Feedspot names us to list of Top 20 Canadian Small Business Blogs!

Earlier this week, I was sitting at my desk with this email arrived from Feedspot:

Subject: 10|20 Marketing featured in Feedspot Top 45 Canadian Small Business Blogs

Hi Mark,

My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m the Founder of Feedspot.

I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog 10|20 Marketing has been selected by our panel as one of the Top 45 Canadian Small Business Blogs on the web.

I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. Our list is the most comprehensive list of Top 45 Canadian Small Business Blogs on the internet, and I’m honoured to have you as part of this!

Please let me know.

Best,

Anuj

How exciting is that? When we clicked through to the list, it turned out that our blog was 19th in this top 45, up there with Salesforce’s small business blog, and ahead of even Sage Accounting and Staples Canada’s blog. Quite the company we keep!

Feedspot bills itself as the “Internet’s Largest Human Curated Database of Bloggers and Podcasts.” They claim that their Media Contact Database can provide marketers with access to 250k active Bloggers, Podcasters and YouTubers in 1500 niche categories. Buying lists allows in your niche allows businesses to “you can focus on running your campaign.”

Pricing generally runs to USD$1 per lead, with custom pricing available for lists of 300+ influencers. 

When we asked Anuj to elaborate on what the criteria are for making this list, he replied:

The Feedspot editorial team extensively searched on Google, and social media websites to find the best Canadian Small Business Blogs and ranked them based on several factors:

    1. Blog content quality
    2. Post consistency
    3. Age of the blog
    4. The average number of shares on social sites for your blog posts
    5. Traffic to your blog and more.

And if you keep posting quality content regularly and get more shares on social sites, your rank will improve with time for sure.

It’s a challenge we accept and take head-on. Just look at our recent series for Small Business Owners. Or our discussion about the importance of dashboarding marketing results. And we have other series planned as well. So look for us to scale to the summit of this list over time! 

Thank you, Anuj and Feedspot, for finding us and welcoming our blog to your list. It’s greatly appreciated!

 

Why Your Business Needs to Start Using Google Data Studio Now (And How to Get Started)

Living in a data-driven culture is a fantastic thing because it allows business owners to predict trends, improve decision-making, solve problems, and more. As a small business owner, it’s essential that you take advantage of data to track and analyze your marketing results—this is the key to growing your business. And in our opinion, the best tool for small business owners to use for reporting is Google Data Studio. 

There are plenty of platforms on the market that allow small business owners to gather and access data. But having and accessing data means nothing if you can’t visualize it and adequately analyze it. Visualizing and understanding your small business’s marketing data is a powerful way to discover what is working for your business

So, where do you begin?

Luckily there are helpful resources referred to as marketing dashboards. Marketing dashboards concisely collect and give a visual representation of data. This data is easy to understand and analyze. 

There are tons of marketing dashboard resources available. However, our digital marketing experts recommend Google Data Studio because it’s a free, informative, and easy visual analysis of your marketing results. It can also plug into several different types of databases. 

So, if you’re ready to elevate your business’ marketing with Google Data Studio, let us tell you a little more about how it works and why you need it for your digital marketing strategy. 

What is Google Data Studio?

Google Data Studio is a free tool that allows you to unlock the power of your business’ data. The data visualization tool takes raw data and turns it into a visualizable report. Easily keep track of your marketing results to understand which efforts are working or not via fully customizable dashboards and reports.

Google Data Studio’s reporting goes beyond the data reporting of Google Analytics. Google Data Studio is powerful because of its variety, customization options, live data, data sources and interactive controls. You can also easily filter through data, only seeing what’s necessary. Additionally, it gives you an easy way to visualize all of your data—something other data analytics platforms can’t do. Being able to visualize your data makes analysis much more uncomplicated.

Easy to read data is just one of the fantastic benefits of Google Data Studio. But why is this data so important? What can you do with it? Let’s find out.

Importance of Data Analysis

Google Data Studio is a powerful tool with excellent data analysis features, but we’ll talk more about that later. First, let’s go over why data analysis is essential for small businesses.

Analyzing the data from your business’ marketing efforts gives purpose to that marketing. There is no meaning behind digital marketing without data analysis because data analysis allows you to optimize your marketing efforts.

First of all, data can help you make better decisions all across the board. Data allows you to visualize the performance of marketing actions with data reporting. Analyzing the performance of a campaign, product, or other initiatives will enable you to make better marketing decisions in the future. 

With data analysis, you’ll also be able to serve your customer better because data can predict consumer trends and buying patterns. If you know what your customer wants, you can better serve them while increasing revenue.

