How Alex Bottausci And The City of Dollard Are Supporting Local Businesses

It’s been a little over a year since the pandemic began, and local businesses across the country have been battling lockdowns, new and changing regulations, and uncertainty for most of the past 13 or 14 months. While minimizing the spread of COVID-19 has been a priority, it has without a doubt been a difficult year for businesses, especially independent small businesses. While business owners and entrepreneurs have been pivoting, so have the towns and cities in which they operate. In Dollard-des-Ormeaux, located on the West Island of Montreal, Mayor Alex Bottausci shared some insights into what shifts have been made, how the city is helping businesses, and what the post-pandemic landscape of Dollard-des-Ormeaux could look like.

When The Pandemic First Reached Quebec

A year ago, Mayor Bottausci explained, the messaging from officials to businesses and individuals was largely education-based:

“At the start, no one knew what was going on. How can a business owner suddenly be expected to deal with COVID-19?”

A lot of time went into first learning about the virus and then transmitting the latest information to business owners. And not only transmitting the information but helping businesses understand and implement health protocols; for example, setting up aisles for appropriate traffic flow.

“A lot of information about the virus was sent to business owners in very formal, official French-language documents, whereas many are Anglophones [or French is their second language]. We helped the best we could with understanding, helping find masks, etc.,” said Alex Bottausci.

The past year has been a long learning curve, but after the initial wave of unknowns the pandemic brought with it, small businesses and communities have now entered a “new reality.”

“Keeping your distance, wearing masks – these things are ingrained now.”

Shifting From Education to Tangible Help

Things shifted from education about the virus to how the city could best help small businesses. The Montreal, Provincial, and Federal governments were able to come together and provide grants for business owners. Mayor Bottausci gave credit to his fellow government counterparts for their collaborative efforts on many fronts. The collaboration includes information about all available funding programs across government levels was shared with local businesses to provide as much relief as possible.

Dollard-des-Ormeaux adopted a Shop Local, Buy Local slogan, and Mayor Bottausci was keen to put the city’s money where its mouth was. For example, last year’s virtual Christmas event featured gifts from local vendors, and the focus going forward is to continue to keep it as local as possible. For Alex Bottausci it’s not just about “keep it in Quebec or the city of Montreal,” but right down to his riding of Dollard-Des-Ormeaux whenever possible.

Infrastructure projects also became a big focus as many restaurants and cafes began opening patios and expanding outdoor dining. Laws were relaxed to allow permits to be granted much more quickly, and car dealerships were permitted to fly flags advertising their businesses.

“Drastic times call for drastic measures,” said Mayor Bottausci. It was important to him and his office to pull out all the stops and allow businesses to take action that would help them survive the pandemic.

The city of Dollard-Des-Ormeaux recently launched a new website. While there are still updates coming, it’s a work in progress Mayor Bottausci is proud of.

“There is a strong business community in Dollard-Des-Ormeaux,” he said. “One of my dreams as Mayor is to really build up that community. We wanted to make sure there was a space on the site where business owners can go to find the information they need quickly and easily – information on things like permits.”

Fostering A Team Environment At City Hall Also A Priority

Mayor Bottausci also took a moment to focus on the hard work his team has been doing. 

“It is easy to focus on the negative when talking about the pandemic, but the City rose to the challenge,” he said. “We’re stronger not only as individuals but as a team. We continue to give services to the community and have become more nimble in how we do that.”

“Moving forward, we have to ask ourselves: were all of these stops really necessary? I think there will be a shift back in some ways, but not totally.”

What does the city of Dollard-Des-Ormeaux look like in the future? Developers are already changing their plans by moving away from large office buildings to creating small eco-systems, with local businesses on the first floor and residential quarters above, the Mayor said.

“It creates an ecosystem where you come home from work and pick up what you need from within your own building. You can’t go from zero to 100, but you can go a little bit at a time.”

For Mayor Alex Bottausci, that shift is what it’s all about: Creating environments conducive to businesses thriving – now, and post-pandemic, too.

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Since the beginning of the pandemic, 10|20 Marketing has been supporting small businesses by sharing stories of business owners to shine some light on their effects and keep them in the news. If you own a business in DDO or anywhere for that matter, we’d be happy to share your story too. Just let us know you’re interested and we’ll be happy to work on your story too.

 

Five Ways A Spring Cleaning Can Help Your Business Grow

It’s the time of year when everyone seems to be in a cleaning frenzy – windows are open, fresh air is flowing, closets are being de-cluttered and baseboards are being dusted. But what about your business? If you run a local store, clinic, dealership or e-commerce site, spring is the perfect time to give it a thorough cleaning, too. But only if you want to see your business grow. 

