Many businesses mistakenly believe that simply getting their business listed through Google is enough to be successful. Unfortunately, this is only one small component of the process. To truly reap the rewards of Google Maps, a business must be ranked high in the local map stack.
Essentially, this means that your business must appear near the top of the search results pages in Google Maps. While it is not possible for all businesses to take that top spot at the top of the page, those that want to achieve massive success must strive to make it – at least – on the first page of search results. In this quick post, we will provide you with a few steps that may be taken in order to ensure your ranking on Google Maps.
If you would like assistance in ranking high on Google Maps, contact us today for more information: https://brickroadmedia.com/contact-us/
Online marketing helps every local business because it directs consumers to a site, but what if you don’t have it? Most people today search the web to find the products and stores they are looking for, instead of phone books, newspapers, and the yellow pages.
That’s not to say those mediums are ineffective, as every form of advertising has value. It is merely an observation on the most common form of finding answers. Smartphones and computers are accessible to people of all ages and provide instantaneous feedback to inquiries.
How do digital sites compare to offline advertising? Major platforms like Yelp and Facebook display more information about your business faster than Yellow Pages.
Flipping through papers to find a name or number has always taken time to do. It’s no longer necessary when you can access the data online.
The results frequently include store hours and the address. Savvy shop owners may have a virtual tour available for walk-through or an online coupon to use with a purchase. It’s a great way to add traffic and revenue.
Energetic online local listings support video, call buttons, and images. Link up to social media profiles. Radio and television advertising can’t match the convenience of hearing and seeing a business from a cell phone. The ability to interact directly with the business is available with a click from the phone.
Think of the cost of a print marketing advertisement if it included your menu, coupons, and directions to the business. Online access does all that in addition to consumer reviews, introductory offers for first-time customers, and pictures of your displays. Newspapers and magazines can’t match online marketing’s attributes!
Local listings draw the attention of residents and visitors to your area. Online advertising is an inexpensive way to increase ROI. It’s vital to have staff available to handle calls, online inquiries, and walk-in customers. Consider the following suggestions to achieve that goal.
How your business is reflected on the Internet is largely up to you. Review your local business listing often and keep the content fresh. The power of up-to-date communication is ready and available.
By Mike Liebensohn
Most small businesses have some form of web presence these days - a website, Facebook page, maybe some YouTube videos - but not very many are taking advantage of the true (and often free) power of the internet to market their business.
Here is my Top 10 list of common mistakes - things that businesses are NOT doing. They're leaving lots of money on the table and probably throwing away lots of money in other places...
1. Not Having a Free Offer. Do you know how many people visit your website each month? How many of them call or email you? How many buy? What happens to all those other people? How about those people you meet at events - the ones you don't have time (or desire) to follow-up with? What if you had a way to automatically engage and keep in touch with these people? Start by creating something of value - a coupon, video series, e-book - that you can give away (electronically) in exchange for an email address. Put a sign-up box on your website and shift your focus from selling your product to "selling" your free giveaway. Now, "touch" these people on a regular basis...
2. Not Sending Regular Emails to Everyone in Your Database. (Or doing it the WRONG way) It's so much easier to sell to existing customers. This is the low hanging fruit - marketing to your existing database helps with referrals and repeat business by keeping you "top of mind". It's also a good way to sell other products that you or an affiliate company may offer. The key here is to have good, helpful, interesting content, and send it out with the right frequency.
3. Making it Hard for People to Contact You. Why would you go out of your way to hide your phone number and address on your website? I can't tell you how many websites I've visited where this information was either hard to find or was only in a picture (where Google can't find it). Your phone number should be large at the top right of the page and your address should be at the bottom of every page, along with a general email address.
4. Not Knowing Your Main Keywords. Just about anything you do online gets indexed by Google. The way to get found online is by understanding and using the proper keywords in your website pages, LinkedIn profiles, Facebook pages, etc. Many people focus on optimizing their site for keywords without truly knowing what keywords to optimize for. How can you bait a hook if you don't know what the fish will bite at? Ask your customers, friends, and try googling different words yourself and see if your competition shows up. Set up Google analytics (free) on your site and get REAL scientific data on what words people are using.
5. Not Being Everywhere Online. Online is not just about having a website. Google looks at other sites that link back to your main site - local directories, Yelp, Manta, Facebook, YouTube, article sites, blogs, etc. The more places you can put your keywords, website address, phone number, and address, the better. You'll cast a much wider net, having more places to show up in a Google search, while also making your main website more relevant (because other sites are linking to it).
6. Not Having 5 Reviews on Google Places (Google + Local) This means reviews your customers leave themselves, not the ones they give you in a letter that you then put up on your website. This is really important - I have a client who finally got his 5th review and his Google Places rank jumped to #1 almost immediately!!! There's something magical about having at least 5. So how do you do it? Send something to all of your customers stating that the first 5 that go on your Google Places page and leave a positive review will get a $50 gift card. Or, have each customer do it on YOUR laptop right after purchasing or signing the contract. The best thing about the act of soliciting testimonials: your customers are further solidifying in their mind the reasons why they bought from you and are then much more likely to buy again and/or recommend it to their friends!
