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7 Reasons to Drop Yellow Pages and Get On Google

7 Reasons to Drop Yellow Pages and Get On Google

If you are still paying your $100 monthly fee to stay “relevant” in the Yellow Page phonebooks that most people use for kindling, now’s the time to ditch them. In an increasingly digital world, it’s safe to say that most consumers go to Google when they are looking for a new service – whether it’s a doctor, dentist, plumber, restaurant, yard service, you name it.

Think about the last time you were wanting to try a new restaurant or that time when your furnace broke and you needed an HVAC tech. Did you thumb through the phone book that you had so readily available? Maybe…But more likely, you pulled your phone out of your pocket and did a quick search on Google.

If you own a small business that offers local services, then you totally need to be showing up there! Maybe you know this already, maybe you don’t, but there are still so many businesses who are struggling to break free of their phone books and who are not on Google. It’s time to make sure you are showing up in the Yellow Pages of the online world.

Google My Business, the online platform that allows you to show up on Google Maps, provides so many wonderful benefits to local businesses and to the consumers who search for them.

Better Conversions

Typically, Google Maps and the businesses it lists are the first things that show up when someone does a Google search for a business or service. You know this, you’ve done it. Because of this, these businesses at the top of the search results often capture the majority of the clicks that come from that search.

And when a searcher comes to Google looking to solve their problem through a new service, they are showing explicit intent to buy. They have that shopping mentality and are ready to make a purchase. So you want to make sure you’re showing up when someone makes that search.

Trust Metrics

Everyone knows Google, and most consumers put high trust into familiarity and big brands. If Google is displaying your information, that trust is then carried over to your business. You might have companies calling you to get listed in their online directories, but their websites are not the first place that consumers go to conduct a search. Google is.

Reviews

One of the most wonderful benefits of Google My Business is that customers can leave their feedback of your business on this platform. Have you ever left a review on Google?

Customers can leave reviews that convert other people who come across your listing. When you do an excellent job providing service and create an awesome product, people will naturally want to share it with others and part of that comes through leaving reviews. Of course, you need to make sure that you are providing the best service you can in order to ensure positive reviews.

Exposure

When your business is showing up on Google Maps, people see it. Not everyone will come to your business the first time they do a search for your service. Some of them might go to another similar business, but if they are let down by that one, you can bet they are going to come back and search again – and who’s going to be there? That’s right – you.

This is also a great tool for brand awareness. Even if people are searching for other similar businesses to yours and don’t click on you, they probably saw your listing, and after a few more times of doing the same search, they will start to recognize your name.

Updating Information

It’s not just about getting new leads, but also about keeping current customers up to date. Don’t make your customers have to call and find out what your hours are or second guess if you’re open on a federal, but not widely recognized, holiday.

If you move locations, change your phone number, get a new website, update your hours – you can share all of that on your Google listing and keep new and current customers in the loop in a matter of minutes. You can’t just backspace and retype your info in a phonebook.

Gain Valuable Insights

Google My Business also offers tons of great insights that have the potential to really help you increase business. Their insights will tell you how people are interacting with your listing – whether they are clicking to call your business, asking for directions, visiting your website, or even messaging you.

You can also see which search queries brought people to your Google listing. If someone searched for “orthodontists in Boise” and your business showed up, but you only do general dentistry, that could be a good indicator that you need to update your website or change the category on your listing.  

It’s Free

And the best part – it’s free! Google My Business is not limited to the big businesses that can afford to show up there. It’s available for everyone. That’s not to say that you will automatically show up at the top of every search query just because you got a Google My Business listing. There are several factors that tie into it, but it gives you a good place to start.

When you are ready to really make the push for local SEO and get your business showing up well on Google, you can find a specialist to help you out.

 

Author Bio

Kaili Killpack is the lead SEO Specialist for Manwaring Web Solutions. She manages SEO for dozens of small businesses in and out of Idaho. Building client relationships, solving problems, writing content, and basking in their successes make her job something that she truly loves doing.

These 3 things make or break your homepage header.

Here’s the problem:

You have worked incredibly hard to design this beautiful website. You have gone through the rigorous process of gathering content, shooting photos, and planning out the structure of the website. Once that’s done, you still had to build it. You swore to yourself that business would increase because of the new site. You knew it in your gut. It had to work.

But did it work?

Most businesses build the headers of their websites wrong. They try to be cute and clever. They assume a beautiful image, a well-established logo, and a catchy slogan is enough to seal the deal with the visitor.

But it’s not.

The visitor doesn’t care. They have a problem that needs to be solved and they want to do it as efficiently and effectively as possible. Here’s the deal, every human wants two things; We want to survive and we want to thrive. We all have our own problems that we are trying to solve and we look for external solutions or guides to help us solve those problems. So why not make your website as clear as possible? Stop being cute and clever and be incredibly clear with your visitor. Tell them exactly what you do.

So here are the 3 things that will make or break your homepage header. If you are missing any of the 3, then you are leaving money on the table.

