6 Questions You Should Be Asking Of Your Website and The Reasons Why

6 Questions You Should Be Asking Of Your Website and The Reasons Why

 

How much does your website contribute to your business goals, success, or income? What’s the return on investment (ROI)? How does it compare to your competitor’s website? Maybe you’ve already asked yourself and many others these questions regarding your website but did it lead to change and improvement? If you want to ensure success, then make these six questions be the catalysts to turning your website into a leading business performer. If you struggle to answer these questions, then you might just realise why your website is a liability and not the asset it should be.

 

What Problem is Your Website Solving?

 

what problem does your website solve

 

Your website should verify your position as an expert, as THE expert, the one person or business that can solve the particular problem that someone has. What is that problem? What is the purpose of your business?

  • A dentist’s purpose would be to encourage and practice great oral hygiene while providing a person with a winning smile.
  • A driving instructor would want to get nervous drivers qualified in a stress free, practical environment, in as short a time as possible.
  • A family law firm wants to ensure the security of the children during a marital breakup.

 

Ultimately your website should highlight the problem your business solves as that is why people are looking for your business or service. When people find you, provide them with relevant information that matches their needs.

 

Who is Your Website Solving it For?

 

who is your webiste for

There are far too many people in this world and online to make your website for everyone. Your website is not there to attract 2bn people; let companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon worry about that. Your website it is there to attract a select group, a micro niche of people, who would qualify to receive your products or services.

 

The criteria may be:

 

  • That the person lives within 30 miles of the physical location of your business.
  • Divorced women over the age of 50
  • Men aged between 18 and 35 with income of £30,000
  • Pet owners who take more than 5 holidays a year
  • Retired couples with savings of £250,000+

 

As you can see the groups are completely different. Could you imagine sending a retired couple to a small business website designed for men aged between 18 and 35? By then the days of fast cars and even faster women are usually well behind them. The point is the website content needs to be relevant to the targeted group of people that you are looking to service.

 

Take the time to work out exactly who your ideal customer is.

 

  • How old are they?
  • What do they look like?
  • How much do they earn?
  • Where are they located?
  • What do they do in their spare time?
  • What websites do they use?
  • What do they buy online?
  • How do they find new products or services?
  • What words would they use to find your website?
  • What device do they use to search?

 

If you know your customers well enough then you can answer these questions yourself. Otherwise, create a questionnaire and send an email to ask some of your loyal customers, customers who you would like to replicate, to complete the survey so you have the real answers.

 

How are you solving the problem?

  how does your website solve the users problems In other words what is in it for me, for the ideal client? People don’t look at websites to hear about how your business has invested in a Wide area network for your regional offices. That means nothing and it does not solve the prospective user’s problem.

 

If your business solves the problem of giving people winning smiles. Show it to them. Show what the smile was like before and after and what the patient had to say.

 

For nervous learner drivers, show your pass rate, show a video testimonial of a previous learner who failed with another instructor then came to you and passed first time.

 

If you are a pre eminent divorce lawyer who represents high earning females then highlight a successful case where you have done just that!

 

Your business website should have these results front and center for everyone to see, what practices you put in place, what safety measures are in place, the qualifications that you have. Everything on your website should be there to reinforce you as the best and ONLY person qualified to help them solve their problem.

What’s the most important thing people can get only from you?

 

stand-out-from-the-crowdLet’s not kid ourselves, in most towns there is always more than one choice for a service provider and with the internet, location often does not matter as searchers can access a pool of resources from all over the world. So what is it that makes your business stand out? What is the unique picture that places you and your business head and shoulders above the competition, resulting in them picking up the phone and calling you?

 

That is what you want to highlight: your unique selling proposition. It should be front and centre so that everyone in your target audience, can see exactly why you are the very best at helping them solve their problem.

 

What is your primary conversion goal?

convert-to-new-customers Each business website page should have a different conversion goal or call to action. It could be;

  • to sign up for an email newsletter,
  • click on an advert,
  • share on social media,
  • pick up the phone and call,
  • make an appointment,
  • place an order.

 

Whatever that goal is for the website, the content, structure and design of the website should support that end goal. Why? Because if you have an end goal then you have something to measure against. If your goal is to get people to join your mailing list then you may have a goal to start with of 2% of visitors sign up to your email list. If after a set period of time you assess this and find that less than 1% of people are signing up then you need to make changes to improve on the conversion goal.

 

Websites are living, breathing organisms and are a fundamental part of your marketing arsenal. If you don’t have conversion goals then the website is pretty worthless. Set a goal and test and track your website against that goal. If your website does not meet this goal then think about making changes so that next time it will.

 

How can your ideal customer find your website online?

 

how do you customers look for your website in google

 

With all the effort that goes into developing a website to capture the attention of  a specific target audience, you want to make sure that the key demographic who you can help, can find your website easily. This means that you have to consider how your website is represented and indexed online. This refers to search engine optimisation.

 

Your website helps the user solve a problem, when working out who the ideal target audience was you should have a clear idea of the questions they would ask. For example somebody looking for a dentist might be entering into the search engines;

  • toothache remedies,
  • fix broken tooth,
  • dentist in (YOUR AREA HERE),
  • teeth whitening procedure.
  • price for clear aligners

 

There are hundreds of individual search terms that could be relevant to your business. The keys are;

  1. select the ones that are the most relevant to the problems that you solve,
  2. have a good number of people looking for them
  3. choose those that are commercially feasible to target.

