There are a number of ways you can connect with your customers online, and if you want to get the best results you need to take advantage of as many as possible. Because the internet makes it so easy for people to find the solutions they’re looking for, you can’t afford to hope they come to you – you need to meet them wherever they might be searching.
The most important place you need to establish a presence is in the search engines – specifically Google, Yahoo and Bing. Of the three, Google gets the largest percentage of searches (roughly 65% in April 2011, according to comScore) so it is the first place you should focus your efforts.
There are several aspects to having a presence in Google:
1) The search results
2) Google Places
3) Sponsored ads
4) Google Images
5) Google News
6) Google Video
These are all part of Google that you can use as a mortgage marketing tool, but in many ways they are independent of each other. We’re going to cover them all in detail in this article, but it’s important to remember that each of them works separately from the others so you want to show up in as many as possible when your customers are searching for you. If you show up in most or all of them, it’s going to create a strong impression with your customers, and make them much more likely to choose you over another business.
And keep in mind that the other search engines have many of these same features. We’re going to talk about Google in most parts of this article because they are the largest, but virtually everything we cover translates over to Bing and Yahoo as well.
Google has a service for local businesses called Google Places. This service lets you set up a profile for your business where you can showcase various things and generate, such as:
1) Special promotions
3) Photos and videos
Google Places also lets your customers post reviews about your business and you can respond to those reviews, creating a dialog with those people.
Your Google Places listing will show up when someone searches for the products or services you offer in your area, along with other companies offering the same things.
Now imagine how this process is going to work for a moment. When someone goes online to search for a company that provides the solutions you can, they’re going to see several results in Google Places. What is going to make them choose one over another?
One aspect will be the ranking in Google Places. The top 3 results get the majority of their attention, with the first one getting more than the rest. So you want to be sure your listing is at or near the top of those results. (We’ll look at some strategies for accomplishing this shortly.)
Another aspect is how much information is shared. If your company has a full profile with pictures, reviews, special offers and other information, it’s a lot more likely to get the searcher’s attention and admirable Local Google Traffic than another listing that just has the bare minimum information showing.
If this is a potential customer’s first impression of your business, you need to be sure you’re putting your best foot forward.