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Posts Tagged ‘Google Local Business Center’

3 Ways Small Businesses Should Leverage Location-Based Marketing In 2011

By John Joyce on October 13, 2010 - Comments 0

Small business owners have an opportunity to take advantage of several great technologies to broaden their local reach and position themselves as the big fish in their respective small pond.  I’m going to assume that most local businesses are listed with the three major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) but, if not, refer to this white paper for instructions.  Each of these platforms has local search embedded, to some extent, so you want to be able to take advantage of this free marketing platform.

To go one step beyond simple search, let’s take a look at ways you can proactively deliver your message to prospective customers based on their geographic location:

1)  Twitter

I just read an article this morning about a local bakery, Sugar Coated Bakery, that has managed to thrive in this difficult economy even with the rising cost of ingredients like flour and sugar.  They have a Facebook page but no Twitter account listed on their site and I immediately thought of a product I read about last year, Baker Tweet, which enables you to scroll through your list of baked goods and Tweet when a new batch comes out of the oven.  Also, Advanced Twitter Search allows you to identify people based on their location, follow them and, hopefully, they’ll follow you back.

Give people the opportunity to friend, follow or like you in any way they choose and then make sure you keep the conversation going.

2)  Foursquare

I’ve written about Foursquare before and it has defined the location-based marketing space by proving the value of building a participatory community as opposed to the more conversational platforms like Facebook.  This is a solution where you can reward your best customers and build an army of evangelists simply by letting them take part in your success.

This is one of the best ways to build loyalty and generate repeat business from your most loyal customers.

3)  Location-Based Advertising

If you’re having trouble building a following within social media platforms, help may soon arrive in the form of location-based advertising from Twitter.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could reach your core demographic within 20 miles of your business with a very focused value proposition?  Foursquare has stumbled in their efforts to deliver location-based advertising options but maybe it’s a sign that their platform is best suited for DIY campaigns only.  Google just announced that Marissa Mayer has been promoted from VP of Search and User Experience to a new role focused on location-based services.

Three big players all vying for your advertising dollars.  Let’s hope at least one of them comes up with a solution that delivers.

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Why Aren’t You Measuring The ROI Of Your Online Marketing Efforts?

By John Joyce on May 28, 2010 - Comments 0

Measure Your Marketing ROII recently participated in Omniture’s ”2010 Online Analytics Benchmark Survey” and received a customized report from them yesterday and wanted to share some of the information with you.  It doesn’t take a genius to understand that businesses shouldn’t spend money on new marketing channels without having the ability to track their success, but that’s exactly what the majority of us are doing.

The main takeaways from this survey are as follows:

Key Web Analytics Challenges Include Talent, Measuring ROI and Multi-Channel Support

Top challenges for online marketers include:

  1. Difficulty finding and training top talent
  2. Determining what actions to take based on their data
  3. Maximizing marketing ROI through full funnel measurement and automatic multi-channel integration.

Do you find yourself or your staff spending large chunks of time developing programs and campaigns, delivering them across an assortment of online marketing platforms and then wondering if they had any impact?  It looks like you’re not alone.  The most telling statistic from this study is glaring proof that, since many of the emerging online marketing platforms are very much in their infancy, businesses are unable to track their success as illustrated below:

Marketers know which metrics are important to measure, however they are not capturing all the metrics they need to achieve their goals.  Eighty-two percent of survey responders believe ROI is somewhat to very important to measure, but only 30 percent of marketers can effectively measure marketing ROI!  Additionally, 86 percent of respondents think conversion rate is somewhat or very important to measure yet 27 percent of marketers cannot effectively measure conversion rates.

We all know measuring the success of offline marketing is difficult to nearly impossible but that’s because there’s no system available to allow for granular collection of metrics.  Conversely, online marketing offers so much data that we become overwhelmed by a never ending stream of seemingly valuable information .  They key, however, is knowing how to interpret that information and turn it into an actionable plan that exploits the repeatable successes you have unearthed.

If you’re going to “try” a mobile marketing campaign, social media campaign or viral video campaign, make sure you develop a system to track and measure success against your business goals.  Work smarter and not harder.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

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Why Are There Bad Reviews Of Your Business In Google Maps?

By John Joyce on April 20, 2010 - Comments 2

Did you know that people can post a review of your business in Google Maps?  Google also pulls reviews from other sites (Citysearch, Insiderpages) and automatically posts them to your business listing.  Strangely, as the business owner, you have very little control over these reviews so you’ll have to add this to your “watch list” for online reputation management.

Are there negative reviews of your business online?  Find them and  fix them.Sentiment Analysis is a quickly growing data set that listing services are collecting and publishing, so, what are your options when dealing with negative feedback that finds its way into your business listing?

  • If a review was posted directly to your business listing in Google, you can flag it and then you’ll have to prove that the post violates published terms and conditions.
  • Are you able to identify the person who posted the negative comment?  If so, reach out to them, listen to their feedback and try to address their concerns.  Ask them if they would be willing to change or delete their negative review.
  • Google suggests you contact the webmaster of the 3rd party sites if the negative review wasn’t posted directly to your business listing.  Some of these sites do allow you to post a “response from management” but that won’t show up in Google Maps.  (Google does not allow you to post this type of response)
  • Google lists 5-6 reviews so  you can solicit new reviews from satisfied customers in an effort to push the negative ones off the page.  Be careful, though; too many reviews being posted in a short period of time will trigger spam alerts and hurt your ranking.

