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Embroco Blog

By Joel Conner 21 Aug, 2017
EMBROCO'S LOCAL SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING CHECKLIST FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

What exactly is Local SEO? And how does it affect search engine results in Southwest Florida?

Local Search engine marketing is the method of maximizing your website so that it is found in the first positions of Google, Bing and Yahoo for searches that are related to your local area.
Google is extremely attentive as to which websites to showcase in the local search results box, since the local companies that get a top listing will receive higher CTRs (click through rates) and traffic.
The list could go on and on however the overall understanding of local SEO is that:
An individual wants to find a company (address or a telephone number), in the specified region defined by the query, so as to visit or call to satisfy a need.
Search engines alternatively, would like to help keep folks content by offering them details for businesses that satisfy the user-intent.
An expert may say that local SEO resembles long-tail SEO however with the proximity added in the query string, and this is accurate.

The saying local SEO is usually unknown to numerous small enterprises but for quite a few companies this is certainly all they require to become successful on the internet.
Embroco's extensive local search engine optimization checklist can help you optimize your website for local internet search.

Who needs local SEO?
Every business that has a street address and conducts business a certain area needs local SEO.
Do you own a restaurant, a mechanic shop, a clothing store? Are you a dentist, hairdresser, mechanic or a store?
You must have a website that is designed for local SEO.
Consumers use the Internet to seek out a business before they actually stop by and if they don’t find yours, it’s obvious that you are giving up consumers as well as opportunities and someone else will capitalize. And you can be sure that most of the time another business will undoubtedly be around to pick up your missed opportunity.

Just what are the merits associated with local Search engine optimization regarding small companies?
Boost your odds of showing up higher in Search results - Companies that are chosen to appear in Google local results (including Google Maps) are more likely to get more engagements than websites that don’t show up in this section.

A Cornucopia of Conversions - The conversion rate is significant, since guests visiting a website from local search are highly precise.
Brand visibility and attention -People looking for companies in your area will know that you actually exist and this will make your brand more familiar plus boost interest about your business.
Higher return on investment - An maximized website for local search should produce more benefit to a ‘brick and mortar’ business, since all they want is to get customers searching the web for businesses in their area.
This makes a higher yield on the investment made and possibly faster development than companies that don’t use this.

How is local SEO distinct from general SEO?
Local SEO marketing is for targeting searches in a particular geo location while general SEO methods are applicable for global broad searches.
It should be considered that all SEO advice about on-page or off-page SEO is also applicable for local SEO also.
The main difference is that for local enhancement, you also should provide area interest indicators to Search engines, as we will see in the checklist below.
Smart phone searches are by ‘default’ localized
If you're looking from your smart phone or if you have allowed Google to observe your location when searching from your personal computer, you don’t need to type your location in your search, due to the fact Google already knows your region.
In other words, if you are literally located in Cape Coral and type in italian restaurants on Google search from your smartphone, Google will return the same results as if you typed in restaurants in your area. And the closer you are to a restaurant, the more likely results are going to show that particular place.
The same is true if you search for mexican restaurants near me.
Should all businesses apply Local SEO?
No and the reason is that if you try to target users in a particular area, it will be more difficult to rank for keywords that are related to global search.
Take for example my business, reliablesoft.net.
Some businesses have clients from all over the planet and want to rank for more general terms, they do not provide any local signals to search engines, apart from those they need to give to their users for business understanding and trustworthiness.


Embroco Checklist for Local Search Optimization
I have written regarding the benefit of optimizing for local search for businesses but I haven't yet come to the most crucial part of this post i.e. what you have to do in order to enhance your business site for local search results.

This components on this list are only effective if you actually perform this stuff persistently.

1. Register your business with Google My Business

Having a Google My Business account is the most essential component for Local SEO.
When you create an account with Google Business, Google will verify your address and ownership of the company.
This will be done by either sending you a postcard with a code.
Once your mailing address is verified, your organization will show up on the map and also will be a prospect to show up in local results.
To increase your local ranking on Google, you should make certain that:
• The information provided for your organization is accurate, thorough and correct.
• You respond to every single review customers leave about your business (even the not so good ones).
• You have added photos of your business, attractive looking logos, graphics, & staff photos, to your Google My Business page.
• The hours of your company are correctly set and up-to-date.

