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Online Marketing

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?

Quick easy simple

By | Business Listing, Facebook, Online Marketing, Online Reviews, Social Media | No Comments

A few months ago the Midwest was hit by a really bad hail storm, many people had severe hail damage. Before walking into a local business networking meeting I checked my Facebook to see if anything had happened since last time I checked (being honest that was most likely 5 min).  One of my facebook friends that has moved to Florida updated that she needed a roofer to come look at their house her in Kansas City but she didn’t know anyone. I actually have a roofer in my meeting. So I shot her a message telling her I would have him call and slipped him a referral slip. It literally took place in 3 minutes time. This is just one example of how Facebook works for local business – I have hundreds!

We had this discussion yesterday about how Facebook is not a search engine, if I need a nail salon, a spray tan or a high heel fixed (yes I do fix  my favorite pairs) I don’t look it up on Facebook I will Google it. (With that being said your business HAS to be in Google Places or you are missing out on a TON of business) But Facebook is great for your business because you can get recommendations on businesses but you also get the opinion of a friend or someone you know. Let me give another example.

If my girlfriend messages out I want to get pictures taken of my kids I can share 5 different pages of photographer friends that I know. Some I can tell if I was pleased or some I would recommend because I like their work. My friends are more likely to look at a personal recommendation over someone we don’t know.

So to all you local business owners who do not have a Facebook – you HAVE to have a business page for this to even work…  Have a good day and send me your page requests so I can like your business. 😉

Does Google + Your Small Business = Revenue?

By | Google, Google +1, Online Marketing, Search Plus Your World | No Comments

As you contemplate your social media game plan for your small business you’ll need to begin to include Google+. Google is now claiming membership of 90 million humans and while the popular belief is that 89 million of them are Google employees it’s becoming apparent that the active membership is growing slowly but surely.

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Getting Engaged

By | Local Business, Online Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

Social Media is a different and refreshing marketing medium. You need to be intelligent and genuine. You can’t just throw your sales pitch out there onto your chosen social network platforms telling people to buy. We chuckle at car sales television ads shouting their great deals loudly at potential buyers. How long will they be beneficial? People have come to expect more, you can’t just tell them you are the best and they will believe it. Its a more complex relationship now. Customers have more resources than ever to confirm the quality of business service or product. Marketing and sales has become more like human relationships and so we took a quick look at the parallels between Social Media and relationships. Here is what we learned.

Make yourself available

The first decision for a business owner is participating in Social Media. Choosing the right platforms to promote your business. Making sure that your presence is integrated so you are maximizing your visibility to a wide range of potential customers. Then you start to communicate. It is the same when you are starting on the dating scene. First you need to be meeting members of the opposite sex. That means getting out there and finding places you are comfortable with to meet them. Once you are meeting then the conversation begins. Those first conversations are always the most challenging, it is important to find the right balance between self promotion and caring.

Starting a relationship

The start of a relationship is where one mistake will end it – the worst one is generally moving to quick. Find out about your partner, be attentive, show interest in what they like, don’t expect too much. The earlier in the relationship the more cautious your approach. It is a learning exercise. Think back to a first date with someone you find really attractive, you were most likely very passive, listen first talk second. You try and sound smart and funny. You encourage your partner when they are being smart or funny. In Social Media you are engaging more than one person so you are continually starting a relationship. To start a social media relationship don’t talk too much about your business, be responsive, humorous and encouraging.

Engagement

As with the human relationship, once your business has a social media relationship it is important to engage with your customer base. If you are married you know what it means to be engaged. Engagement is a formal commitment between two people, both in the emotional and official sense. There is generally a token that affirms this engagement. Rings for marriage and becoming a paying customer for social media. We have found any number of variations on how people get engaged to be married. It really depends on the imagination from the couple involved. It is the same in Social Media there are any number of ways your relationships become customers. An engagement happens after you meet and develop a relationship. You can’t just walk up to someone get down on one knee and bingo you are engaged. Social Media marketing has a lot in common with human relationships which should come as no surprise. It is a “social” platform and it means business needs to adjust the way it interacts to be successful. So dust of your dating skills and apply them to Social Media.

Search Engines: Beginners Guide – Part 1

By | Bing, Google, Local Business, local search, Online Marketing, Search Engine, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, Yahoo | No Comments

It’s no secret; at Turn The Page Online Marketing, we are a bunch of nerds. We have a long standing rivalry of Apple vs Android. Our sales team has Stormtroopers. We communicate via Google chat, while sitting in the same room with each other. And I bet you right now, on a beautiful and sunny afternoon, I am not the only one sitting in front of a computer working. Or thinking about working.

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Juggling Your Social Media

By | Facebook, Online Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

With all of the social media networks available, it can be difficult to manage all the platforms you have chosen to promote your business. It is difficult enough to decide which networks, let alone manage them once you have. Who really knows what networks are right for your company? Without a doubt there is another blog post coming from somewhere to help you decide which social media network is best for your company.

Do you only concentrate on the “Big 3”- Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? Or do you venture out to new and upcoming outlets like FourSquare and Ning? I haven’t even mentioned YouTube, Delicious, Stumble Upon, Digg, MySpace, Ping, Referral Key, Tumblr…and the list goes on and on. This post isn’t about which ones to choose, but how are you supposed to manage your social media profiles, posts, logins and passwords?  Here are a few tips and tools that can help.

Organize your Platforms

Assuming you have already chosen your platforms, the first thing you need to do is organize. Create a bookmark folder for all of our social media platforms. Keeping them in one spot will be key in staying on top of everything. You can also filter your email so that your social media emails fall into a folder. Make sure to schedule some time to manage that folder as often as needed.

Manage your Passwords

If you are still typing in your usernames and passwords or storing them on a spreadsheet, you are in need of a good password management system.  Here are three options to check out:

RoboForm – can use it for free, for up to 10 accounts and supports Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and other browsers.  I have a client that uses it and it looks pretty amazing.

KeePass – an open source solution and it is free.  It is not integrated into your browser, but you will have a secure record of all your usernames and passwords.

LastPass – has free and premium solutions to manage your passwords.  It synchronizes across browsers and you can easily restore your passwords if you change computers.

Update your Profiles

There are tools to help automate your profiles. One good one is called Atomkeep that will keep your profiles in sync on most social networks, job boards and other sites. They are currently at capacity, but sign up to get on a waiting list, it’s worth the wait.

Manage Your Posts

This is the hard one because being everywhere takes a lot of time, but there are some tools out there to help you. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are both popular and I use both of them.  They generally do the same thing: post to multiple platforms from one screen, schedule posts, and create shortened URLs.  Hootsuite is internet-based and you can log on from anywhere but Tweetdeck has to be downloaded.  On the other hand, you can only have 5 social media profiles for free, and Tweetdeck allows for more accounts (unlimited currently) so you don’t have to keep logging out and in to different accounts. You may have a preference when you start to use them, but the nice thing is that you really don’t have to choose, you can use both!

Extras

Other tools that make it easy are the share extensions and apps. You can download Shareaholic in Firefox and AddThis in Google Chrome. This allows you to share any webpage, even if they haven’t installed the tools to do so. I use AddThis on a daily basis for email sharing, Facebook and Twitter posting, social bookmarking, and to add to my Google Reader.

I know using social media today can be overwhelming. But if you get organized and utilize the tools that are available, you can spend your time doing the things that make your business money.

Are you using other tools that help you organize your social media marketing? Let me know, I would love to hear.