 

By getting your website in front of the right people at the right time it means the chances of that individual impacting your conversion goals are much greater.

 

It is absolutely crucial to establish the marketing significance of your website so that you can plan & execute a strategy that provides results for your overall business goals. You also need to make sure it is consistent with your marketing efforts so that the overall business message or brand is seamless.

 

Just like running a business, maintaining a website is an on-going effort, not a one-shot deal. The sooner you realise the commitment, the sooner you will reduce the chances of being disappointed and increase the chances of success.

If you are looking to at least, double the number of leads and sales your website produces, what this video now.

Why You Should Pay Attention to Twitter’s Increased Follow Limit

Why You Should Pay Attention to Twitter’s Increased Follow Limit

Big News from Twitter last week!

They are increasing the cap on how many people you can follow from 2000 to 5000.

The follower limit is been in place as a way for Twitter to try and stop Spam accounts, or what it calls aggressive following. Following other accounts is one of the ways for other users to notice your account and many people will follow back someone who follows them. Following or unfollowing large numbers of accounts is therefore one of the things that Twitter monitors as it’s seen as being outside the realms of reasonable usage.

 

With the Follow limit in place, every user is now allowed to follow 5000 other accounts, once that limit is hit you see an error message that stops you from following any more people until you have more followers of your own. The number of additional followers you can add above 5000 is different for every user, but it is based on the number of followers you have. Twitter keeps the exact science behind this a secret so as to further discourage spamming.

 

Seeing as the previous Follow limit of 2000 seems huge, you might be wondering just how exactly having a limit of 5000 could benefit you and if you should even attempt to follow so many people.

 

Find out how Twitter’s increased Follow Limit can benefit your business! <-Tweet This!

 

Growing a targeted following on Twitter is a tough task, but once you have that following it is a very valuable asset. It means that those followers are interested in what you have to say, and are likely to be amongst the first people to react to new offers, updates and information that you Tweet out. There are many ways to go about growing a targeted Twitter following, and following your ideal accounts is certainly one way to get noticed. If that is part of your plan, then Twitter now allows you to follow an extra 3000 people, so it is a big deal!

 

There are several ways to find targeted users to follow, one suggestion would be to take a look at a similar business to yours and to follow the same people they do. If a certain number of these followers follow you back then you know they are interested in the type of things you’ll be tweeting about because they already follow an account similar to yours.

 

Make Lists

If you already follow more than a few hundred other accounts on Twitter then you know how quickly the tweets come through and how easy it is to miss updates. One way to manage your followers when you follow thousands of accounts is to create lists. Lists can be public or private, and can be made up however you want them to be.

 

For example, you might want to create lists organised by industry so you can see everything that the Legal industry is tweeting about, or everything that the Estate Agents you follow are saying. You might want to create a list of accounts that you know in real life, such as people you’ve met at networking events, or a list of businesses in your local area. If lists are public then anyone can follow them. A well curated list can attract a lot of followers in itself.

 

Public Vs Private

There are reasons to keep lists private too, you might want to have a list of your own customers and not want the world to know who exactly you are working with. You might also want a list of your competitors, or prospects so you can keep an eye on what they are doing.

 

Be More Social!

Another reason to follow as many accounts as you can is that the more you follow, the more information you will see. Whether it is news, opinions, blogs, jokes or anything else, bu following more people you are giving yourself more opportunity to see something that catches your eye, and to interact with the person on the other end. The whole point of social sites such as Twitter is to develop relationships and friendships, and to discover other like-minded people, and if you interact regularly with more people then that is a major positive.

 

Twitter has raised this limit for a reason, and while we may never know Twitter’s reason for doing this, us as Twitter users are left with a two options: Ignore the changes, or work with them. Which one will you choose? Leave me a comment to let me know, or better yet, Tweet me, @Big_Thinking

 

If you’d like more Social Media tips then download my free guide – 49 Social Media Tips for Business.

Social Media For Business Free Download

Improve Your Local Business Search Results By Controlling Your NAP Citation

Improve Your Local Business Search Results By Controlling Your NAP Citation

 

Last week we discussed 5 tips to increase your business’s position in local search,

more specifically getting into the top 3 of Google Maps. One of the tips that we shared was the importance your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP Citation) has on the overall ranking of your business.

 

NAP’s aren’t sexy so I was slightly surprised when a follow up question arrived asking:

 

“I have found an incorrect listing for my business, how do I go about correct this listing and checking for any others and also how do I know where to put listings for the best impact”

 

Before we tackle that question for those who didn’t see last week’s post you can read it here.

Quick Recap

What is a Name Address and Phone Number (NAP) Citation?

A NAP Citation is a listing of your business online. Search engines crawl the internet to find NAP citations about your business, compare them with NAP information that is held by Data aggregators and use this to make a judgement on how accurate the data they have about your business is.

In short, the more consistent your NAP Citations are, the better for improved search results. To clarify this point, below are guidelines from the Google My Business Centre:

“Google improves search results by aggregating information about your business from all over the web. Make sure information about your business on third-party sites is accurate, and try to contact the respective site directly to correct any inaccurate information.”

