Friday, February 16, 2018
Small Business Marketing 101
Branding, services, promotions, products, pricing, prints, blogs, advertising, research and social media -- all of this is marketing. With all the marketing options out there, it can be difficult for small businesses to know what to do. Marketing is a concentrated effort to do push your brand across a variety of platforms and hope that enough makes it through to your customer. Customers need to hear your message several times, so brand, brand, brand! Here are some simple steps to help you market your small business:
1. Get organized. Getting an organized plan is the first step in any marketing effort. Make one. Start with brainstorming, create themes and transfer action items to a calendar or to-do list. Start small, and try to get a good ROI for everything you do. Create an elevator pitch: What can you tell people about your business, products and services in 30 seconds or less that keeps them interested and wanting more? Get customer input early -- if you are opening a storefront or restaurant, try hosting a soft opening or invitation-only event to get your kinks worked out and your mishaps and mistakes out of the way. Whatever you do, make a good first impression.
2. Get a website. In today’s technology-based world, the first thing a potential customer or employee does is Google your business. You need a website to show you’re real and to offer information about your business to potential customers. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and be sure to ask for search engine optimization. Use Google Analytics to track the traffic to your website, but be leery of people who promise you top positions on search engines. While there are lots of things that can be done to increase your ranking on various search engines, unless the developer works for Google, I would be leery of a promise to get you to the top. Remember that you get what you pay for. There are a ton of do it yourself website services, but depending on the features you need on your site, some things are better left to the experts.
3. Leverage social media. Let’s face it, everyone is on social media these days, and the majority of traffic still occurs on Facebook. If you are not using Facebook for your business, create a page today. You are leaving an opportunity on the table if you don’t. There has been a shift the past few years with more and more retirees joining the social media world. I guess they realize that if they want to keep up with their kids, grandkids, friends and neighbors, they better get with the program. In fact, retirees are often my best brand ambassadors and help promote our events.
4. Set up and claim your business online. Whether you get on board or not, information about your business is and will be on the internet. Wouldn’t you rather proactively control what people read or see about your business when they Google it? Do a search on different browsers to see what information you see about your company and then claim or create a listing for your business.
May the search be with you: how to boost local SEO in 2018
Local SEO involves a range of tactics to market your business at the same time customers are searching for a company like yours, and specifically in your neighbourhood. Spending some time understanding and developing a local SEO strategy may lead to significant additional business, with recent data from GO-Globe showing that 46% of all searches on Google are local. By leveraging local SEO, you can promote what makes your small business special to your community in a timely fashion. Here we’ll look at the latest for this ever-growing small business marketing trend.
Claim your business in Google
The first step in executing a local search strategy is to claim your business listing on Google. Having a Google My Business profile that includes detailed information about your company will help provide your existing and prospective customers with the details they are looking for.
Once you have your local business profile set up you must maintain it to ensure all details are up to date. Responding to reviews that your customers’ post is essential, as it shows you are committed to reading and caring about their feedback. It’s also a good outlet for encouraging your loyal customers to share their positive comments about your business.
According to Bright Local’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2017, 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day. They also found that positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more.
Outside of the Google My Business profile, you should also think about other review sites where you can further promote your business, such as Bing Places and Yelp. Also, look for ways to earn new links to your website to further boost its authority. Add structured data markup to your website, so search engines better understand the content that is on the pages of your site. Structured data is a very simple piece of code (HTML) that annotates information for search engines.
Must-Know Social Media Strategies For Real Estate Agents In 2018
Without tools, human would have ended up in the same graveyard as dinosaurs. Instead, we put footprints on the moon. And I have to hand it to real estate agents — they’ve been pretty good at utilizing a variety of tools. I know they’ve broken in their share of cellphones. When computers came along, the good agents put lead management software to work for them.
Now there’s another tool that can take agents to untold home-selling heights: social media. Why? That’s easy: Real estate has been — and always will be — a people business and social media couldn’t be more about people. So, agents need to be on social media as much as they need to be on oxygen.
Social media is so important because that’s where the eyeballs are. In 2017, 81% of Americans had a social media profile, and over 200 million people in the U.S. alone are estimated to be on social media by 2020. What’s more, American social media usage is highest among people who live in the suburbs, people who earn over $75,000 a year and the most educated.