Additionally, you can determine your marketing efforts’ Return on Investment (ROI) with data analysis. Knowing what is and isn’t working will help you make better decisions in the future. 

How Google Data Studio Can Help Your Business

At first glance, Google Data Studio may seem like any other data reporting tool, but that’s not true. Its unique features and visualizable reporting make it a beneficial platform for businesses. In addition, Google Data Studio’s easy-to-use features can help you better optimize your marketing tactics. Here are six ways Google Data Studio can help your business.

Saves Time

One of the most significant benefits of Google Data Studio is its time-saving capability. With this data platform, you’ll no longer have to pull through several reports to get the data you need. Instead, easily access and view all of your data in one concise spot. Best of all, the visualized and interactive reports help you analyze the data quicker. The eye-catching visualized reporting will save your business valuable time.

Customizable Reports

The ability to customize reports is just another feature that makes analysis of the data simpler. In addition, you’ll better grasp what is and isn’t working via the data reports with customizable reports.

Here are a few of the things you can customize:

  • Page layout
  • Text
  • Graphs
  • Metrics
  • Style elements
Real-Time Data

What makes Google Data Studio so powerful is its ability to give you real-time, live data. Live data helps you save time, but it also gives you the unique opportunity to make prompt adjustments as needed. For example, did the data show you that something isn’t working today? Then, quickly change your marketing tactics to improve your results!

Easy Connection to Multiple Data Sources

Make the most out of your data collection with an easy connection to multiple data sources. A good marketing tactic is to leverage numerous strategies and tools. By blending data from other platforms, this is possible. Easily access different data sources, such as Google Ads, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Sheets, and even internal databases, and view it all in a single marketing dashboard. 

Data Filtering

Filter the data in your reports to better understand your marketing results. 

Some of the things you can filter include:

  • Date range
  • Account
  • Campaign
  • Location
  • And more!
Calculated Fields

Creating your formulas helps to understand your marketing results better. For example, easily calculate essential data, such as cost-per-conversion, by creating a calculated field in Data Studio.

Google Data Studio can calculate things such as:

  • Basic math (add, subtract, multiply, divide)
  • Functions (more complex equations and statistical operations)
  • CASE statements (if/then/else logic)
Get Started with Google Data Studio

If you’re ready to grow your business and improve your digital marketing efforts, it’s time to get started with Google Data Studio. And 10|20 Marketing can help!

10|20 Marketing uses Google Data Studio to give our clients the best possible data reporting and analysis. Our professional and experienced team of digital marketers helps businesses get results—and Google Data Studio is just one of the many ways we can do that.

Our experts specialize in all things digital marketing—including Google Data Studio. We know the ins and outs of it all to bring you a great ROI.

Contact us for a free consultation if you’re ready to grow your business! We specialize in working with small businesses to implement digital marketing strategies that will bring significant results. 

Five Reasons Why You Need a Marketing Dashboard (And How to Get One)

If your business doesn’t already have a marketing dashboard, you’re missing out on critical insights that will help grow your business. A dashboard is a tool that gives insights into how your product, campaign or business is performing. Understanding how a marketing dashboard works and why having one is so important will help you strengthen your business’ performance and success.  

Understanding Marketing Dashboards

A dashboard is a visual representation of essential data crucial to your marketing strategy. The graphical reporting tool gives real-time insight into various marketing analytics, data points and metrics. In addition, the dashboard displays these insights in a quick and easy-to-read manner—so you no longer have to worry about shuffling through confusing and time-consuming spreadsheets.

You can choose how often you want to run reports with a marketing dashboard. You have complete control with a marketing dashboard, whether you want hourly, daily, weekly or monthly reports.

Dashboards allow you to set up so that you only see the metrics you need to see. The dashboard will give an easy-to-understand visual representation of compiled data and trends via charts or graphs. 

Metrics tracked in a marketing dashboard may include:

  • Overall traffic 
  • Website visits
  • Leads and conversion rates
  • Return on marketing investments
  • Purchase funnels
  • KPIs
  • Goal Completion Rates
  • Social media metrics
  • And so many more

Benefits of Marketing Dashboards

The benefits of having a marketing dashboard go beyond just having an easy way to read data and metrics. Here are five critical reasons you need a dashboard to grow your business. 

  1. Sales and Revenue Forecasting

    A dashboard gives better insight into your customer’s buying patterns. This insight allows you to plan and predict goals with consumer data accurately. You can also measure your sales goals in real-time, and with this essential data, you can adjust any sales or marketing strategies as needed.

  2. Save Time

    The real-time data that a dashboard offers will save you precious time. You’ll no longer have to spend valuable time compiling data into different spreadsheets because you’ll now have a centralized platform. With a marketing dashboard, you can access relevant data in record time.

