Some businesses have the added advantage of being unique in their field. They are the only one with this product or service in the market. Nobody else has it. If that's the case with your business, good for you. Enjoy the ride while you can. And if you are successful and make money, you will, sooner or later have competition knocking at the door. The better the money is, the more fierce the competition will be.
If you are like the rest of us (as in 99.9% of all businesses in America), you have to compete for market share with other similar or even identical businesses just around the corner. Only very few enjoy any sort of exclusive rights to a market. Even cable companies have to compete with Satellite and Internet. So we might as well say, that we ALL have to compete at some level.
I deal with small businesses all the time that try to increase the number of leads they get via internet marketing, seo services or paid Ads on Google or Facebook. While we are very successful at it, I'm often confronted with the reality that if their products aren't that good, or their customer service sucks, we end up banging our head against the wall and then we inevitably fail to grow their business.It's hard to deliver results when the product is weak.
So let's just assume that you have a decent business model, good product/service and good customer service. Based on all the businesses I've looked at, including my own, here are the three things you need to beat your competition:
You may not be able to do all three based on your business, but you should at least have one of these strategies, preferably two in order to compete and beat your competition. In my opinion, if you have the best widget or service on the market and provide it faster than anyone, your value will be so great that people will most likely be willing to pay more than average for you. But try to do all three and you'll always keep the competition at bay and you'll dominate the market. Its that simple and that easy. Be the best, be faster, be of better value. The rest will fall in line...
If you haven't heard the buzz already, Google and other major search engines have started to pay a lot more attention to local searches. There's a good reason why: 70% of all internet searches are for local businesses and 59% of Internauts use Google every month to find a local business.
And what we are finding is that a lot of people have neglected to register their website (for free) with the major data directories. Google scans those directories (aka "data aggregators") to identify the local companies that are relevant to what you are searching.
See, Google knows where you are located based on your IP address and many other factors. If Google knows that you are currently in Miami, it makes a lot of sense for Google to show you search results with companies located in Miami instead of a company located in Orlando.
The good news is that its easy and "mostly" free to do it. Now it's easy but very time consuming and can be frustrating at time when you have duplicate or listings with errors. Patience will be required, and getting it fixed overnight will take about 2-3 months.
It will be counter productive. Just consider Local Listings as the foundation for SEO. If you don't have a proper foundation, you will never be able to build a solid house. Being listed to the 14 major Web directories creates valuable links back to your business’s website. This helps your corporate website with more search authority and relevancy while helping you rank better with your keywords.
Take Ownership: you want to take ownership of your local listing to protect yourself from someone else trying to pretend to be you, or redirecting traffic to them.
Better Ranking: getting your local listing in order will be very helpful in having your website rank for your keywords.
Be a step ahead of your competition: or maybe level the playing field if your competition has corrected their local listings. There's nothing wrong with checking how your competitors is doing with local listings. If they are doing very good, they are most likely eating your lunch. If they are doing poorly, you will soon be ranking better than they are.
There are several tools you can use to help you get your local listing in order:
(Note: having a local listing does require a valid local address (no PO Box) and a valid local business number.)
1-Moz Local (https://moz.com/local/overview)
Simply click on the "Check my listing score", enter your company name & zip code, and Moz will show you the companies that are listed with that description.
Click on your company name and you will get a score in % of accuracy. Anything below 50% is not good at all, between 50-70% is okay but needs to be fixed, anything above 80% and you are in fairly good shape. Of course, you want to get as close to 100% as you can.
Moz charges a small yearly fee of $49/year and is connected to 5 of the major data aggregator (Infogroup, Neustar Localeze, Acxiom, and Factual)
You can do the same by adding your business name & business phone number to check your results. Personally I prefer Moz because they focus on the major directories where Yext adds many listings that are quite frankly irrelevant.
Yext charges over $500/year and is connected to only 1 of the major data agreegator
Here is a good article showing a good in depth comparaison of Moz, Yext and a few other similar systems.
Based on our study, we highly recommend Moz Local to fix your local listings.
Need help with getting your local listing in order?
We can help! Call us at 561-272-8567 and ask to speak with Antoine
I want to tell you about a book that changed my business. The insights I gained with this book have helped me make some strategic changes in how I handle my day-to-day operations, how I view my net profit margin.
The book I am talking about is "Simple Numbers, Straight Talk and Big Profits" by Greg Crabtree.
Here is what I learned from this valuable resource:
If you want to transform your business, I highly recommend that you get a copy of this book for yourself and see what it says. You will start making strategic decisions and incorporating the ideas from this book into all your operations.
You can order a copy of the book with this link - Simple Numbers, Straight Talk and Big Profits on amazon
Instagram is an online service that allows users to share photos, view videos, and build social networks. The service makes it easy to share photos on other social media channels like Facebook or Twitter. Like most social media platforms, Instagram has found its place in the world of Internet marketing. Businesses can use it to generate relevant images and get their followers to share them.
