Helping local Indiana businesses <BR>use the Internet to achieve their goals.
Helping local Indiana businesses
use the Internet to achieve their goals.
Google processes 1 billion searches a day.<BR>97% of online consumers are searching <BR>for local businesses.
Google processes 1 billion searches a day.
97% of online consumers are searching
for local businesses.
But nearly half of local businesses don’t have a website. <BR>Which half are you in?
But nearly half of local businesses don’t have a website.
Which half are you in?
Want to target the customers ready<BR>to listen and ready to buy? <BR>Let’s talk.
Want to target the customers ready
to listen and ready to buy?
Let’s talk.
 
Pause
Local Business. Local Consumer.

Local Indiana businesses have had to deal with many changes over the years from 20% inflation to the collapse of stock markets to increased government regulations. Throughout all of this, Hoosier companies have adapted and grown. Local ownership and having a special connection with their customer have been at the heart of this ability to persevere.

Now those same local businesses are faced with another change…….a societal change that will forever alter how they communicate and market to their customer. It is called the Internet. Here are a few facts to illustrate the point:

  • 69% of Indiana households have Internet access. (US Census Bureau)
  • 97% of online consumers look for local products and services. (Google)
  • 63% of shoppers consistently read reviews online before making a purchase decision. (Google)
  • 54% of Americans have replaced phone books (Yellow Pages & Business Directory) with Internet and Local Search. (comScore)
  • 82% of local searchers follow up offline via an in-store visit, phone call or purchase. (TMP/comScore)

Let’s face it, local marketing to our Indiana customers is changing and Hoosier businesses have to change with it. Having an Internet marketing strategy to compliment traditional marketing is critical to your future success…..maybe to your survival.

read more

Internet Marketing Blog

The Woodhaven Group Internet Marketing Blog

The internet provides a wide range of options to help market your business more effectively. See what you're already doing right and learn what you could be doing better to optimize your marketing options. 


10 Tips to Market Online to Older Hoosier Consumers Part 1

Older Hoosier consumers are almost ignored by advertisers. This is a major strategic mistake. Everything in electronic and print media seems targeted at the younger customer.

Except the facts don’t support doing that.

In the most recent study available from November 2011, the Pew Research Center’s Pew Social & Demographic Trends report pointed out that the typical household headed by someone 65 and older had 47 times more net worth than a typical household headed by someone younger than 35 years old. You can see the full report at www.pewsocialtrends.org/risingagegroup.

Your Indiana business should not make the same mistake national advertisers are making.

We know that over 50% of senior Americans over 65 are using the Internet. That percentage will continue to increase.

Marketing to this age group online has some similarities to marketing to the younger population but, sometimes, things need to be approached in a different manner to achieve the desired results.

We’ve put together 10 tips to help your Indiana business use the Internet to sell to older Hoosiers. Here are the first 5; come back next week for the next 5!

5 Tips to Market Online to Older Hoosier Consumers

1. Show seniors in Photos:  A well done photo showing a customer using your product or service can sell more of what your business is offering. Common sense tells us to show a senior in the photo instead of an under 30 year old if we want to attract the older customer. They will identify more with this type of ad. For example, if you own a restaurant show a photo of an older couple dining. If you have a women’s clothing store feature a baby boomer when highlighting your selections.

2. Make it easy to find information: The Internet is still new to many senior Hoosiers. They are using your website to learn more about how your business can solve a problem for them or fulfill a desire. Don’t make the home page too busy or they may go to a competitor who has a website that is easier to use. Make sure to link to other websites that can give your visitor more information. It will be appreciated and might be the difference in getting the sale. Stay away from popups and music playing on your website. That will be a turnoff. Also, keep your navigation bar at the top of the website simple and easy to use.

3. Take them to your website:  Some marketing tips make sense for all age groups. This is one of them. Don’t forget to show your website address in all offline opportunities that your business has. That includes on company trucks, stationary, business cards, all signs, TV commercials, billboards, newspaper ads, and all forms of direct mail. Also, don’t forget to invite them to your website when running radio commercials. Don’t make it hard for the senior to find your online presence. Once they arrive at your website it will be an opportunity to show the older customer just how this local Indiana business of yours can uniquely serve them better than any other company.

4. Reach out with email marketing: There are some online marketing strategies that can deliver a high return on investment for a local Indiana business. Email marketing is a great strategy to stay in touch on a regular basis and increase the bond with your customer. Some caveats to remember: make sure you get permission before sending the first email. Just because you have their contact information in your database is not a green light to start sending emails to this person. Also, don’t overwhelm your older customer by sending too many emails or newsletters. Quality of content is more important than quantity of emails. Also, providers of email marketing have analysis reports that can show you data such as how many emails were actually opened by the recipient. Used correctly, this analysis can assist in identifying what topics, products or services are most important to your senior customer.

