How To Build Word Of Mouth Using Google My Business Reviews

Remember when your neighbour used to tell you about the best deli in town or the best place to get alterations done? Word of Mouth has always been a potent tool for local businesses. And it’s easy to understand why: people trust their neighbours’ opinions.

As the internet grew in popularity and with the advent of social media, Word of Mouth Marketing not only still exists in the form of online reviews, but now those opinions reach so many more people and have an even more significant impact on local businesses.

In fact:

  • 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations, and
  • 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business
  • 10% of all website traffic is a result of online reviews

Those aren’t numbers you can afford to ignore! Add to that that 63% of consumers go to Google to check reviews first, it makes sense that getting more Google My Business Reviews should be a focus for your business.

We’ve pulled together five of the best ways to ask your customers to leave a Google My Business Review:

1. Send a Thank You Email

After a customer purchases a product or service from your business, send them a follow-up email to thank them for their visit and ask them to share feedback by leaving a review. Please include a link to your Google My Business listing to make it easier for them to take action.

2. Add a Link to Your Website and Social Media Channels

Take the same link you shared in your email and add it to your website and social media channels. This way, past customers who are happy with your service can leave a review.

On your website, you can include the link on a few pages, in the footer, or even add a pop-up box to grab attention before consumers exit the site.

3. Respond to all Reviews

Responding to reviews makes your customers feel good and shows potential customers that you care and pay attention. It also encourages others to leave a review. People like feeling like they are a part of something!

Also, Google prioritizes active business listings. Doing so means you become more visible in the search engine – just by saying “thank you!”

4. Create Leave-Behind Cards

If you’re a service provider who travels to different locations, have leave-behinds printed. These are small (typically post-card-sized) cards that you can leave at the site. These cards can include any information you like, but your website, social media handles, and a request for a review are all standard pieces of info to have in print.

5. Include a Link in Your Email Signature

People need to see something on average eight times before they act. So including a link to leave a review in your email signature, especially if you’re a service provider who spends much time emailing back and forth, can slowly but surely build your Google My Business Reviews.

Never be afraid to ask for a review to help build your business’ reach via word of mouth. However, before launching a review campaign, it’s a good idea to review Google’s Terms of Service to make sure you’re not violating any rules. For example, offering a reward in exchange for a review can get your listing suspended. 

If you’re afraid of getting a negative review (or maybe already have one) – no need to worry. Check out our blog post on responding to negative reviews.

How To Be a Local Marketing Pro in Six Easy Steps

Local Marketing: The action or business of promoting and selling products or services to a particular area or neighbourhood. – localiq.com

As a local business owner, being able to target your local area is extremely important. You want to reach these people, engage them and ultimately attract them to your business. And that could be in the form of foot traffic to your business’s location or website traffic.

Did you know that almost half of all Google searches are specifically for a local business? Follow these tips to ensure you show up in those search results like a local marketing pro.

Google AdWords

Running a Google Ad campaign can allow you to get highly specific with your targeting, so you reach those near your business. Google Ads can give consumers directions to your store but can also be used to encourage online shopping and website visits. In addition, you can tailor the ads depending on the specific product or service you are promoting.

Local SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a combination of tactics that help your business’s website appear higher in search results. SEO tactics can include keyword optimization of your website and content, website load time, and how easy it is to view or navigate your website from phones and tablets.

Local SEO draws information from your local listings – like Google My Business, Yellow Pages, Bing, and Waze. Ensure these listings are updated with your business address to encourage consumers to come to your location.

Tailor Your Website

Does your website speak directly to your local neighbourhood? Name the areas or boroughs specifically, including local landmarks, reference local stories, and make it easy for people to gain context for your local area. Making your website feel like an old friend to consumers will help you convert website traffic from leads to sales – whether that’s via foot traffic in your store or an online purchase.

Optimize Your Social Media Platforms

Having a social media presence is essential, but with the large amounts of people (and now businesses) on social media these days, it’s vital for you to stand out from the noise and make sure you’re attracting the local audience want.

For example, Facebook page names and Instagram handles and usernames are all searchable fields. If you are targeting local, make sure to include your city in these fields to appear in searches on those platforms.