 

 

Start with the correct NAP data.

Now we know what a NAP is and why it is important, the first thing to do is check that you have the correct NAP information. Go to your Google+ page and see what data is held for your business name address and phone number and check that is consistent with what is on your website.

 

correct nap

 

My NAP is different why is that?

There are many reasons why your business data could not be consistent across the web. Some of these include:

  • Business has relocated
  • The data aggregators have incorrect information
  • Different phone number
  • Different trade name or business name variations (llp, Ltd company)
  • Information was incorrectly submitted and scraped to other sites.

Inconsistent NAP data is a common occurrence because as stated above there are many reasons why the citations can be wrong and once they are live on the internet all it takes is for a Data aggregator to come along, take that data and distribute it across the internet increasing the problem.

 

Yes, it might be the case that it wasn’t even you that created the inconsistent data. It could have been a data aggregator. According to MOZ:

 

A data aggregator is a company that compiles data about businesses from multiple online and offline sources including phone bills, business registration records, chamber of commerce membership rosters, and many other sources.

 

How do I find where my business is listed?

There are several ways to find out where online your business is listed.  You can use software, some better than others, or you can do it the good old fashioned way.

 

As an example, to find out where your site is listed, you would search Google for this:

“Your Business Name” AND “Your Postcode” -site:”your Website Address including http://” 

 

google search command to find NAP citation

 

This will bring up all results of your name, address and phone number NOT on your website. You can then look through the resulting search pages and check the citation on each page to see if it is correct.

You also need to check for the following:

Duplicate listings.

Check to see if there is only one listing as two listings in the same directory can be a problem.

Inconsistent Citation:

If any of the details are incorrect then you should attempt to contact the website owner and get them to make the changes that you require, as per Google’s recommendation above.

Incomplete citation:

If there is the opportunity to add more information about your business, such as categories, descriptions, images then add what you can as this will improve the authority of the page with regards to your business.

 

What local directories should you be listed in to boost your authority?

First and foremost if you are not listed and verified with Google My Business then I would make that a priority. Then I would look to get your business listed in the following directories;

 

Business Listings to place your NAP

 

  1. Google+ local
  2. Bing local
  3. Yahoo Local
  4. ThompsonLocal
  5. Yelp
  6. Freeindex
  7. Yell

 

Remember the aim of all this is to rank higher in Google Maps, get more inbound leads, sales and have a consistent brand across the web.

 

Getting listed in these places is not going to result in the phone ringing off the hook, but it will increase your authority on the web – resulting in Google being more gracious as to how you are positioned in Google Maps.

 

The Yell Directory for example has been around in one form or another since 1883 and has a good authority with Google so it is that type of relationship that you are looking to leverage.

 

Where else should you get listed?

Think Niche Specific

Well that depends on your niche. If you are a lawyer then you being listed in a Gardening forum is not really relevant, however there are plenty of legal related websites and directories out there that are relevant to your business.

Think Location Specific

If you want to be seen as the prominent orthodontist in Bristol then being listed in one hundred local directories in Newcastle may not be the best way forward. Be smart about where you list your business.

On the internet quality beats out quantity 95% of the time.

Think Competitively

Who is your main competition? Who is top on the Google Map for search terms related to your business? Where are they listed?

Final Tips to leveraging local business directories to benefit your business

Tip 1: Make sure that you update the old incorrect citation first before adding new ones.

Tip 2: Set up an email address specifically for citations. Keeps everything in place and means your main inbox is not cluttered with offers to “upgrade”.

Tip 3: Keep a track of all changes and requests to websites so that if the job of managing citations is passed on to another team member everything is in place.

Tip 4:  Keep on top of your citations. As discussed earlier, data aggregators distribute information about your business all the time. Spend 15-20 minutes each week checking your NAP citations to check that they are consistent.

Tip 5: Location, Location, Location. If you have more than one location and you want to be authoritative in each of those market places then you need to have authoritative citations for each location.

In local search terms a different location is a completely different proposition. Yes you have to repeat all of this work per location. This work can be very time consuming and tedious but don’t try to use short cuts, accuracy is everything.

7 Ways To Win New Customers!

7 Ways To Win New Customers!

Every Business needs a little inspiration from time to time - so here's 7 Ways To Win New Customers | www.bigthinkingonline.com

New customers, clients or patients are the lifeblood of any business.

For small businesses in particular, keeping a steady flow of new clients coming through on top of serving existing clients and tackling the day to day running of your business can be a constant struggle.

 

So, for any business that needs an injection of inspiration as to how to continually attract those new faces, here are some of the best tactics to add to your toolbox.

 

  1. Ask Your Customers To Refer Other People They Know.

Asking for referrals is definitely something that you should be doing. If you have given a great service to someone and they are happy, the chances are that they will know more people in a similar position to themselves who may also need your services.

 

If you ask every customer you work with to refer 3 people you know, you then get a “warm” introduction to a new group of people who will already have heard good things about you from their friend.

 

  1. Follow Up With Old Leads

We’ve all lost out on a few customers in our time, but getting a no doesn’t have to mean that you’ll never get a yes. It’s always worth keeping up a good relationship with anyone who you have never quite done business with, because as circumstances and requirements change you could find that you have another opportunity.

