Internet Marketing Without Google: ThomasNet, Zillow, Angie’s List

In Internet marketing, it is very easy to fall into the trap of SEO and PPC being the be-all, end-all of how to bring people to your site and convert them into sales. Despite how important both SEO and PPC can be, there are many other ways, depending on the sector you’re in, for you to generate traffic and business to your site. In other words, they can help you to break away from the reliance on Google for all your needs.

Real Estate

 The real estate sector is one of the last sectors to be revolutionized on the Internet, but that is changing rather quickly. Now it is easier than ever to find properties and to understand what each has to offer. With that, real estate agents have to create well crafted listings to ensure that people are buying properties they’re showing to maximize their commission. A few sites that are currently available are:

  • Realtor.com: Part of the Move network, Realtor.com was one of the first sites to start taking data from the MLS to show people. That being said, its search functionality is not the most precise as a search for “East Village, New York” returns results well out of that area.
  • Trulia: One of the newest “additions” to the real estate game, Trulia takes what Realtor.com does and does it better. It shows properties within the neighborhood, lists the pricing, and also allows agents to reveal when open houses are.
  • Zillow:  This is a particular favorite because of the map functionality. When searching for a property in the East Village, Zillow blocks off that neighborhood and then shows all the available properties with their price.

These three sites are all great ways for realtors and agents to get leads to their properties and potentially close a sale.

Health Care

 Everyone has dealt with an annoying visit to the doctor—or worse, trying to set up an appointment. So many times, it’s difficult to get everything figured out, you’re not quite sure if they accept your insurance, and you’re always waiting around. On the opposite spectrum, the doctors have to deal with cancelled appointments and trying to get people to choose them. These two sites are a great way for doctors and mental health workers to increase leads and gain patients.

  • ZocDoc: This website helps bring new patients to your office. By signing up for ZocDoc, it becomes tremendously easy for a patient to make an appointment—both on your own site as well as on ZocDoc.com itself. It ties in to your appointment book so that people always know when you’re available.
  • GoodTherapy: While not quite as useful as ZocDoc—due to the schedule functions—this site is quite useful because it lists therapists based on your zip code. It tells you how to contact them, what their certifications are, and what they specialize in. For therapists, it’s a very easy way for you to increase the number of local patients because you’re showing up when they search.

 Services and Suppliers

 One of the industries that have a harder time getting leads is actually the services and suppliers industry. While a strong SEO and PPC campaign can be helpful here, there are websites that are great at pushing leads to your business. The two below are great for both the B2B world and the B2C industry.

  • AngiesList: Because this site only allows paid members to view reviews, AngiesList really does subscribe to its slogan: “Review you can trust.” If you’re searching for any sort of service provider, you can find them here.
  • ThomasNet.com: For those in the purchasing world, it can be difficult to find the best suppliers for specific products. What ThomasNet.com allows is for suppliers to list in the directory based around different categories. When someone does a search for something, these suppliers show up and the purchaser can decide who best to work with.  You can see examples of successes from some of ThomasNet.com’s clients at the ThomasNet Reviews and Testimonials section.

Email Marketing

 SEO, PPC, banner ads, and content marketing are all great ways to get people to your site. But if the person isn’t ready to convert into a sale immediately, you have the potential of losing that person forever. What if you could get that person to give you some information—an email address for example—and then you could market to them over time, gaining their trust, and then one day convert them into a sale? That’s what email marketing is great for and these two companies are awesome resources.

  • MailChimp: One of the largest email newsletter platforms out there, MailChimp offers a free account where customers can send as many emails as they want up to 2,000 subscribers. It is a great way to test out email marketing before stepping up to one of their insanely inexpensive paid accounts.
  • Aweber: Considered the best for autoresponders, Aweber doesn’t offer a free account, but it does offer all the tools needed to create an effective drip campaign. Over time, more information can be sent automatically so you can turn more people into customers. 

Local Media 

Google came out one day and said an acronym that would forever be remembered in the SEO community: SoLoMo. Social, Local, and Mobile. Local media is on the rise and it is important to try and do advertising deals with local because it’s more targeted to your buyers and, more importantly, it’s probably going to be cheaper as well.

  • Patch: This is AOL’s attempt at getting into hyperlocal content. There are patches all over the country in local neighborhoods, towns, and counties where citizen journalists can submit content. What’s great is you can buy very targeted ads to the communities that interest you, thus enabling you to find customers who are actually going to buy.
  • Newspapers: Bet you never thought I’d pick this, but let’s be honest: print advertising can still work. With so many local papers desperate for advertising money, it’s a good idea to target your local paper—or papers—to advertise your business. You’d be surprised how many conversions you can get from this.

At the end of the day, SEO and PPC are important. I’d be a fool to discount that. But there are a ton of other ways to generate the leads and business you want. There are businesses that specialize in getting you leads and then there are other businesses that can help you nurture those leads if they’re not ready to buy. While you should do SEO and PPC, don’t discount the numerous other resources on this page. You’ll benefit because your competitors are probably not doing these tactics.