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It’s the New Phone Book

Like you needed any more reasons for figuring out this whole “using the Internet to get found in your town” thing. But hey, here’s another reminder.

A telephone survey has found that 70 percent of US households now use the internet — and in particular search engines — for information when shopping locally for products and services. It makes the internet tied with newspapers as the leading medium used to seek products and services locally. Conducted by the Kelsey Group and ConStat, it involved 500 respondents across the US.

Blogging Under Contract

Quite often people want to know if they can make any money with this blog thing. To this I currently have two answers: yes and maybe so. There are many ways to measure the success of one’s blogging efforts and an announcement by AllBusiness.com demonstrates a growing trend in the "mainstreamness" of blogs. A number of bloggers (Okay, including me) have entered into an agreement to blog for All Busineess, a small business portal. Look for this type of business writing and opportunity to grow.

AllBusiness.com, an online media and e-commerce company that operates one of the leading business Web sites, today announced the launch of its new AllBusiness Blog Center at http://www.allbusiness.com/blog/.

Blogs in the AllBusiness.com Blog Center include:  “Bizz Bang Buzz,” a legal blog by Anthony Cerminaro; “Duct Tape Marketing” covering marketing issues by John Jantsch; “Just For Small Business,” a running a business blog by Denise O’Berry; “Management Craft,” a management blog by Lisa Haneberg;  “Only Once,” a blog about day-to-day activities of running a business by Matt Blumberg; “Sales Diva” by Lori Richardson, which covers the sales process; “The Small Business Blog” by Doug Kersten, covering business news; and Denise Wakeman’s “Your Project Partner” blog, focused on internet marketing.

Interview on Corporate Blogging

I was interviewed this week at Marketing Studies on the subject of corporate blogging.
Have a listen

Some of the topics covered in this interview:

* Steps to producing a blog that won top honors by MarketingSherpa.com readers.
* The difference between e-zines and blogs, especially in terms of the marketing affects of each.
* Is there a difference in the products you can market via blogs and via e-zines and direct e-mail marketing?
* The gap between different content delivery channels, such as RSS and e-mail.
* And much more. . .

These are the folks that produced THE guide to Marketing & Publishing with RSS

How To Get Found In Your Town

I am hosting session 5 in my local online marketing series

Search Engine Optimization basics to win the local search traffic game – Or how to get found in your town

Mar 30th – Noon Central
Special Guest – Aaron Wall – SEO Book

Local prospects, search locally. If you want your web site to be found in your town then you must follow documented search positioning tactics. A Kansas City consumer looking for a day spa will search “Kansas City Day Spa.” Being able to rank high in Google, MSN or Yahoo for that term is the your most important task. Learn the basics of local search from the author of one of the best selling books on the topic – SEO Book.

Make Your Reservation for this free teleseminar today!

Yahoo Intros Blogging With A Twist

Word on the AP wire today is that Yahoo plans to finally take advantage of its gigantic user base to introduce a blogging tool.  The description on a Yahoo beta page describes a service that seems as though it is a hybrid blogging and social networking tool that will allow users to take advantage of all of the resources that already exist on Yahoo and then power up applications such as email and contact management. For example:Users wil be able to text message and send photos to their blogs from their wireless phones. From the AP report:

The service is designed to enable Yahoo’s 165 million
registered users to pull content from the Web site’s discussion groups,
online photo albums and review section to plug into their own Web logs,
or blogs, the Internet shorthand used to describe online personal
journals.

They say that the service won’t be available until March 29 and will be offered by invitaion only, much like gmail, but you can sign-up to be on the invite list.

If you already have a free Yahoo acount you can sign-in and  get more details

Google Local Finally Adds Ability To List Your Local Business

For local type businesses, those that just want business from around town, the Internet is becoming more and more important. As the search engines move to implement their local search strategies, local businesses will need to understand the playing field

Here’s a tip: The Internet Is The New Phone Book and you better make sure you get listed.

Today, Google announced the Google Local Business Center, a free tool for businesses to easily add or update their business listings that appear in Google Local. The Google Local Business Center is available for all businesses in the United States regardless of whether or not their listing already exists in Google Local.

To access this new feature, businesses must visit the Google Local Business Center and request that their Google Local business listing be added or edited. After completing the listing information, businesses will receive a mailer from Google with a PIN. The PIN is used to confirm their addition or requested changes to the Google Local business listing. Various information about a business can be added or edited including address, phone number, hours of operation, type of cuisine, payment accepted, website and email.

This one is a no brainer – get listed! – They have even integrated their very cool mapping system into the listings and hint that they may use the data when someone executes a “local looking search” like – Accountant Kansas City. This kind of search is already starting to include some directory type listings.

Blogs As A Marketing Integration Tool

Last week I made this post about niche websites and several people wisely chimed in that blogs can do the same thing – and they are right. Last week I said:

Every business needs a web site. That’s no longer a debate. I contend, however, that every business really needs at least two web sites. You should have one to tell about your company and your services and one that focuses strictly on providing great content about some aspect of your industry. Think in terms of a site that would rank very high in search engines for important key words.

For example – A law firm would have their formal firm site SpencerFane.com but they would also launch a site called MidwestConstructionLaw.com to act as a portal of information for anyone interested in the construction business.

And to this I add – And they would assign a member of their construction team to blog at the Midwest Construction Law Blog.

I beleive that for small businesses, blogs can be the perfect tool to integrate your marketing message with tools such as your website and printed materials. They are not THE marketing tool, simply another powerful one to help you get more out of all of your marketing efforts.

There may come a day when all websites are really blog sites but for now I still think there is a place for all three.

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Creating Niche Web Sites To Help Tell Your Story

Every business needs a web site. That’s no longer a debate. I contend, however, that every business really needs at least two web sites. You should have one to tell about your company and your services and one that focuses strictly on providing great content about some aspect of your industry. Think in terms of a site that would rank very high in search engines for important key words.

For example – A law firm would have their formal firm site SpencerFane.com but they would also launch a site called MidwestConstructionLaw.com to act as a portal of information for anyone interested in the construction business.

The key to this strategy is search engine traffic. All you need to do is think how people really search for information. The construction companies in the above example don’t search for information about the construction business by looking for a law firm. They search something like “How to get paid for mechanical liens” So the trick is to create a content rich site that can compete for that kind of traffic and make sure that it directs them back to your firm’s site.