2. Register Your Business With Local online directories
Register your company with any trustworthy local directories and don't forget to be consistent in the details you are using.
There are a number of websites that provide lists of helpful directories. Also consider directories directly related to your niche.

3. Create a Local business web page on Facebook
Facebook has a special kind of category for local businesses.
When you create a Facebook Business Page and select the category ‘local business’, Facebook will validate your address and business details.

Facebook can be rapid method to boost brand recognition through easy to operate boosted posts and paid advertising. You can easily select your region for targeted ads. Also, Facebook ads are relatively inexpensive.

4. Optimize page titles, meta-descriptions and URLS
Titles and Descriptions are important for local SEO.
An optimized title should be between 50-60 characters and if you are focusing on local consumers then the location should be part of your meta-title and meta-description.
A couple of real examples from the web:

A local SEO optimized URL could be: https://www.busybee.com/honey-florida

5. NAP (Name, Address, Phone) on website
On your homepage, make sure that your full street address details (telephone number, email, street number, post code, state, country, email) are found as text (not image) in a notable location.
Critical: When displaying your contact number, make sure that you use your local number (including the area code) rather than your toll-free number.
Any indicators you can share with Search engines associated with your vicinity are helpful for boosting the local search results.

6. Register your website with Bing Places for Business is also a pretty good idea
Bing Places for Business is free of charge, simple to complete and yet another way to validate your company data on the internet. Do not forget to link to your Bing profile from your Google My Business page (and the other way around).

7. Try to reply to nearly every single review on every media platform, but primarily your website's blog
In addition to registering on the previously mentioned platforms, it is important to entice clients to review your company and it is equally important to respond to all reviews, even if they are upsetting. In some instances, it may be wise to ignore it and is imperative not to get into some kind of argument while endeavoring to defend your position. You ought to preserve professionalism and built rapport.
You can ask for testimonials by asking very nicely and letting them understand just how much it would mean to you personally and for your company. Do not try to bribe them. That could work against establishing the sort of confidence you desire to obtain. Make the steps as basic and convenient as you possibly can and be mindful of opportune timing. Don't plead, don't nag. Simply don't.

8. Smart phone optimization
Do not forget about mobile, particularly when referring to obtaining clients in your area.
The majority of people make use of their smartphone while on the move and landing on a non-mobile friendly webpage is wearisome and will discourage them from carrying on to search or investigation.



By Joel Conner 21 Aug, 2017

Nothing else comes close to the versatility that Facebook ad targeting offers. You can target ads based on a number of parameters like interest, gender, user location, interest, education, relationship status, education among others.
Due to the constant and ever high traffic on Facebook, you literally have the chance to get the conversion rates you’ve always only dreamed of.

For instance, let’s assume that your company recently launched their own coffee, you can aim to attract customers from Starbucks by targeting lovers of Starbucks coffee in your ads in a bid to sway them to your own coffee brand.

When you target users based on interest, you will notice a surge in the number of Facebook fans, email subscribers, brand advocates and buyers. Eventually, you will have succeeded in converting more users into customers or potential customers at least. Once they buy into your brand and become actual customers, they will most likely become your advocates as social evidence of the quality of your brand to your target audience/market.

It’s actually a no brainer, if someone didn’t own a car, they probably wouldn’t care about car wipers and blades.
Equally, if I have in the past expressed my willingness to learn baking and I come across an ad that promises to tutor people on baking and all its mysteries and promises to make me a professional baker in under a year, then chances are that I am going to be more inclined to click on the ad, more than I would have clicked on an ad that was selling plastic chairs at 20% off the original price.

A non-profit organization can also seamlessly target users for a higher click-through rate based on their interests and preferences:
Once you have a perfect idea for your ad, the next thing you want to do is to select and target an audience based on one or multiple interests.

Usually, these kind of people are usually pre-qualified leads, because they have already indicated interest in your topic.
Interest-based targeting is usually effective in increasing a Facebook fan base.
Keep in mind that you would have to set up a lead nurturing system if you want to make the best out of your leads. The truth is, the vast majority of them are not just going to magically buy your product on sighting your ad.

Therefore, you would still need to do a bit of marketing, education and persuasion before you get the click-through rate to become a high website conversion rate – before you can accomplish that, you need to have a system that can seamlessly allow you communicate with them regularly.
Sounds pretty basic right? Well, it's quite an easy process if you actually know the basics of it.