 

Similarly, just because that person wasn’t the right client for your business doesn’t mean that they won’t know someone else who might be – referrals can come from anywhere, but they typically come if you ask for them!

 

  1. Build Up A List Of Email Subscribers.

A list of email addresses allows you to stay in regular contact with a huge number of people cheaply and simply and in a non-intrusive manner. An email list is a great way to send out updates about what your business is working on, offers that might entice people back to you and most importantly, it’s a great way for you to build your authority by offering incredible value and be seen as the thought leader in your niche.

 

The next time that person needs something along the lines of what you do, they’ll remember your details because they see your emails and know that you can help, and that you want their business.

 

  1. Be Active On Social Media. 

No matter what your business is, social media is the main place where all your customers will be online. For many people, social media is their main experience of the Internet, it’s where they see recommendations to buy, read their news and chat to their friends.

 

The trick for businesses to do well on social media is to be friendly and conversational rather than sales focused. Asking and answering questions on Twitter is a good way to join the conversation there, try searching using relevant hashtags to find topics related to your business.

 

  1. Join And Participate In Relevant Facebook Groups.

If you manage a Facebook page for your business you’ll know how hard it is to reach more than a few of your fans with any given post. That being said, Facebook is still an incredibly powerful tool for businesses and shouldn’t be ignored. Try joining some of the millions of groups there are and joining in conversations, offering relevant advice and sharing appropriate updates from your business.

 

It might take a little searching to find the right groups for you, but it is worth it. Try searching for local groups if your business is location dependent, or groups geared at business owners, women, or groups for certain hobbies and interests that your business may align with.

 

When one of your page updates does well, consider boosting it as an advert. Typically if one of your posts gets a far higher than average engagement Facebook will ask if you want to boost it. It’s worth considering, because if your core customers and fans like the update, then the chances are that an extended group of people would also like it and you can raise your profile relatively cheaply to a much larger audience.

 

  1. Write Every Blog Post As Though It Is Directed To Your Ideal Customer.

Posting regular updates to your blog is a fantastic way to be seen as an expert, and to stick in people’s minds as someone they can turn to for advice, information, and eventually when they need your service, as a paying customer.

 

The thing to remember about blogging though is that you need to be consistent, not just with the frequency of what you write, but the actual content itself.

 

If your blog topics are vastly different every time you post then it will be hard to grow a regular reader base as they will be put off by the fact they never know what they’re going to get.

 

For example, readers of this site know to expect updates about Internet Marketing related topics, such as SEO, Social Media, Web Development and Online Reputation. What you won’t see on this blog are updates about holidays, family life or what I eat.

 

  1. Make Sure Your Website Is Search Engine Optimised. 

SEO is a great tool, and you should use it to your advantage. If your site is correctly optimised, then it won’t matter if people don’t know your business name, because when they search for the service that they need, your business name will appear.

 

It’s particularly powerful for locally based businesses, because if someone searches for a Dentist in their town you only have to compete against those few other Dentists near to you in order to show in the Top 3 of the Search results. A well optimised website can help attract a steady stream of new customers.

 

So there you have it, 7 ways to get new customers! I’ll even throw in a bonus number 8… Cold Calling! It may be unpopular, but it still works.

 

Have you tried any of these tactics for customer acquisition? What has been most effective for you? 

5 Tips For Building Successful Joint Venture Partnerships

5 Tips For Building Successful Joint Venture Partnerships

Partnering with another Business to promote each others services is a sure fire way to grow your customer numbers and boost your profile. Here are our top tips on how to do it successfully! www.bigthinkingonline.com

 

For Any Business, Winning New Customers

and generating new leads is a huge part of the daily grind. Without new customers even a business with incredible customer retention will run dry sooner or later.

 

One of the best ways to reach out to a new group of prospective customers or clients is to form a joint venture partnership with another like minded business where you send each other leads or referrals for a mutually agreeable term.

 

If you think this wouldn’t work for your business, you’d be wrong. All it takes is for two businesses who may want to target similar customers for different reasons to figure out a way to get each other’s clients through their doors.

 

For example, a Dentist could team up with a local hairdresser and offer a tooth whitening deal to the hairdresser’s customers, or the hairdresser could offer half price highlights to anyone who has had treatment at the dentist.

 

Partnering your business up with another business can be one of the quickest ways to access a whole new pool of targeted clients, or to raise your business profile in a new area. It’s a great way to reach out to a new audience, and yet many businesses are missing out on this great resource.

 

The reason that joint ventures or partnerships are such a good promotional method is that you are tapping into a group of customers who know and trust your new business partner. They have a history with that business and a relationship, so they will trust recommendations that come from that business.

 

So what exactly does it take to reach out to another business and convince them to help you promote yours? Here are my top 5 tips on the Dos and Don’ts of seeking out new partnerships.

  1. Build A Friendship:

    Almost every successful partnership begins with some kind of prior relationship. If you’re not sure where to start, try going to some local networking events or if there is a particular business that has caught your eye why not approach them directly and introduce yourself?

  2. Make Sure Your Offer Is Awesome:

    Don’t expect to throw an idea out there and for your prospective business partner to accept it straight away. Show them you mean business by offering a fantastic customer experience so that there will be no bad reflection on either party. Take the time to understand how this partner will be able to support the offer (or not!), for instance if their customers go back to them with questions about your deal, what will they do?

