Local Online Advertising and Your Website

Since the world didn’t come to an end – and no I don’t mean last Saturday, I mean over the last couple of years during this economic crisis, you need to get back to marketing. And there is no better place to consider then local advertising online. You see, local advertising as a whole, has held up better than expected. Overall, businesses spent roughly $130 billion advertising locally last year.

Online gets about 15% of that

Peeling back a layer of the onion shows us that online advertising should hit about $23 billion in 2011, roughly 15% of the total spent on local advertising. But don’t let that 15% fool you, that’s up 50% year-over-year, and is clearly where ad dollars are going to be spent in the future.

This brings me to your website

If you can say yes to any of the following questions, then it might be time to make some changes to your website:

  • Has it been more than a year since you have made any material changes to your site?
  • Are you still not sure if this whole “video thing” online is going to catch on?
  • Did your website designer do you a favor and pack every area you ever thought about working in into your footer?
  • Is your contact form more like a mortgage application?
  • Is your website getting traffic but not converting that traffic into leads?
  • Does your website look old or out-dated compared to other sites in your industry and service area?
  • Is your site run by a supplier who requires users to go through their site first to find you?
  • “I have been thinking of putting in a testimonials page, but I haven’t gotten to it yet”.

Answering yes to any one of these questions could lower your website’s chances of converting prospects into leads. Answering yes to more than one really is not good at all and answering yes to 5 or more means you should just take your friggin’ site down and start over.

Why?

Because the last time I checked, your website’s primary function in 2011 should be to bring in new business. Consumers have stopped living in a 3D world, they spend their days with their faced plastered against a computer screen, TV screen or phone, and they know what a shitty website looks like. So before you ask me to spend a penny of your hard-earned dollars marketing you online, get a website that is going to convert!

But your site isn’t the only one. Plenty of contractors got lazy thinking they could slap up a website and all of their marketing prayers would be answered. Google would bring them all of the natural organic traffic they could ever need, and they would be millionaires overnight.

Problem is, the traffic never came, and they stopped advertising because the market got so bad. Now they have no customers, their website sucks and because they have no customers they don’t have any money to market their companies or re-build their websites.

Or worse…

Maybe the traffic did come — but their websites did such a poor job at converting visitors into new business, that it didn’t matter anyway.

My point to all this is this — more and more dollars are going to be spent online in the coming years. It’s time to take a look at where your website is failing and how you can improve it, because just like my tomatoes in the garden, they all need occasional care and feeding. So take some time over the next couple weeks to really sit back and take a good hard look at your website and decide if it is pulling its weight. If not, then maybe you need another opinion to help stir the creative juices and get your site back on track. Photo credit: Smemon