- Pay for Google ads. Google AdWords allows you to run ad in users search results when they search keywords you have chosen. Depending on your ad quality and budget, you ads can be listed first on the page of search results. Earlier this year Google introduced expanded text ads so your ads have more copy space available and are formatted for better visibility on desktop and mobile devices. Early tests of the new ad format saw up to a 20% increase in click-through rates compared to the current, shorter text format. To learn more about the expanded ads and to see samples, please read our article, “The Biggest Change to AdWords in 15 Years”.
- Claim your company’s Google My Business listing. Google My Business has no charge and as Google puts it, “Google My Business gets you in front of your customers. You’ll stand out, whether people are looking for you on Google Search or Maps.” Google My Business is basically an online listing for your business where you can add information and images and users can leave reviews. Take the time to verify your business with Google which signals to the search engine and their algorithms that the information on your page is trustworthy. You simply tell Google which business you own and they’ll confirm it with you over the phone or through the mail. If you would like assistance with claiming your Google My Business page, please read our article “What Happens When You Google Your Business?” or contact us at www.BuddinghAssociates.com.
- Search Engine Optimization. This option will take the longest time. SEO is made up of many different techniques that change over time to increase the visibility of your website on a search engine. Keywords, page titles, content, links, social media and more play into it. Improving your SEO will increase your chances of rising in Google’s organic search results.
Google remains in control of most users search results, according to comScore’s February 2016 U.S. Desktop Search Engine Rankings, “Google Sites led the U.S. explicit core search market in February with 64 percent market share (up 0.2 percentage points), followed by Microsoft Sites with 21.4 percent (up 0.1 percentage points) and Yahoo Sites with 12.2 percent. Ask Network accounted for 1.6 percent of explicit core searches, followed by AOL, Inc. with 0.9 percent.” So having your business listed higher up on search results on Google is important. Here are 3 ways to move your business up in Google search results.
While all the features and benefits to using your product or service are important, sometimes it is your story that draws customers to your business and keeps them coming back. Your story can be persuasive and powerful when consumers and businesses are making their buying decisions. Keep in mind; your story can be why you founded your business, why you created a certain service or product, what keeps you going year after year and more. If you are unsure what part of your story to use, try telling it to a client or trusted friend for feedback on what stands out to them. Below are four reasons why your story should be part of your marketing materials.
If you would like assistance with telling your story, please read our article “Tell Me A StoryHome” or contact us at www.BuddinghAssociates.com.
Is your small business using Google AdWords to target new customers in search results? Earlier this year, Google replaced the standard text ad in Google AdWords with a new expanded form. The new expanded form includes two headlines, a longer descriptive line and a more relevant display URL. Below are 4 reasons why you should update your Google AdWords text ads to the new expanded format:
If those reasons haven’t convinced you, Google will require the change by early 2017:
“You now have until January 31, 2017, to make the transition to expanded text ads (instead of the original date of October 26, 2016). This means starting on January 31, 2017, you’ll no longer be able to create or edit standard text ads — you’ll only be able to create and edit text ads using the expanded text ads format. Existing standard text ads will continue to serve alongside expanded text ads.”
For more information on this topic, read the articles, “The Biggest Change to AdWords in 15 Years” and “Jump to Top Spot of Search Results”. If you would like assistance on using Google AdWords or other CPC platforms to grow your business, please contact us at www.BuddinghAssociates.com.
You probably are aware that Kickstarter is an online tool entrepreneurs use to launch a company. It is a crowdfunding platform with the main goal to fundraise for a new business venture. As of September 20, 2016 there have been 112,173 successfully funded projects according to the Kickstarter. If you look a little deeper into Kickstarter’s platform you may find it is a good channel not only to fund raise for a new product or service your small business may be launching, but a great place to gain publicity for the same new offering. Here are 3 reasons to use Kickstarter as a marketing tool for your small business
For more information on this topic, read the article,“Kickstart Your Next Marketing Campaign”. If you would like assistance on using Kickstarter to grow your business, please contact us at www.BuddinghAssociates.com
Your business has done a great job garnering positive praise from your clients. Whether you’ve provided an awesome customer experience, a unique contest or told your memorable founding story, you’ve succeeded in having customers talk you up. How do you turn that into free publicity and sales? Turning your customers into a commercial for your company can be one of the most powerful advertising strategies. Word of mouth marketing has a high level of trust that can’t be purchased. Here are 4 ways to make the most of word of mouth marketing:
To keep your advocates talking about your brand, be sure to thank them often! Consider offering a referral discount or perk. This will encourage to customers to continue referring friends, family and colleagues and will build your list of supporters. Harness the power of word of mouth marketing correctly and you will continue to increase your sales and your network of happy customers.
For more information on this topic, read the article, “Word of Mouth Marketing”. If you would like assistance on getting reviews from your clients and sharing them, please contact us at www.BuddinghAssociates.com
While it may seem like presidential candidates traveling the country with their talking points have nothing in common with your business, their campaigns are really about selling themselves. Here are 6 things presidential candidates do that business owners should do as well:
Presidential candidates are good at staying on message and keeping an eye on what they want to accomplish. Do the same when talking with your prospects and you’ll likely get their vote – a sale!
For more information on this topic, read the article, "What Businesses Can Learn from Presidential Campaigns". If you would like assistance with marketing strategies, please contact us at www.BuddinghAssociates.com
Public speaking is a great way to get your name and the name of your business out in the community. It is a great way to deliver your message exactly the way you want to the people you want to reach.
Giving a speech gives you a chance to tell your story and the story of your business. It also allows you to establish yourself as an expert and go-to thought leader in your field. If there is an issue in your field that you care about or if you have developed a new, innovative way of doing business there’s an opportunity for you to speak about it.
