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Marketing & Advertising / Electronic marketing / SEO
March 2014 Foreword

Dear Mr. Google

March 02, 2014
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I am but a simple carpet cleaner and restoration contractor. All I want to do is provide a great service to my community and build a business for my family.

I seem to have a problem.

You see, I started my cleaning and restoration company some 25 years ago and, back then, we spent quite a bit of money on print advertisement. Sure, we got our best customers by referral, but to get our name out in the community, we relied on the Yellow Pages and some newspaper advertising.

The Yellow Pages worked pretty well. It was true that, each year, the price seemed to jump quite a bit and many promises were made that were then forgotten by the Yellow Page salesman who visited our office, but people saw our ad when they needed cleaning or some water damage work done. The Yellow Page ad got us work, which we needed.

Each month, the Yellow Page bill that faithfully came in the mail was tough to swallow, but the phone was ringing so it was worth it.

But then times seemed to change. It was slow at first, but then picked up steam. The responses from our Yellow Page ad slowed down. It was like people weren’t seeing our ad. I asked our Yellow Page salesman about this, and he said we just needed to add more color and make our ad bigger to get good results. We did that for a couple of years but it didn’t seem to matter.

Our competition in town seemed busier than we were. I didn’t know why until our teenage son got a computer and started to learn Internet stuff. He learned about search engines and how to find things. Some of the things he found, well… we didn’t like it one bit, and had to ground him from the computer from time to time. But it was quite an eye-opener when we typed in “carpet cleaning” and the name of our town and we saw our competition right there in front of our eyes!

But where were we?

After some investigation, we decided to start a website and we hired a computer expert in our town. He made it look pretty good and in about three months, when we did that same search, we saw our company listed right up near the top. This was pretty cool!

The Yellow Page salesman came around again, and he was not very happy that we decided to drop the color and make our ad just half a page instead of the full page. It seemed that people were finding us on their computer and not in their Yellow Page book.

Another year goes by and our phone is ringing nicely and people are finding us on the Internet. We started to understand this Internet marketing thing, and even started an e-mail newsletter. The Yellow Page salesman came back and we cancelled our entire ad. Man, was he one unhappy guy! It seems like he was seeing this all the time, the way he reacted.

The years went by, and now the phone isn’t ringing like it used to and when we search for our company, for some weird reason we aren’t near the top anymore. We didn’t change how we ran our website. It worked before, so what happened?

Please let us know ASAP.

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for next month’s response from Mr. Google.

Recent Articles by Jeff Cross, senior editor