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.

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. 

Are Flyers Still Useful for Local Marketing?

It’s a question all small, local businesses ask in the age of digital marketing: are flyers still effective for local marketing? According to London Circular, flyers have been around since Renaissance Italy, when vital information was handwritten on paper and passed around. Of course, the process improved with the invention of the printing press, but the method worked: flyers are still making their way into mailboxes today as one of the most-used local marketing tactics.

But are they working as effectively as they used to? We’ve put together a list of pros and cons to help you decide if your business should consider adding (or keeping) a paper trail in its local marketing plan.

Pros Of Using Flyers For Local Marketing

One of the biggest pros of distributing flyers in today’s digital marketing age is that it’s much easier and cheaper to design and print your own. With tools like Canva and the rise of the gig economy, it’s easy for business owners to either create their flyers or hire a freelance graphic designer at an affordable price. Printing, even in large quantities, is also relatively inexpensive today.

But, then what do you do with them?

Door Drops (flyers put in mailboxes without being addressed to the home or business occupant) have an open rate of 5%. 16% of people put it aside for later, and 85% threw it away. If we take the 16% who set flyers aside for later and combine it with the 5% who opened it right away, we’re looking at a combined 21% open rate – considered a very good open rate for email marketing!

When flyers land at a specific address, the numbers increase dramatically. 57% open them the day they arrive (sky-high numbers in the digital world!), 5% glance at it right away, 24% put it aside to look at later, and only 26% threw the flyer away.

The key to any successful marketing campaign is to execute properly:

  • If you’re advertising your new restaurant, include pictures of best-selling menu items, your location and opening hours. Coupons go a long way, too!
  • Real Estate agents can advertise their newest or best listings.

Door-to-door marketing campaigns are all about location, location, location. You can choose neighbourhoods within walking distance of your new shop and put flyers in mailboxes of every home. Make sure they know you’re just around the corner!

Of course, instead of stuffing mailboxes, you can also wander around and hand out flyers to people you meet directly. Handing flyers directly to prospects gives you the bonus of talking to potential customers, answering questions, and sharing more information than what is on the flyer.

It takes roughly 1 hour to distribute 100 flyers.

Cons Of Using Flyers For Local Marketing

The biggest drawback of handing out flyers is that it’s almost impossible to measure your Return on Investment – or ROI – efforts. You have to rely on tactics like asking the consumer to bring in the flyer or mention it at the store (and seeing them follow through with that) to know if the flyer drove leads or sales.

How Likely Are People To Forget About A Flyer?

Flyers (albeit, like all ads) cut straight to the chase and don’t offer consumers the chance to build that relationship and trust with your business that is so valuable today. Because of this, you’re likely to convert anyone with an immediate need for your offer, but not others. Most people will likely recycle the flyer and forget about it by the time they need your services.  

While the use of flyers is becoming less and less popular, there is still evidence that people are, at the very least, still looking at what ends up in their mailbox. If you’re considering adding flyers to your marketing strategy, you may want to consider starting with a small sub-section of the area you want to target and track your sales following distribution to see if you notice an increase. You can then decide if the Return on Investment was worth it and build your campaign from there.

If you’re unsure about using flyers in your local marketing plan and are interested in learning more about driving qualified traffic to your location or website, there are many proven techniques to do so.

 

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.

A Salute To Small Business Owners Everywhere

Every day of the week, we deal with small business owners. Hardworking people who own shops, service centres, spas, salons, professional services firms, dealerships, clinics, restaurants, and supply stores. October is Small Business Month and we want to salute small business owners across the country.

Today, we salute the small business owner who couldn’t figure out why people couldn’t find his business only to discover that Google didn’t have his address pinned to his location. His location was in the right place, but his address wasn’t. Problem solved.

We also salute establishments that were the target of a negative online review campaign by none other than the Hells Angels.

Let’s hear it for restaurant owners who take the time to update their menus online and potentially save themselves from delivering orders that they’re getting all wrong.

Also, we salute business owners who get why it’s so vital to claim and maintain their listings across multiple online directories. We appreciate those who understand why encouraging, monitoring and responding to online reviews can make a real impact on their business. And here’s to those who totally get the point of optimizing for “near me” searches.

You work your tails off every day doing what you do best. Whether that means fixing a broken machine. Making the best muffins. Staying on top of the latest styles. Helping someone see better. Bringing warmth to your customers’ homes. Nurturing somebody’s health. Helping clients see something in numbers that they can’t see. Slipping the perfect, most comfortable shoe onto an elderly woman’s foot. Or simply stopping, talking and really getting to know your customer, you deserve recognition and praise for everything you do.

So raise a glass to a small business owner you know and thank them for doing what they do. Because nobody can do it better than they do.

Happy Small Business Month!

Building Online Reviews Are Worth The Effort. But Don’t Take Our Word For It.

Meeting with clients every day, we get to see their frustrations with online strategies, promises of improved SEO and solutions that have come, been paid for and gone. We talk about SEO – and the corner of it that we operate in – as a series of small improvements that add up to make a big impact.