Your website should answer 3 simple questions in the first 5 seconds of the visitor looking at your site.

  1. What do you offer?

    Be incredibly clear with as few words as possible. If you are an HVAC company and your service and install heaters and AC units, here is an example of what not to say: “Established in 1972 and serving you for another 50 years”. This is incredibly vague and the visitor has to work very hard to understand what you are saying. Here is a good example to follow: “HVAC Installation and Repair that You Can Count On”. This tells the visitor exactly what you do while speaking to some internal frustration and moves them down the sales process.

     

  2. How does it make my life better?

    The good example above speaks to a better life with “Repair that You Can Count On”. In your headlines, it is important to be crystal clear about how it makes the visitor’s life better. Spell it out for them: “No more unbearable summers,” “No more layering clothing to stay warm”. With this type of imagery, you will paint a picture of how it makes the visitor’s life better.

     

  3. Where do I click to buy it?

    Add 2 call-to-action buttons to the header of your website. The first should be in the top right of the website and the second should be under your main headline. Additionally, your button needs to be a direct call-to-action. Don’t say, “Contact Us”. Use direct phrases like “Call Today” or “Schedule Now”. It might feel pushy to you, but the visitor will never receive it that way. They just want to know what to do next if they are ready to do business with you.

If you look at your website and you are NOT answering these 3 questions, then your website is losing business. Make all of that hard work worth it and double check your header. Your website is too important to be confusing visitors. For a video explanation of this post, watch this video.

BIO

Zach Rinard

Rinard Media

“Most business owners don’t feel confident in their marketing strategies. At Rinard Media, we collaboratively work to build marketing strategies that help them achieve their goals. This frees up business owners to get back to doing what they love. They get more time with their families and ultimately have less stress.”

Social Media Predictions for 2019

Since the world became entranced with social media – or indeed reliant upon it as many would say –
it has been customary for industry insiders to look for future trends. Not only is social media a fun
way to keep in touch with people and share information, but it is also an important business tool. In
fact, there are many who will tell you – and perhaps quite rightly – that it is under-utilized in terms
of marketing.

What do we see as the primary social media predictions for the next year? With 2018 having been
quite a turbulent one in many ways – we have seen a number of data security breaches after all,
with the very public Facebook breach being the one that raised eyebrows – 2019 promises to be a
year of changes, but where will these changes be, and how will they manifest?

We took a look at a few of the predicted social media trends for 2019, so you can take a step
forward and be prepared for what is about to happen.

1: Will Facebook Continue to Decline?

As we said, 2018 has been a troubled year in the social media world, and not the least for Facebook,
which for many is the poster-child of social media. In Europe in particular, user numbers have fallen,
the main catalyst being the major security breach that occurred mid-year.

In fact, when analyzed closely, the information gained was not as great as many of us thought, but
the very fact that it was easily done raised a lot of red flags in the industry.

Furthermore, with the ongoing problems of ‘fake news’ – a big problem with all areas of social
media and not just Facebook – plus concerns that many areas of the platform have become more
politicized, things are not looking great. To add insult to injury, recent updates to the way the page
looks met with little satisfaction from users.

It could be that people are becoming bored with the platform and are more in tune with Instagram
and Snapchat, which focus on much less involvement and faster interaction, but look to the USA for
signs of falling numbers here next year, and it might be the beginning of the downfall of the king.

2: Real-Time Interaction

This is an area that is already seeing some serious movement, and it’s one you need to look closely
at if you are searching for social media trends for 2019. By real-time we mean interaction with
customers in marketing and online retail. Think of it this way: you talk to your friends in real time, so
why not those who are doing you a service?

Yet, it goes further than that; chatbots, for example, are for many online businesses the way
forward. The tools are there – it happens in advertising already – for even smaller companies to have
an automated search bot looking for mentions of its products. Two people talking about a particular product
– be it on Twitter, for example, or any other platform – may find a real-time chat box
opening asking them what they are interested in.

It makes sense; why should anyone wait, when they want instant answers anyway? The next year
could see this as the biggest development in online marketing, and without anyone really noticing!

3: Personalization

There is no doubt that the ongoing personalization of social media marketing is controversial, but
then is there any area of social media that is not? The fact is, we put so much information out there
without even thinking about it, so why wouldn’t marketers use it?

It’s happening to a great degree: head to Netflix, for example, and it will give you a category of
‘Because You Watched. You will find Amazon ads on your pages featuring products like those you
recently searched. It can feel a little ‘Big Brother’, but how many times have you clicked on that
recommended film, or bought the product suggested?

This sort of thing is set to expand across the digital arena in no small way, and in all honesty, it is
nothing more than the modern version of direct mail, in which likely buyers were targeted with
physical maildrops.

You may also find this technique in an advanced form known as ‘social listening’; this is searching for
not only mentions of brands and products, but also monitoring reputations. Don’t get this mixed up
with the current raft of rumors that ‘your phone is listening to you’ – it may be, it may not – but
consider it as just a way of personalizing the consumers’ information for their own convenience.
Social listening relies on things like IP addresses and cookies instead of your phone’s mic, so take off
that tin-foil hat and relax knowing that at least the marketers aren’t listening in.