  3. More Control Over Inventory

    A marketing dashboard makes inventory management simpler, as it allows you to gauge your stock levels in real-time. You’ll understand what’s selling and how to allocate resources where they’re needed. 

  4. Real-time Customer Information

    Increase customer satisfaction, customer retention and loyalty with a dashboard. Through the power of analytics, you can better learn about customer purchasing behaviours and patterns. Doing so allows you to focus on specific marketing demographics. 

  5. Actionable Insights

    With a marketing dashboard, you can better monitor and measure business performance. With easy-to-monitor data, you can act on the data in real-time to improve your website, product, campaign, advertising campaigns, and more. Taking immediate action on your data will allow you to get ahead of the curve and grow your business faster. 

How to Get a Marketing Dashboard

A dashboard can help your business and team save time and money in just a matter of minutes. One of the most popular and easy-to-use marketing dashboards available is Google Data Studio. Google Data Studio is an easy-to-use platform with valuable marketing insights.

With so many valuable benefits, getting Google Data Studio—or any dashboard—for your business should be a no-brainer! So how do you set up a marketing dashboard? We can help!

10|20 Marketing provides clients with easy to view insights—via Google Data Studio. Our professional and experienced team of digital marketers helps businesses get accurate marketing results—and a marketing dashboard is just one of the many ways we can do that.

Contact us for a free consultation if you’re ready to grow your business. We work with big and small businesses to strategize digital marketing campaigns and techniques that will bring significant results. Contact us today to set up a marketing dashboard and take your business to the next level. 

Ready To Do This? (Small Business Local Marketing, That Is!)

The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing, Part Seven

After reviewing the first six posts in our series, “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing,” we hope you’re inspired to start getting your local marketing house in order. 

Local digital marketing doesn’t require the big bucks or hours of creative work traditional channels do. But you’ll still want to set aside some resources and get your plan together. 

Follow the steps below to jump-start your efforts.

  1. Answer the questions in our Fast Five-Step Strategy.
  2. Allocate a few hours to get your directory listings, pages, and content in order
  3. Budget some resources upfront to save money later:
    • Consider investing in a location marketing and reputation management platform. Doing so will help you keep track of your listings, social presence, and reputation in the most cost-effective way.
    • Consider working with an agency or partner to optimize your online presence and manage your reputation.

Will you try to DIY your ‘near me’ marketing or work with an agency partner? With the time constraints most small business owners operate under, working with a partner can often lift some of the day-to-day burdens from your shoulders. That’s where an agency partner can also offer a large body of expertise around optimizing your social media and directory profiles for search.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be on the road to optimizing your local digital marketing profile—no matter which approaches you’ll take. 

Revisit Our Series

From the beginning, our series aims to provide business owners, particularly small business owners, with fast, actionable strategies to win and keep more customers. 

The six parts of this series break down as follows:

For those who are patient, we will be creating an e-book of this content for easy reference. If you’re interested in a copy of this e-book, let us know by emailing sales@10-twenty.com, and we’ll put you on our waiting list and ensure you get a copy when it’s ready. 

Thank you for following this series. As always, we appreciate any feedback you may have for us. 

Reputation Management: Keeping Customers’ Loyalty

Welcome to part six of our seven-part series, “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing.” Today’s focus will be on helping small business owners with reputation management. More specifically, on how to handle positive and negative reviews. 

In its entirety, our series aims to provide business owners, particularly small business owners, with fast, actionable strategies to win and keep more customers. 

The seven parts of this series break down as follows:

The last post in our series, “Driving Engagement: Winning Customers’ Trust and Busines,” dealt with strategies to get people to react and convert from your content. Today, we discuss reputation management. 

Let’s jump in!

Reputation Management: Keeping Customers’ Loyalty

According to multiple surveys, large majorities of consumers now trust online reviews as much as recommendations from a friend. And according to an Invesp study, customers are likely to spend 31% more money at a business with “excellent” reviews. According to Uberall’s 2019 benchmark report on reputation management, locations that move from just a 3.5- to 3.7-star rating will experience a jump in conversions (i.e., calls, requests for directions, visits to websites) of 120%.

What does it all mean? As much as many business owners dislike them, reviews matter. A lot.

The three places you’re most likely to be seeing reviews are on review sites (Yelp, TripAdvisor), directories (Google) and social media pages (Facebook). According to recent Uberall research, consumers often turn to online reviews of brick-and-mortar stores from customers when researching where to shop. 

Here’s where they look:

1. Google Maps & Reviews (51%)

2. Yelp (36%)

3. Facebook (35%)

4. Better Business Bureau (22%)

5. TripAdvisor (15%)

Instagram, Angie’s List, and Yahoo Local Listings all tied for 6th place with 13% each. Yellowpages (10%) was in 7th place, followed by Foursquare (3%) and Manta (1%).