5. Use Pinterest: This happens to be one of the fastest growing social media sites on the Internet and is heavily used by women. It should be a part of your Internet strategy in attracting an older audience who I predict will be some of the fastest growing groups using Pinterest. Pinterest is simply a collection of photos, images, infographics and videos that are collected or “pinned” into a “board” that has a specific “theme” such as “kitchen designs”, “summer shoes”, “backyard ponds” or whatever you can imagine. It’s a great opportunity to attract new prospects and then link them back to your website. Learn more about Pinterest and sample viewing some boards. Small businesses such as florists, interior decorators, landscapers, bakeries and hair salons would be successful using this new marketing platform. Beware: viewing this website can become addictive.

And there you have it: the first 5 tips for using the Internet to market to an older demographic. None of these are too difficult, but following these tips can make a big difference in the how older customers view and use your business! Come back next week for the next 5 tips, and make your business fully baby boomer friendly!

10 Tips to Market Online to Older Hoosier Consumers Part 2

Welcome back to our blog miniseries on marketing online to older Hoosier consumers! If you missed our first 5 tips last week, you can read them here.

Remember that although many marketing techniques are similar between older and younger demographics, there are a few simple things your business can do to achieve better results when marketing to an older demographic online.

Here are the final five tips that will help your business reach this growing group of Internet users!

6. Reviews are the new word of mouth: Seniors have a life experience that most younger people do not have. As a result they are more discerning about who they will do business with. Ads will not be as effective with them as a 5 star review from a group of individuals on a site like Yelp, Urbanspoon, Google Reviews or an Angie’s List. In fact, a 2009 Nielsen Global Consumer Survey found that 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations and only 14% trust advertisements. Use this to your advantage to attract seniors by posting customer reviews on your own website and encouraging them to give your business a review on third party sites.

7. Build trust and credibility with a blog: Universal-McCann in 2009 found that 71% of Internet users read blogs. Hubspot (www.hubspot.com) says that a business who blogs has 55% more visitors to their website. Seniors are selective and want to know what their hard earned dollars will get them. A blog is usually about 250-400 words in length and is an opportunity to educate your Hoosier senior why your business is different and how it will benefit them. While it will take time and effort to write good quality blogs you will find it may be the best marketing tool to attract the older shopper.

8. Ask seniors their opinion: The best attribute of a small business owner is his ability to listen to the customer. What is nice about seniors is that they have opinions and are not bashful about sharing them. Older consumers, given the chance, will tell you how they want to be sold, what is important and what is frivolous to them. Use this information to improve your marketing message and close more sales. How do you do this? Try running polls or surveys in conjunction with newsletters, blogs or just on the home page of your website. Offer a comment field at the end of a blog and ask for their suggestions and comments. Don’t worry; you will get plenty of feedback. And, of course, the best place to listen on the Internet is with Facebook and Twitter. Make sure if there is a legitimate complaint or problem expressed that you quickly reply and solve it in a tactful manner. Other seniors seeing how well you solved the problem will like that they found a company that they can trust. Caveat: when replying online to an upset customer never respond in an angry tone. But you probably already knew that.

9. Design for mobile use: The next big revolution in the Internet is beginning to happen now and your older Indiana consumer will be participating. In the future most information from the Internet will be viewed on a mobile device of some kind like a cell phone, iPhone, tablet or a hybrid of a smartphone and tablet not yet introduced. The World Bank says that approximately 75% of the world’s population already has access to a mobile phone. What does that mean for your Hoosier business? It means older Hoosiers will get information about your business while walking in your store, setting in a restaurant or riding in a car. They may be looking for directions from a map, a phone number or if there is a promotion running today. The design of your website for mobile will have to be different than it currently is for a desktop or laptop computer. Make sure your business uses a web design company that is current on the new methods to make information easier to read on mobile devices. Instead of content being shown horizontally it will be shown in an easier to view vertical tack. This process has a name called responsive web design. Easy and quick access to information on your website should be your goal for mobile viewing. Make sure your Indiana business is ahead of the competition when it comes to mobile technology.

10. Don’t waste the senior’s time: Even though older seniors tend to have more time available, they will be using it wisely. When it comes to the Internet they do not want to waste their time. Provide content that is concise and to the point. Offer common sense solutions to their problems. Respond in a timely manner to questions or comments submitted over social media or a blog. Don’t assume all seniors want to use email to connect with your business. They are used to using the telephone. Provide phone numbers and have a real person available to take the call. The Indiana company that respects the senior’s time will have a better chance of earning their business.

The older Hoosier consumer’s buying power has great potential for any local Indiana business. Your company must make it a priority to market online to this valuable demographic group.