Make sure your address is listed, and, on Facebook, add your business hours. Then, take advantage of Instagram’s buttons, including Order FoodBook a Call, or Reserve a Table

Tell Stories

Stories have always played an essential role in communicating, beginning with the sharing of oral histories thousands of years ago.

People relate better to stories and also remember them better than facts or numbers. So including stories in your local marketing is a great way to capture your audience’s attention and stand out from the noise. In addition, stories help people think of you the next time they are near you and want what you offer.

Here are some story ideas for a pizza parlour. Instead of advertising the types of pizza you offer:

  • Detail local business deals being closed over a slice
  • Satisfying late-night cravings when nothing else is open
  • Or talk about the retired couple who’s been coming in weekly since you opened decades ago.
Combine Multiple Tactics

Individually, each of the above strategies and tactics can help your business grow, but the best local marketing strategies will include a combination of them. You don’t have to do everything under the sun. Still, by appearing in multiple places to your audience, you increase brand awareness and trust, which ultimately encourages locals to visit your business.

For more tips on how to become a local marketing pro and learn how to increase foot and website traffic, check out the rest of our blog posts.

Digital Marketing Tactics You Should Focus on For Your New Local Business

Digital Marketing spans a wide range of tools and tactics, from email marketing to paid ads, SEO (search engine optimization), social media, and content marketing. You don’t have to do it all, especially when you’re just starting. A few well-considered, creative digital marketing strategies can help drive traffic to your new local business. 

Here are some of our favourite digital marketing tactics to include in your marketing plan.

Set-Up Your Google My Business Listing

If you haven’t already, setting up and optimizing your Google My Business listing should be your first step. An optimized and active Google My Business listing is one of the easiest ways to appear in search results – sometimes more often than websites! “Optimized and Active” means ensuring all of your business details (location, address, hours of operation) and attributes (take-out and delivery, accessible) are accurate and complete.

After setting up your profile correctly, it’s essential to make sure it stays active. There are many ways to do so: share updates, respond to reviews, add photos, reply to questions, and more. Keep feeding your profiles and, in turn, your (potential) customers.

Run Facebook Ads

Facebook (and other social media) ads have the benefit of not only increasing sales but also increasing your brand awareness. You benefit from increased exposure when someone is actively searching for your product or service and when they’re scrolling through their feeds. As a new local business, increased exposure is critical to generating traffic.

Like Google AdWords, Facebook Ads allows you to choose your audience and ad objectives. You can also re-target those who visited your website already at a significantly lower cost than running ads to new audiences.

Ask For Reviews

You won’t get any if you don’t ask! It’s okay to ask happy customers to leave reviews, and the more you have, the more likely you are to make sales. Did you know that 72% percent of people won’t take action before consulting online reviews, and 15% of customers will not trust a business if they don’t have reviews to consult?

In addition to asking for reviews, be sure to respond to the ones you do get – positive and negative. Responding to reviews lets Google and potential customers know you are an active business. Responding to negative reviews, in particular, can let consumers know you will do your best to fix any wrongs. Especially as a new company trying to generate new customers, this is very important. Check out our complete Customer Reviews Marketing Strategy to get started on yours

Host a Giveaway

One sure way to generate interest in your new local business is to give away free stuff! Options for contests or giveaways are almost endless: 

  • First XX number of customers in the store receive a free item
  • Sign up for our newsletter to be entered into a draw for a free item
  • For every $XX amount spent, be entered into a draw 
  • For every $XX amount spent, receive XX% off
  • Tag us on Instagram for a chance to win a gift card
  • And so on

Promote your giveaway on social media, your website, in your email marketing campaigns, and in-store using flyers or coupons. If it’s within the budget, you can also work with local influencers to share your business and giveaway online. 

Use Hashtags and Locations Tags on Social Media

Social Media is an excellent tool for new businesses. Due to the global nature of most platforms, you have to take steps to ensure your posts target a more local audience. Using hashtags and location tags is a great way to do this.

When posting, look for the option to “Add location.” You can enter either your business name or current city. When it comes to hashtags, smaller is better. Use niche hashtags to narrow down your audience to your ideal consumers. For example, instead of #pizzashop use #montrealpizzashop or #montrealveganfoods.