Here are six places to find public speaking opportunities to grow your business:
If you are not comfortable with public speaking, consider using these tactics to find opportunities to speak on a panel. Speaking on a panel can offer similar benefits and can feel like a lower-pressure situation because you are sharing the stage with others.
For more information on this topic, read the article, "Speak Up: Using Speeches To Raise Your Profile". If you would like assistance on using public speaking to grow your business, please contact us at www.BuddinghAssociates.com
Customer reviews and testimonials are a proven marketing tactic to help encourage prospects to call you or try one of your products or services. With today's technology it is easier than ever to find reviews on anything someone may be considering purchasing or trying. Make sure you use positive comments about your business to help set yourself apart from the competition. Don’t be shy about introducing the concept of a review at the beginning of a sale by telling customers ‘if you’re happy with your service, I hope I can count on you for a good review.’ Below are 5 good ways to ask a client for a review or testimonial.
1. Ask for a review in the bottom of your email communication. If you have a page on your website for clients to submit a review, include the link in your email signature. Or, put a link to any review sites you would like them to use including Google, Facebook or Yelp.
2. Include a link to the review page of your website or links to external sites on the ‘Thank You’ webpage a client sees after completing an online transaction.
3. Use signage in your business that reminds customers they can leave reviews if they’ve had a good experience. Consider a small sign by the cash register or a window cling on the door for clients to see when exiting. Tell them where you would like them to send a review or testimonial if you have a preference.
4. Feature positive reviews somewhere in your retail store or office where customers can see them and see that you pay attention to their experience. Handwritten notes by previous customers are always good for your prospects to see.
5. Add the URL of your feedback page to your receipts. This will helps clients remember to submit a review should they choose to do so. Using a shortened, custom link here helps to fit the URL on your receipt and makes it easier for customers to type in.
Be sure to thank customers for good reviews, they make great content for social media too – pull out a key quote and link to the review on your website to spread the review and remind customers you are paying attention to them. For more information on this topic, read the article, "Customer Reviews: Turning Shoppers Into Spokespeople". If you would like assistance on getting reviews from your clients, please contact us at www.BuddinghAssociates.com.
You can receive real time alerts any time your business name is mentioned in an online source such as a blog, customer review or article using Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a free service that provides you with email alerts whenever your company name (or other phrase determined by you) is written online. These notifications can help you manage your brand better and provide you with information about your competition, industry and potential new business.
You may currently be using Google Alerts to receive notification when your name, company or product is mentioned in the press (for more information on this, please read our article, "Stay Google Alert") but there are many other ways to use Google Alerts. Read on for 3 additional ideas for using Google Alerts to benefit your business.
1. Set up an alert for a common question or phrase that a potential customer might submit to a blog or forum. You can use those questions or phrases as a way to begin a dialogue about your product or service. Respond on the forum or blog where you were alerted. Provide something valuable and helpful to the community. Like minded people are most likely also following the blog or forum providing more potential customers to see your conversation.
2. Set up an alert for your competition. This type of alert will inform you of how your competition is selling similar products and services to yours. You may get a new idea of how or where to market your services. Additional insights can be learned by seeing what their customers are asking them as well.
3. Set up an alert for industry keywords. This alert will help you stay on top of developments in your industry. It is important for you to be as knowledgeable as possible about new ideas or trends that may benefit your customers or help you reach new ones. BONUS IDEA: Set up Google Alerts for keywords in your client's industries as well. You'll be notified early of any trends or changes in your client's industry which will help you react, tweak your product or reach out should it be necessary. You will also receive early notification of any laws or standards that may affect them and in turn you.
While using alerts for staying on top of your own news is extremely important and helpful to small businesses, there are many other ways to use Google Alerts effectively. Start using the above alert ideas today!
To get more information on Google Alerts, please read our article, "New Ways to Use Google Alerts: Stay Alert & Ahead of the Game" or contact us at www.BuddinghAssociates.com.
Many small businesses are now taking advantage of rewards apps as a modern day version of the loyalty card. Customers earn rewards for return visits and repeated purchases, but don't pigeonhole this technology as only a virtual punch card. Think about other ways your business can benefit from this mobile tool.
1. Market research. By utilizing a rewards app that gives incentives to your customers, you get a unique look into your customers' behavior. Collect the data from your customers and discover what products or services they are interested in, what promotions are working, and how often they are willing to make a purchase from you. This information is extremely valuable to know.
2. Referrals. Give rewards to your current clients based on the number of referrals they provide or the number of times referred customers use your service or purchase a product.
3. Random rewards. Consider allowing randomly selected app users to receive an additional reward for using the app. Market this reward! The random reward could be given out daily or weekly - whatever works best for your business.
4. Email. Some rewards apps integrate an email platform into the app allowing you email customers from the app software instead of a paying for a different service.
5. Integration with social networks. You can use your rewards app to incentivize users to connect with you on social media sites. Then, your customers can share the deals and rewards they are receiving via Facebook and Twitter (from within the app) - helping to promote your business within their group of contacts.
6. Customer surveys. If there is any customer research you would like to do in addition to the information you are collecting by way of your customers using the app, you can also survey them. Reward customers that complete the survey.
7. Location based notifications. Customers within a small radius of your location can be sent messages via the app about specials they can take advantage of instantly. This is a great way to get customers into your location even if you weren't in their plans for the day.
There are many loyalty rewards app platforms available for small business to take advantage of. Not all of the features above are available on all platforms. If your company would like information on any of the specific features in the list or general information on rewards apps, please contact us at BuddinghAssociates.com. You can also find out more by reading our article, "Rewards Apps - A Punch Card for 2015"