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Three Tips for Creating a Great Online Reputation for Your Plumbing Business

In today’s digitally focused world, a business’s online reputation is of utmost importance. Before doing business with a company, almost every customer will go online to learn more about their rates, services and, yes, their customer reviews.

An online reputation is especially important in the plumbing industry. After all, people will be letting workers into their homes to repair vital and expensive pieces of equipment. They want to make sure that the workers are clean and respectful, and that work will be completed successfully and fairly.

There are several things you can do to maintain a good reputation in the plumbing industry. The first of these is to build a strong social media presence.

Social Media

Many people are on social media today. Being present on social media will help people to find your business. Establishing the right kind of profiles will also let your customers know you are trustworthy, credible and have good standing in the industry.

Start by using professional photos that feature your workers and the people behind your company. When people can attach a face to a product, it will make the brand seem more personable and relatable. A great company story can also increase engagement and allow consumers to make a personal connection.

Follow up by engaging in conversations with your customers. Ask for their opinions and respond to their questions and comments. This will show an extra level of customer care.

Post regularly to stay present in the public eye and show that your company is on top of things. Share pictures of jobs that have been completed successfully, and your workers interacting with customers. Post informative blogs on your website and share links on your social media accounts.

Managing Reviews

As much as we would all like to avoid bad reviews, they are likely to occur in any line of business. Sometimes mistakes are made or sometimes you are dealing with a customer that is just having a bad day. Either way, it’s important not to dwell on these mistakes, but to deal with them effectively.

Here are some tips on how to deal with a bad review:

Respond promptly: Never let a review go unanswered. Respond promptly. If you wait too long, your customer may get more upset and the issue could escalate.

Be Polite and Professional: When dealing with a bad review, it’s important not to take things personally. Stay polite and professional and avoid being defensive and insulting. If your communication escalates into an argument, it will look bad for everyone involved.

Take the Matter Offline: It is likely that, for customer complaints to resolve, action will eventually have to be taken offline. You may have to send your customer a coupon or exchange to make things right. If this is the case, be sure to mention that in your online communication so those following the thread will know things are being handled on another level.

Be sure to respond to good reviews as well! Let customers who take the time to write something positive about you know that they are appreciated.

Integrate Reviews on Your Website

You can also use your website to help build your online reputation. The best way to do this is to include customer testimonials in your content. You can also include links to 3rd party reviews that appear on sites like Yelp and Google in the footer of your website. Including these links and testimonials will benefit your business in the following ways:

Conversion Rate Optimization: Customers that see positive customer reviews will be more likely to use your business.

Ethical Link Building: Having quality embedded links on your site can help increase your search engine visibility. The links you include to third party sites on your page can work as quality links while showing your company in the best light.

Rich Snippet Generation: If you use structured data, your reviews will be displayed as part of your Google search results.

SEO: Well reviewed companies are likely to rank higher on search engines.

If you are a plumbing business owner, you know how much your business means to you. Reputation management is vital in helping your company to grow and continue to move forward.  Be sure to do what you can to show your business in the best light, so you can keep those pipes clear for years to come!

Website and Marketing Evolution: Why You Should Remain Proactive

We all know what evolution is, but how does it apply to websites and marketing? The answer is simple. At some point, your target audience is going to change. Whether it is, their personal tastes or you are targeting a different group all together. It all comes down to change. If you develop a website and marketing campaign, and never change it, you will lose the interest of your audience.
Look at social media marketing, it is constantly changing and evolving into something different on a daily basis. This change keeps the content and design fresh and up to date. I am not saying that you need to evolve your website and marketing campaigns on a daily basis, but it is something that needs to be done routinely. By evolving your content, you will be able to stay current with themes in your area of business. Other than updating special offers, you need to update the text on your website. For instance, maybe one of your products or services has changed; if you do not update the information for this, you will be misleading your customers. Another thing to consider is that in any field of business, there are always changes in terminology or acronyms used to abbreviate certain names/titles. If you do not stay current with this change in terminology, you have the chance of missing potential customers, because your site does not contain this new keyword. As I mentioned earlier in this series, it is critical to have these keywords, so that search engines can return your website as a possible fit to someone’s search.
Website and marketing evolution is not as hard as you may think, but if you have questions regarding what should be done; contact us…and let us maintain and evolve your website and marketing platforms.