Summary: 10 Tips to Market Online to Older Hoosier Consumers

1. Show seniors in photos.

2. Make it easy to find information.

3. Take them to your website.

4. Reach out with email marketing.

5. Use Pinterest.

6. Reviews are the new word of mouth. Use them.

7. Build trust and credibility with a blog.

8. Ask seniors their opinion.

9. Design for mobile use.

10. Don’t waste the senior’s time.

Use These 3 Tips Before Writing Internet Content

If you are a local Indiana business owner, make sure your Internet marketing potential is realized by adhering to these 3 tips before writing new content.

Congratulations! You have decided to start promoting your Indiana business by building a website, creating a Facebook page, or maybe writing weekly blog posts.

These are all great ways to connect with your customer, but like any new endeavor, it's critical to be organized in the approach you take in order to realize the potential of these marketing opportunities.

Consistently delivering fresh, relevant content that is important to your targeted customer is at the core of success for a local Hoosier business using the Internet. At the core of success for a local Hoosier business using the Internet is to consistently deliver fresh content that is important to your targeted customer. Having a website, blog, or Facebook page that is never updated is a waste of time for your customer and for your business.

Here are 3 tips to consider before writing Internet content that will save you time and deliver value.

3 Key Content Tips

Tip #1: What is your goal?

Ask yourself what you want to accomplish with all this activity. Why are you writing a blog post? What is the purpose of the social media entry? What actions should the customer ultimately take?

If you are a winery, you may want them to visit an upcoming tasting of the winery's latest release. Oliver Winery is a good example. If your business is a meat market, you may want your customer to join the frequent buyers' club or purchase this month's bundled meat package for their freezer. See these 15 bundled packages from Country Choice Meats in Kokomo for a good idea on how to do this. If you are a garden center and it's May, then invite your customer on Facebook to come in and buy mulch for their flower beds. See how well McCarty Mulch & Stone does it here.

Your content should always support the action you want your customer to take. First, establish your goal.

Tip #2: Who is your customer?

Get inside your customer’s head. How do they want to be communicated to?  If you are a landscape designer, will your customer want to see before and after photos?  If you are an Indiana veterinarian, does your customer want to be educated on how to care for a pet? If so, a series of blog posts may be just the thing. A good example is right here at Companion Animal Medical Center. Are you a Farmers Market?  Then make buying easier by showing a map of the market with all the vendors listed like Carmel does. Know your customer. Know how they want to be communicated to. This will make it easier for you to deliver fresh content that will get used.

Tip #3:  What does your customer want?

Everyone wants their problems solved or desires fulfilled. Identify what these are and make your content all about that. This is the best way to connect with a prospect or customer and keep them coming back to your website.

If your business is a local Indiana bakery then provide the recipe for your award winning sugar cream pie. The local veterinarian can explain to a pet owner what is involved in an annual checkup and why it’s important. A central Indiana tree service can explain in a page on its website all about the emerald ash borer attacking Indiana ash trees. This is done well at Vine and Branch, Inc.    

Many businesses waste the customer’s time delivering information that is not relevant to what they want or need. Make sure your business does not fall into this trap.

Summary:

If you are a local Indiana business owner make sure your Internet marketing potential is realized by adhering to the above 3 tips before writing even one word of content:

Tip #1:  What is your goal?

Tip #2:  Who is your customer?

Tip #3:  What does your customer want?

Your Indiana Business Should Blog to Increase Sales

Writing a blog can be an easy, low-cost way for your Indiana business to generate new customers and increase sales. It should be an important part of your marketing plan.

Writing a blog can be an easy, low-cost way for your Indiana business to generate new customers and increase sales. It should be an important part of your marketing plan.

What is a Blog?

Think of it as a 250-400 word opportunity to educate your customer on topics, issues, and even terms they might be reluctant to ask when visiting your business. Consumers are thirsting to be educated, and they are looking for a trusted, reliable source to deliver that information to them. They would prefer for that source to be someone knowledgeable and local. That can be you.

An individual blog post is usually 1 topic only, written once or twice per week and can be read and reread by your customer at their convenience.

But, you say that you are not good at writing?  No problem. You don’t have to have been an English major in college or write like Kurt Vonnegut to pen a good blog post. Just write in a normal conversational tone. Be yourself. Your customer will appreciate that. They will feel like they are in your shop talking with you.