The ways you can use digital marketing to generate traffic for your new local business are virtually endless if you get a little bit creative! If you’re looking for more ideas, check out our blog!

10 Easy Small Business Marketing Tasks To Consider During Your Morning Coffee

If there’s one thing we all know as owners of local businesses, it’s that there is never enough time in the day. As marketers who work with local business owners, we know that marketing is one of the last things on your list to get done.

We get it. So we’ve put together a list of 10 marketing tasks you can do to grow your local business while you drink your morning coffee, and then you can get on with the rest of your day.

Easy Small Business Marketing Task #1: Send an Email

Email marketing, or writing newsletters, might seem daunting, but the truth is that many business owners overthink this task. Open your email marketing software, and write an email (pretend it’s to a friend) letting them know what you and your business have been up to lately. It’s a good idea to leave a link where they can book a time to chat with you more, or maybe purchase a product or service you mentioned. Send it to your subscribers, and repeat next week.

Easy Small Business Marketing Task #2: Sign up for HARO

Help a Reporter Out, or HARO, is an online marketplace connecting reporters with thought leaders for source material in their news articles. Anyone can sign up, and it takes just 5 minutes! There are several membership levels, but the most basic is free. Then you can sit back and watch your inbox for requests that match your area of expertise. Who doesn’t want more publicity?

Easy Small Business Marketing Task #3: Create a Customer Appreciation Program

It’s easier to get repeat business from a customer than to get a new customer, so why not create a customer appreciation program? It can be anything from a percentage off their next purchase/service to a “Buy 3 get 1 Free” style incentive. Brainstorm over coffee, and ask your web developer to put it on your website later today.

Easy Small Business Marketing Task #4: Get Involved

Not only is volunteer work great for brand visibility, but it’s also a great cause and a great way to meet other local business owners. Browse Google for local charities looking for volunteers, and send off an email asking how to get involved.

Easy Small Business Marketing Task #5: Plan a Week of Social Media Posts

Another idea that is often overlooked and overthought! Here are five quick content ideas you can post about on social media:

  1. Share an old blog post
  2. Introduce yourself as the business owner
  3. Answer a question customers often ask you
  4. Share an industry “secret”
  5. Remind people to sign up for your newsletter
Easy Small Business Marketing Task #6: Cross-promote or Collaborate

One of the easiest ways to grow your audience and grow your business is to collaborate with another business owner with a similar ideal client. Do you own a pizza shop? Send an email or Instagram DM to a sandwich shop and suggest going Live to discuss how the pandemic has affected the local food industry. Doing so can increase exposure for both of you! Nervous about going live on social media? Suggest a space on each other’s websites or social media platforms where you can promote each other.

Easy Small Business Marketing Task #7: Create a Viral Graphic

Have something witty, relatable, or controversial to say? Software programs like Canva allow non-graphic designers to quickly and easily create shareable social media content. Whether it’s a quote, a meme, or a graph, Canva’s templates will enable you to slide in your ideas and branding easily. You can then and download a high-res design in a matter of minutes. And it’s free, too! 

Easy Small Business Marketing Task #8: Do a Website Audit

Browse your website page by page, and do an audit to see what needs to be updated. Have your service offerings changed? COVID-19 changed your appointment booking process? Is your about page still up to date? You don’t always have to do a complete rebrand to make sure your website is up-to-date and working for you. Jot down which pages need fixing and update them later.

Easy Small Business Marketing Task #9: Post to Google My Business

Your Google My Business listing is a powerful search tool that allows new clients to discover you and keep current ones up to date on everything from events to new products and updated store hours or policies. But for Google to give your listing preference, it needs to be an active listing. Share a new post to your account at least once a week. It’s fast, easy, and has a significant impact on your business’ search engine readiness.

Easy Small Business Marketing Task #10: Nurture the Audience You Already Have

There is much talk about growing your social media following. Still, not as much emphasis on nurturing the audience you already have, even though this is arguably the most critical piece of a successful social media marketing strategy. While you’re sipping your coffee, take 30 minutes to respond to comments, engage with your followers, and essentially “be social.” It will go a long way to building their trust with you and turning them from followers to leads.