How Content Can Make or Break You

Now that we have gone over the different platforms that you can use for internet marketing, I will discuss the importance of content creation. What is content creation? It is the development of content, which will appeal to your audience and inform them of your products and services. When you think of content, you probably think of the text that is on the page. However, content goes a lot deeper than just those words. Content involves text, visual, and design aspects. The reason all of these fall into the same category, is that they coexist as a single entity. They work together to create an accessible design. Accessibility is the key to successful and functional design.
When it comes to the text component of your website, ads, social media/blogs, and emails, you need to go back and look at who your audience is. Your audience will determine the type of language that you use. Of course, you will want to be technically correct, but you also want to make sure that you are using words that are accessible to your audience. If your audience falls into a highly educated category, and are considered experts, then you can use terminology that is specific to their needs. If you intend on reaching a more general audience you need to be careful of the terminology you use. I would like to introduce you to a very popular writing concept that is used in all platforms of writing. It is called “plain language”; this is the art of writing with simple terminology that is direct and accessible to any audience. I have mentioned the word “accessibility” many times through this post, and that is because it should be the main focus while creating information that is used in all of the platforms I talked about. Without accessibility, your information will fall short of reaching your intended audience.  Also remember to include important keywords while writing your text.  These keywords will allow your audience to have a better chance of finding your information on the internet.  As I mentioned in previous posts, keywords are the direct component of SEO (search engine optimization).  If you write your text with this in mind, then it will be easier to implement SEO for your website.
Like I mentioned earlier, content involves visual and design aspects used in any of these platforms. Visual can include images, video, flash, and infographics. All of these help represent your products and services. It is important that you maintain accessibility in your visual content as well.
You may be wondering how design falls into content, and that is because it involves how you put together all of the content used in any of these platforms. Design involves layout, color and font choices, and organization. With design, you create smooth transitions from one point of importance to the next. Design also allows you to create visually appealing content. You want your content to be exciting, something that will draw in your audience by making them feel like they want to continue reading. A word of caution; do not go overboard! Sometimes simple is the best option, but remember that your goal is to draw in your audience.

How To Get Your Website Seen

Getting your website seen by potential customers is the main goal of all internet marketing. There are many ways people can come across your website; maybe they got your website address off of a printed ad, a commercial, business card, referral from a friend or business associate, or ads that they may have stumbled upon while surfing the internet. However, the most common way that your website will be found is through search engines.
When it comes to the internet, 84% off all internet involvement goes through search engines. Throughout this series, you have heard me refer to SEO (search engine optimization)…this is a pivotal plan that must be implemented if you want to get your website seen. Using specific key words within the content of your website, will allow search engines to bring your website closer to the front of the pack, when returning search results. Associated with search engine results are also things like Google Organic (natural), Google Pay-Per-Click Ads, and Google Local search. Google Organic and Google Local search, help determine which results are returned during a search. Pay-Per-Click Ads are another form of advertising that you can use for your business. Remember it is important to make sure that your website is optimized for search engine results. If you can optimize your website, so that it shows up on the first page of results, you are more likely to reach customers. It is proven that most people who are searching for something, will only click on results returned on the first page.
Here at Social Eyes Marketing, we specialize in SEO. We know what it takes to get your website seen…so give us a call at 1-208-955-6679, and let us help you with your website.

Who Is Your Audience, and How Should You Reach Out to Them?

Knowing who your audience is will greatly improve the overall success of your internet marketing goals. By identifying the attributes of your audience, you will be able to reach out to the customers you already have and potential customers. Here are the questions you should ask when deciding who your audience is.

  • Who would be interested in the product or service that I offer (who is the primary target)?
  • If I already have customers, who are they?
  • What are the demographics of your intended audience (age, sex, education level, etc.)?
  • What type of category do they fall into (professional, general public, experts, etc.)?

 

By asking these questions, you will be able to determine the best strategy for appealing to their needs. After determining who your customers are, you need to determine what platforms are going to allow you to reach them.

Choosing Your Platform
I listed several different platforms in my post for the first topic in this series. This will be a review of these platforms, and their benefits.