6 Benefits of Writing a Blog

There are real business benefits to writing a blog that can result in more sales. Here are just 6 of them:

  1. Increase visitors to your website:  The more customers visit your website, the better chance you have of making a sale. Hubspota successful Internet marketing company, ran a study that says businesses that blog have 55% more visitors to their website. That is a huge bump in traffic to your website versus doing nothing. This statistic illustrates the productivity gain that a blog can contribute to your marketing effort. No other Internet activity delivers the potential for more revenue like a blog.
  2. Differentiate your business:  First of all, most Hoosier businesses do not take the time to have a blog to educate their customer. A blog is more informal than a website and allows your business to keep fresh topics in front of your customer that is of interest to them today. For instance, during the drought of 2012, many landscapers missed the opportunity to inform their customers how to care for their lawn and trees. A simple blog post on this topic would have been greatly appreciated by homeowners. The result could have been a life-time customer who would never forget the tips given that saved a favorite tree.
  3. Become an authoritative source:  It doesn’t take much to keep your customer up to date on important issues surrounding your industry and establish yourself as the “go to” expert in your community. A blog can do that for you. Imagine a local doctor blogging about suggestions to reduce the chance of getting diabetes or a butcher discussing the pros and cons of grass fed beef. You may find the local newspaper or radio station will interview you as a result of an important topic you chose to cover. Free publicity can never hurt!
  4. Top of mind awareness:  Let’s face it, how often does the average Indiana consumer wake up in the morning thinking of your business and what you can do for them?  A blog with interesting and timely posts that helps the average homeowner or business owner become a more intelligent consumer or save them money is something that will be followed on a frequent basis. For instance, a local accountant could blog about year end tax tips in November or an estate attorney could discuss the different types of trusts available that can save on estate and inheritance taxes. With a blog that can happen.
  5. Get valuable feedback:  How would your business like a focus group or sounding board for testing new ideas. A blog can do that for you without having to hire a high priced agency to do the work. A comment field at the end of each blog post invites comments from your readers. By asking their feelings or opinions at the end of the blog post, you will get thoughts that are invaluable. This also gives you the opportunity to establish a dialogue with your readers and show them what they have to say is important to your company. This is something large national competitors will not be good at doing.
  6. Establish trust and credibility:  Good relevant content that solves problems will establish trust and credibility with your targeted customer. The result will be more visits to your website and conversions into a sale. Others in your industry will recognize the value you are delivering with the content in your blog. They will end up linking from their website, Facebook page, tweet or blog to your blog. In essence, due to your high quality blog posts others will be bringing a new audience to your business that may result in a sale. Consider this incredibly inexpensive advertising.

Don't be surprised when a new customer calls or steps into your business and states that they want to buy from your company. Why would they do this? The prospect just might be feeling a close connection to your business from reading your blog for the last several months.

In a sense your blog has become a unique, low-cost call to action that can generate a loyal, lifelong customer and increase overall sales.

Good luck...and go blog!

Summary:

  1. A blog is easy to do and low cost. 
  2. Blog 1-2 times per week. 
  3. Make a blog post 250-400 words in length. 
  4. Businesses that blog have 55% more visitors to their website. 
  5. Use a blog to differentiate your Indiana business from the competition. 
  6. A blog allows you to become an authoritative source within your industry.

The Internet, Your Business and Passionate Marketing

If you think older Americans are not using the Internet, think again. These facts show that older Americans are more active than ever online.

Let’s put to rest the fallacy that older Americans are not using the Internet.

As I speak with Indiana small business owners some will still comment that their business has an older clientele and those customers are not using the Internet.

Therefore, these owners say, they do not need to include the Internet in their marketing strategy. 

Let’s examine the facts.

The Pew Research Center is one of the most respected sources for the study of trends in America. The Pew Internet & American Life Project in 2012 addressed usage of the Internet by older Americans. Here are a few of their findings:

  • 53% of Americans 65 and older use the Internet or email.
  • 70% of online Americans 65 and older use the Internet daily.
  • 34% of Americans 76 and older use the Internet.
  • 69% of Americans 65 and older own a cell phone which is up from 57% in 2010

But, what about social media usage? Isn’t it only for young people? Let’s see what Pew found out:

  • Senior Americans who are online are one of the fastest growing groups of social media users. From 2009 to 2011 Pew saw a 150% increase in social networking site usage by this group.
  • 34% of Internet users 65 years old or older use networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • 18% of online Americans 65 and older use networking sites on a typical day.

Is email marketing in the future for your Indiana business? Maybe it should be. Pew had these startling observations to share:

  • 86% of Internet users 65 and older use email.
  • 48% of Internet users 65 and older use email on a daily basis.

Communicating with your older customer base over the Internet should not be ignored.

Over half of Americans 65 and older are using the Internet for some purpose. They are becoming more and more comfortable with this new channel of marketing.

Expect these usage numbers to continue an upward trend as Pew does future studies of this key older demographic.

 

The Woodhaven Goal

...to be the dominant provider of Internet marketing services to small businesses operating in local Indiana communities.

customer reviews stats and facts
Copyright 2012 The Woodhaven Group | Serving Indiana Businesses Privacy Statement Terms Of Use Licenses Hosting Register