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Business Growth

In the right Google Place at the right time

By | Blog, Business Growth, Online Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

Timing isnt everything but its a lot of things. When I took the leap from “interruptive marketing” to On Line Social Media Marketing, Rob Rance, Managing Partner of Turn the Page On Line Marketing told me that I would probably never feel comfortable with my level of knowledge as the field of SEO is constantly changing. I can tell you that he is 100% right. In the last month, search with Google Places and Local Search is changing and heating up. This can be good and bad news for business owners. First, let’s talk about the most recent changes to The King of the Jungle in search, Google – with 58% of the visits to local business websites. Most professional SEO people are looking and talking about these changes from the on-line users perspective. Here at Turn the Page, our orientation is to you- the business owner.

The Local Google Search page is changing (the layout is more organized and clean: information and photos have been rearranged ) and reflecting humanoids ever expanding desire for more information to use to evaluate, compare and judge before making in store purchasing decisions.  This is good for you because your business will now be viewed by searchers using the feature Pegman (with a street view guide much like Google earth) of the neighborhood your business sits in, the facade of your establishment and the view inside your establishment as well (in some but not all locations in the U.S.) This might be bad for you if the food you serve or the offerings you have- rock in a really big way, but visually, you’re not as pleased with your physical space or it is not reflective of what searchers expect from an establishment similar to yours.

 

An example of a not-so-appealing restaurant. Or is it? You be the judge cause’ Local Google searchers are now!

 

The extraordinary copy you write in your description won’t solve that possible visual dilemma and I would guess that garnering additional awesome reviews will be even more important to attracting new customers and keeping your spot on the search list (you do have a spot on the list- right?) This is good for your business because a recent poll indicated that people are 60% more likely to patronize a local business when there were photos associated with the SERP; search engine results page. This is bad news if you do not have your business listed with Google places. Yet.

In some U.S. areas like Orange County, San Francisco, St. Petersburg, San Antonio and Phoenix (did anyone else besides me realize these are warmer destination cities in the U.S. ?) you can apply to have a Google Photographer come to your place of business and take the pictures for you!  For now , as it may snow 2” tonight,  Kansas City is not on that list.

I want it now!

Not only do our customers want more, they are getting it instantly. A Local Google search query (of my local Italian restaurants for example) will give me a list of results and those results can be evaluated, compared and judged by me using the instant preview feature. This feature is accessible to searchers by the >> symbol as you slide your mouse down the list next to each search result. According to my research above,  if your business does not show up in search ranking A-G you don’t get an instant preview and the >> is therefore unattainable and un-instant use-able. Do not pass GO! Do not collect $200!  At the top of the map you can also choose the ‘Directions’ tab which takes you right to Google Maps where you can email it to yourself and get it on your android phone. Decide and go. Cha Ching. Your customers can now make a decision to go to your restaurant, hotel, local business or landmark, (to spend their $) and will not have to go to your website to get the information they need to make a better, informed decision. Your customers will now have the new and improved Local Google Search engine.

I know. Good news- bad news- right?

Finding Time

By | Business Growth, Local Business, Online Marketing | No Comments

The whole family gathered around the dinner table is an American tradition. Around 40 or 50 years ago the only interruption to this wonderful family event was television or maybe radio. We all remember our Mother’s complaining the TV was ruining the family because we never talked anymore. Moms constantly hit the the “OFF” button, insisting we all sat and talked while we ate. Now the family dinner table has become a “texting” area with regular Facebook updates and tweets (not from the birdies). Sometimes it feels like there is not time to eat. The distractions are limitless. Any conversation seems to center around the latest viral video on Youtube, cool Ipod games or something Aunt Nellie just posted about Uncle Bill. This mobile digital age can make you feel like your drowning in a sea of information – talk about sensory overload. Our ability to siphon what information we will actually ingest is being tested more than ever.  Information is shared like never before; we have more of it, we get it quicker and with loads more detail (sometime a lot more than we need or want). Technology has provided tools to help deal with this information overload more efficiently and make it somewhat manageable. Even so our capacity to deal with so much information is controlled by the limit on hours in the day and the speed that our minds can process information. We are learning to multi-task like never before, if you are reading this post in a coffee shop or restaurant you are probably having a conversation with someone about something completely different.  Mobility drives our ability to absorb more information; we can gather information on the go. Cell phones are used less and less for talking and more for information.

So how does a business owner compete for time and space?

Developing a Mindset

The new online marketing age is permission centric. With so much information available at the touch of a screen, nobody is really interested in having “stuff” interrupting their information filled day. The first step for any business owner to participate is at least to contribute to the information flow. Any business not having a consistent approach to the new digital age is akin to an Ostrich burying their head in the sand. Mobile and digital technology is spreading exponentially into the fabric of our daily lives. If you are a business owner in denial, first take your head out of the sand, if thats where it is, and start participating. If you are not promoting your business ideals online, someone else probably will.

Develop a Plan

Before you go rushing off with a plan on how to assault this digital information highway head on, think for a second. Consistency is key. There is a lot of information online thats a dead end, somebody started and didn’t finish. You need a plan to find the time to contribute on a consistent basis. A business owners day is busy. Finding time for additional tasks requires planning. So lets start with some things to consider when planning how to move into the online marketing arena:

  1. There is no minimum weekly time commitment consistency is key
  2. If you spent 10 hours every day working at it, there is still more to do
  3. Anything regular and consistent is better than nothing or sporadic stabs

Our experience is local businesses make the time to network and meet business partners all the time. This is great. We also recommend businesses make the time to consistently participate in the digital information highway. It is the greatest single networking opportunity available. Develop a long term plan to consistently promote your business online it will help you succeed.