But that’s not all. Professional marketers are sold on social media, too. A recent survey of 271 marketing pros found that 41% say they’ll boost their social media marketing budgets “significantly” this year.
It's clear that social media makes plenty of sense for real estate agents. But the key is to use it wisely. When you hold a wrench by the wrong end, well, you’ll be at the job for a while. The same is true with social media: Done right, it can increase your trips to the bank. Done poorly, it can drive you to the poor house.
3 SEO tasks to start 2018 off with a bang
We’re just about three weeks into the new year, and the momentum you establish now can easily set the pace for the rest of your year.
I’d like to help you start 2018 off with a bang by earning three simple wins that will set the stage for further success and growth, not just for this year, but long into the future.
These wins are simple, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy — because while the concepts are not complex, a lot of work will be required to accomplish them.
That may seem like a bad thing, but it’s actually a blessing in disguise because it means that most of your competitors won’t even put in the effort, which will give you a significant advantage over them.
Improve page speed to improve ranking
Google just recently announced that beginning in July 2018, mobile page speed will be a ranking factor for its mobile search results. Page speed also has a significant impact on user experience, and several aspects of user experience are direct ranking factors, too.
Studies show that the faster a web page loads, the longer visitors will remain, and in most cases, more of them will convert to paying customers compared to visitors on slower websites.
Most people have a tremendous opportunity for improvement in this area because they don’t realize how poorly their website is performing. I was recently talking with a potential client about SEO for his website, and when the topic of page speed came up, he proudly insisted that his website “loads super fast — usually in under one or two seconds!”
If that were true, it would have been phenomenal; however, it was actually closer to thirty seconds, according to the tests I performed using several different tools.
It’s important to point out that when I talk about page speed, I’m not specifically talking about Google’s PageSpeed Insights. I’m talking about how long it takes a web page to load in general.
Some ways you can improve page speed include:
- investing in high-performance web hosting.
- properly scaling and compressing images.
- implementing server caching, browser caching and Gzip compression.
Leverage a personal brand for link building
If you’ve managed a website for any length of time, you’ve most likely been on the receiving end of a lot of link requests, and I think it’s a safe bet that most of them were probably terrible. Now I’m going to say something that might hurt your feelings: If you’ve sent a link request, it was probably terrible, too.
Cold link outreach is challenging, and you generally don’t earn very many links in relation to the number of emails you send out. This is because you’re asking for something from a stranger before you’ve built any rapport, which is an almost certain recipe for disaster. Effective link building depends on relationships, not brute force and volume.
Rather than cold link outreach, a more effective strategy is to develop a personal brand that others want to connect with. This is easier said than done because it will require a tremendous amount of work, performed consistently over a relatively long period of time.
However, once you’ve developed a personal brand, it will be much easier to leverage the kind of relationships you’ll then develop, to efficiently build links. In fact, if your personal brand becomes powerful enough, often, people will link to your content without you even asking.
A few ways you can develop a personal brand include:
- creating consistently branded profiles on key social networks.
- regularly sharing valuable content from others in your industry, along with your insight on it.
- engaging with your audience, both those below and above your stature within your industry.
- regularly publishing amazing content, both on your own website and in industry publications and top-tier business publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fast Company.
Three Major Developments That Will Shape SEO In 2018
Search engines are constantly improving the search experience and, as a result, search engine optimization (SEO) is in a nonstop transformation. For SEO marketers, the challenge isn’t to simply understand the complex science behind the strategy -- it’s to be able to adapt to the ever-changing rules of the game.
The past few years have been exciting for SEO, marked by a series of algorithm updates, evolving techniques and fast-advancing tools that make SEO what it is today. To stay on top of the trends and equip their SEO arsenal with relevant strategies, most marketers scramble to learn or predict the emerging developments poised to shape the new face of SEO.
From the domination of voice search to the increasing role of RankBrain in providing search results, we’re expecting bigger changes on the horizon.
Marketers may start optimizing for voice search.
This past December, Google’s webmaster trends analyst John Mueller tweeted about webmasters asking for voice search data in Google Search Console. It reflects the current behavior among Search Console users -- more and more are seeing voice search queries separately.
This raises the question: Why do site owners suddenly care about voice search data? The simple answer is people are using voice search now more than ever before, and gaining insights into these queries gives marketers ideas for how to provide better experiences for those searching by voice.