Many owner-operators feel helpless when it comes to review sites, feeling like it’s impossible to win when people can post negatively about their business. But reviews have a plus side, too. They can be instrumental in four ways.  

  • Reviews will increase your position in search results
  • Good reviews will encourage people to trust your business faster
  • How you reply to poor reviews can also promote trust in your business
  • You can use the information from reviews (good or bad) to improve your business  
Encouraging Positive Reviews

Positive reviews on any primary review site (but particularly in the ones listed above) are vital for your business to move up in search results. That’s because highly rated companies are weighted more heavily in Google’s algorithm than businesses with poor reviews. In addition, while people are usually self-motivated to write reviews based on very good or bad experiences, research shows that when you ask all your customers to write reviews, the majority will be positive.

Dealing with Negative Reviews 

Bad reviews can feel like a shot to the heart of a business owner. They are deeply personal. But they also give you valuable feedback on what issues you may need to address—that you may not get elsewhere. They also add credibility to your positive reviews, as readers may view a profile with only five-star ratings with skepticism. As importantly, instead of having an unhappy customer out there bad-mouthing you with no idea or recourse, with a review, you have the opportunity to make it right—and have others seeing you acting in good faith. 

Responding to Reviews 

According to a recent Uberall study, 65% of consumers believe that businesses should respond to every customer review, whether positive or negative. Therefore, it’s essential to take the time to read, reflect on, and respond to reviews, whether they are positive or negative. However, in that same Uberall survey, when asked if the store responded to their review, two-thirds of survey takers said the store did not respond, and 34% of customers said they hadn’t shopped there since.

Here’s some general advice as you respond to reviews:

  • Respond quickly. 

    According to a SOCi survey, 89% of consumers are open to changing a negative review if the business owner addresses their issue within 24 hours. If you’re not already using reputation management software—which can flag reviews in real-time and let you quickly respond—consider getting one as part of your location management solution.

  • Be ethical and businesslike. 

    Never pay anyone for a review. Don’t coerce, threaten, or try to unduly influence someone to write, delete or change a review. Never be abusive or threatening in response to a review or break terms of services. 

  • Be succinct. 

    Long responses that drag on for paragraphs, or — worse — are even longer than the actual review, will seem like you are being defensive and argumentative. Be short and sweet. 

  • Take it to private messages? 

    If you don’t see a pressing need to respond in public, you have other options. Yelp, Facebook, and many other social media and review sites allow the possibility of direct or private responses. However, remember that public responses DO let other potential customers see your responsiveness in action, so don’t be too covert. On the other hand, a bad review handled quietly may look to observers as if you ignore the complaint, which you don’t want. 

  • Think twice. Post once. 

    Get a second set of eyes on your response before hitting “send .”You’ll thank us later. 

  • Apologize and empathize. 

    In the case of a negative review, reaffirm that you heard what was said by repeating it back, and then apologize for the negative experience.  

  • Be calm, neutral, and de-escalate. 

    As Yelp suggests: “But please be very careful here: if your reviewer perceives that you are being rude, condescending, or disingenuous, there’s a chance he or she could get angry and make the situation even worse.” 

  • Make it right.

    If you can offer a fix, do so. But be wary. Some bad actors will create reviews hoping to be offered something for free. A way to avoid this is to invite the customer to contact you directly so that you can try to make things right for them.

The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing

Thank you for reading part five of our series titled “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing.” Next up in our series is our final post, “Ready To Do This?

Driving Engagement: Winning Customers’ Trust and Business

Welcome to part five of our seven-part series, “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing.” Today’s focus will be on helping small business owners with driving engagement with their business on a local level. 

In its entirety, our series aims to provide business owners, particularly small business owners, with fast, actionable strategies to win and keep more customers. 

The seven parts of this series break down as follows:

The last post in our series, “Build Awareness: Helping Customers Find You,” showcased the approaches and networks to use to build online awareness for a local business. Today’s post will focus on driving engagement. 

Let’s jump in!

Driving Engagement: Winning Customers’ Trust and Business

Once you’ve gotten your audience’s attention, you may have only seconds before customers decide if they trust you enough to head to your business. So you’ll want to be sure that the sites and listings they find have everything they need for driving engagement and, ultimately, helping people decide to go with your business. So it helps if you offered them the easiest way to turn that decision into a purchase. 