How Twitter made my Year!!

By | Business Growth, Social Media | No Comments

I don’t know how it happened but I am a die hard MMA fan. I starting following some of the MMA fighters on Twitter because you can keep up to date on the latest news. Whats even better is finding out the really fun stuff by following along during a fight night. Two of my favorite fighters are George St Pierre and Amir Sadollah look at the photo below to see why.

The other day I was catching up on my MMA news and saw some people commenting to Amir about Word with Friends. Words with Friends is an app for Iphone and Android users sort of like Scrabble and you play each other via phone from anywhere. Its one of those addictive games and competitive too. So I thought it would be fun to challenge Amir to a game. So I double dogged dared him to play me.  I have made a few comments to celebrities or fighters and never received a response yet. I thought maybe “double dog dare ya” would change my luck. The next morning I woke up to his response! “Double Dog Dare, oooooooohhhhhhh!”  I was so frickin excited! I wanted to tweet right back. I love my job more than MMA – just – and my mornings do not have a spare second. So first priority was get ready for work. (Just in case my boss is reading)

Later that day I tweeted back that he didn’t except my dare and he was chicken. Is that really the best I could do? lol! No immediate response surprise, surprise.

Later that day I was sitting having dinner with a girlfriend when my phone went off… I look down to see…. “Your turn with Amir” on my “Words with Friends.”  OMG he’s playing me on Words with friends! So cool! The game is on. Unfortunately, at this point, he is winning! Dang it… not by much. I shall prevail!

None of this would have been possible without Twitter. You can connect with anyone, anywhere and engage with people all over the country, even the world. Twitter allowed me to connect with someone I probably never would have had the chance to meet in person or communicate any other way. This is a small little tidbit from my life that actually happened. It shows the power of Twitter as a tool for engaging with people you don’t even know. It certainly made this Midwest Girl very happy and a bigger fan of MMA than ever.

If you are not using Twitter for your business…. I double dog dare ya!!!

Answer the Recession

By | Business Growth, Local Business, Online Marketing | No Comments

Marketing your business at any time is a challenge. It is particularly difficult in a recession. Where do you spend your money? Can you be sure of a return? Currently businesses are confronted with a staggering array of marketing options. People selling these marketing options are consistently proactive pushing you to do something.  So many alternatives spread across a diverse range of platforms is a complex situation with no easy answer. All this, in a climate of change, driven by the advance of Social Media and the Digital Age is in the midst of a recession. What is the answer for local business?

Recession Marketing

In keeping with “fortune favors the brave”, marketing in a recession is a positive step for local business. From our experience most businesses do cut back their marketing in a recession and in that lies the opportunity for the “brave”. Not all businesses are equally affected by a recession. Those that take a proactive stance by seeing a recession as an opportunity can and do succeed. Online marketing is proving to be a key component for those businesses who decide to thrive. According to the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) internet advertising revenues in the United States surged to 7.3 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter of 2011, the highest first-quarter revenue level on record for the industry which is a 23% increase over the same period last year.

What Marketing Option?

The marketing landscape is in the midst of change. The concept of permission based marketing was first broached by Seth Godin in 1999. Permission means no interruption and by looking at what email marketing had to do to survive, you can see the power of permission marketing. If a marketing platform doesn’t adapt, it disappears, cold calling is a prime example. The whole concept of permission based marketing is continuing to grow almost exponentially and developing a marketing plan that is permission centric is critical for long term growth.

Permission Marketing

The most clear example of permission based marketing is in online applications where a website attracts so many visitors it can profitably sell advertising on the site. Basically giving free information that engages people to the point where engagement reaches critical mass. Obviously that takes a lot of time and money. For local business it is first important to simply understand the permission concept. The first rule is always ask yourself  “do I have the customers permission.” In just about any online situation your marketing is permission based. The customer can quickly leave for something new if you don’t provide a reason to stay. Is your business marketing with permission….?

Go North

By | Business Growth, Business Listing, Google, Google Places, Local Business, local search | No Comments

I don’t want to be really stereotypical and say that as a women I am HORRIBLE with directions. I do have the gift that if I have been somewhere once I can typically get back there no problem. But the first visit can take me a bit. So as a girl please don’t tell me to go north on 150 cause I will look at you like you spoke Chinese. You can say go right or left bythe Panera Bread and I guarantee I will know what you mean.

In the course of my work for Turn the Page I am driving all over the Kansas City area and I don’t have to ask for directions usually. WHY, you ask? Well Google Places of course. If you have a smart phone and google the business you are going to hopefully you can find them on Google Places click directions and a map will POP up and lead you directly there. None of this go North on 435 business. A little arrow will lead you on your way like Dora the Explorer. But if you haven’t claimed your Google places account you are missing a great service for your customers. As well as a great marketing tool. Not only can you give directions, you can put pictures and videos, you can share your website, and inform customers what your business is about. People can view all this information either straight from their phones or computers. If you aren’t using Google Places you need to be cause I can guarantee that your competitor is, they may have seen that no one has claimed yours either and made it their own, so I would take a look. Plus if you want me to come see you I will need to know how to get there, without any of this GO NORTH business.