Contributing Bloggers, Event Marketing

Digital Marketing Becoming Pay for Play

At one point in time the majority of digital marketing was free — you may even think it still is! If you really want to get a return on your time investment (e.g. posting on Facebook), you may need to start paying to play!

If your business has a Facebook page, you are lucky if 15% of your followers see  your content posts. Quite often, the numbers are closer to 3%! If you were willing to pay even $7, Facebook might show it to 1,500 additional people (but not necessarily people who follow your page)!

In early March, Google made a change to their landscape (the Search Engine Results Page or SERP), by removing ads from the right hand side and putting four ads at the top of the SERP. The layout of the page is now 4 ads, 3 Google My Business locations (plus a map) and then organic listings.

What’s a Small Business to Do?

Stardust Events in Google Search Engine Results PageIf you own a business in Toronto and want to drive traffic to your website, you should consider the following:

  1. Google Adwords – Keep the costs down by bidding on long tail keywords only. That means, rather than bidding on “Toronto Venues”, bid on “Toronto banquet halls” or “Toronto small event venue” — basically any phrase with more than two words in it. Another way to keep cost down is to limit your AdWords to just remarketing. That is, have your ad pop up all over the internet to be seen only by people who have already visited your website. You can further limit that audience to people who did not contact you; people who are currently located in Toronto; people who viewed at least three pages of your website… you decide
  2. Google My Business (e.g. Maps) — For many queries, Google Maps shows up immediately below the paid ads, so it is important to be visible there if you are a bricks-and-mortar business (e.g. you have a physical location).
  3. Directories — For searches on your brand, ideally your website shows up first in Google, perhaps followed by your Facebook page, your Twitter account and then perhaps your listing in directories such as Did you know that you can track your return on investment from such directories by checking your analytics (e.g. Google Analytics) Referral Sources to see how much traffic you acquired from each directory you are listed in? If you have goals set up, you can also tell if that directory was a source of quality traffic. At, we are going a step further in tracking: clicks to your website, clicks on your phone number (from our website), clicks on your email address (from our website), clicks out to your social media platforms from our website (e.g. Twitter and Facebook). You can easily track all of this from your site as well using a combination of Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager! Other directories to consider (depending upon your industry) are Yelp and Kijiji.

And If You Absolutely Refuse to Pay…

All is not lost … on Google you have organic results and Google My Business (maps). Longer tail searches continue to drive a great deal of traffic thanks to increased use of voice (people speaking into their phone) to conduct searches. Google rewards good content — content that is unique and answers questions your visitors did not even know they had. Make sure your website has the most complete, user-friendly content of any of your competitors (locally and beyond). Incorporate some images and videos; check the Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) monthly to see what people are searching for and tweak your content accordingly. Rinse and repeat and over time you will significantly increase traffic to your site from search engines. The good news is that search engines tend to drive very high-quality traffic!

On Facebook, if you don’t want to pay, find influencers in your industry — brand ambassadors willing to share your blog posts on their wall, with other people, to specific groups, etc.

Darlene Moore

Darlene Moore

Darlene is the owner and President of DriveTraffic Digital Marketing, specializing in SEO, Google AdWords, Facebook Advertising and Local SEO. She keeps the focus on ROI for clients and is passionate about teaching clients to read their Google Analytics reports. When not working, Darlene can be found in her kayak with her dog 🙂
Darlene Moore

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