The 4 Basic Pillars of a Successful Online Local Marketing Plan

I recently wrote about the many challenges small and medium sized business owners face while constructing and implementing a successful internet marketing plan. The often insurmountable challenges we pointed out were ‘time’ and ‘money’. Small business owners are consumed with what they do best; operating their business and making sure their customers are satisfied. In addition, many owner/operators also manage the marketing direction for their companies and do not have substantial budgets for advertising and outside marketing services.There are still local businesses that have virtually no online presence, but most have tried at least a few forms of online marketing. For example many businesses have a website, built by a neighbor’s son or the local web design company and may have even set up a Facebook page. Perhaps they even have one of the large PPC (Pay-Per-Click) firms running a Google campaign for their company. Most small business owners have put together their online marketing strategy over a period of months or even years and have purchased a few services along the way from outside marketing companies. As any good business person would do, they try to keep the parts that are working and get rid of the parts that are not yielding results.The inherent problem with this type of “hit or miss” strategy is that the success or failure of an individual online marketing strategy is often interdependent on the strengths or weakness of other parts of your online presence. Let’s discuss the four main components of a local online marketing plan.The Four Pillars of Success: Marketing Plans for Local BusinessPillar One: Targeted Web TrafficHaving a business website posted on the web is not going to create traffic from prospective customers all by itself. Websites need to be marketed in order to generate a steady flow of traffic for your business. Many business owners have the common misconception that having the prettiest website is somehow going to translate into a successful website. If I had to choose between a gorgeous website not positioned to gather traffic versus a simple, perhaps even ‘ugly’ website, that is positioned properly to gather significant local web traffic, I would choose the latter.What is Targeted Web Traffic?Local business websites can receive targeted web traffic from a variety of sources and methods. Let’s first discuss what the term targeted traffic means. In the most basic sense, targeted web traffic could be defined as a web user who visits your site that possesses at least one criteria or characteristic that you believe would fit within your definition of a potential customer. An example could be as simple as their location. If your business sells pizza or dental services, you might be interested in any consumers that live within 5-10 miles of your business, but you would not be interested in consumers that live 1,000 miles from your business location. Another example of a targeted web user is someone that is specifically searching for your product or service or has previously expressed an interest. The point we are making is that your goal as a local business marketer, is to position your website to receive traffic from local consumers that have (or are likely to have) interest in your products or services.Paid versus Free Web TrafficLocal web traffic comes from a variety of sources and all of them should play a role in driving targeted traffic to your business. There are some sources that you need to pay for on a per click basis or per impression basis and others that can be free, provided that you do the necessary legwork to position your website to take advantage. Developing an efficient mix of web traffic for your business will take time but this is the first part of a local marketing plan. The purpose of this article is not to delve too deep into the benefits or pitfalls associated with any specific source of targeted web traffic but rather to demonstrate that traffic is only one part of an overall marketing plan. Web traffic is only valuable to your business if your website has the ability to effectively engage with visitors and provide a mutually beneficial experience. If your web visitors reach your site and leave within 5 seconds, there isn’t much benefit to either party.Pillar Two: Websites that Engage and Convert Your CustomersThe manner in which your website presents your business to web visitors has a profound effect on how efficiently your site will help potential customers take the next step in engaging with your business. Website visitors will typically decide in a manner of seconds if they are on a page or site that can satisfy their needs. Most websites will fail this first test and lose potentially valuable traffic before ‘the game’ even begins. This is often referred to as ‘relevancy’. Simple, if your site doesn’t instantly appear to provide the information, services, products etc. that the web user is interested in, they will move on to a site that does. The second and equally important requirement for a successful local business website is ‘engagement’. Visitors must be enticed to take the ‘next steps’ with your business. This can be accomplished with a variety of simple techniques and is also a topic that will not be covered in great depth in this article. The point we are stressing is that the quality of your website design, from a marketing perspective, plays a significant role in the success a local business will have in converting web traffic into new customers.Pillar Three: Tracking, Analytics and TweakingInternet marketing is part science and part art, but the results are pure math. Your business pays real money to engage in internet and offline marketing efforts and you are expecting new customers that pay you real money as a result. The entire marketing process needs to be measured, tracked and periodically studied. This is the only way to make adjustments to your marketing plan in order to make as cost effective as possible. A few basic procedures can be implemented on your website and in your business workflow to give business owners the tools to monitor how well marketing efforts are performing and where change can and should be made. Tools can be used to help determine how well your traffic is performing, how well your website is performing and even how well your staff is performing. When you spot a weak part, you at least know where to make some tweaks. In addition, if you are using an outside marketing professional, they should be able to provide assistance with this, as opposed to just selling you one piece of the puzzle. The cost of a click or an impression may not mean that much to your business, but the value of web lead, a customer phone call or a store visit that results in new business is meaningful. The bottom line is you must have some concrete method to measure your marketing outcomes in order to determine if you are spending your money wisely.Pillar Four: Customer CommunicationThe internet has made inexpensive and free tools available for even the smallest local business owner to engage in an ongoing conversation with potential and existing customers. Businesses that are not taking advantage of these tools are leaving too much money on the table and certainly not maximizing the benefit (e.g. new business) they can extract from web visitors. Direct response may be your businesses primary goal, but not every potential customer you engage with is ready to make a buying decision immediately; but they may be ready in the near future. You will want to make sure your business is on “the top of their mind’ when they decide to move forward. Tools such as email, social media and even your website can be used to maintain an ongoing conversation with your prospects, so when the time comes for them to make a purchase, your business is positioned as a top choice and is easily accessible. To make this a reality, your web traffic, your website and your tracking need to be in sync with each other.Successful local marketing plans are built over time and are not about the latest “fad” or “get rich quick” scheme. Creating a winning formula for your business and one that can have staying power can be achieved by first understanding the basic components of success. This article only covers this “tips” of the four essential “icebergs” you will need to explore, but successful business plans must be laid upon solid foundations.