If you run a restaurant, Instagram is something you need to integrate into your marketing plans and into your corporate website design. Here are six ways you can leverage this service for your restaurant:
You know that building a successful restaurant is about building relationships with customers and providing them with a great dining experience. You can leverage Instagram to build those critical relationships so that customers will come in and see how your restaurant's dining experience is.
How do you plan on using Instagram for your restaurant?
Over the last few months or so, I've learned a lot about how safe or unsafe our personal information is on the internet. Or maybe the question should be "how much of my personal information is out there?". The answer is a lot more than you think. Now, I'll address the "safe" issue later on. Let's talk first about "how much data" are we talking about.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I watched an episode of CBS 60 Minutes called : "The Data Brokers". According to the report, some data brokers have about 1500 points of data on you. Anything from your address, gender, age, religious affiliation, etc and things more obscure such as what time you go to bed, a disease you may have and what type of medication you take on a regular basis. So how do they know all of this?
Think about it for a second, every time you like or share something on Facebook or Twitter or Google+, that data is recorded. When you visit a website, an online news outlet, read some gossip, buy something on Amazon, its recorded. All that data is recorded and makes it part of your profile. Even if you don't sign up for anything, your IP address and your computer may be giving the clue to data brokers that it's YOU...and they collect it in your profile.
Another way data is collected on you is via Apps you download on your mobile phone. The 60 minutes claims that Apps like "Brightest Flashlight Free" are nothing more than data collecting Apps. True, it gives you an amazing App that allows you to use your phone as a flashlight in a dark place, but its intended purpose for the developer is to collect data. Same thing with games like Angry Bird, they allow to play and in return you share data, whether you like it or not. Did you know that? and....have you ever read the Agreement you are requested to click on before you download an App? because it's there, in plain English, that you are agreeing to allow the App to collect some data on your phone sometime via your location and the GPS locator.
Look at the App Permissions for a Traffic monitoring App called Waze on the right. Specifically look at the last section: permission to access your calendar? events?? confidential information?? read your contacts?? Really? for a traffic monitoring App??!!
Yes they want to know where you are at all time. They want to know where you shop, where you eat, how long you stayed, etc.
Now that I most likely got you in a state of "OMG...I feel violated", bare in mind that this practice has been done for many many years. Initially via your credit card purchases where they could discover a lot about you via your purchase history. They have just gone a lot more sophisticated.
Just recently I've begun to go bike riding around the lake in my area and I use an App called Endomondo to calculate my speed, duration, calories burn hydration. It also follows me on the map so I can see where I've been. Once the ride is completed, the event is shared with my Facebook account and my friends will make comments on my post. Now all of this seems pretty standard & innocent stuff until I started receiving a newsletter for a bicycle magazine. I never signed up for it. How could they possibly think I'd be interested? Coincidence? I think not. The Bicycle magazine is probably buying data from Endomondo and looking for man in my age group and my income geographical area that may be potential buyers. Is that fair? I think so, I don't have a problem with that. First Endomondo is Free, they are giving me access to a pretty cool application and it's not costing me a dime. Second, the bicycle magazine is not a far fetched connection, I do ride a bicycle and enjoy it very much. And Endomondo most likely told me they were going to do that in the terms I agreed to without reading a single word. The easy fix for me was to unsubscribe to the magazine and move on. It's part of the deal.
It's important to note that companies like Facebook and Google keep the data to themselves. In order words, they don't share it with anyone. Their intent is too feed you the best possible information based on what they know about you. That's their game. There is a lot of talk about whether the opt-in option need to be better defined and the argument is that people are not really giving consent to sharing all of that data. I'd agree with that, and each of us also need to take responsibility that when you use all of those services for Free: Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apps, etc, you are exchanging FREE services for your personal data.
Ask yourself this: am I willing to provide a lot of personal information in exchange for free App and free Internet?
If you listen to pop culture mavens and celebrities, you must have heard about #hashtags. It seems like everyone is saying "#hashtag this" or "#hashtag that". You may be wondering "What's up with #hashtags?"
A #hashtag is a word or unspaced phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), otherwise known as the pound sign. It is used to identify messages on a specific topic to people on various social media channels. People on social media can search for a particular hashtag to see what people are saying about the topic in question. You can use them in your social media communications or even part of your corporate website design.
The #hashtag first became popular on Twitter. This microblogging social media channel only lets a person tweet up to 140 characters. A hashtag lets the user connect to a conversation without the need to detail it in their limited space. Today, the concept and use of the #hashtag has spread to other social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Google+. It provides a very easy way to connect a conversation among people around the world.
Now, you may be wondering how you can use #hashtags in your business marketing?