Try one of these tips tomorrow over your morning cup of joe, and let us know which you tried and how it went! As always, if you have any questions about marketing for your local business, book a free consultation and let’s chat. 

What you need to know about Google Ads for Local Businesses

You have your website, an active blog page, and a consistent social media strategy all in place. So now what? If your organic marketing is all set and working for you, it’s time to take that content and put it in hyper-drive with Google Ads.

Great content is the key to reaching and building trust with your audience, so they feel confident purchasing your services and products. To maximize it, you’ll want to get it in front of even more eyes, so spending some money on Google Ads is a logical next step. Of course, if you’re spending money on advertising, you’ll want to make sure that your ad structure helps maximize your potential Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

Because Google Ads can be a bit complicated, we’ve put together a few tips to help get you started.

Google Ads for Local Businesses: Quick Glossary
  • Keywords: The words or phrases consumers search for which signal to Google to show your ad. You choose a list of keywords when creating your ad campaign.
  • Bid: The maximum amount you’re willing to spend to get a click on an ad.
  • Quality Score: How relevant your ad is to your selected keywords and your landing page. The higher your Quality Score, the better.
  • Ad Rank: Where your ad shows on Google.
  • Cost-Per-Click (CPC): What you pay when an ad is clicked on.
  • Conversions: The action someone takes after they click your ad – for example, making a purchase.
Google Ads for Local Businesses: Use the Location Ad Extension

You can use several extensions with your Google Ads that help you achieve increased click-through rates, provide additional information to consumers, and make it easier for customers to call.

If you’re focusing on local search, the local ad extension can help you find a nearby product or service by opening Google Maps and giving the consumer directions to your store. The surprising news? Although 76% of people who search for a local service visit a business that day, not many companies use this ad extension! So you can get a leg up on your competition with just a few simple steps. 

In your Google Ads dashboard, search for the “Location Extensions” option.

Google Ads for Local Businesses: Update Your Location Targeting

Google’s targeting defaults to “anyone who shows interest in your area.” But what you want to do is target consumers who are in your area! 

To make this change, go to Campaign Settings -> Locations -> Target. Under Target, select the “People in or regularly in your targeted locations” option. Doing so will help narrow the search field and increase the chances of getting foot traffic to your store.

Google Ads for Local Businesses: Budgeting for Success

You’ll want to set up a campaign for each business objective you have. You could divide your budget evenly across each campaign set, but we recommend adjusting the budget based on your current focus. For example, if you’re having a sale on a particular product, you should focus more of your ad budget on that product for the duration of your sale. You can rearrange your budget again the following month, so you’re always putting more money behind the current business goals.

Google AdWords can seem daunting at first, but if you break it into steps and make tweaks to help target hyper-local consumers, you can effectively use AdWords to drive more foot traffic to your store. If you have more questions about how Google AdWords can help drive traffic to your store, book a free consultation call

How Your Local Business Benefits From Trust According To The Edelman Trust Barometer

If you’re a business owner, you likely know that trust plays a big factor in your sales – trust in your business, trust in your products, and trust built by reviews and testimonials left on sites like Google My Business or shared on social media. But how can you build and harness this trust factor? The Edelman Trust Barometer offers some clues. 

The Edelman Trust Barometer

Edelman recently released their 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer; stats which are pulled from a survey issued to more than 33,000 respondents in 28 countries. While trust, on the whole, has declined, largely due to the pandemic and the public being unsure of what information they can trust and from where, the good news is that for businesses, the trust index has actually increased.

Out of the four institution types included in the survey – Business, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), Government, and Media – business is the only one that scored high enough to be classified as “Trusted”.

“While the world seems to be clouded by mistrust and misinformation, there is a glimmer of hope in business. This year’s study shows that business is not only the most trusted institution among the four studied, but it is also the only trusted institution with a 61 percent trust level globally, and the only institution seen as both ethical and competent.”

https://www.edelman.com/trust/2021-trust-barometer

 

Because folks are turning to businesses to fill in the gaps where it’s perceived that governments and media aren’t, it’s now more important than ever for CEOs to share quality, trustworthy information with their employees, which in turn finds its way into the community. But this isn’t just information about the business itself, more than 53% of respondents believe that corporations are responsible for filling in the information void, and 86% believe this should include topics such as COVID-19 and other social issues. 