It can be easy as a business owner to fall into the trap of working IN the business and not ON it, but if you can check these five things off your list this month, your business will be in great shape to continue growing!

1. Review Your Marketing Strategy and Goals

What goals do you have for your marketing strategy? What do you hope to achieve, and does your current strategy offer the right path to get you there? It’s a good idea to regularly review your strategy and make sure that:

  1. It still aligns with your goals
  2. You’re following it consistently
  3. It’s giving you the results you want, and 

If it’s not working for you, adapt it!

2. Don’t Sweep COVID-19 Under the Rug Just Yet

Of course, with COVID still very much a factor for local businesses, it’s important to take the pandemic into consideration when planning for the year ahead. What messages do you want to convey? Have you pivoted in any way? How else has the pandemic affected your business? Ensure your store hours are updated, adjust the number of employees working at a time, factor costs of masks and sanitizer into your budgeting, and keep your Google My Business profile up-to-date at all times, so customers are aware of any changes that may impact how they deal with you.

3. Refresh Your Website

It’s natural that your business and the services or products you offer will evolve over time, so if you haven’t refreshed your website since you launched your business, it probably doesn’t paint an accurate picture of what you do anymore. The reasonable shelf life of your website is three years, give or take. So now is a great time to go through your website and make sure it still reflects your offers, pricing model, brand, and current team!

4. Adopt Automation Wherever Possible

Automation can be nerve-wracking at first; trusting that computers and systems are just going to ‘do’ things for you without you checking in – but the amount of time you will save by adding in automation wherever possible can have a huge impact on your business. And many of these ideas go hand in hand with refreshing your website as well. 

For example, consider setting up a scheduling software to allow customers to book appointments with you automatically based on your schedule, and put forms on your website to automatically add new newsletter sign-ups to your mailing list. You can create a simple e-commerce shop to allow customers to order online, and you’ll be automatically notified via email when a new order is placed for you to fulfill. You can even automate your marketing, using scheduling tools to plan and set everything up a week or month ahead, and then you don’t have to worry about posting to your blog or social media when you’re tight on time later in the month.

Automation might feel like a loss of control at first, but the amount of time and control you gain back in the long-run is well worth it. Plus, many of these software solutions offer free basic plans to get you started.

5. De-Clutter Your Documents

Missing emails, lost contracts, version-control problems with documents – nothing causes a bigger headache than unorganized systems! It can be a big task, but now is the time to sit down, create a system that works for you, and put everything where it belongs. While this might take a good chunk of time to complete, you’ll be saving yourself and your employees a lot of time down the road (did you know employees spend, on average, 20% of their time looking for information?)

 

If your business is in need of a spring cleaning but you don’t know where to start, send us a message and let’s chat about how we can help your business grow! From websites, to Google My Business, to targeted marketing campaigns – 10|20 Marketing can help ensure everything your local business is doing is helping it grow.

Building Community At Centaur Theatre During the Pandemic

The pandemic has strained many businesses in many industries, but what do you do when your business is all about building community through public gatherings and live performances? We recently spoke with Eda Holmes, Artistic and Executive Director at Centaur Theatre in Old Montreal, about planning, pivoting, and re-planning throughout the past twelve months.

Before joining the Centaur Theatre in Montreal, Eda was a ballerina, first with the San Francisco Ballet and later with the Dutch National Ballet and Frankfurt Ballet under William Forsythe. When a knee injury sidelined her, she knew it was time to transition. Eda wanted to stay in the performing arts industry. With a love of storytelling, directing programs was a natural transition, and she eventually landed at Centaur Theatre here in Montreal full-time.

Quality, relevance, and bridge-building

If you’re familiar with Centaur Theatre or the arts scene, you’ll already know the special place Centaur Theatre holds in the local landscape. Eda’s goal was to build on the rich reputation that Centaur has for producing high-quality, relevant contemporary English language theatre and make the organization even more inclusive of all Montreal community aspects.

“My three guiding principles are quality, relevance, and bridge-building so that every aspect of the organization gradually becomes a brilliant reflection of the diversity of languages and cultures that make Montreal such a unique and exciting city,” she told us.

“The pandemic is giving us a moment to really reflect on what place theatre occupies in our society and our lives. We have an opportunity to actively re-examine what we value about the arts and especially narrative art – like theatre. As the incredible African/American playwright August Wilson has said, ‘A community is only as strong as the stories it tells about itself.’ So I am looking to build up our capacity to tell the stories of our times and our city in the most compelling and engaging ways possible – and to become an incubator for artists that reflect our city’s rich diversity.”