  3. Keep it Personal:

    Do not use a template or cookie-cutter type email when approaching a potential business partner. Take the time to write a personal email, or even better pick up the phone and call them. The more personal the message, the better chance for a response.

  4. Don’t Approach By Asking For Something:

    The fact is, even if you are offering this partner a commission for sending their clients your way, you are still asking for a favour. Approaching someone for the first time and asking for a favour gives them no reason to trust you or listen to you, they may even delete your email without a second thought. May I remind you of point number 1, build a friendship first!

  5. Bring Value:

    Once you’re on the way to building a great relationship with your potential joint venture partner find out what their needs are first and see if you can help them out. Support your partner and bring value to the relationship. By proving that you are willing to help, you also increase the chances of them wanting to return the favour and help you out too. You’re also building a far more solid foundation for any future working partnerships and business referrals.

 

Have you had any success in building joint venture partnerships with other businesses? Let me know what has worked for you in the comments below!

The Review of Reviews – Why Opinions Matter. (Infographic)

The Review of Reviews – Why Opinions Matter. (Infographic)

The Review of Reviews – Why Opinions Matter

Internet shopping and reviews have gone hand in hand for some time now. Anyone who is considering spending money online to buy a product or service that they can’t see or try before they commit to it has no doubt done their research in other ways – usually by researching the feedback left by previous users.

EBay, Amazon and Trip Advisor are just three sites that have built their own reputation on encouraging third party reviews and now almost every e-commerce site you can think of will have some kind of review or rating system. In short, we’re so used to seeing a star rating system or a comment box that if a site doesn’t allow reviews we wonder why not.

It’s not even just e-commerce sites that allow reviews either. Local Directory sites such as Yell, FreeIndex and ThomsonLocal all allow customers to review businesses, whether the business encourages them or not. This freedom of opinion on the internet means it has never been easier for someone to find out what others think of your business.

For a lot of businesses the ease of getting reviews from clients should be an opportunity to grab with both hands. Surprisingly, many businesses are ignoring this. More worryingly, if past clients have gone online to complain about poor service publicly on a third party website some business owners are taking the attitude of “out of sight, out of mind”. I even spoke to one business owner who said that if anyone read online reviews about his business he wouldn’t want them as a client anyway!

So do people read reviews, and more importantly do they believe them? PeopleClaim have put together this Infographic looking at some statistical measures of ratings and reviews. They were curious as to how many people were searching for reviews, what they were finding, and what type of decisions they were making based on this information.


PeopleClaim - The Review of Reviews

PeopleClaim.com

What this review of reviews shows is that reviews are an important and integral part of the decision making process and shouldn’t be ignored by businesses. This isn’t just relevant to retail businesses either, 82% of all consumers considered user generated reviews as Extremely Valuable or Valuable. Imagine you are looking for a Solicitor to help you buy a house, get a divorce or make a will. Although these are day to day jobs for a Solicitor, they are not day to day for the client, they may be once in a lifetime events. This client may need reassurance, they will want to know that you can do a good job and they will want to know that you know what you are doing. Reviews can tell them all these things, and they come directly from someone else who has been in that nervous client’s shoes.
The same goes for Dentists, Accountants, Plumbers, Private Health Clinics: in fact any business that can be researched online can benefit from third party reviews.

As a final thought, if Customer reviews result in a 14% increase in conversion within 30 days, imagine how this effect can be compounded over time and against multiple services that you provide. Reviews are a powerful tool, learn to use them to your advantage!

If you want to know how you can leverage client reviews to dramatically increase conversion and revenue contact us today.

How Leveraging Local SEO Can Skyrocket Your Business

How Leveraging Local SEO Can Skyrocket Your Business

How Leveraging Google Local SEO Can Skyrocket Your Business

Many business owners look at the internet in order to break into lucrative markets all over the world. Although the internet is worldwide, don’t overlook the impact you can have locally by being prominent placed in the search engines when qualified business partners, on your doorstep are searching for your business and services online. This is where leveraging local seo can be a great advantage for your business.

The Argument for adopting local SEO into Your Marketing Plans

1. Your consumers are going local

In a recent study by ad network Chikata*, results showed that nearly 25% of searches using Google had local intent. Therefore if there is a demand online for your products or services then people still feel more comfortable engaging with a local firm so they can get the item sooner and if there are any problems can visit the store or service provider easily.

google_local_search

More and more consumers are using search engines to find local businesses on their computers and mobile phones. According to Google,

  • 20% of search queries are for local businesses,
  • 40% of mobile searches are for local businesses and
  • 97% of consumers search for local businesses online.

2. 40% prefer to Research Online Purchase Offline

That’s right, in a survey conducted by Google**, 4 out of 10 people prefer to ROPO – Research Online Purchase Offline. So by being the business that give the greatest information on the product or service to local searches online it follows that you will get the lion’s share of the business.

 3. Prominent first-page listings

When a search for a service is coupled with a local identifier the results that are typically displayed on the first page of Google include a Map on the top right hand of the screen. This map is made up of the businesses that Google knows to be relevant to that search and is now a feature of Google+ local. In the organic results you will notice that each pin or marker on the map correlates to a listing.

local  seo

 

The point is if you get Google to recognise your business on the map you get multiple first page listings.