A Person Like Me – Trusted Brands

There is a ripple effect here that occurs when businesses begin sharing trustworthy information and where they stand on major societal issues – businesses suddenly become perceived as having personalities. And who doesn’t want to hang out with and support people like them?

Here’s an example:

In 2018, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) found itself at the center of the gun-control debate, when it was revealed that one of its suppliers, Vista, had holdings in the manufacture of assault-style weapons. MEC’s main consumer base, made up of outdoorsy folks who spend their time hiking, biking, camping, and enjoying nature, weren’t exactly on board with supporting the Vista brand. So MEC had to decide: Where do we stand on this issue?

Not surprisingly, they opted to stop using Vista as a distributor. 

“It’s been [a] really good exercise internally in taking the facts and coming up with an opinion that we believe is both balanced, and fair, and right,” Labistour told CBC News at the time.

The result? Sure, MEC likely lost some pro-gun shoppers, but it built its trust with its core community of brand-loyal customers.

Those consumers will share the “good news” with others in their network – mostly people like them who are pro gun control and enjoy the outdoors. A trusted friend sharing something good about a local business? You know they went there to buy their next pair of hiking boots.

Consumers like and trust brands that share the same values as them. Shoppers don’t only go after the cheapest price anymore. They want to know where their money is going, who they are supporting, and if the business has the same values as they do.

It all comes down to trust.

A Person Like Me – Trusted People

There’s something else we touched on in that last segment – trusted people. 72% of consumers won’t complete a purchase before consulting reviews, but how can we double-down on those reviews to get the most out of them?

By making sure they come from people like our consumers; from brand evangelists or ambassadors. This is why the rise of the social media influencer has been so popular among large brands and small local businesses alike – when people see someone they perceive to be like themselves advocating for a business or product, they’re infinitely more likely to also trust that business or product right away.

Social media influencers have essentially moved word-of-mouth marketing from small, in-person conversations to massive audiences that span from local communities to global ones. And again, it’s all rooted in the trust of the person sharing your message for you.

The Edelman Trust Barometer 2021 report has shown us that, more than ever, consumers are turning to businesses to see how they are communicating and handling social justice issues – and are therefore seeing which businesses have personalities (aka brands) that seem similar to themselves prior to making purchase decisions moving forward.

Now is the time to understand your brand, your ideal customer, and make sure they know, like, and trust you.

The Local Marketing Toolkit For Small Businesses

Our clients often ask us what local marketing toolkit they should be using to promote their business. So we’ve developed this post to provide guidance to those looking to promote their business in a local area.

We’re a small business too – so we know that small business owners have a lot to think about all the time. There’s a lot on your plate, from managing the day-to-day to behind-the-scenes operations, ensuring customer satisfaction, making sure employees are up to speed, and so forth.

Unfortunately, marketing often falls to the bottom of the to-do list. But, it is crucial to use the right tools to market your business. Doing so can go a long way to helping you build sales – and peace of mind. So, we’ve put together this local marketing toolkit that won’t break the budget and will move your business further along the line.

Website

A website is vital for online success. Whether you’re looking to collect leads or close an e-commerce sale, you need the proper infrastructure in place. That’s why these platforms are at the top of our local marketing toolkit. 

  • WordPress or Shopify: Website builders like WordPress and Shopify allow you to create unique websites that your customers will find. (Shopify will enable you to start selling online for as little as $29/month.) Many plug-and-play website builders out there make it easy to create and manage a website. But these sites come with a significant downside, too: they’re not set up with the appropriate back-end fields to help your website get found in search results. 
  • Google Analytics: Before you have your website up and running, make sure to enable Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. It’s vital as it lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track referral traffic from organic, social media and paid traffic sources. This platform will help you understand where people are coming from to get to your site and which traffic converts the most visitors. 

Search Necessities

Now that your website is up and running and you’re tracking visits, you can concentrate on getting your needs found. Being search-ready can help you attract and intercept customers looking for what you sell or provide. 