7. No Videos or Videos Not Properly Optimized. Having videos on your website makes it 50x more likely to rank on the first page of Google than not having videos! And, having videos on YouTube is even more important, since Google owns YouTube, and many people (300 million a month) go there first to find information. Customer testimonials are best - or you can answer FAQ's about your business. If you're camera shy, make a PowerPoint and talk over it. The most important things to do (that most people don't do) when uploading a video on YouTube: use your main keywords in the title, put a link to your website in the description (start with http://), include a specific call to action, set the location (where the video was made) -- AND keep the video length to 2 minutes or less!
8. Thinking People Care About You and Your Company. Ever heard the radio station WIFM? Also known as "what's in it for me" - and that's the mentality of the typical person hunting for something online. They don't care about your bio or what your building looks like. They want what they want when they want it. Not because they are bad people; they are just overwhelmed. I suggest giving clear free information about what you do and about your industry, product, or service. Give away some of your secrets. This is reality: they'll find it somewhere else online eventually, why not take the opportunity to position yourself as the local expert, and count on them reciprocating some day in the future (or telling their friends how helpful you were).
9. Not Updating Your Website on a Regular Basis. Just to clarify - regular does not mean once every 5 years! Content on the web is like produce at the grocery store. Everything has a sell by date on it. Your information will constantly be piled "on top of" by others who are creating newer information. The easiest way to stay current is with a blog hosted on your main website. A What's New section on your home page is great, and a very good place for specials or coupon (that change on a regular basis!). Updates can be made "off-site" also. A great strategy is to upload new videos to YouTube or publish articles that link to your website. Try to do this once a week or once a month at the very least. Consistency counts!
10. Not Tracking EVERYTHING. The secret to writing good copy and ads, and creating offers, etc is not creativity, it's testing. No matter how smart we think we are, we'll never know if something will really work until we try it and measure it. Some of the ugliest ads and web pages make the most money. Therefore, try something, measure it, then tweak it until you get something that really works! Sometimes changing one word is enough to make a huge difference in response rate!! Use Google analytics to track website traffic and use unique phone numbers (Google voice is free) and offer codes to track all other offline ad campaigns.
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Facebook marketing for local businesses is an important tool for generating engagement among current and potential customers.
If a fan of your business page (not your personal profile on Facebook, but a real business page) sees and shares a status update on their wall, their friends are going to check it out.
Everyone knows the value of a personal recommendation in real life (IRL). Today, Facebook is where the vast majority of personal recommendations are happening between friends, associates, and family members.
You have to be there, and you have to do it right to get traffic and new customers.
Using a personal profile for a business is not kosher on Facebook. It can be deleted at any time. Personal profiles are for people. Period. If you have a business listed like you or me, the way our personal profiles work, you're doing it wrong.
Sorry about that, but you're going to have to start over. And all those "friends" you've generated for that profile? Well, you're going to have to do your best to get their attention and get them to like your new business page.
Here's how to set up an official business fan page on Facebook: Hire Brick Road Media to set it up and optimize it for you or do it yourself.
Facebook users don't care if you added a new Terms of Service page to your website. They don't care if you just surpassed your sales goal this quarter or that you just sold another house. (Unless the house is haunted, a former missile silo, or painted in Hello Kitty style.)
Facebook users care about cats, celebrities, gossip, whatever is trending, politics, and local news that is relevant to them, useful and worth sharing. And cats.
Look around at what your own personal Facebook friends are sharing and talking about. And then make your status updates on your business page relevant, some how, some way. Again, Facebook doesn't care if you get completely ignored. Post status updates and links to boring, irrelevant stuff, and you'll simply be hidden by the majority of your fans.
Watch what successful businesses do on Facebook and copy the process: make it interesting, make it fit with what people in your area care about, and test the crap out of everything you do.
Your Facebook business page has useful stats that pop up right at the top. Watch your engagement metrics. Track what's getting shared and liked and what's not. Use the tools Facebook gives you to see how you're going.
Get everyone attached to your business bought into the Facebook campaign. Have them prime the pump by liking and sharing updates you post. (And don't embarrass them with the pressure to share and like stupid stuff!) Identify your best fans who can help you get a lot of exposure and give them "goodies" for mentioning, liking, and sharing your stuff to their bigger fan base.
A free dinner or some other small perk goes a long way in getting the "thought leaders" in your network to pay more attention and spread your page around to their considerable following. If you do something really cool for someone, you don't even have to ASK them to share their experience on Facebook - it's already going on there. It's automatic. They're addicted to Facebook, remember?
If you post a status update "whenever you remember to" you're going to have a problem with engagement. For one, your updates will simply slide out of view on your fans' pages. Facebook has an algorithm to consider.
They want to keep Facebook user timelines looking snappy and fun, and they have ways to keep your updates from even being seen if they determine you're too boring or erratic or self-promotional to send updates to your fans' walls.
(And you already know about not being boring or too self promotional!) Just update your business page wall with news relevant to your industry or simply relevant to living in your area. There's plenty to talk about all the time. You just have to open up to the reality that your page isn't a big commercial for your business in the traditional sense. People hate those pages with passion and block their updates.