4. Local search is less competitive.

Yes, there will be less people searching than there will be on a national level likewise there will be less businesses in a position to compete. The majority of the national chains will not, yet, be optimised at a local level and this gives greater opportunity for those that invest in positioning their businesses as the leader in the local market place.

Simple Steps to Get Ranked in the Local Results

local seoAs a business owner there are a few steps that you can take in order to boost your chances of benefiting from qualified local searchers.

Here are the 4 basic steps to take advantage of the local search engine optimisation opportunity:

Keyword Research

The first steps with local SEO as with any type of online campaign should be your keyword research. Without knowing if there is a demand for your products and services online and the particular words and phrases people are using to find the results you will be quite literally throwing your advertising spend down the drain.

Use Google’s free keyword tool to find keywords that are frequently-searched and relevant to your business.

Optimise Your Google+ Listing

If you aren’t already set up with a Google+ Local listing, you’ll need to create your profile and verify your ownership. Then, select the categories that best suit your business description, bearing in mind the keywords that you know to be prominent to your user’s searches. By doing this you will help Google know which keywords should trigger your business listing to appear in the local results.

Get Your Business Out there

In getting your business out there you are looking to include your business information, Name, Address and Postcode (NAP) in as many relevant places online. These mentions of your business details are known as citations and are a very important factor of how Google shows trust to a business online.

A good way to do this is by listing your business on local business directories such as Yell, Thomson local, Yelp etc

Get Reviews

local seo - excellent customer service

More important than what you say about your business is what your clients have to say about your business. Make it a habit to ask customers to take the time and review your business by going to the business directories and leaving a testimonial about how good your business really is and how great the service was.

The more positive reviews that people say about your business the better, and the more Google and other search engines will pay attention to your business as they will know that by sending targeted traffic to your business they will get happy customers.

By having glowing online reviews you may convince other online browser who stumble across your business to pay closer attention as to how your service can benefit them.

The internet allows your business to branch out and reach lucrative markets that you could never have dreamed of competing in, but don’t get carried away and forget where your business started and the local community that you have at your doorstep.

The ultimate aim of local SEO service is to target your visitors and reach out people that have immediate requirements so that you can make your business a great success.

 

How to Make Your Online Branding Brilliant.

How to Make Your Online Branding Brilliant.

How to Make Your Online Branding Brilliant.

online brandingFor many small or local businesses it’s not always easy to stand out from the crowd, particularly when almost any company you can think of already has a Facebook page, or a Twitter feed. Unfortunately, it takes more than regular social media updates to really make sure you stick in peoples’ minds; you need to create a brand personality that people will recognise, trust and enjoy hearing from time and again.

As every business and every brand is different you need to figure out what features best highlight your own brand. This is not always an easy task and is something that has made and lost fortunes for brand experts and marketers, at the same time many businesses can’t afford to spend the money or resource on expert help.

So how do small or local businesses make their mark in the crowded world of online marketing?

Here are 10 brilliant branding tips!

Remember your brand is valuable

Marketing and branding can sometimes be overlooked by small businesses who think of them as an unnecessary expense. If this is your attitude, then think again. Your brand image is one of your most important business tools. Online Branding is crucial, as for many people a quick internet search will be how they are introduced to your business. How much would it mean to you if everyone who visited your website became a customer? Probably quite a lot!

Protect your reputation

Anyone can write reviews or opinions of your business on the internet, and while some of these may be great, there may be a whole host of criticism out there on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ that is scaring potential clients away from you before you’ve even been in touch with them. Likewise, if people are saying good things about you then wouldn’t it be great to have those comments where everyone can see them? Set up searches or alerts to monitor your brand reputation online and make sure that if your business is mentioned, for good or bad, that you know about it and can address it.

Highlight your USP

Why should customers come to you and not your competition? Every business should have a Unique Selling Point, or a way to attract new clients. It might be that you do a great bespoke service, or you do home visits, or you have great aftercare – or it might be that you can be found at the top of the search engines while your biggest competitor is at the bottom of page 2!

Flaunt your size

Some people love the security of going with a big firm. Others like to know that they’re getting the personal touch of working with a small business. It might be that your small firm is just as good, if not better, than the international multi-million pound turnover business that does a similar job. Highlight exactly why you are proud of your size and make it part of your brand. Customers like to know what to expect, so if you’re a one man band then let them know why that works so well for you, or if you’re a small business with plans to grow then let your customers know that they are part of that.

Create a Buzz

online branding

It’s natural for people to talk about what’s interesting, so give people interesting things to talk about. The more your brand is talked about, the more people will hear about your name, and the more the word will spread, but it all has to come from somewhere. Whether you create a buzz by doing competitions, open days, offers, creating valuable content online or talking about new products or events, just try and get people talking about your brand. Try introducing a hashtag on Twitter, or joining conversations on Facebook.

Stay Relevant

No-one is interested in yesterday’s news. If you notice a lack of engagement from your customer base, then maybe what you are putting out isn’t entirely relevant to them. Understand exactly who your customers are and what they like. Use this information to make sure you’re hitting the right note with them. Read up on new trends within your industry, write opinion pieces, ask questions, or collect feedback. The more interesting and relevant you are, then the more people will choose to come back to you for further insights and the more likely they are to think of you when the time comes to buy.