Adapting to the new reality

Centaur Theatre has been taking a page from the movie and cinema fields as much as possible (though the budget to test large casts isn’t there). Actors have been rehearsing in preparation for any potential upcoming performances, and spring and summer bring relief and hopes of opening again soon.

But while the desire to reopen is powerful, the danger of doing so too early is real.

“We’re learning how to work and adapt. Compared to last year, we have much more information about the virus, which has helped us make decisions that provide a forward motion but keeps everyone safe,” explained Eda.

Internally, the Social Justice movement we saw in 2020 has changed the conversation around how to support the community. Last year, Centaur launched the Artistic Diversity Discussion (ADD) at Centaur initiative. Throughout the year, the five-member panel will meet with Centaur Theatre board members and Eda to develop more ways to de-stigmatize and celebrate diversity on stage and off. The ADD @ Centaur will roll out through ongoing and new initiatives as the year unfolds, the first of which was the initiative named Saturday Salons. Centaur Theatre has also created a year-long residency for an Indigenous theatre artist interested in stories that reflect the Indigenous heritage of the Island of Montreal and the Province of Quebec. An announcement will be made soon about this residency!

A new Old Montreal scene

Pre-COVID, Vieux Montreal, where Centaur is located, was coming into its own with shops, restaurants, bars, and genuinely unique hotels. It is also a neighbourhood that thrives on tourism, depending on summer travel and winter holiday parties, so the lockdowns have been particularly painful. Typically, a bustling business worker crowd eats lunch and has drinks and goes to the theatre.

When the first lockdown happened, Centaur planned to do more outdoor theatre.

“We hope that it will be part of a variety of projects that will entice Montrealers to come down and discover the incredible beauty that Old Montreal has to offer,” Eda said at the time.

Still, the ever-changing in-and-out of lockdown status has kept Eda and Centaur Theatre on their toes.

“We keep planning and re-planning, but we’re starting to run out of letters of the alphabet,” she joked.

“This virus is challenging to everyone who depends on – and is even defined by – people gathering in warm, friendly and intimate settings. There is much talk of “pivoting,” but that is not something a neighbourhood known for its narrow cobblestone streets and delightful little bars and restos, museums and theatres can do in the short term. We have to try to be as creative and as resilient as possible.”

New projects to be excited about

A new project born out of the pandemic is the Portico project. The Portico Project, a new initiative designed to present theatre safely outside in the Portico and on the steps in front of the theatre, is scheduled to take place again this year in September. Even though some of the performances last year had to be cancelled when the first big lockdown happened, everyone is hopeful that this unique celebration of live theatre outside can go ahead uninterrupted this year. Cross your fingers and come on down to St. Francois-Xavier.

“As a small community, it’s been hard to be constantly planning and re-planning,” said Eda. “But it has been nice to have small business connections in the community to go through this together.”

Learn more about Centaur Theatre’s Portico Project, ADD @ Centaur, or purchase tickets to their upcoming MOB performance. You can also support the Centaur Theatre by making an individual donation.

Geofencing: Four Creative Uses To Build Awareness and Drive Traffic

Geofencing is a highly effective way to target your ideal customers the moment they’re primed for responding to an ad from your business when done right. For example, traditionally you may put a geofence around a competitor’s location, and send ads to people who enter the area letting them know your products or services are currently discounted.

Thanks to COVID-19 and the ongoing pandemic, however, many businesses have changed their business model and many consumers are now shopping online as opposed to in-store. So how can small business owners still take advantage of geofencing, a location-based targeting tactic? Here are a couple of ways to keep it functioning as an integral part of your marketing strategy.

Expand Your Location Parameter

Curbside pick-up, long lines outside of stores, and drive-thrus are becoming increasingly popular as this pandemic continues. Because of this, it’s important to expand your geofencing parameter to a larger area in order to incorporate those consumers. Of course, you’ll want to double-check that the locations you’re targeting are still open, or what their current hours are so that you’re not targeting locations without an audience present.

Build Awareness About Amenities

Whether it’s a city park, a stadium, a hospital, or a shopping center – instead of driving traffic to your location from a competitor, you can use geofencing to alert consumers already on or near your site to available amenities. This can include food services, public restrooms, taxi pick-up; a number of services consumers still require, but that are more difficult to locate these days.