Obviously, it helps to have a solid customer support system in place and an easy process for sharing feedback directly with you so these types of issues are not broadcast to the general public.  Reputation management is an important aspect of your daily marketing life and should be treated as such.

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Using Foursquare To Build Brand Loyalty: Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part XV

By John Joyce on April 9, 2010 - Comments 0

Personally, I haven’t found anything useful about foursquare other than to compete for the Mayorship of a local health club with my friend Anand Rajaram over at Office Drop.  With that said, I do think businesses that exclusively operate locally can creatively leverage this type of location-based marketing service to “monitor and market” in real time.

small businesses can monitor and market to their customers in real  time

Click to view interactive online marketing ecosystem.

If a business embraces a service like foursquare, they instantly connect with their customer base in a way that promotes customer loyalty and offers a compelling reason to come back. (along with bragging rights)

If there are people already visiting your establishment who use a smart phone, then all you have to do is notify them that you are offering specials via foursquare.  As stated on their website, “foursquare aims to encourage people to explore their neighborhoods and then reward people for doing so. We do this by combining our friend-finder and social city guide elements with game mechanics – our users earn points, win mayorships and unlock badges for trying newplaces and revisiting old favorites”.

In a difficult economy, a free cup of coffee or free appetizers at your favorite establishment means as much as the new lawn chairs my parents acquired from collecting S&H Green Stamps when I was a kid. (I know, I’m dating myself)

The ability for your customers to send out their location (your establishment) via social networks such at Twitter and Facebook creates a “viral invite” that can boost foot traffic exponentially.  There are also some fairly simple tools available to track your best customers, deliver special offers when someone checks in, and keep your best customers engaged and involved.

All you local business owners should at least give this a try and see if you can increase business by developing a marketing strategy around foursquare.  Trust me, you’ll still be way ahead of the curve if you do it now and you’ll have your system perfected by the time foursquare explodes.

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Get People Talking About Your Business: Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part XIV

By John Joyce on April 7, 2010 - Comments 0

You need to get people talking about your business.  Period.  Your product/service must offer an experience that compels customers to talk about you and recommend your business to their network of contacts.  Of course, there’s a flipside to this equation and that’s when someone has a negative experience with your business and they decide to share that information on social networks.  If you experience the latter, don’t run and hide; address the issue head-on and diffuse the situation within the same public forum it began.

To get started, visit each of these sites to determine if your business is listed and what people are saying.  Claim your business, manage the conversation and address issues as soon as possible.  You can’t make these sites go away so your best bet is to develop a strategy to make them work in your favor.  This is an yet another social medium that isn’t perfect and is continuously evolving and your strategy will have to do the same.

customer reviews and ratings services for small business

Click to see interactive online marketing ecosystem.

By now you’ve heard all the hoopla about Yelp having “long faced criticism that it gives preferential treatment to businesses that advertise with the company.”  Although Yelp maintains that there is no connection between the two, they did announce significant changes to the service this week.

Service providers like Yelp have proven how lucrative the local search advertising market is and Google is currently testing Enhanced Listings in Google Local Business Center that would allow business owners to create a unique, differentiated listing.  Google’s beta service currently offers the following:

  • Add yellow tags to promote coupons, a photo of your business, and more.
  • Stand out in local business results on Google & Google Maps.
  • See your performance in your account anytime.
  • Cancel anytime. Pay just $25 a month.

Will Google face the same scrutiny as Yelp?  We’ll have to see how this plays out but, if Google can collect $25 per month from a large percentage of small business owners, there’s a good chance we’ll see this rolled out in the near term.

The bottom line for businesses, especially “local” businesses, is to be aware of all these feedback sites and to monitor your reputation regularly.

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5 “Must-Use” Free Tools From Google

By John Joyce on November 4, 2009 - Comments 1

5 Free Tools For Your Small BusinessIf you haven’t set up a Google Account for your business, stop what you’re doing right now and get with the program!  Simply click here so you can create your log-in credentials and access some very powerful applications that will help you work more efficiently.  You can choose from a whole slew of tools but I’m going to focus on the five that will make the quickest impact:

Alerts: Track any mention of your business, prospective deals or news on your competitors.  Create alerts for any word or term you’re interested in tracking, type of info (blog, news, etc.), delivery mechanism (email or feed), and set the frequency of notifications.  I find this to be most helpful for my clients to track potential business opportunities.

Local Business Center: This allows you to “claim” your business listing on Google and create a comprehensive overview of your business which should include your core message as well as as many of your primary keywords and phrases.  Don’t forget to include images – your listing will be much more compelling with a visual representation.

FeedBurner: If you have a blog, you should be using FeedBurner to make sure people can subscribe to your feed.  Subscribers can either receive your feed via email or view it in a “reader” as I will describe below:

Reader: A central repository for all of the RSS feeds you would like to follow on a regular basis.  Rather than going to 12 different sites to read your favorite blogs or follow news sites, you can point them all to Reader and quickly absorb your daily information dump.

Voice: You have to sign up for an invitation to use this service and it can take several weeks before you hear back.  Google Voice is a virtual local phone number that you can forward to any cell phone or land line you choose.  Two really powerful features are 1) your voice mail messages can be routed to your email address as an attachment and 2) your voice mail messages are transcribed on the fly and also delivered as an email or SMS.

The really nice thing about using these services is that they’re from a single vendor so they can be accessed and managed from one central dashboard. Take the time to evaluate these tools and you’ll have more time to focus on your core business responsibilities.

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