Here are some ideas for winning customer trust and prompting them to purchase: 

Content Strategies
Add exciting content

Use content in your listings that anticipate potential questions from customers: such as opening hours, promotions, menus, services, and wait times. Google notes they have seen a 55% growth in mobile searches for “menus” over the past two years, and mobile searches for “wait times” have grown 120% over the past two years.

Add images, video and interactive elements

Listings enhanced with photos, videos, and other visual content outperform non-enhanced results. 

Post frequently

Keep your social pages and directories fresh and up-to-date. Ideally, you will want to be posting to a platform like Facebook or Instagram once a day or 3x a week. 

Link to other content

Do you have a blog or video channel? Were you featured in a local article or website? Crosslink your content across your profiles and pages to ensure people can find out more about you. Be sure to include your website and social handles on your directory listings.

Reviews

Reputation management is one of the most important ways to win trust. See below for a breakdown of our advice on managing online reviews.

Conversion Strategies 
Include CTAs

Calls to action (CTAs) enhance the content of the listing for search—they also help you turn your listings into direct engagement with your potential customers. A few clickable CTAs every business should consider (if they are available in the directory) are:

  • Website link
  • Clickable phone number
  • Click for directions
  • Easy reservation or appointment link.
Email

Some businesses will also collect emails—usually through online forms or offers—and follow up with a customer who shows interest. Email addresses are beneficial if you are trying to establish a client for a long-term business relationship or sell a big-ticket item. Email marketing can be one of the most potent tools a local marketer has, be sure to follow the many laws and best practices that govern it. 

The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing

Thank you for reading part five of our series titled “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing.” Next up in our series is “Reputation Management: Keeping Customers’ Loyalty.

Build Awareness: Helping Customers Find You

Welcome to part four of our seven-part series, “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing.” Today’s focus will be on helping small businesses build awareness of their business through local search. 

Our series aims to provide business owners, particularly small business owners, with fast, actionable strategies to win and keep more customers. The seven parts of this series break down as follows:

The last post in our series, “The Fast Five-Step Strategy,” outlined some of the questions you should ask yourself before starting your strategy build. Today, we delve into how to build awareness of your local business. 

Let’s jump in!

The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing, Part Three

Build Awareness: Helping Customers Find You

When people are looking for businesses like yours, how can you be sure they find you when they search online or on smartphones? Here are the channels you need to be thinking about to be sure people know you’re out there:

Directories, Apps & Maps 

Directories are a simple, inexpensive way to ensure your business shows up when local customers look. Apps, Maps and GPS tools—like Google Maps—pull their data from online listings such as your Google My Business page, so it’s essential to start there to build awareness of your location. 

Consider the following:

Add your business to online listings
Are you on the correct listings and directories? First, add your business to the most visible online business data platforms. Sometimes those might be industry-specific directories—but more often, you’ll want to focus on Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook and similar sites. While this might seem quite complex, a location marketing platform can make it simple.

Keep NAP data accurate
Be sure your location’s name, address, and phone number (abbreviated NAP) data is consistent, accurate, and complete on your local business listings. NAP is the primary data that search engines—and customers—will use to locate you. Again here, using a location marketing software partner can ensure consistency and accuracy across channels.

Remove duplicates
You should never have more than one listing (per location) per directory. Having multiple listings on a single platform for a single business location can confuse customers, especially if they contain variant information. Instead, use location management software that will seek and destroy problematic duplicate listings.

Add categories, tags and structured data
Google My Business listings let you add business categories to your listings, like ‘accounting’ or ‘women-owned.’ You can also add tags and attributes, like ‘parking lot’ or ‘wheelchair accessible.’ Select all available and appropriate tags, so you show up in searches where people look for them. It’s essential to get this right. For example, when you do a local search for ‘cafe’ or ‘coffee,’ the results may be entirely different—even though at least some cafes should also show up for coffee. Be sure to include the language your customers might be using to search.

Plan for voice search
According to Google’s most recent data, 1 in 5 mobile searches are voice searches. That number is growing fast, but an Uberall study found that only 4% of businesses have voice search-ready listings. Be part of that group, and you’ll gain an advantage with it comes to searches made by Siri, Alexa, Google Voice, Cortana, and other voice assistants. 

Claim Google My Business listings
Because Google has 90% of web search volume, you must claim your business there. Therefore, your GMB profile should include data and information relevant to your business, like business category, description, name, address, phone number, website, hours, and other vital details. 

Create an insurance policy for your listings management
We recommend managing GMB and other listings through a listings management system to keep them up to date and consistent everywhere and remove the hassles of having to remember where they all are when something changes. 