What we’re seeing now, with the adoption of online review building solutions now a stable of our offering, is that a steady stream of reviews can have a significant impact on getting discovered and generating conversions to sales. Building online reviews does have seen success, but don’t take our word for it. We’ve been reading quite a bit and have found some really great articles around the web that point out the reasons why.

We encourage you to have a look at these and join us back here in the comments for a discussion about building online reviews.

• Reviews are the Most Prominent Local SEO Ranking Factor in 2017
Search Engine Journal, November 13, 2017

A business with a significant number of reviews on its Google My Business page can rank relatively well in local packs. However, it’s not just the number of reviews that matter. Even more important than quantity of reviews is what’s being said in those reviews. Google My Business pages with reviews that mention a keyword, and/or the name of a city, were found to have higher rankings in Google’s local pack. (Read more)

• The Impact of Online Reviews on Businesses
BrightLocal, March 15, 2017

Key ‘Takeaways’ From This Post

  • Consumers are likely to spend 31% more on products/services from businesses that have excellent reviews.
  • 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
  • A negative review can drive away approximately 22% of customers
    (Read more)

• How Online Reviews Impact Local SEO and Why They Matter to Your Bottom Line
Shopify, February 7, 2018

Typically, by the time someone has started looking at review websites (like reviews on your product pages or Facebook, Epinions, Angie’s List, or elsewhere), they’ve already figured out what they need and how a business might ideally fulfill that need. The critical thing to note is that the mental gap between reading a review and making a decision is ridiculously small — and customers typically decide yes or no almost immediately. So, as a small business, your online reputation can directly influence your bottom line. (Read more)

• Why Online Reputation Management Is Like Brushing Your Teeth
Entrepreneur, December 17, 2015

Think about why you brush your teeth. You don’t do it because your teeth are brown and dirty. You do it preventatively. It’s a habit that’s good for you because it impacts your long-term health and the look of your smile. Now think what would happen if you waited until your teeth were gross before you decided to start brushing. Your teeth might fall out. You’d probably get gum disease. Your smile would be tarnished and discolored. It might be too late to fix everything and, at the very least, you’d have a lot of ground to make up. Brushing your teeth is an insurance policy against all those negative outcomes. Online reputation management (ORM) works the same way. Many folks realize how important their online presence is only once they have a problem — a nasty negative, an ex’s rant, a sketchy forum that sticks out like a sore thumb, etc. We fix these results, but it can take months and months, or even years. And that can be a hard pill to swallow. (Read more)

• Why you always need to get online reviews?
BirdEye

You could have hundreds of reviews and a high average star rating, but if your most recent review is from a year ago, for all a customer knows you could be a completely different business by now. How do they know that your current staff is as friendly and knowledgeable as last year’s? How can they be sure your product quality hasn’t declined over time? If customers haven’t been reviewing your business lately, who have they been reviewing instead? (Read more)

These are just a handful of articles about the importance of building online reviews that are available online. It’s a topic we’re always happy to discuss too.

Say Hello To Google Posts From Google My Business

We recently were invited to write a post on RestoBiz and thought that it would be really interesting to cover a relatively new feature from Google My Business (GMB) simply called Posts. It’s a feature that Google would like you to think of as a status update – and Posts is powerful.

As Google describes: Posting through Google My Business lets you publish your events, products and services directly to Google Search and Maps. By creating Posts, you can place your timely content in front of customers when they find your business listing on Google.

Nuts & Bolts of Google Posts

As we wrote in that article, posts are meant to be timely, which is important to retailers. They expire seven days after they go live, so when thinking about what to publish on your Google listing, consider promotions, events, holiday information such as changes to your hours or contest information. If you’re creative by nature, you can add pictures, short-form videos and GIFs.

For businesses with less of a retail focus, such as professional service companies or practices, consider adding thought leadership pieces as well. This means you can feel free to link to content that you find interesting or important from other websites, along with your thoughts and opinions.

Accessing this feature is easy, it’s the second option down on the left hand side menu. And when you log into your Google My Business account after after posting content to your listing, Google offers insights into your content, allowing you to see the number of views and button clicks generated for each post. Check in on your GMB insights section to learn which posts work best and what perform below average. Using this information, you can optimize your next batch of Posts, and refine the marketing recipe that works best for your business. We recommend to our clients that they post at least once every three to four days to avoid having no posts present on your listing after they expire.

Ultimately, though, why use Posts? Well, Early indications show that posting content to your listing has an impact on your location authority. That affects the ranking power in Google local search results, which impacts the position of your business on Google Maps. Put another way, the greater your location authority, the more likely your business listing will show up on Maps. This will result in not only more views of your listing, but also more calls to your establishment, more foot traffic via directions and mapping and more website visits as well.

At the end of the day, Google wants to know that you’re engaged in your listing. The more engaged you are, including new Posts, customer reviews and keyword heavy descriptive text (another new rollout), Google will be more favourable to your listing.