You must realize that target audience is the most important significant factor to your Facebook ad success.

Do’s
There are a few Do’s that can ensure that your odds at targeting users based on the audience are greatly improved.
I’ll go ahead and just conclude that you are familiar with very basics here (gender, age, location etc.). Grouping in that demographic data will help you sieve out all of the people who probably would have no business buying your “chairs at 20% off its original price.” – Basically, those who wouldn’t think twice to care about what you are selling.

But let’s assume, you are still left with a very long list at this point – even after you have added a few interest like celebrities they follow or brands they like and you are target audience is still running into millions.
If you’re caught in that dilemma, here is the next action that you should take;

Customer Segment or Personas
First, divide your audience into multiple customer segment or personas. This may seem very obvious. But it is a complete game changer.
You may proceed with something as easy as the industry your prospects are in. like this:
For instance, let’s say you are targeting other business people, you can easily segregate those people by virtue of their industry (like consulting vs finance). You can also divide them by location (big cities). And you can also further segment them by job title (middle managers vs VP and C-level).
So you can apply these textbook moves by simply chipping in a few parameters like this to help you slash one big group into a tiny bit (this will also save you money).


Filters: Intersections or Exclusions
After segmentation, you can further refine those you intend to target by using interest intersection and exclusion feature.
What if you are still left with a big list? What if it’s still too vague?
For instance, what if what you actually want are self-employed accountants who are not tax attorneys? You can also add “law”, “legal”, “attorney”, “lawyer”, and the likes to further refine the search result.
Notice how these intersections and exclusions actually give you efficient targeting options to find just the right people. Those who are interested in what you have are the ones that may probably patronize you.

The moment you get a steady flow of incoming traffic; you’ll be able to start using custom audiences. This is more like remarketing or retargeting audiences that have just visited your website, subscribed to your newsletter or engaged with you on Facebook.
So, begin with interest targeting.                                                                                    
If you need to refine your audience, split the customers into multiple segments and use intersections or exclusions to filter the list. Then you can go on to try out custom audiences and lookalikes to when you are ready to move to the next level.
If not, the next thing is to begin generating traffic from your first few leads. We’ll get to more of that in coming posts.


By Joel Conner 21 Aug, 2017

Notice:  Please read all 6 mistakes that small businesses make and how to fix them. Failure to implement any one of these areas could make a huge difference for the online presence of your business.


1. The absolute worst mistake that I have seen small businesses make in my years as a web consultant in southwest Florida is to never get around to setting up a good website.  They fall back on one of many excuses, the foremost is, "word of mouth is what drives my business.”  "Word of mouth” and running a great business is what keeps you in business, but it doesn't change the fact that most folks looking for products or services are going to go straight to google. The stats for local business search are undeniably compelling.  And local businesses easily rank well for local search with an optimized website.  And with your own website (depending on which option you go with) you have total control of their engagement and user experience, which brings us to the second catastrophic mistake that just breaks my marketing heart.

Action Point: Get a Website (but not before finishing this article)


2. The second worst mistake is thinking, "It’s enough to just have a good facebook page.” Facebook is a great tool for brand awareness and creating some engagement with your product. It is not a replacement for a website.  For sure it is much better than having nothing, but facebook and other social media tools are much too confining and limited in what they accomplish for businesses.  Also, you have no control of the decisions they may make in the future.  This was a lesson I learned years ago as an eBay seller.  On a whim, they could change the parameters that could totally change your chances of doing successful business. When a person finds you in search engine land, and they have the option of clicking to learn more about you and your products or services, almost all would prefer to click to a website and not a social media page.  And you would much prefer that as well because you have control of what kind of content they will see, how it is structured, and want action points you would like them to take as a result of coming to your website.