Social media

Here’s a short overview of the major social channels and how to determine whether they’re suitable for your local business:

Facebook
Despite some shifts in the market, Facebook remains the top social media channel for brands and local businesses: 72% of user engagement and 66% of brand-related impressions happen on Facebook location pages (the enterprise equivalent of local business pages). Even if you’ve got a great website, don’t neglect Facebook; customers will leave reviews here, and they will reach out to have issues resolved. Facebook reviews also show up in search results and strengthen awareness of your location. Make sure to claim and populate your local page with content and check back regularly for messages.

Twitter
Twitter is generally not a meaningful channel for local businesses, although exceptions exist. So unless your customers are big on tweeting, this is one you can probably sit out.

Instagram
Also owned by Facebook, Instagram is a social channel many businesses may want to consider, especially where visuals are an essential part of the product or service experience. Restaurants have a significant presence on this social platform, in addition to hairdressers, artists, and other creatives. 

YouTube
Youtube is the second largest search engine after Google. And YouTube can be an excellent platform for local marketing and “storytelling.” Many consumers consult it for video reviews and tutorials. Many “how-to” searches on Google wind up with YouTube results, which creates an opportunity to build awareness for your company or service. YouTube also makes it easy to embed videos on other social media platforms for broader reach. Watch the comments for information on your customers.

Yelp
Yelp business listings often rank highly in Google for local searches. While Yelp is typically not considered “social media,” in the same sense as Facebook, it is a place where people read, comment and seek recommendations. You may not think you have a Yelp listing, but chances are you do. So be sure to claim it and keep an eye on your reviews—responding where appropriate.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn is primarily a business-to-business (B2B) social network, but for professional services businesses—such as attorneys, consultants, realtors, or accountants—it certainly can be helpful.

Other Platforms
There are many different platforms to consider, depending on where your customers may be congregating: Nextdoor, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok and more. Google My Business also has a “Q&A” section, which is not a “social network” but should be monitored. Ask or survey your best customers about their sites to get a better sense of where you might want to focus your attention. 

Search marketing  

Search marketing is an industry term with two aspects, SEO and SEM. Generally, it refers to the effort to help businesses rank higher in search engine results. For most people, “search engine” means Google, the starting point for 90%+ of all online searches. However, Bing and, increasingly, Apple Maps generate meaningful traffic to websites and map listings. So don’t neglect them. In addition, your presence on Yelp and some social media sites can also help deliver more visibility for your business in search results. 

Organic SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to how high your business ranks in the non-advertising area of search results. Many factors affect your search rankings. At the highest level, Google tries to find the best answer or match for the searcher’s question or query. There’s an entire field of digital marketing devoted to SEO, but Google advises companies to create engaging, relevant content on their website, which should also render on smartphones. A blog can help with SEO, as will links from other sites referencing your business or content. 

Paid (SEM)
It can take time for SEO to work, and sometimes it can feel impossible to earn a spot on the first search results page. Another way to get in front of customers when they search online is by paying for it. Paid search or “pay-per-click” advertising is another digital marketing discipline and the primary way Google makes money. As you may already know, companies bid on search terms customers might use to find a business (i.e. salon services or Thai restaurants nearby). The highest bidder’s ad will appear at the top of the page, followed by two or three ads in the same category. Google is trying to make it easier for local businesses to succeed with paid-search ads; however, it can be time-consuming to develop expertise. It’s worth consulting with a trusted expert about how to start using paid search. 

The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing

Thank you for reading part four of our series titled “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing.” Next up in our series is “Driving Engagement: Winning Customers’ Trust and Business.

The Fast Five-Step Strategy

Welcome to part three of our seven-part series, “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing.” Our series aims to provide business owners, particularly small business owners, with fast, actionable strategies to win and keep more customers. Today’s article will help you understand the Fast Five-Step Strategy, which will set up our next four posts in this series. 

The seven parts of this series break down as follows:

The last post in our series, “Five Benefits of Local Listings Marketing & Five Risks of Ignoring Local Listings Marketing” outlined some excellent reasons to take advantage of a local listings strategy. Today, we look at some questions you need to consider before you jump into strategy development. 

Articles 4 through 7 will detail the approach you should take. 

The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing, Part Three

The Fast Five-Step Strategy

Now that we have made a case for why it’s so important to think about local listings and ‘near me’ marketing, let’s set up the advice coming in the rest of this series. Over the next several posts in this series, we’ll focus on how small- and medium-sized businesses can leverage this untapped marketing approach to grow the business. 

Our series will answer these five points:

  1. Help customers find you
  2. Make customers like you
  3. Get customers to buy from you
  4. Encourage customers to recommend you
  5. Get customers to come back

The first thing to do is to build a strategy around those objectives. And that doesn’t have to be some crazy complicated undertaking – just a quick sketch of where you want to go and how you want to get there. But you do need to map that for your own business and neighbourhood.   