  • Google My Business: This free profile or business listing on Google helps you keep your current customers up-to-date and makes it easier to be found by potential customers. Often, Google My Business listings will appear in search results even before websites do, so you’ll want to take advantage. 
  • Other directories and listing platforms: Countless apps and platforms allow businesses to set up a profile and get found by potential customers. But your business needs to have these profiles set up and be active! Expanding your presence to more directories allows you to increase your reach, build awareness and generate more traffic to your website. 10|20 Marketing offers a low-cost service that manages all of your profiles so you can focus on more important things in your business.

Email Marketing

If your website exists to generate leads or convert sales, then you’ll want to do something with all those email addresses you’re collecting. Regularly communicating with your prospects and clients can lead to (repeat) sales and greater loyalty. Make sure they opt-in to receive emails from you first, though!

  • ConvertKit: Free email marketing software for up to 1,000 subscribers. The free account includes unlimited landing pages and forms (to collect email addresses), allows you to send emails, and lets you sell and track digital products and subscriptions. You can even build your forms in ConvertKit and embed them into your website. Doing so allows each form completion to go directly into ConvertKit so you can make sure these sign-ups are in your database!
  • Mailchimp: More often than not, MailChimp seems to be the email marketing software of choice among small business owners. The free account allows you to have up to 2,000 contacts, sending up to 10,000 emails per month. It also includes landing pages and design tools.

Promotion

With everything running nice and smooth, you may want to consider a content (and) or a paid advertising strategy.

  • Social Media: Social media is excellent for building brand awareness and engaging with your audience for free. Use it to promote your content, blogs, tips, and advice – all things that help build trust with your audience and customers. Popular platforms for business are InstagramFacebook Pages, LinkedInPinterest, and yes, even TikTok! However, we recommend choosing one or two platforms to focus on, especially if you’re getting started. It’s to be present in one or two places all the time, then only once in a while on several networks. 
  • Facebook Ads: On Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, or any other social platform, if you want more than organic reach, you can create ads to target a wider audience. You can choose exactly how much you want to spend. And doing so is especially helpful if you are promoting a new product or service.
  • Google Ads: Wish your website would appear at the top of the search results page? Well, it can. Google Ads are similar to Facebook Ads, except, of course, they appear on the Google web search results page. Create an ad and choose what kind of keywords you want to target, set a budget, and you’re you’red running!

10|20 Marketing can help you manage your ad campaigns on social media and Google if this is outside of your comfort zone.

Other Tools

What else might you need to keep your business running smoothly? Here are some other ideas. 

  • LastPass: LastPass allows you to store all of your passwords securely and share individual passwords with trusted team members that require them. It’s an important tool to maintain business integrity and stay safe online.
  • Zapier: Zapier allows you to integrate all of your apps and automate specific processes to save time. Build triggers to complete processes for your business. For example, you can use this to get an email every time a new form completion comes from your website.

The Local Marketing Toolkit For Small Businesses

Finally, you’ll want your website, apps, social profiles, and email marketing all connected so you can accurately measure the results of your efforts. Connect what you can to Google Analytics, and take the time to understand the leads and sales you get from your promotions.

There are several moving pieces when it comes to marketing your local business online. If you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed, book a free consultation with us and let’s see how we can help. 

How to Use Google My Business to Get More Customers

Want to know how to get more customers? Look no further than Google My Business. Most people who search online don’t, so why should you?

With all the focus on social media these days, Google My Business can get lost in the noise behind Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn. But what most business owners don’t realize is just how powerful an optimized Google My Business profile is. In some cases, it can be even more potent than their website because it’s the first thing people see when they search for products and services.

It’s essential, then, not to let your Google My Business profile gather dust the same way your Instagram might be (don’t worry, we won’t tell!). Google heavily favours active profiles, so the best way to ensure you’re getting the most out of yours is also the easiest – by simply using the tools within the platform itself.

This post will run through the top five features to be using inside Google My Business. Taking our advice will help your business stay relevant, become found online, and get more customers.

Pictures

People like to see what your store or business looks like and examples of the products you sell. For returning customers, it’s fun to see familiar faces and the owner of their favourite local business online. 

Start by adding a logo or a cover photo. If you have just your basic information filled out, Google will display your logo, helping to build brand awareness. By adding a cover photo to your profile, you control what the first image is (and the first impression) customers see when they come across your listing.