You need to create a unique hashtag just for your brand. It should reflect your company name or tagline. Make sure no one else is using it on any social media channel you want to market on. That way, you will have a unique hashtag that only refers to your company. Use the same hashtag on all social media channels. That provides brand consistency and makes followers familiar with it. Start using it on all social media communications. Integrate it into your corporate website design. This will start creating a cross-channel conversation around your brand.
You can use a unique hashtag for a particular marketing campaign. Let's say your company is going to be 10 years old and you want to work a campaign around it. You might come up with a tag that reflects the 10th anniversary (#CompanyX10Years or #10YearsHurray). When you use that campaign hashtag, you can use it to promote awareness and engagement.
You can use a hashtag related to your content. These hashtags help link your content to people who might have an interest in that topic. It is also a way to build SEO standings. Some of the content hashtags to consider are related to products, lifestyle, event, or location. Make hashtags an integral part of any content you share in your corporate website design.
If you are planning an event or other group activity, make sure you create and use a specific hashtag for it. This will allow you and the others who want to be part of the group activity to communicate using a common hashtag. It also has the potential to widen the audience as word get around.
How you use #hashtags in your marketing is completely up to you. Smart marketers have used them for a while. If you want to reach the widest audience possible, you need to start using them as well.
What is the first #hashtag you are going to use?
The answer is yes, but not really.
If you are doing a good job and the bad reviews are the exception, and not the norm, you should not overreact. Most people can sort out the reviewers who are just in a bad mood or the one with the legitimate complaint. They put more credence into your corporate website design than a review from someone in a bad mood.
How you react to negative reviews will play a part in the weight that a potential customer will give to a particular complaint. Here are six ways you can handle negative reviews:
The main takeaway is not to panic if you get a negative review. You can use these guidelines to manage the situation and to start recovering from any damage it causes. You will find that as your list of positive reviews starts to grow, the negatives become less and less important.
Do you have any negative reviews that you should be responding to?
Have you ever done a search on Google for a local business, like a plumber or a bank? You are not alone. According to Google, up to 20 percent of the searches that go through its engine involve a specific location.
You might not think that 20 percent is a lot, but think of it this way. In 2013, Google's worldwide search handled a total of 2.16 trillion queries. Yes, that was trillion, with a "t". Twenty percent of that equals 432 billion searches based on location. Even if only a small fraction of those searches was in your local community, it is still a staggering number.
Google Places offers a way to get your business listed, for no cost, on the local search engine results and on Google maps. For a local business, it is almost as important as your corporate website design.
Here are five reasons why Google Places is so important for your business.
The Google Places listing allows you a lot of leeway for customization, much like your corporate website design. You can provide detailed information on your products and services. You can offer discounts or coupons. You can create live updates or offer weekly specials. You can add photos of your business or share your business hours. It lets you tell customers what service areas you cover. You can even tell them where the best place to park is.
The Google Places dashboard is also a valuable tool for your business marketing. It will tell you how many people are searching for you on Google, how they found you, which zip codes they come from, and even how many people viewed your Google Place listing. This information is critical to successful marketing and even your corporate website design.
Have you got a Google Place listing for your company?
Facebook has become a critical tool in business marketing, companies of all sizes are using it to successfully reach potential customers, build their brand, and extend their company base. A personal or a company's Facebook presence becomes an extension of who they are. Be real, be authentic.
Now, some people struggle with making Facebook a successful part of their marketing plan. In most cases, the problem comes from the approach you takes in its use. A few adjustments can make a huge difference.
Here are six ways to make Facebook work for you and you:
Facebook success requires building relationships and trust with your target audience. It is a process that not only expands your customer base, it builds your brand and company profile simultaneously. Today, it is almost as important as your corporate website design.
Take a moment and look at your Facebook posts and see which one got likes, comments and shares and simply do more of that. Your effectiveness on Facebook is measured in Likes, Comments & Shares - the more of them, the better you are doing!
When putting together a marketing strategy, email campaigns still rank among the best options out there. People are more likely to read emails from the companies they trust. Those companies can leverage this trust to send out messages about upcoming events, specials, or new products coming along. It is a tool useful in converting leads to paying customers and having customers come back for repeat business.
What your contact at your web design company will tell you is that email marketing campaigns can be wonderful successes or spectacular failures. It is surprising to find that the ones that fail often make the same mistakes. Avoiding these mistakes will help you have a successful campaign instead of a failure:
Here are four reasons why email marketing campaigns fail so often:
If you can avoid these problems, you will have more success with your email marketing campaigns. Many companies do not have the in-house capabilities to create the professional emails that create successful campaigns. Partnering with a web design company that offers marketing assistance is the answer. They can get your email campaigns up and running in a way that will generate leads and create paying customers in the process. Get started today.