When I started RelyLocal - Olympia (an online business directory and Internet Marketing company) 2 years ago this month, I knew it had the potential to get good traction in the local market. With the trend reversing to "Buying Local" and supporting our local economy 1st, my services looked as though they would be positioned perfectly for Thurston County. Already an extremely loyal community, I was very happy to see how quickly my business grew. This wasn't my 1st attempt at an online directory service though.
Over 8 years ago, with the help of some techie-friends, we launched OlympiaHomePages.com. It was very much the same format as RelyLocal is today. However, without Smartphone technology and Social Media to propel the idea, we were waaaaay too early into that market and failed miserably. That was then and lessons were learned.
Fast forward to 2010 - Once I had a few dozen clients on board, I continued to research ways to increase exposure for them. Since we only charge $25 per month, I really didn't think much would happen too quickly. However, much to my surprise, customers began calling/emailing me and letting me know that they were getting more phone calls and Internet traffic to their websites than they had in the past. Some were excited to say that they had even reached the 1st page of Google! Hmmmm, I thought, could this be from my efforts?
Month after month, at network meetings and Chambers, I would hear similar stories from clients. That Google was now indexing our site more often, and client's page rank was increasing, made me hunt for even better ways to increase their exposure;
Better use of key words,
better content and copywriting
and now, adding video.
All of those elements coax Google into pointing at our directory more often and raising their listings organically (free).
This post is really not meant to brag, but to provide some inspiration.
At a network breakfast just 2 weeks ago, Carie Tindill of Cakeitecture Bakery stood up and gave some great testimony. Earlier that week, she had gotten an email from a woman in New York and a call the next day from another in Texas. Surprisingly....she did business with both of them. The next week, she mentioned she got a request to make a custom cake for a 16 year old....from their Mom in Afghanistan. Okay, I was blown away too!
Lastly, this Friday at another breakfast meeting, Carrie Boyd of Belize Tee's had thanked both ThurstonTalk and RelyLocal, because we apparently have reached out beyond Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey and Yelm, because she was getting calls from as far away as Korea!
I'll close with this...regardless of how you market your company or what your budget is.... Market Your Company.
Remember - "Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping a watch to save time." (Henry Ford)
Be well and continue to shop local. Thanks for taking the time to read this.