If you can’t beat them, at least copy them. Then beat them. Big national companies hire whole departments full of well-paid MBA grads who are supposed to know the best ways for their companies to spend their marketing budgets.
Do What the Big Boys Do
If you had the kind of money to be able to hire such well-educated counsel you wouldn’t be a small business, now would you? Does that mean your marketing efforts have to be hit-and-miss stabs in the dark? Not if you can learn from the MBA’s without actually hiring one of them. Just do what they do and perhaps you’ll see why they pay them the big bucks.
OK so you’re not going to get a 30 second spot on the Super Bowl. Granted. And thank you. There is already enough advertising on that great American event.
National Companies Are Spending More for Local Marketing Than Local Companies
Ironically, national companies are beating out local companies for the clients local companies need, and need badly. National companies are spending 14% of their marketing budgets on localized online marketing campaigns while local companies spend only 3% of their already meager advertising budgets on any kind of online marketing at all. My guess is these larger companies spend more on localized marketing because not only do they have very smart MBA grads saying they should but also because they have found that it works.
What kind of online advertising are we talking about here? Primarily Google AdWords and Facebook ads since they can be targeted to not only a local area but specific types of clientele. Some national directories and lead generation companies like Yellowbook, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, and SuperMedia put a premium on Search Engine Optimization, get found on Google page 1, then turn around and sell that contact information to a local service provider who could have gotten found themselves.
National Companies Dominate Google Page 1
Do a search for any city plus service combination such as “kennewick seo ” or “richland closet organization” and you’ll see at least half, sometimes all, of the results are national companies. Large national directories and lead generation companies dominate the Search Engine Results Pages for local search terms. They are everywhere but they are not very strong anywhere. It’s not that hard to beat them for ranking but chances are they are on Google page 1 for the keywords that will bring you the most business and you are not so your local competitors who advertise with them are getting your business. And paying a lot more for it than you would if you were getting found instead.
Cut Out The Middle Men Like HomeAdvisor and SuperMedia
If you are a remodeling service provider it would be tempting to just pay a national company like HomeAdvisor the $40 or so they want for sending you a qualified lead since they have these huge budgets and have found what works but why not just do what works yourself. I know a painter in Seattle who learned to do Search Engine Optimization for himself and gets 600 qualified leads per year from his own website. If he had to pay HomeAdvisor for that many leads it would cost him $24,000 per year. 75% of his advertising would have been going to a middle man, doing nothing for him. If he were to hire a company like mine to do his SEO for him it might only cost him $6000 per year so by cutting out the middle man he would be saving himself $18,000 per year on internet marketing costs. My experience with Pay-Per-Click companies like SuperMedia show a much higher middle man cut and a more dramatic savings for cutting them out of the equation.
You might not have an MBA degree or are able to hire someone who does but don’t let that stop you from doing what they do rather than spending your money on a company that hires them to do those things. Learn from what they do, cut them out of your spending, and reap the rewards that come from doing it yourself or hiring an SEO company to do it for you.