Email—can work for both incoming and outgoing marketing. In the form of incoming marketing, it will allow the customer/potential customer to contact you. The benefits of this are that you will be able to have a one-on-one connection with the individual. With this connection, you will be able to respond to their personal needs and secure them as a customer. In the form of outgoing marketing, by obtaining lists of email addresses, you can send out mass emails that will be delivered to the individuals who are most likely to need your product or services. The benefit of this is that you do not have to search for possible clients; you can usually just purchase a list of email addresses that fall into your category of business.

Social Media/Blogging—is the most modern way of doing internet marketing. In most cases, social media can help you reach a more diversified audience. It is especially beneficial in targeting a younger audience. In today’s society, Facebook and Twitter both have well over 1 billion users. That is large group of people that you can potentially reach. The average person spends 3+ hours on social media during the day. The potential for gaining customers by using social media has unending potential.

Ads—are not just for print anymore. When we are browsing or searching the internet, we are confronted by ads in almost every empty space. Ads are the most important type of marketing in any market. Ads allow us to highlight our products and services in a way that stands out from the background. Ads are a great way of offering specials, and introducing new products or services. The marketing industry has been about ads, whether they were for print, radio, or television. Now the internet has given businesses the opportunity to reach even more people with the ads that adorn most websites.

Websites—are the root of internet marketing. The goal of all of these other platforms is to draw the customer to your website. Websites allow you to have an in depth description of products and services. Websites may not be the first impression a customer has of your business, but it is probably the most important. Design, content, and functionality are key to having successful website. Before you tackle any other platform, make sure that your website is professional, attractive, and finished.

Search Engine—is usually the way an individual will find your website. To increase your chances of having customers be able to find your business in a search, you should implement SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is a process of optimizing your website so that it will show up in the search results. At least 90% of users will click on website listed on the first page of search results. If you want to get your website seen, you must implement an SEO plan.

Mobile—is an important thing to consider wen developing your website, ads, and social media sites. More than 60% of people who use the internet, do so from a mobile device. This means, that you must make your website, and other platforms you may use optimized for mobile devices.

Internet Marketing 6 Part Series

6 Part Series on Internet Marketing

This 6 part series will cover what you need to know about internet marketing, and how it can benefit your business. Each week I will cover one of these topics:

  1. What is internet marketing, and how does it work?
  2. How to decipher your audience and choose the platforms that will reach them.
  3. How you can get your website seen?
  4. How content can help or hinder you, in reaching your goals.
  5. How, and why, you should implement a solid call to action (CTA) plan for all of your internet marketing ventures.
  6. Website and Marketing evolution; why you should remain proactive.

Conversion Rate Optimization

If you want to increase the traffic to your website, there are three major areas to consider. These areas are part of CRO (conversion rate optimization). CRO is the process of optimizing all aspects of your website that draw somebody in. These include the overall design of your website landing pages, and sponsored search ads.
The most important thing to consider when creating these landing pages and ads is the keywords that you use. These keywords will help individuals find your page.

Here are some important things to remember when choosing your keywords.

  • Make sure that the keywords are relevant, so that your intended audience will be able to think of these words when searching the internet.
  • Remember to group and organize your keywords. Specific keyword groupings of a relevant nature will increase the chances of your website showing up in a search.

 

The next item to consider is the landing page itself. The landing page is an introduction of what is to come if they continue into a website. This is why the overall design and attractiveness is important. Here are some things to consider when designing your landing page.

  •  Landing pages should always be the highest quality.
  •  Headlines should be concise and compelling.
  •  The content of the landing page should be concise and straight to the point.
  •  Make sure that your content will make sense to your intended audience.
  •  Make sure the design is attractive, but also simple and clean. Try out several pages, until you find out what will work best.  AVOID CLUTTER!!!
  •  Do not request too much information, ask for only what is necessary…keep it user friendly.

 

The other item you need to consider is the CTA (call to action). The CTA is part of both the landing page and the ads. CTA is important, because it asks the individual to take action. Here are some things to remember when considering the CTA.

  •  Keywords are important to creating good ads. These ads need to ask for a CTA, because this brings the customer further into the website.
  •  When creating the CTA for your landing page, remember that it needs to stand out.
  •  CTAs should be a focal point.
  • CTAs need to be visually appealing.
  • Most importantly, make sure that your CTA on your ad ties into the CTA on your landing page.

If you use these optimization tools, you are guaranteed to increase the traffic to your website.