Here are five questions to consider. The answers you give will become the basis of your fool-proof strategy for local digital marketing:

Step 1: What are the goals you want to achieve?

You won’t get anywhere if you don’t have a destination. And you can’t map success unless you set a specific goal. Whether it’s a straight revenue increase, adding X amount of new customers, or tracking how many people you are engaging with on your digital platforms – be sure you identify exactly what you want to achieve and how you plan to measure success.

Step 2: How will you attract the attention of potential customers?

When they are ready to buy, this is all about being where your customers look. So identify where you want to focus and ensure your business is always front and center.

Step 3: How will you win the trust of potential customers?

Once they know you exist, you still need to convince customers that your business is the right one for them. In our posts to come, we offer some ideas for winning the trust of potential customers through great content and reputation management.

Step 4: How will you turn that trust into sales?

We call this ‘conversion’ – or turning online interest into real-world purchases. We’ve got some ideas for how you can do that coming up in this series. 

Step 5: How will you keep customers’ loyalty once you have them?

Finally, how will you keep customers happy once you win them over? And how can you leverage those satisfied customers to win even more business?

Now that you’re thinking about these questions, our series will continue in our next post with some actions items that will help you deal with your answers. 

The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing

Thank you for reading part three of our series titled “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing.” Next up in our series is “Build Awareness: Helping Customers Find You.”

Five Benefits of Local Listings Marketing & Five Risks of Ignoring Local Listings Marketing

Welcome to our series titled “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing.” This seven-part series aims to provide business owners, particularly small business owners, with fast, actionable strategies to win and keep more customers.

Part One is already available; you are now reading Part Two, “Five Benefits of Local Digital Marketing & Five Risks of Ignoring Local Digital Marketing.”

The seven parts of this series break down as follows:

When we last left you, we talked about how powerful ‘near me’ search is for local businesses and pointed out how to save time and money with local digital marketing strategies at the forefront. 

The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing, Part Two

Five Benefits of Local Listings Marketing

Good local and location marketing is like a bat signal for online and mobile search engines—putting you right where those customers are looking when they decide to buy. Here are five of the benefits of investing in your local marketing strategy and creating strong ‘near me’ customer experiences:

  1. Name recognition

    Your business needs to be on the top of the list, whether a customer searches for you by name or something you offer. Optimizing for local search ensures that a customer won’t miss you if you’re close to them when they execute their search.

  2. High volume foot traffic and calls

    More than 3/4 of people who create a ‘near me’ search on their mobiles visit a related business within a day. Populate all of your online listings with your accurate address, hours, and phone number so customers can click to call you or get directions, and you’ll be ready to turn those online searchers directly into walk-in customers.

  3. More sales

    Google research shows that ‘near me’ customers are more ready to buy—with 28% of searches resulting in a purchase. So if you are poised to capture those mobile searches, you will win more customers who will purchase today.

  4. Better word-of-mouth reputation

    82% of adults in the U.S. say they either “almost always” or “sometimes” read online customer ratings or reviews before purchasing items for the first time, and according to the LSA, reviews are the “most important” influence on purchase decisions. You’re leveraging an opportunity if you’re using local digital marketing to boost your reputation and showcase your reviews.

  5. Competitive advantage

    One in three local businesses is not even trying to win local business through Google—never mind on other tier-one directories, apps and maps that could be optimized. Focusing on local search lets you claim the business your competitors are leaving on the table.

Very few small- or medium-sized business owners have figured all of this out—so you’ve got a real opportunity to expand your scope. And it’s not just about data management or technology. It’s about using the tools customers already trust to extend the human element of your physical locations, meeting customers earlier in their journey, and winning their business before they ever step through your door.

Five Risks of Ignoring Local Listings Marketing

Local business owners can’t afford to pass on local digital marketing. Here are a few of the risks of ignoring this critical channel:

  1. You will be invisible

    Your location doesn’t exist if your listing doesn’t appear when a customer searches for a business near them. According to Uberall research, 82% of searches are ‘unbranded’—meaning people are looking for what you offer but not by name. Every ‘near me’ search you don’t appear in is a lost opportunity to make a sale.

  2. You won’t control your business information

     Just because you aren’t managing your online listings doesn’t mean someone else isn’t. Whether well-intentioned or malicious, people may be changing your online information or confusing your customers. A solid local marketing game ensures you’re in charge of your data and listings.

  3. Your reputation may suffer

    Nearly 70% of customers use social media to help resolve customer care issues. If you aren’t actively monitoring and responding to reviews and online communication from your customers, you risk harming your reputation instead of helping it. (You can also learn many other things to improve your services and reputation from reviews.)