Strengthen Your Current Strategy

By adapting your strategy to include a larger parameter, or targeting more people for brand or amenity awareness, you naturally bring a larger audience into your range. Now is a good time to review the audience layers of your strategy and tighten them up to ensure you’re only attracting the most ideal customers to your business. This will help increase your conversion rate.

Keep Your Content Fresh

When driving traffic to your website through geofencing during COVID-19, ensure you’re updating your web and social media content regularly. You want to make sure the potential customers you are attracting have the most accurate information possible, understand what you are doing in terms of COVID protocols, and know how to purchase from you safely. Stale content will result in a potential loss of conversions.

If geofencing is part of your strategy, or you want to incorporate it, but aren’t sure of the best way to do so during the pandemic, send us a message. We’re always happy to help and set you up with a strategy for success. 

Why An Active, Accurate Google My Business Listing Is So Important

Have you been reading our blog for some time? Then you know that having an accurate Google My Business listing is essential for driving web and foot traffic to your business, improving your SEO, and helping build your brand reputation through reviews and posts. But what happens when the system breaks and your listing on Google is no longer accurate?

Daniel Gavsie, owner of Aliyah Massage in Montreal, had the unpleasant experience of twice having his business location changed on his Google My Business listing. For reasons unbeknownst to Daniel, after almost two years at his current location, Google updated his street address from Jean-Talon Street West to Jean-Talon Street East – a 30-minute drive away.

“It’s crippling,” said Daniel, who first noticed the problem when a client was 10 minutes late to their appointment. After calling his client to check-in, Daniel discovered the client was lost and looking for the clinic at the wrong end of the street. The client didn’t make their appointment – and Daniel missed out on the business.

“Searches for information are higher this year,” said Vanessa Gingras, an industry expert. “Every time government regulations change, there is a spike in searches. Ultimately, these inaccuracies lead to lost revenue.”

Guard Your Revenue Drivers

During the pandemic, when small businesses are lucky to be open and operating, lost revenue is no small matter. And when clients are already exasperated with COVID and with trying to figure out if businesses are open or operating regular hours, inaccuracies like this can lead to lost business on a larger scale, too. These inaccuracies may include:

  • Loss of new business.
  • Loss of already scheduled appointments.
  • Loss of recurring business from clients upset with travelling to the wrong location.

So how can you get ahead of Google’s automation system, which determines if your information is accurate or not and, sometimes, makes changes without you knowing? Along with ensuring you are updating your business information regularly, having an active listing is crucial.

“Keep updating the listing even if there are no changes,” says Vanessa. “This tells Google you are an active business, which helps it value your business more than others.”

Because Google is a user-centric business directory, it will always prefer listings that it believes are active and up-to-date.

“It’s important for business owners to understand that having an ‘updated’ listing isn’t just about ensuring your hours are accurate. You have to be consistently updating your description, add photos, and so on, to stay relevant.” Doing so sends the right signals to Google, as their algorithms are always looking for business owners who are active and engaged. And why would they be if their listing was inaccurate? 

Agencies Connected To Google Can Help

That’s why, when you’re relying on Google to maintain your online business information, it’s crucial to stay on top of your listing and show Google you are both active and that your information is accurate. While it’s not a fool-proof system, as Daniel witnessed, it’s your best bet to ensure Google leaves you alone and doesn’t try to override the content you’ve created.

If you’re still unfortunate enough to have an issue with how Google interprets your business information, it’s good to associate yourself with an agency. Choosing the right agency is key because some oversee thousands of business listings and work closely with Google to help solve these types of problems. With an agency on the case, these types of issues get solved more quickly than if you’re attempting to navigate the waters yourself, as the agency will have more pull with Google. And, for small business owners, a quick resolution in these instances is everything.

“This error is on every level,” said Daniel. “It’s tough right now. We’re lucky even to be open.”

And Daniel is thankful this problem is now in his rearview mirror.

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If you have questions about how you can better manage your Google My Business listing to avoid this unfortunate situation, send us a message – we’re always happy to help.

How A Car Dealership Can Increase Foot Traffic – and Website Traffic Too

Whether you have one location or multiple, generating traffic to your car dealership is just as important as increasing traffic to your website. Yes, we know that it can sound like two very different goals, but they don’t have to be in all honesty. Here are some of the tools and tactics we recommend including in your marketing strategy to ensure that you increase your car dealership’s visibility.