4: Video Content

The inexorable rise of video content is clear to see. Inspired by YouTube, and enabled by the ability
to film content fit for broadcast on cheap, hand-held devices, it is no surprise that the video is set to
be the digital marketeers chosen weapon when targeting social media.

It’s 2019…Let’s face it, people like to watch video, and don’t like to read slabs of words brought
down from a mountaintop. People like to be amused, and that’s something that is far easier to do in
moving picture form. And, with the tools we have now, you can even ‘go live’ and put out a real-time
broadcast inviting your potential clients to engage with you, on the spot. If we are to credit anything
as the fastest rising medium of 2019, it’s live video content, and video marketing as a whole.
The simple facts remain that social media is fluid, it’s powerful, and it’s here to stay. People sign on
to talk to someone, and if you can engage them with relevant content while you are both online, you
have a live potential customer right there.

 

The trends in social media are moving away from the fun and frivolous towards the practical and
beneficial – beneficial to both the customer and the provider – and it pays to stay one step ahead.
Keep an eye out for the trends mentioned above, and be aware that these are the probable movers
and shakers in terms of social media for the coming year.

 

This post was submitted by our friends at SociallyIn, a social media marketing agency located in Birmingham, Alabama. They were voted one of the fastest growing companies in Birmingham during 2018 and are also known for hosting the annual Southern Social Summit which is a gathering of creatives and social media marketers. SociallyIn is listed in the top 10 social media marketing firms on Clutch.

Engaging and Responding in a Virtual Landscape

Today, the business landscape has shifted firmly into the virtual business realm. Companies establish profiles, build reputations, manage customer relationships, and make transactions online every day. You can spend money on print advertising, creating in-store signage, or launching direct mail campaigns, but the digital arena now requires equal attention.  

By far the best way to communicate with people and connect with them is to employ online strategies for establishing loyal and lasting relationships. It’s a cost-effective and efficient way to do business because it’s much less expensive than more traditional modes of marketing. And customers respond to businesses via websites and social media channels like never before.

The Social Media-sphere

The virtual marketplace has long since spilled over into the social media-sphere. It’s simply an indispensable way to do business by making that one-to-one connection with people who make it their business to find the very best deals and discounts online. So, it’s important to have some kind of social media plan in place, one that takes full advantage of this opportunity to influence ready-made customers in an easy-to-reach venue.

Social media is also an excellent avenue for really boosting your marketing. For example, Facebook enables you to employ direct advertising, and it’s a great way to dip your toe in the water when it comes to building your brand through social media. If you’re not super savvy yet when it comes to social media, use a site like Hootsuite to help manage your profiles and posts. It’s like having a social media team right at your fingertips.

 

Translate Customer Service Into Web Reality

One of the best ways to win over consumers is to make it as easy as possible for them to do business with you. This requires more than setting up an efficient, reliable, and secure payment page. Your customer service ethos has to play out online for everyone to see. Proactive outreach is key — customers should have multiple channels of communication in case they don’t want to wait on hold to speak to a customer service rep. They should be able to easily access any information they need on your website or record a complaint or comment.

Offer friendly customer service “helps,” such as timely payment reminders and making it easy for customers to view invoices and past transaction histories online. Also, send out birthday greetings or a “thank you” note for having been your customer for a year.

Demonstrate Responsiveness

Between your website, social media, and your phone line, there’s no excuse for ignoring or overlooking and failing to respond to requests and complaints. In fact, one failure or oversight in this area is sure to play out online, much to the detriment of your business. Your customers’ thoughts and feelings should be a top priority for everyone who works for you, so monitor them carefully and use the opportunity to point out when and how you responded to a customer need or request. It shows responsiveness, concern, and responsibility.  

Online Reputation

In this day of immediate gratification and overnight successes (and failures), there’s no substitute for knowing what’s being said online about you and your business. To stay on top of these conversations, subscribe to Google Alerts, which will allow you to track your online reputation, thank grateful customers for their business, and take advantage of positive reviews/comments. It’s easy to do and, best of all, it’s free.

Make It Fun to Be Your Customer

Your website is a marketing powerhouse, there’s no limit to how creative you can be. Use it as a venue for entertaining and tantalizing customers. Hint at a new and exciting product or service launches, and employ social media to give small clues leading up to a big announcement, replete with free samples, discounts, and even a giveaway contest. Loyal customers like feeling that they have a special relationship with you, so follow through and prove to them they do.

The great thing about doing business online is that you can accomplish multiple objectives with one well-conceived plan. You can become more efficient, improve your brand reputation, generate new business and make it easier for customers to do business with you all at the same time. Remember, proactive customer service and responsiveness to your customers are essential for your business to succeed.

 

Our guest author, Lucy Reed, has been starting businesses since she was a kid, from the lemonade stand she opened in her parent’s driveway at age 10 to the dog walking business she started while in college.