  4. You may be a blank slate

    When researching where to shop, customers use online reviews and listings to decide, including Google Maps & Reviews, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’re not active on these review sites and directories—claiming your listings, monitoring reviews and having skin in the game—customers may determine there’s not enough information on you and give you a pass. Active, populated listings and profiles and good reputation management are the keys to winning customer trust.

  5. Your competitors may snap up your customers

    When a local customer looks for you and your listings are not optimized to capture their attention, they may be seeing your savvy competition instead. Prevent a local rival from moving in on your sales by creating bulletproof listings that will grab the top search spot.

The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing

Thank you for reading part two of our series titled “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing.” Part One, “Near Me’ Marketing is Your New Superpower & Save Time and $$ with Local Digital Marketing was originally published on February 22, 2022. Up is next Part Three, “The Fast Five-Step Strategy.”

‘Near Me’ Marketing is Your New Superpower & Save Time and $$ with Local Listings Marketing

Welcome to our series titled “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing.” This seven-part series aims to provide business owners, particularly small business owners, with fast, actionable strategies to win and keep more customers.

This series will be broken down into seven parts as follows:

Let’s jump in with part one!

The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing

‘Near Me’ Marketing is Your New Superpower
In The Days Before Search

In the old days of marketing, advertising and promotion were like kryptonite for owner-operated businesses. It was a waste of money to use broad-reach channels when trying to reach local customers, and offline directories were cluttered and hard to use. Even if you wanted to go big, most small or medium-sized business owners couldn’t compete in traditional broadcast or print. And to make it worse, it took hours to manage on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis—with only a trickle of customers to show for it.

Times have changed. 

In The ‘Near Me’ Days of Search

Now, when customers want to find a local coffee shop or personal training services ‘near me,’ they open online maps, apps and search engines. They look for ratings and reviews to make their decisions. They look at inventories, services and menus online to see if you have what they want. Then, they make reservations or appointments right from your listing—or click to call or get directions to your door.  

This ‘near me’ way of shopping may be relatively new, but it is incredibly beneficial to local businesses. It puts you on the same level as the big guys with less time or effort. So when someone searches for “hair cutters nearby” or “pizza near me,” your business could have just as big a flag on the map as any national chain. 

Your Natural Advantage

But it’s even better than that. You can gain an advantage over big brands and local competitors if you play it right. Your business is already pre-tailored to appeal to your local customers—so it’s easy to optimize fast, with local content, listings, and stellar reviews right from the neighbourhood that will capture local customers’ attention in a single bound. A little upfront effort on ‘near me’ can vault you past the competition—big and small—to the top of search and map results. Owner-operators have a head start in the age of ‘near me.’

It’s a huge opportunity—and a real superpower if you know how to leverage it. 

That’s where this guide comes in. Use it to help you build a ‘near me’ marketing strategy that works, and you can finally focus your marketing time, effort, and dollars where they will drive the most customers to your door. Interested? Read on.

Save Time and $$ with Local Listings Marketing

We weren’t kidding about the superpower thing. The right kind of effort upfront on ‘near me’ marketing can result in significant returns that will save time and money and make you feel heroic.

The Stats Tell The Real Story

You don’t need X-ray vision to see how important digital location marketing has become for local businesses in the past decade. Online searches are leading directly to offline sales. Look at some of the statistics:

  • 91% of consumers use search to find business information locally.
  • 76% of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day. And 28% of those searches result in a purchase.  
  • According to Google, “near me” mobile searches that contain a variant of “can I buy” or “to buy” have grown over 500% in the past two years, and we’ve seen a 900% growth in mobile search for “__________near me today/tonight.” 

That’s because smartphones, laptops, tablets, GPS and voice assistants like Siri, Google and Alexa have transformed how your customers buy goods. Most of today’s shoppers and clients don’t turn on televisions, read newspapers or open yellow pages to find local businesses. Instead, they pick up their phones and search. And then they buy.

An Equal Playing Field For Small Businesses

Local businesses don’t need to break the bank to use ‘near me,’ either. You can finally compete on an equal playing field in online digital marketing because location marketing doesn’t require an astronomical budget or dedicated headcount to manage. 

A single owner-operator with a strong location marketing and reputation management platform can do the job in only a few hours a week—less if you have the help of an agency partner or tech platform. And a ‘near me’ marketing strategy can keep your business at the top of search results and win more walk-in customers—all without breaking a sweat.

The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing

Thank you for reading part one of our series titled, “The (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Local Marketing.” Part Two, “Five Benefits of Local Listings Marketing & Five Risks of Ignoring Local Listings Marketing” is up next!