Why use Google Posts?

  1. They help searchers find your business
  2. Google likes businesses that keep their listings relevant
  3. They’re currently underused, which gives you a first-mover advantage in your market

To learn more about Google Posts in Google My Business, email mark@10-twenty.com OR call 1-888-388-1020.

Claiming Your Business Location Is Foundational, But Does It Match Your Mapped Address?

We’ve recently learned an important lesson about claiming your business location online, thanks to the collaboration of one of our clients. As a result, we’d like to ask you this important question: Have you searched for your business’ address recently? Here’s why we’re asking.

After working with the business owner to claim his store’s location on Google My Business and Google Maps—along with other directories including Bing, Facebook, FourSquare, Yelp and Apple Maps—the client’s location was properly placed and pinned across these networks. Leading with his store’s name, we claimed, placed and pinned his store on all of these online networks.

Almost immediately, we noticed that his listing was performing well. In fact, amazingly well. His Google My Business metrics exploded from the minute we took control of his listings. His views have increased and held steady every month, to the tune of 190% growth from the first month to the most recent. His total actions, which add together clicks of their phone number, directions and website buttons from their Google Listing, have increased by 202%.
Like any good business, though, his marketing presence didn’t end there. Because of the nature of his business—he’s a retailer with time sensitive promotions and always-changing inventory—he also advertised in local newspapers. And at the bottom of every ad, he wisely put the address of his store.

That’s when he started to get phone calls. The problem? When potential shoppers would search for the address of his location, the pin for that search was misplaced on Google Maps and was leading his customers to another store. In other words, if you searched for the name of his store, you’d be brought to the right location. But if you searched for the address of his location, you’d be lead elsewhere. And he had concrete evidence that his customers were being misled, leading to lost visits and sales.

“My customers would search for our location on Google Maps and were brought to another area on the opposite side of our premises,” said our client, who asked for his name not to be published. “This was frustrating and confusing for all concerned. I had numerous clients tell me that they circled around until they figured out on their own how to get to us, or called us.”

When he brought this to our attention, we immediately jumped into action, contacting Google directly and requesting that they match the pin placement for the search of his address to the one we claimed for the name of their business. It took some time—exactly a month—to go from request to successful pin move. The request was actually escalated from the Google My Business (GMB) team to the Google Maps team to reflect the importance of the problem.

So, now, when our client buys advertising in print publications, he can do so with confidence, knowing that those who want to come to his store to shop will find it.

Within a month or two, we should see the impact on the GMB metrics for this listing, likely resulting in more views, as well as more calls, website visits and in-store traffic. We’ll check back in on this story and let you all know.
In the meanwhile, we suggest you conduct a search of your address and see if it matches up with your listing. If not, we’d be happy to help you set things straight—and help shoppers head straight to your front door.

A Note To Small Business Owners: We Hear You

If you are a small business owner in North America in 2018, you are undoubtedly feeling the pressure. And likely very confused.

Every day you are bombarded with messages about online sellers coming to steal your business, large competitors adopting “omni-channel” strategy and reports of your imminent demise.

At the same time, you are told of the opportunities presented by social media can level the playing field. How Facebook will save the day….no make that Instagram….or is Twitter the right vehicle? Maybe LinkedIn should be your go to.

One thing is certain, if you try to follow all of the advice out there, you will undoubtedly have to work full time on your online strategy, leaving little time for what you do best.

Not to worry, though, there are steps to take that are not overwhelming and that do not require much management. These are foundational steps that can help you to set the building blocks for a more cohesive online/offline strategy.
Here is how you can get going:

  • Take care of your online findability: register with as many search engines, maps and review sites as you can in order to maximize your footprint. This is the best way out there to ensure that paying customers who are looking for what you offer TODAY can find you and make their way over to you instead of to your nearest competitors.
  • Get customer feedback: Once those searchers become visitors and/or clients, get their feedback. The Voice of the Customer has never been so critical. Get their emails so you can market to them, solicit their feedback with a simple survey and encourage them to write online reviews, especially when you know that their experience was a positive one.
  • Use that feedback: Use that information as constructive criticism. Improve. Use the emails to send out promotions and to stay in touch with your clients. Don’t bombard them, but send regular useful information to them. Send them insider promotions. Referral bonuses. News about new developments. Be selective but consistent.
  • Add in a data component: Use the data you collect from your listings and reviews to understand more about your prospects. Who are they? Where are they coming from? What keywords are drawing the most traffic? Build a profile of your best prospects. Tag them as your low hanging fruit
  • Paid social: Target the low-hanging fruit with Facebook or Google advertising using the data you have collected. Monitor the return on investment.

There are several services out there that can help you through this process. Some that are completely hands off and some, like ours, that will walk you through these steps and guide you.

In some cases, the annual cost can add to be less than the value of one new customer.

Either way, the only thing that you cannot afford to do is nothing. The cost of doing nothing is far greater than the small expense of getting the basics done. Start now. Your business depends on it. And work with a team that hears you.