Then regularly add new photos of your business to highlight different features, showcase the behind-the-scenes, share new products, and more. Periodically adding new pictures to your profile keeps your customers informed and lets Google know that your business is active, which encourages it to prioritize your Google My Business Profile in the results.

Take it an extra step and rename your photo file to the format business-name-description-of-photo. (Note the lower case and dash between each word.) This format tells Google what the picture is about and helps the search engine properly index it. Doing so gives you an extra boost in the search results.

Reviews

Don’t just sit back and wait for reviews. Ask for them! Reviews tell potential customers valuable information about your business, and the feedback is something that helps you learn and improve.

You can request reviews from customers by sharing a unique link to your business profile. Be sure to verify your business so you can respond to reviews, too. Responding is a critical way to earn the trust of your current and potential customers because it shows that you value input.

Actively Monitor the Q&A

Potential customers can ask questions about your business on your profile. Watch for these and answer them as soon as possible. Responding could help bring them into your store and shows that you value your customers. 

To receive an email when someone leaves a new question, look for the gear icon near the bottom left sidebar and select Settings. Make sure to check the box next to “Questions and Answers” to turn on the notifications.

Messaging

Did you know you can message directly with your customers from within the platform, too? Once you turn it on, customers will see a “Message” button on your profile and use it to Live Chat with you.

We recommend you turn on an automated welcome message so customers receive an acknowledgement right away. But make sure you respond to all messages as fast as possible. Google recommends responding within 24 hours. If you don’t respond within that time frame, Google may deactivate messaging for your profile.

You can turn on messages by visiting Messages -> Settings -> select “turn on messaging”.

Google Posts

Keep your customers (current and potential!) up-to-date by sharing posts about new products or services, share announcements, and promote events. Here is a list of the different kinds of posts you can make:

  • COVID-19: Provide an update due to the current pandemic, including adjusted hours or temporary closures, changes to business operations, safety and hygiene updates, or requests for support.
  • Offers: Share promotions or sales with your customers. A ‘view offer’ button gets automatically added to your post!
  • Products: Add new products that will appear in your ‘products’ tab on your profile.
  • What’s New: Share general information about your business – for example, if you’re a restaurant, you can share a new take-out menu.
  • Events: Promote events happening at your business to let more people know about them.
  • Hours Update: Updating your business hours will advise those who visit your business profile that the new hours are a recent update, so they’ll know the hours are current.

Google My Business is a valuable platform that does so much more than let you connect with customers. It allows you to share important information and updates and keep everyone informed while also readily appearing in Google search results. 

If you’d like to learn more about setting your Google My Business listing to get more customers, sign up to access our Google My Business guide. If you’re looking for help setting up or managing your Google My Business profile, book a free consultation and let’s chat!

 

Visit These Sites For The Best Local Marketing Advice

Looking for local marketing advice? With all of the ‘expert’ marketing guidance out there on the internet, it can be hard to know what sources you can trust. And which pieces of local marketing advice you should leave behind. As a small business owner, you want to be sure you’re not wasting your time!

We get it, and we want to see you succeed. So we’ve compiled a list of resources we believe offer great insights that you can feel good about.

Local University

Local U teaches business owners all about online marketing, focusing on Local Search Engine Optimization. Pre-COVID, Local U brought together SEO experts to deliver training at in-person, full-day seminars. (Note: you can buy access to past, recorded conferences or stay up-to-date on upcoming events here.)

But Local U is more than just a marketing conference. They have an affordable, paid membership forum where local business owners have access to more than 20 local search experts to get professional advice to their most burning questions, as well as access to discounts on event tickets.

They also have several free resources, including a blog and unique tool that gives you the ability to score your Google Homepage.

Wordstream

Wordstream offers “online advertising made easy,” pairing advisors with businesses. But we think the real gem on their site is the Local Marketing section. Here they have a blog full of tips and advice for local businesses who want to drive more sales with cost-effective marketing strategies.

They recently published a new blog called Our 7 Favourite (Free!) Local Marketing Resources for 2021, a list explicitly curated for local businesses. Their list offers resources on everything from pay-per-click advertising to SEO and lifestyle and career growth. No matter where you are in your business, there’s a tool for everyone on Wordstream. 