Be an Expert

There is nowhere to hide with online branding. If someone asks you a question online then it’s in the public domain. Make sure that there isn’t anything you don’t know about your business or niche. If you don’t know an answer immediately, make sure you look it up and get straight back to the customer. Research your competitors, make sure your products and services are still relevant and needed, make sure your pricing is in line with market expectation and ensure that information on your small business website or blog is accurate. If you are not an expert in what you do, then customers will see right through you and move on to someone who can answer their questions.

Don’t lose Focus

online branding

You can’t and won’t get everything right all of the time. It can be easy to spend hours on end responding to comments on Social Media, or to get distracted when trying to write a blog. Try setting a time limit for getting each task done and forcing yourself to move on when you reach that time. Similarly, if something hasn’t been working and you realise you’re losing focus on the main goals then take a step back and re-evaluate.

Stick to your Values

Whatever brand image you try to create make sure you stick to it and replicate it across all of your online media. While each social network might naturally encourage a different style of follower you need to make sure that everything you do online reflects the true voice and values of the brand that you’re working so hard to promote.

Always try to improve

The internet changes and grows every day. Even if something works really well for you today, you might notice that in 6 months it doesn’t work at all. There are many household name brands that have been unable to keep up with the times, change and adapt as necessary in order to stay at the forefront of their marketplace. Don’t let this happen to you!

The last word on online branding is YOURS. Leave a comment below and share it with everyone.

Why Online Reputation Management is a BIG deal!

Why Online Reputation Management is a BIG deal!

Why Online Reputation Management is a BIG deal!

This might sound strange coming from a digital agency that provides SEO services for businesses, however the truth of the matter is that all the search engine optimisation tactics in the book and the flashiest website possible will not win new clients for you if your business can not deliver on the promises it makes.

By that I mean when somebody searches using keywords or phrases related to your business and finds comments such as:

 

  • Never use Again
  • Would Not recommend this to anyone
  • Worst experience of my life
  • Left me in tears

These are real reviews, I am not going to share with you who they are about, that have been posted online. Would you visit or start business with a company whose last review said that?

A negative listing on Google, Yahoo, Bing Yelp, Citisearch, Yell, Thomson Local or any of the hundreds of other review sites could severely damage your capacity to win new business, maintain current business and hamper opportunities to up or cross sell.

If other people talk about your business in a negative manner and that is what people see when they search for your business or services on line, then quite frankly potential clients will not convert. Yes, search engine optimisation will bring more and more targeted people to your site but if they are presented with a horror show the results for you will be simply frightening.

To highlight how important online reputation management is I want to share with you some of the results from the Local Consumer Review Survey Part 2,

The importance of Online Reputation Management

Q. 1 – From the following list: select the Business Types you have searched for via the Internet in the last 12 months? (select as many as you like)

From the 19 possible choices the most searched for business was

  • Restaurants / Cafes – 57% (vs. 37% in 2010)

3 other categories also saw significant gains since 2010:

  • Hotels/B&B/Guest house – 35% (vs. 29%)
  • General Shops – 35% (vs. 30%)
  • Clothes Shops – 34% (vs. 31%)
  • Dentists/Doctors – 27% (vs. 21%)

The results were compared to the last time the survey was conducted in 2010.

The obvious conclusion from this set of results are that more and more people are searching for local businesses online and that means what they find when searching for you is becoming more and more important.

When presented with the same set of businesses and asked the question

Q. 3 – For which of these local business types does ‘Reputation’ matter the most when choosing a business? (select maximum 3)

Online reputation management

Over 35% of people searching for a restaurant/cafe online believe that reputation is the most important factor for choosing somewhere to visit while over 1 in 3 people searching for a Doctor/Dentist online are looking for reputation first. Based on those results what are you doing to enhance your online reputation management and make it so those people become patrons of your business?

Q4. – Which of the following ‘Reputation-traits’ is MOST important to you when selecting a local business to use?

Online reputation management

64% of consumers stated that reliability was the most important reputation trait when choosing a new business.

Is your business reliable? More importantly if someone is searching for your services is what they find a testament to how reliable your experience is? If it is not, that means there is a chance that well over half of potential clients who are actively searching for your business will turn away and move on to the next business.

The final question in the survey asked How many reviews and ratings do you need to read before you trust that business?

The result showed that on average 65% of people need to read between 2 and 10 reviews about your business. How many reviews are there online about your business!? 2, 10, 0.

Your olnine reputation management is important and it is not just about protecting what you have already it is using your online reputation as part of your marketing campaign to drive new business and customer sales.

If 10 people say that you are great, you are reliable and they would recommend you to anyone, then that is something that you want to shout from the roof tops. Think about it!

15 Must Know Benefits of SEO for Business!

15 Must Know Benefits of SEO for Business!

SEO for Business is not new! But so many businesses get it wrong. Don't be one of them! Here are 15 Must Know Benefits Of SEO For Business

Benefits of SEO for BusinessSearch engine optimisation, or SEO, for business is not a new thing. It has been part of the landscape now for many years. Those who adopted early have reaped huge benefits, however there are some who have only just dipped their toe in the water and others who have let the whole SEO phenomenon simply pass them by. The fact of the matter is that SEO is playing an increasingly larger part in the day to day management of business websites.