Geofencing Targets Your Ideal Clients

Geofencing puts a virtual fence around a specific location – for example, a competitive car dealership – and serves ads to the smartphones of people who enter the fence perimeter, presumably, your ideal customers. The ads then let those people know about a sale you’re having, new inventory, or anything else that would encourage them to visit your dealership.

Geofencing helps drive foot traffic to your dealership, but it also helps with brand awareness and recognition, since people see your ad. It can also help drive traffic to your website, as the display ad is clickable on a smartphone. 

Use Google Ads To Generate Valuable Leads

Google Ads uses keywords to show an ad to your ideal clients. To rank, or show up, on the first page of search results differs in cost depending on the keywords used, but it’s a great way to guarantee brand awareness (because people will see your ad), and you only pay if someone clicks on it and visits your website.

Google Ads can be used to drive three main actions: visit your dealership, call your dealership, or visit your website. You can even kill two birds with one stone by sending people to your website to book an appointment at your physical location. 

Social Media Marketing Increases Awareness Of Your Business

Social media for business has come a long way in the past couple of years. It’s no longer just about posting pictures or updates. Platforms like Instagram give you tools to help your dealership get found, drive more people to your website or find your physical location. Hashtags, location tags (that open in Google Maps), a call button, an email button, a link to your website, and searchable name and username fields – these are all features that are built into the platform to help your business grow.

Social media accounts also appear in search results, so having optimized social media platforms can help your business visibility off of those platforms, too. You can also enable paid advertising strategies on these networks to get more out of your social media presence, often with the same goals as Google Ads. 

Content Marketing Is The Engine That Generates Trust

Content Marketing is when you create content (in the form of blogs, YouTube videos, infographics – whichever type you choose!) to share valuable information with your ideal clients to build trust with them and encourage them to take profitable actions. 

Content marketing helps in two ways: 

  • By adding new content to your website (with a minimum of 300 words), you signal to Google to come back and crawl your site, helping with your SEO (search engine optimization) rankings.
  • The more valuable information you share freely with your audience, without selling to them directly, the more you build trust with them and the more likely they are to come to you instead of a competitor when they are ready to buy.

An example of relevant content might be a blog post titled, “3 Reasons Why it Might be Time to Invest in Winter Tires”. Then, to expose your content to a broader audience, use social media to distribute your content to an even wider audience.

Local Listings Management Cost Little For Big Returns

Several online business directories help dealerships become more visible and send people to your website. These include Google My Business, Facebook, Apple Maps, FourSquare, N49, Hotfrog, ShowMeLocal, Uber, TomTom, and many, many more.

These online profiles include essential information about your business, like a website link, physical address, hours, and phone numbers. When you have active listings on these directories, it helps potential customers call, get directions, click through to your website, or share details about your dealership with others.

Consistency across several business directories helps validate your business for each one, which impacts your overall SEO rankings, making your locations more findable.

Listings Management is part of a suite of marketing services 10|20 Marketing can help your car dealership with, whether the end goal is to increase foot traffic, website visitors, or both.

If you’re interested in learning more about some or all of these marketing solutions, or ones we didn’t list here, contact us or give us a call Toll Free: 1-888-388-1020. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Small Business Tips: Optimize Your Online Presence To Prepare For The Second Wave

Whether you’re looking for foot traffic or website traffic, ensuring your online presence is up-to-par will help your small business as we enter the second wave of COVID-19 in Canada. Up-to-date and easily findable information goes a long way towards consumers building confidence in your business.

If you haven’t yet, you’ll want to review three main pieces of your online presence to ensure the information is accurate:

  1. Your website
  2. Your Google My Business listing
  3. And your social media accounts. 

Whether you own a car dealership, coffee shop, dry cleaners, restaurant, clinic, sports venue or any other small business, here’s what you need to do to gain an edge during these challenging times for small business owners. 

Your Website

For those customers that already know you, one of the first places they’re likely to go to get information about your small business is your website. Update your essential business information, including your hours, how you are operating, whether or not your physical location is currently open, and other critical elements. 

You may also want to include a couple of FAQs about what you are doing to ensure everyone’s safety during the pandemic (staff and customers alike). It would help if you also took this opportunity to answer any other questions you’ve been consistently receiving over the past six months.

For example, if you own a restaurant, make it clear if you’re open for in-house dining or take-out only. For hair salons or spas, include any protocols clients must follow (wait outside and call when you arrive, wear a mask inside, and other directives.) Knowing what to expect upon arrival will help put your clients at ease and reduce any confusion.