Beauty and Botox – Face Forward Tips for 2006!

Did you know that BOTOX injections are one of the most popular procedures in cosmetic surgery today? In fact, Botox injections far out number breast augmentation and rhinoplasty (cosmetic surgery on the nose), as the most preferred aesthetic surgical procedure?As you may agree, in western culture attractiveness is closely wedded to youthfulness. The appearance of wrinkles on the face is a source of anxiety for millions of women and men.The search for a miracle drug to help us appear younger presently fuels a multi-billion dollar beauty and cosmetic industry.The related industries of weight loss and health are just as robust. There is stiff competition between beauty companies constantly trying to sell youth and beauty in a jar.If you have the money you can opt for the more invasive (and ostensibly more effective) procedures to help you look younger. This where BOTOX followed by its more permanent cousin, plastic surgery may fit the bill.A nutritious and balanced diet, accompanied by a rigorous exercise regimen can make your body look years younger. Unfortunately there’s no such workout to tighten your face.Your face starts reflecting the passage of time the soonest, and most visibly. Studies indicate wrinkles appear on our skin as early as the age of 27.


If it is our face, which betrays our age the first, no wonder it the focus of so much anxiety. This is why we want age-defying intervention.BOTOX, as of now, appears to be the answer to some people’s prayers. Younger and firmer looks seem to be just a few small injections away.BOTOX is actually short for Botulinum Toxin Type A. It is a highly toxic substance and one of its milder side effects is food poisoning.It is actually a protein complex, which is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. What is used in cosmetic surgery is an injectible form of this toxin.This form of the toxin is purportedly sterilized and purified.Some consider BOTOX a poison. They feel this way because it is injected in small doses under the skin. It is reported to work by deadening the underlying muscle, preventing any further movement and thus smoothening out the skin.BOTOX is said to interfere between muscle and nerve interaction. Some feel small doses of this chemical effectively prevent the release of acetylcholine by the nerve cells.This neuro-chemical transfers signals to muscles, determining their contraction and relaxation. When injected into selected muscles, BOTOX stops them from contracting.Therefore, any present frown lines are ironed away. In fact, within a week they become almost invisible.In the April of the year 2002, the FDA approved the use of BOTOX injections as a treatment for the reduction of frown lines. Since then, it has come to be regarded as the fastest growing anti-aging cure in the country.Keep in mind that the FDA cautions against using Botox more than once in 3 months. Also it recommends that the lowest possible effective dose to be used in a session.There are other, more permanent, options available – if you are inclined towards cosmetic surgery. Procedures like an eyelid tuck (blepharoplasty) and a bow lift (also called a forehead lift) last about 30 to 90 minutes.They are outpatient operations, so you can leave for home the same day. Another option is the face lift (or rhytidectomy) – a slightly longer operation which can go on for 2 to 4 hours.Patients are advised to stay overnight at the clinic. Although none of these procedures can reduce wrinkles, they very distinctly tighten up a sagging face by literally cutting away any extra bits of facial skin. The recovery period can last from 7 days to a month depending upon the extent of the operation.


However, at the end of it you may be rewarded with a much younger and firmer facial appearance.Given the risks associated with Botox facial treatments like Rejuvinol(TM) deserve a serious look. We have heard that Rejuvinol(TM) available from Amazon and www.BODeStore.com is a product that uses helps give a younger appearance by appearing to smoothing out wrinkles. It’s makers say that it contains the universally recognized Argireline┬« from Lipotec S.A. The active ingredient in Argireline┬« is acetyl hexapeptide 3 (AH3), a deep penetrating, powerful amino peptide that helps to relax the intensity and frequency of facial muscle contractions. It just may be a less expensive and invasive way to put your best face forward.Kamau Austin is a health and fitness enthusiast and advocate.He writes on a regular basis on timeless health and fitness tips at the Fit After Forty Blog. See more useful health and fitness news and tips at… http://www.healthandfitnessvitality.com/blogs/fitnessblog.htm

How To Get Your Body Ready For The Extreme Winter Sports

In the winter there so many things that you can do instead of just sitting around at home doing nothing. You can go snowboarding go skiing and do many other winter sports.As you are getting your body ready for winter sports you will want to take an honest test to yourself and ask yourself how good of shape are you really in. then you just need to start running and getting ready for the winter sports because in the end when time comes for you to start your winter sport you may not even be in good enough shape to compete.Before your winter sport even starts you will want to be able to at least walk or run for 30 minutes out in the cold winter. If you cannot do just that then you will never be ready for your winter sport. Many people can go sit in their houses all winter without doing one exercise and still be able to go do their winter sport and that is just because they are used to that routine. They probably do some type of exercise in the house where its warm instead of getting out in the cold and working out.


