Online Marketing: A Must for Small Businesses in 2017

As 2016 comes to a close, businesses are not only reflecting on the past year but also looking ahead to 2017, including analyzing their yearly budgets. In
particular, small businesses have more limited financial resources and need to be smart and efficient with their dollars. Every small business will have a marketing budget, and there is evidence and positive benefits why they should focus more of their dollars on online marketing in 2017.

A recent article on Search Engine Land, Why SMBs should spend more of their budget on online marketing in 2017, lists a few top reasons why online marketing should be given more focus in the marketing budgets of small businesses. First, as traditional advertising spend is falling, online marketing spend continues to rise. For your small business, this means that your competitors are most likely spending more on search engine optimization and search engine marketing because customers are increasingly searching online for products and services. Second, online marketing has a host of benefits, including a higher return on investment, being able to immediately track metrics to provide ongoing feedback, and the low cost of channels such as social media that can reach a larger audience than traditional means. Lastly, the article references a recent study of small businesses, and the results support the trend towards the need for a larger online marketing budget to gain a greater search engine presence and, in turn, more customers.

Contact Qseeker to help you understand how your small business can experience a higher return on investment when you focus on online marketing. Call Francis McGovern at 617-816-2969 for more information.

(image courtesy of jphotostyle.com)

The Power of the Niche

At Qseeker we believe in the importance of the niche, that by understanding your very specific target market, you can succeed. You may feel that your small business and website is at an SEO disadvantage when competing with bigger sites, but there are strategies you can use to get more targeted and niche search engine traffic that the bigger sites just can’t do. On the SEO blog Moz.com, Rand Fishkin’s article, How Can Small Businesses/Websites Compete with Big Players in SEO?, describes just how small businesses and websites can use their smaller size to their advantage in their SEO efforts.

Fishkin goes on to explain that both the large sites and small sites have their own respective advantages, and that smaller businesses can be just as competitive in their search engine marketing if they focus on specific niches. For example, big sites tend to have better domain authority, quantity and diversity of external links, trustworthiness, financial resources and the ability to invest if and when something is a big priority. For smaller sites, they have the benefit of being able to switch directions and priority quickly due to less and smaller teams, the ability to be more creative, have a specific focus, and build their business around a particular niche.

To remain competitive, Fishkin lays out 5 ways small businesses can thrive and grow. First, focus on keywords that bigger sites are not or cannot compete on. This will require some analysis of specific target markets that you can specialize in. Also, build up your authority, trust and brand for your specific areas, which includes targeting content that is more indirect and does not take the same path to conversion as your larger competitors. Once you have targeted your specific keywords, strive to be the best resource by focusing more energy in those areas and developing more content than your larger competitors ever would. Lastly, build more direct and stronger relationships with those that will help boost your authenticity, trust and niche appeal.

Use your smaller size and website to your advantage and discover the SEO opportunities that you may be overlooking. Qseeker can help you do just that.

Why is Bad, so Good?

What is it about the antihero that is so likable? Is it that we find them relatable in their daily struggles because we empathize with their failures and rejoice with them when they go against the moral tide, wishing to do that ourselves? Or is it something more? Characters such as Dexter Morgan and Breaking Bad’s Walter White break social norms with their unusual ethics all the while following different moral codes. Perhaps as the viewer, it is our inside glimpse at the lives of these antagonists that humanizes them and therefore allows us to justify their actions and portray them in our own minds as protagonists.

In Dexter’s case, not unlike Batman’s, we root for him because he is a vigilantly putting away criminals and finding justice when the law cannot.  While Dexter Morgan started out as a man with no humanity, it is evident in the later seasons that he has a measurable amount of compassion towards his family and coworkers. Yet Dexter continues to kill and follow his own moral code. Is this transformation real or is it an illusion that the audience perceives to justify his actions?

Conversely, Walter White loses his compassion as Breaking Bad’s seasons progress yet the audience still roots for him and against his non-submissive, ill-treated wife, Skylar. What started out as the Walter White’s raw desperation turns into a thirst for power and the desire to build an “empire.” Why do we root for the antihero that is no longer justifying his means to an end but has become greedy and malicious?  Could it be that the inside knowledge of his motives and struggles allows us to bend our moral consciousness towards a more favorable opinion.

Moral transgression could be only half of the reason that we are drawn to these characters. The other half is that the characters are just so good at being bad that the quality of the their performance has us hooked. What is the lesson for us as marketers? In reality, it means that the story matters just as much as the way that it’s told. As marketers we need to remember that we are always portraying a certain story for our business. In the same way we get hooked on our favorite shows, the quality of the message is half of what hooks the consumer and can be measured by repeat business or desire to watch another episode. Whether it is a product or a service we need to focus on reaching a level of quality that allows a simple, powerful, honest story to be told that will really hook the customer for good.

The Quality Seeker

“The Quality Seeker,” is a phrase and concept used to define and describe a phenomenon that tends be true for most informational needs and internet searches. When a person needs something, whether an answer or an idea, or a solution to a problem, a service, or something new or different – then they begin to seek. First and instinctively they search what they know, their memory, their knowledge, then they move onto people they know, and resources and data that is available to them. They search online for products, services, information, connections, media etc.. They want to find the highest quality information at the fastest rate. This is how many internet searches begin and how many end. Understand The Quality Seeker and how it pertains to your business objectives and you can master the challenges of search.