Your Google My Business Listing

It’s vital that your Google My Business listing is optimized and up-to-date with accurate information so that you’re more likely to be prioritized by Google in their search results. Doing so will also help potential new clients instantly get the answers to everything they need to know before visiting your business or clicking through to your website.

Updating your Google My Business listing includes:

  • Having an accurate phone number
  • Including your website address (to an updated website)
  • Providing the address to your physical location, if applicable
  • Updating your attributes (take-out, curbside pick-up, delivery)
  • Updating your hours
  • Answering all questions people leave for you – especially those related to COVID-19 protocols
  • Repurposing your website FAQs in the Questions & Answers section
  • Responding to all reviews

Creating confidence in your small business leads to trust and action. When your listing is up-to-date, and consumers can find answers to their questions there, they’re more likely to follow through with a visit to your store or make a purchase online. 

When you consider that 80% of all local searches convert to a sale or action, it’s clear how important it is to have your small business ready to properly intercept local and “near me” searches. 

Your Social Media Accounts

Similar to your website, any current clients may turn to social media to quickly check whether you’re open, what your hours are, and if there’s anything they need to know about how you’re operating during COVID-19.

On the other hand, 54% of people on social media use it to research products – so you can bet they’re also using it to search for and support local businesses. With hashtags and location tags, plus searchable name fields, it’s easy to search for and find small businesses on platforms like Instagram. With both current and potential clients turning to social media for information, it’s essential you keep these accounts up-to-date as well. 

Here’s how to share that information:

Posts 

Communicate your updated hours (due to the pandemic, or even just the changing season), COVID-19 protocols, or new operational practices (i.e., take-out only) through a static post on your feed. Use a graphic that clearly says “New Hours”, instead of an image, to make it easy to find. On Facebook, you can pin a post to the top of your business page.

Stories 

More and more people are watching Instagram Stories instead of (or in addition to) scrolling through their feed. With the ever-changing algorithm only showing your content to 10% of followers, it’s vital to share your information in stories to reach as many people as possible. You can do this with a graphic (dimensions should be 9:16) or by filming yourself directly in the app giving the updates. 

Because stories disappear after 24 hours, you can do this as a weekly reminder – not only does this ensure your business information gets found easily, but it also gives you a content idea for at least one day of the week.

Profile

All social media platforms have a profile of some sort. On Facebook, your business page has spots to fill out your hours, physical address, phone number, website, list services, and a business description. Make sure all of these are filled out and up-to-date. On Instagram, you have a much shorter ‘bio’ field to fill out. 

Your handle (@username) and the name field are both searchable, so include keywords here like your location, industry, or business name, and be sure to include a link to your up-to-date website. 

Need Help?

If you’re not sure how to set-up or optimize your online presence, send us a message, we’re always happy to help get you on the right track. Business is hard, especially this year, so let’s make sure you’re set-up for the most success possible. 

Four Top Marketing Tips for Realtors in 2020

We’ve pulled together our top four tips for realtors to ensure you have a successful, well-rounded online marketing strategy.

Why? Because the marketing landscape in real estate has changed dramatically in the past ten years or so. Door knocking and print advertisements aren’t quite a thing of the past, but as more and more people – your target demographic among them – move online, it’s important your marketing strategy does, too.

Top Marketing Tip for Realtors #1: A Landing Page

Nothing you do online matters if you don’t have a strong landing page. A landing page is a single webpage that opens when a person clicks a link that appears in your content. This content could be an ad, a social media platform, newsletter, or any other content part of your strategy.

Once they’ve shown interest in your services by clicking the link, the landing page should then clearly direct them to take further action:

  • Schedule a viewing.
  • Book an initial meeting with you.
  • Sign up for your market insights.
  • Or another act that you decide. 

The landing page not only gives those interested a way to contact you but also allows you to collect email addresses. Doing so will enable you to contact them directly with targeted emails.

Top Marketing Tip for Realtors #2: A Solid Organic Social Media Strategy

Because of its visual nature, social media is one of the best performing marketing channels for realtors. Social media, as a whole, encompasses several platforms. You can choose one or two that you enjoy most to focus on and use to drive traffic to your landing page.

Why is it essential to enjoy the platforms you choose? Because social media relies heavily on personality and brand connection. That’s why it’s so important to show up consistently and build relationships with your audience. Only posting occasionally won’t do the trick.

Some tips for a successful organic social media strategy include:

● Optimizing your bio or profile can make it very clear who you work with and how you help them. For example, do you specialize in assisting people in purchasing investment properties? Or working with first-time homebuyers?

● Be consistent posting to your feed, appearing on Instagram Stories, sharing video to your youtube channel, or doing whatever it is you choose to focus on.

