the area your business handles – maybe you handle rental homes within 25 miles of your location, or 50 miles. You can put all that information into Google+ for free and it works just like the White Pages.
You should also be sure to add the category your business is in. For our customers, that’s real estate property management. It helps your company get found when someone searches for property management in your area. But that’s not the only way you can get found when someone searches for property management…
Back in the phone book days, if a consumer knew what kind of service they wanted but they didn’t have a particular company in mind, they went to the Yellow Pages. Businesses paid to be listed there. That’s similar to Google Adwords/Google Pay-per-Click today. You pay to get listed under the search terms that match what you do. If you want to be found when people search for property management in Poughkeepsie, you’ll pay for those search terms, just like you’d pay to be in the category in the Yellow Pages where you wanted your business to be listed.
If you are the kind of company that would spend money on a nice ad in the Yellow Pages to ensure you get noticed, that’s similar to having a Landing Page today. A landing page isn’t something Google makes or offers, but to attract the most clients, you’ll need to have one. This landing page can be on your website or completely separate. It’s a page that advertises your services. When a person clicks on your Google Ad, you want that click to direct them to a landing page, not the home page of your website.
Think of this landing page as a big, beautiful, full page ad in the Yellow Pages. You wouldn’t pay for an ad in the Yellow Pages and just put your phone number there, would you? No, you’d have a list of what makes your company special, you’d include an offer to entice customers to contact you, some photos, etc.. A landing page does all these things. You can also buy landing pages that will track activity, and have a link to send an email – something the Yellow Pages can’t do. Don’t just send clients to your home page when they click on a paid ad – your close rate will be much better with a landing page.
As you can see, your marketing choices on the Internet might have different names, but are often same things you have been doing for years and years. One last example: Think about billboards. In the past, you might have paid for advertising space on a billboard (or bus bench, etc.) When you do, you pay for every single set of eyeballs that drives by, whether or not they’re a potential customer, whether or not they even look at the billboard. But you’re not trying to reach everyone on the road; you only care about the cars containing landlords (or homeowners who are thinking about renting out their properties – you know what I mean.)
So, what if you could get a billboard on a street with less traffic (thereby paying less), but on a street that only rental property owners drove down – and then only paid for the ones that looked at your billboard? You’d sign up for that in a heartbeat! You can do the same thing with Google – you’re only paying for the customers who are interested in your services, (as in, actually looking up the words, “property management”) and then actually click on your ad (so you know they looked at it). This is an example of what the Internet can give you that wasn’t available before.
There’s no need to be afraid. Pretty much all of the internet marketing options worth spending money on can be compared to something from the past that you are already familiar with. Jump in with both feet, you are sure to attract more business!
If you have any questions about using Google to market your property management business, or learning more about the different marketing options available to you on the Internet, please contact us at Fourandhalf and we’ll show you how it can work for your business.