 Here are 15 Reasons Why SEO for Business Can Not Be Ignored

1. The results are low cost

Providing you understand the complexities of SEO and have the time and resources to publish and promote valuable content, then the prime listings are within reach.

The problem is that most of the prime spots or keywords that have commercial importance have already been taken by organisations and they protect their property by dedicating resource and employing seo companies to make sure they remain there.

2. Increase in traffic

As suggested above being higher up the search listings will naturally result in more traffic.  The simple fact is that as humans we are naturally lazy and this means that we click on the results that are presented to us rather than scrolling through page after page looking for something more relevant.

seo for business improves brand credibility3. Improve brand credibility

Psychologically, the higher up the search engines your business is listed the better it looks for your brand or image. The reason being is that everyone knows and trusts Google to provide them with relevant and respectable results. Therefore by simply occupying results on the first page you are gaining respect in the eyes of your customers.

4. Demand driven

People use search engines when they have a need, if your web presence follows correct  search engine optimisation practices  then when a user lands on your site what they will find will be exactly what they are looking for and this can result in leads, sales and increased profitability for your business.

5. Focusing on SEO for business means practicing better web development.

Focusing on SEO results in a naturally better, more accessible website. This is due to the fact that to reach the dizzy heights of the first page of Google your website has to be structured in a way that the search spider can crawl effectively, meaning your site cannot have poor navigation, broken links or low quality content.

6. Promotion that does not sleep.

Having a well optimised web presence means that regardless of your office being open for business or not you still have a willing and able “sales person” available to answer questions, direct queries and win new business.

7. Forces your business to produce content

You might not initially see this as a benefit of SEO but let me explain. The simple fact is that each and every business has skills and expertise that help their customers solve problems.

When you enter into an SEO campaign one of the things that you need to do is constantly provide the search engine with fresh, relevant and quality content. This means that you can leverage the knowledge that your business has and publish it for all to see.

I am not talking about giving away valuable secrets, what I am saying is that the more people can see for themselves about what you do and how you can help them, then  the greater the chance of them choosing you when they are in need of your services.

8. SEO can help you achieve your business goals

If you want more customers, more leads and more sales then the internet is a huge marketplace where customers are becoming less and less cautious when it comes to purchasing items. Therefore, if your business goals are to raise sales and increase profits, the internet is a fantastic platform from which to reach a greater audience and help you achieve those goals.

SEO for business helps PR9. SEO Attracts PR

Let’s say that your business specialises in traffic management solutions and there is an incident which is causing a stir in the media. The journalist writing the story needs a traffic management specialist and to find one they use the search engines.

If your business is optimised for traffic management and you make it easy for the journalist to contact you then you could find yourself getting interviewed and as a result getting a horde of free publicity.

10. You can expand an existing business

If your business is predominantly online then adopting a professional seo service  can allow you to tap into a different market or engage with your existing market place further.

You have (almost) unlimited customer reach. The population of the internet is about 2.1bn and growing rapidly each and every day. By harnessing effective SEO strategies you can target a niche marketplace on the other side of the world, or strengthen your position against a bigger competitor.

11. You can go local

Reaching consumers based on their proximity to your business and their need for your experience is a present reality, and many are already reaping great benefits. For business owners big and small, local search engine optimisation has levelled the playing field when it comes to raising awareness, and attracting and retaining customers as well as rewarding them for their loyalty.

Just because your town only has 40,000 people it does not mean there is not a demand for your product or service.

12. Your competitors are doing it

Whatever business niche you pertain to you, know that if you type in lawyer, doctor, plumber or landscape gardener in the search engine results page you will likely see someone you know. The internet is part and parcel of doing business and if you want to be on the internet and in with a shout of connecting with people when they need your service then you need to think about SEO.

SEO for business is not just for the big fish13. You don’t have to be the biggest fish in the pond

We all know that money talks and quite often it is the businesses that are willing to invest the most will get the prime listing. However Google in their wisdom have made changes to their algorithms to allow each and every business to compete on the same level. Therefore if you can produce the best, most relevant content that people engage with, then you too could find yourself benefiting from the top spots.

14. You cultivate networking relationships

Social Media is becoming more and more of an important factor when it comes to SEO. The more places where your pages are indexed online in relation to your field then the greater the chance you have of connecting with other people in your niche that in turn could result in joint ventures, business partnerships and, of course, increased profits.

15. Better ROI

Due to the high rate of keyword inflation, paid search in terms of PPC can be cost prohibitive for many small businesses and therefore an ongoing SEO for business campaign returns a far greater return on investment over the long haul.

Search engine optimisation is not a fad or something that can simply be ignored; users are being conditioned in how to use the internet to purchase everything from face lifts to houses. If you are in business then your goal is to make a profit, to make a profit you need sales, to make sales you need leads, to get leads you need to prospect and advertise. SEO for business is part of the online package you need to consider. When used correctly and creatively it can become one of the most beneficial tools in your online marketing tactics.

Click here to turn your website into a client generating powerhouse

What are the top challenges or Benefits you see with regard to SEO? Let us know in the comments below! 

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