After you have gotten yourself into some what of good shape for your winter sports you will need to start getting your heart rate up so you can burn fat and gain muscle. You will want to be able to do at least 15 minutes of some aerobic before you start your winter sports.You do want to take the time to congratulate yourself but you do not want to overdue it by going out drinking and getting those calories back in your body. You want to just have a nice good dinner and get good nights sleep so that you can start your routine over again the following day. If you don’t do this then you will be stuck in the body your in now and you won’t do so good in your winter sport.You might have a specific winter sport that you compete in every winter. If you don’t have the body for it then you’re not going to be competing in anything but competing against yourself to get off the couch.


Basically for all winter sports you are going to need to get up and do something to get your heart rate up so that you can get your legs ready for the sport you are doing since in winter sports you use your legs a lot. If your legs are not in the shape in which they should be then you shouldn’t even be thinking about competing until next year when you are in good shape and so you can compete. If you think and feel that you are good shape then that is good and you should be able to compete but many people feel the same way and often struggle so be sure to get out and exercise before your sports starts.

Flavor Pairings: Why Grow Herbs For Cooking, Cocktails, And Culinary Crafts

I remember my first herb class on growing herbs for culinary and creative crafts. I left that annual herb sale with young fragrant plants, with just enough knowledge to be dangerous wielding a trowel, and a perpetual enthusiasm that all contributed to help me form my first edible garden oasis.After a trip to Home Depot, I was armed with shiny silver tools, bags of potting soil to house my foliage friends, fertilizer to make them grow, and the inner drive to begin digging my way to becoming a green thumb farmer girl!Now, 20 years later, it’s hard to imagine my kitchen without a bunch of basil on the counter, herbs drying on racks, and jars of dried oregano and chocolate mint within easy reach at each meal. From summer’s juicy ripe berries, peaches, and tomatoes to fall’s vibrant harvest of squash, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, onto holiday turkey and ham feasts, and into hearty winter stews and casseroles, herbs enhance every season’s fare!


I’m still thrilled to witness the miracle of propagation each time with every plant. I shelter them in stormy weather, talk to them while watering, trim their leaves, and weed their beds. In return, I’m rewarded with savory, spicy, and fruity aromas, a relaxing hobby, a healthy method of adding flavor to food and cocktails that lasts all year long, and great natural photography backgrounds!Do you have herbs and are looking for ideas on how to use them? Do you see those little plastic packets of greenery hanging in the grocery store but have no clue what to do with them? Maybe you want to expand your culinary horizons and explore your green thumb capabilities? Many people are lured into using fresh herbs through the culinary route.This is the first in a series of articles on growing herbs for cooking, cocktails, and culinary crafts. Plus tips on pairing all kinds of flavors, from custom infused oils and balsamic vinegars to herbs, spirits, sweet and savory dishes. When you marry the right foods together into a succulent harmonious balance, the results are amazing and herbs contribute such character to your cuisine.This isn’t about becoming a food snob or being tethered to rules, except for this one; seasoning is vital in cooking and herbs go hand in hand with that philosophy. I’ll offer general guidelines along with novel combinations I’ve discovered but there’s no one taste fits all. It’s thrilling to develop original recipes and tweak the traditional dishes we savor. Play with new ingredients. It’s great fun to use homegrown edibles but if you don’t want to grow plants yourself, buy a few freshly packaged herbs from the store and practice cooking with them.Be daring with oil and vinegar selections. There’s a wonderful store called Savor The Olive in Virginia Beach that is a tasting room full of unique fused and infused oils and light and dark balsamic vinegars. If you have one of those in your area as well as wine tastings, take advantage of going for a visit. Experiment, so that your sense of taste gets stronger and more acute and it will tell you how much to use.


Herbs add to the enjoyment of cooking and help you personalize what you’ve prepared. Being a chef is an art. Each person has a unique touch and flavor palate. The kitchen is your studio, the plate your blank canvas. Let instinct and imagination guide you. Herbs are one of the tools in your aromatic arsenal that enable you to present a mouthwatering masterpiece.Hope you’ll join me on a tasting tour of my fertile little deck farm as we pinch and smell the herbs, swirl and taste the wine, envision what main course will be the star of the plate, and tempt your taste buds with food that’s appealing to the eye and tongue.

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