● Show up with purpose. Of course, you’ll want to share the homes you have for sale, but don’t forget to share value for those who may be planning for the future. Market Insights, buying and selling tips, and neighbourhood stories are all ideas that share value and build trust with your prospective clients.

● Use high-quality images. Whether you’re posting a single static post, a carousel (multiple images on one post), a 360 photo, or Instant Experiences (Facebook’s new ad format), it’s important your images are professional and draw in your audience.

Top Marketing Tip for Realtors #3: An Ads Strategy

Instead of posting organically to your feed, you can create an ad within Facebook that appears on Facebook and Instagram. In particular, Carousel Ads have a high click-through rate, and you can either target new audiences or retarget those who have been to your website before for much cheaper – pennies a day. To do this, you’ll need to add a Facebook Pixel to your website to track visitors.

You can also set up a Google AdWords strategy to improve your chances of appearing in search results when someone searches for specific keywords related to your niche.

Top Marketing Tip for Realtors #4: Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing will help you appear in more Google searches and drive more traffic to your website or landing page. A properly set-up listing makes it easier for future clients to call you, find your office, visit your website, and share your location with others.

10|20 Marketing can help you set up your Google My Business listing and make sure it’s working for you. We will ensure that people find your listing by making sure that your contact information is readily available. Our team can also help you with your review strategy or make sure there are valuable content and images that teach your audience about your business.

If you have questions about Google My Business or other aspects of your online marketing strategy, send us a message and let’s chat. We’re always happy to help.

Got a Negative Review? Here’s what you can do.

Stewing over a negative review that a customer left online? Read on for the solution.

In 2019, 90% of people searched the internet when looking for a local business, and 33% of them did so every day. While consumers search for restaurants, bars, and shops, they also search for accountants, physiotherapists, doctors, car dealerships and garages, pet services, and salons – to name a few. No matter what industry you’re in, ensuring you have social proof should be a crucial part of your marketing strategy. 

“Social Proof” in the form of reviews, ratings, testimonials, and recommendations is a critical factor in most consumers’ decision-making processes. 85% of people trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. Reviews can: 

  • Increase consumer trust in you,
  • Convince consumers to spend more money with you (up to 31% more), and
  • Increase your overall business revenue

And these are only a few reasons. For more, check out this previous post of ours for more examples of why building a bank of online reviews is essential. 

There’s also evidence that 57% of customers won’t use a business with fewer than four stars – so what about negative reviews? How do they affect your business, and what can you do about them? We’ve broken down the impact of negative reviews and how you can handle them as business owners or managers. 

You Got a Negative Review – Is it That Bad?

Aside from the blow to your ego, a negative review (yes, even just one) can hurt your business: it causes people to think twice about working with you. Studies show that one bad review can cost you about 22% of customers, and three negative reviews can drive away almost 60%.

What Can You do to Mitigate a Negative Review?

While you want to respond to the review, having your Google My Business account set up properly comes in handy. You’ll get a notification when someone leaves an online review, which will help you create a timely response as the business owner – but you don’t want to rush into it.

First things first: figure out what happened.

Take a look at the customer’s purchase history and try to determine if this is a long-time or new customer. Find out from your staff what happened and gather any information you can. Ideally, this allows you to see what went wrong and when. Not only is this helpful for the current situation, but it can hopefully prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

Second, you’ll want to come up with a way to make it up to them.

In today’s customer-first world, how you handle unhappy customers says as much about your business (if not more) than if a mistake had never happened. Now is your chance to go above and beyond, make it up to them, and win them back.

Be sure to respond quickly (but not until you’ve discovered what went wrong, as we mentioned), and apologize – yes, even if it wasn’t your fault. Tell the reviewer how you plan to fix the issue and follow through.

The majority of people are understanding and realize that mistakes happen. Once everything is resolved and everyone happy, make a polite request to update the review with the outcome. Keep the old review available, though, as you’ll want to appear transparent!

It’s not all bad news

While a negative review can drive consumers away, it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate how you handle these situations publicly. When a potential customer has faith that you’ll quickly solve a problem, they’ll be more likely to purchase from you despite the odd bad review.

Don’t forget that your overall star rating is critical, and is an average of all of your reviews. Make collecting online reviews part of your marketing strategy by adding a link in your email signature, on your website, social media feeds, and even by reaching out to your top customers to ask them to leave you a review. Requesting a review will help tip the balance in favour of your business and bump you back up over the 4-star crest.