Uberall

Uberall offers various online marketing services and products, but they also deliver a vast amount of free resources. These resources include tips, news, and industry insights for local businesses.

One recent blog post looks at the Future of Retail and the “seismic shift” that happened in the market thanks to COVID-19. Online shopping exploded last year – what does that mean for the brick-and-mortar store?

Uberall also has webinars, e-books, and reports, if you want to take a deep dive into any of the content topics, including a white paper called The Automotive Guide to Digital Marketing.

Full disclosure: 10|20 Marketing is a Uberall reseller. 

Moz

Moz was founded in 2004. It was initially a blog and online community dedicated to search engine optimization, and eventually, they created some of their own tools and products.

You can bet that a company that started out as a blog about SEO still has a great blog all about search! Their articles go beyond the basics and dive into the specifics. For example, they discuss long-tail SEO in 2021 or using low-search volume keywords to optimize content. If you’re ready to take on your website’s SEO, Moz is the place to go!

10|20 Marketing

Of course, our very own site is full of carefully curated blogs, advice, and stories from other local business owners to help you learn and grow your business. We’re passionate about supporting local businesses in any way we can, so our blog is full of advice like tips on how to Spring Clean Your Business for Growth and Four Creative Ways to Use GeoFencing.

At the same time, we love giving the spotlight to those local businesses we want to support. So we created a series to highlight Owner Stories, where we chat with local business owners about all things business! And PS: we’re always looking for folks to feature, so if you’re interested in sharing your story, send us a message!

We’ll continue scouring the internet for the best local marketing advice for you, so be sure to check back often to see what’s new!

 

Local Marketing Links of Interest, Volume 2

Hey hey! We’re back with a new batch of links tailormade for small business owners who have a location-based business and/or e-commerce websites who are looking to make a splash in local search or drive conversions to their website. 

We’ll be posting links from time to time. If you have anything to share with us, please add your links in the comments below. 

Let’s jump in!

Are Coworking Spaces Against the Google My Business Guidelines?

This story was of particular interest to us as we rent out of a Coworking space. Like so many other small business owners, the benefits of working out of such an office are too good to pass up. If you’ve been wondering if you can claim your space within a Coworking space, the answer is in this article. Essentially, if you’re going to claim your listing, it’s best to have a fixed, permanent suite inside the Coworking space. And it’s even better if you have some images to prove it.

By the way, read our Owner Story to learn more about the people who run Metspace, 10|20 Marketing’s home base. 

Do Google My Business Identity Attributes Impact Ranking?

We wrote about Google’s attributes and their importance a little while back. We’d encourage you to go back and read that for a refresher. If you click through to our Link of Interest, though, you’ll see what experts think the impact of adding attributes is. In short, the answer is, “Yes, quite possibly.” A lot has to do with the attribute selected and the search volume in your local area. Read the research done by Sterling & Sky to gain a great understanding. 

Google Has Quietly Become a Key Player in Takeout Dining

Run a restaurant and trying to get through your local government restrictions to survive? Ensuring your restaurant sets up online ordering is vital. In this article, you’ll see just how great an impact Google has quietly had in this space. Their efforts are not without controversy, but with Google so crucial for local business, you may have no choice but to take advantage. 

E-Commerce Has Been A Lifeline For Small Businesses During The Pandemic. Where Do They Go From Here?

Many of our clients started to focus on Shopify and other e-commerce platforms when the pandemic hit. Of course they did after lockdowns completely depleted their on-site traffic. With the pivot to online sales, some of our clients started to see that their local business now had a wider reach. How did they take advantage? What’s next now that restrictions are loosening? This article has a good look at these questions. 

Why your business should run Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads – and how to get them right

Built a website and nobody is coming? Have an e-commerce site and need to convert more sales? Running a pay-per-click advertising campaign can be a solution, but only if done correctly. The key is to track your campaigns to understand what is working and what is leading to conversions. Online ads are something we specialize in, helping clients big and small meet their goals. We encourage you to read this article and let us know if you think a PPC campaign is something you’re ready to launch. 

Read our last batch of links here!