Action point: Keep your facebook page and get a great website built for you by someone who knows what they are doing. (more about this later)


3. The third mistake that I often see is using a "cheap" website builder or simple drag and drop website builder.  This one hits close to home for me as website builder and consultant, because I see some businesses go this route after finding out that there is a cost of having a website built for you.  And in contrast, many of my happy clients tried this route before deciding to partner with Embroco to achieve their business goals.    Many if not all of their pain points in navigating their web presence are not only eliminated but are transformed into excitement as they see the results that were previously elusive. When you hire a professional, they have access directly to "the code", and all of it, thus you are no longer confined to the limitations of "safe and simple" website builder application. Using these DIY services might be acceptable for the hobbyist or a simple blogging site, but for a serious business, hiring someone who really knows how to optimize a site for results both in search engine land and in user experience, makes all the difference between success and failure.  Website marketing firms build and optimize websites every day, know best practices, and have insights that the business owners typically just don't have time to acquire.  I have seen some pretty decent attempts by zealous go-getter types.  But the astronomical amount of time that they spent trying to achieve a good looking site leave me thinking was it really worth it.  And having a pretty site doesn't mean that your site is optimized for success in a world where your competition online is steadily getting more fierce.  

Action Point: Hire the right Professional Web Design Firm


4. The next mistake that kills your results is never taking the time to maintain and add fresh content to their site or not hiring someone to do it for them. In order to thrive and not just survive when it comes to ranking well on google, you must have a reason for people visiting your site.  Not just once but you would like folks to come back and visit from time to time.  Create a valuable resource for your clients to take advantage of. Search engines look for helpful original unique insightful written content. Give incentives, promotions, and knowledge and try to make it interesting or even entertaining.   One thing that I have learned working in web consulting over the years is that: "Getting content from business owners is harder that pulling teeth!"  There are a lot of reasons and excuses for this, but I believe that the main one is that it is hard work.  It is true that no one knows your business like you do and your insight for delivering good content would be invaluable, however, if you never get around to doing it, you would be much better off hiring someone else to do it.  The payoff is that once great content has been created, it is done and it will continue to reap benefits in the future.  

Action Point: Maintain and create content or hire someone to do it.


5. The fifth mistake that I want to touch on can be a very costly one, Hiring the wrong web design firm for the wrong reasons. The world of web browsers, code, search engines and aggressive start-ups with big ideas is exciting and rapidly evolving.  I am going to list a few things to look out for when looking to hire a web design firm.

1. Don’t hire a firm just because they have been around the longest.  This may seem like a viable reason, but I have seen large established firms that are still producing websites that are not optimized for mobile devices with code elements dated by 5-10 years.

2. Don’t hire a firm just because they charge the most.  Also, they don't give a reasonable justification for the astronomical prices.  Having a website built for you should be like a trip to the ER. We practice complete transparency with our pricing from the very beginning.  It should be simple, this is how much it costs, this is why.

3. Carefully consider the Content Management System that the firm is connecting to the code of their website.  This can be a really big issue once a site has gone live. It is absolutely vital that you have a clear understanding of how easy or not it is to maintain and make changes to your site.  

4. Don’t hire a mega-firm that sends much of their work abroad which can cause communication issues and may not be accessible to fix things quickly and accurately.  This is a temptation for every web-developer.  Hire abroad, manage, take the profits off the top, and retire now.  This scenario is problematic in too many ways to mention in this article.


Action Point: Hire a local firm that uses up to date best design practices, practices fair pricing with transparency, builds in a powerful content management system and is small enough that you have a real person you can call up and talk to immediately.


6.  The final blow that deflates the online potential of any local business is a failure to invest in local marketing tools.  For the amount of " seo juice” and traffic that these services provide, they are well worth the meager investment.  A beautiful and optimized website is the foundation for success, but in today's competitive online atmosphere, it is just not enough. Most competent web firms will offer to incorporate these services for a one-time fee or small recurring fee to keep these vital marketing engines optimized. Businesses can take advantage of websites such as MOZ Local or BrightLocal and use some of their very helpful tools for free or take advantage of their paid services.  Keep in mind that some web-firms may already have access to the more advanced tools offered by these local marketing applications, and have experience in implementing and optimizing your results. What do these sites offer?  They maximize your presence in two main areas: Citations (listing your site on online directories) and providing monitoring and Analytics. The other key factor that needs to be actively pursued is getting and monitoring online reviews. Marketing firms can help with this, but the easiest way to accomplish it is to just ask your favorite clients to write you a 5-star review.  

Action Point: Use local marketing tools or hire your web-firm to set this up for you.  At the very least utilize this strategy for a few months.


I genuinely hope that this article was helpful and helps bring your dreams to fruition.


Interested in have us build your website? Click here to contact us. Or call us at 863-517-0615


For more information or comments please contact me at joelc@embroco.com

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