What do you think? Do negative reviews typically turn you away from a business? Let us know in the comments – we’re always interested in hearing your perspectives!

How Your Car Dealership Can Take Advantage of Google My Business

If you’re looking for a way to get more foot traffic into your car dealership, look no further than Google My Business. Google My Business is a powerful tool that can help raise awareness, drive website visitors and ultimately increase foot traffic to your car dealership. The goal? To help you find new leads and increase sales.

What is Google My Business?

Not to be confused with Google+, Google My Business is one of several listing sites – and probably the internet’s most important. A listing site is a directory where your business can appear. When the listing is correctly set up and managed, the people who actively search for a car dealership near them will be able to quickly find your business. A proper set up in Google My Business makes it easier for potential buyers to discover you and:

  • call your car dealership
  • get directions
  • click through to your website to browse the inventory
  • or share your location with others.

Google My Business is often the first point of contact people have with your business. This makes the platform even more important than your website in some ways. Why? Because Google My Business can become an online hub for your business location. The platform will feature all of your pertinent business information, reviews, posts and updates, events, offers, products and photos.

Also, when you take advantage of all that Google My Business has to offer, Google will understand your car dealership more and be able to point even more qualified shoppers your way.

How Can Google My Business Help My Car Dealership?

No matter how established – or new! – your dealership and its online presence is, there is an opportunity to increase your visibility and the number of interactions potential customers take with your dealership.

Still unsure of how important it is to have your dealership listed on Google My Business? The eight key metrics we track will indicate improved awareness and increased interactions. The metrics we track will show numbers steadily increasing when your Google My Business listing is active and optimized. They are:

  • Total Views:Total number of times your Google My Business (GMB) listing is presented in a given month.
  • Total Actions:Total number of times people clicked through to call, map your dealership’s address, or visit your website from your GMB listing.
  • Action Rate:Total actions/total views. The action rate shows the percentage of people who acted on your business information to learn more about your dealership (for example, called your location).
  • Map Views: The number of times your local listing appeared in the Google maps results following a query.
  • Search Views:The number of times your local listing appeared in search results following a query.
  • Calls:The number of calls made to your dealership initiated from your local listing on desktop or mobile.
  • Directions:The number of times someone mapped your address from your local listing on desktop or mobile.
  • Website Visits:The number of times someone visited your website after clicking from your listing on desktop or mobile.

Of these eight, the two most important metrics we track for our clients are views and total actions. We recently worked with a local dealership with three locations (and therefore separate listings for all three). One of these was brand new, opening just before working with us. Take a look at the trend report below for those two metrics after working with us to optimize the listing at this location (i.e., manage information, reviews, and post to the listing twice weekly):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This car dealership had impressive, business-changing results with all three locations, not just their newest one. For one of the dealerships, our service helped improve views and actions by 88% and 61%, respectively, after ten months of working with us. Results like these represent a lot of new leads – and car sales!

What Happens If A Car Dealership Doesn’t Optimize Their Google My Business Listing?

Every error in your dealership’s information across the internet reduces your chances of appearing in results when potential customers search online.

Without having an active and optimized Google My Business listing, each day you miss out on:

  • Increased awareness of your business (eyes on your listing)
  • Additional awareness by appearing in Google Maps
  • Phone calls to your dealership
  • Website visits
  • Easy directions to your dealership for potential customers right from their current location (key for attracting those who are spending an afternoon browsing dealerships)

In addition, Google My Business helps validate your business, which has an impact on SEO, and makes your dealership more ‘findable’ overall.

Remember the days when you needed a plumber, and you went right to the Yellow Pages Book under P for ‘Plumber’? No plumber in town would intentionally not have their business listed there, and Google My Business is today’s digital version of the Yellow Pages. You can’t afford not to appear there when people are searching for your business.

Not using or not optimizing your Google My Business listing is a missed opportunity.

What You Get For Your Car Dealership When You Work With 10|20 Marketing

When you work with us, you get more than just a quick review to ensure your listing is set-up correctly. We will:

  • Claim business listings online
  • Manage how locations appear across the internet
  • Fix errors in listings that are costing businesses sales
  • List locations on new engines, review sites, social networks and maps
  • Improve search engine optimization
  • Monitor customer reviews and ratings
  • Drive more customers to your client’s locations

If you have questions about how your car dealership can start taking advantage of a Google My Business listing right away, and start seeing more foot traffic on site, send us a message and let’s chat. Want more info on the process and results you can expect as a car dealership? Write us and we’ll happily send you our case study.