Characteristics of A Successful Website

How important is a website for a business? The answer is VERY important! Think about it. A website introduces a business to the world wide web in which we live in. We live in a generation where search engines are our “yellow pages.” We no longer browse our phone books when searching for a place to order pizza or to find a landscaper to mow our lawns.  Nope, those days are behind us. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I opened a phone book. Do they still print those?

Yesterday, I was in desperate need of a sprinkler company to fix a leak in my sprinkler system so of course I did what all social media-lites do; I opened Google in my internet browser and I “googled” sprinkler companies in my area. Guess what happened next? Pages of website results appeared at my fingertips, reminding me how much I love technology! However, when browsing company websites, it does not take long to realize that not all websites are created equally. Some are awful, some are just okay, and some make you want to scream, “Nailed it!”

Inevitably, our experience on a company’s website contributes to the likelihood of us pursuing business with them. This is why it is crucial for companies to take their web design very serious. For most businesses, their websites are the first customer contact they will have. A poorly designed website that is disorganized, confusing, and not easily accessible may lead to your company losing business before any human contact  has even been made.

There are several characteristics that contribute to a successful company website and they can be categorized into five categories; Appearance, Functionality, Usability, Accessibility, and Content. When a company’s web design executes these characteristics properly, then the business has succeeded in making a great first impression to all those who visit their website.

Appearance: Obviously, the appearance of a website is crucial to the success of the website! For a company website, it is very important to make a good first impression on the potential customers that visit their site.

  • The design should look professional, polished, and most of all, unique!
  • The font must be easy-to-read
  • There must be variation in the design that includes relevant images, headers, and  links.

Have you ever visited a website with no variation or  pictures, only pages of wording? I have, and all I have to say about that is if I wanted to read a book, I would have opened my kindle!

taphousewebsite

Functionality: It is important that the website has a focus and that the visitor knows what that focus is.

  • The purpose of the website should be completely obvious and the website should help guide you toward it.
  • Well-organized, visible headers, and internal or external links help the website function successfully.
  • All external and internal links should work! You would think this would be obvious, but I know we have all clicked on a link at some point and have seen the error message, “The page that you are looking for does not exist!”

error-404

Usability: Users, like me, want to be able to actually use a company’s website. How awesome is it when you can actually order a pizza online or set up an appointment right there on their website?!

  • The website should be consistent, organized, and easy to navigate.
  • Visitors should not be confused or have to scroll through the page to find what they are looking for.
  • Of course, the website should also load as quickly as possible!

button-order-pizza

Accessibility: Is it too much to ask that we can access the website from our device of choice? Absolutely not! Sometimes I’m on my laptop, other times I’m using my iPad, and I’m always using my phone! Another side of accessibility is making it easy for all to access despite any hearing and visual impairments.

  • Add text scripts to Podcasts and other forms of audio.
  • Add description to the images in case someone is using a screen-reader.
  • The website must look relatively the same on all major internet browsers.
  • Make it accessible on any device of choice!

responsive_web_design2

Content: This is the most important part because it showcases the company’s purpose, explains the company’s services, and provides the answers that the visitor is searching the web for!

  • The content should appear right when the website is opened.
  • It should be spelled correctly and be written with the proper grammar. How could anyone take a company seriously if they can’t read the information?
  • Content should be short, sweet, and to the point!
  • Content should also highlight the company’s services and attributes.

 

 

 

Why Visitors Leave Your Site and How You Can Prevent It

After all of that waiting and work the website is finally up, but visitors seem to be leaving your site after only a few seconds. This isn’t actually uncommon.

So the real question is how do you keep customers at your site without leaving? There are many factors that play in to this question, but it is very fixable.  Make sure that the visitors are given the information they are looking for, make it smooth to transition from place to place on the site and create a design and layout that will keep them interested. Most of us have been on a site that makes us frustrated, doesn’t have what we are looking for, or is extremely boring, and it always leads to us continuing our search elsewhere.

Below explains why visitors leave your site and provides some tips to keep your visitors from leaving:

Slow Loading Pages

Slow load times are probably the number one way that websites push visitors away. In the new digital age, visitors want the information they are looking for right now and they will not wait for your website if they can get the same information more efficiently elsewhere.

This could also be influenced by the connection speed of the user, so some of it is out of your control. However, by using a program like Google Analytics you can learn what percentages of your visitors have different types of internet connections. From this data you can get a good idea about how fast your pages need to load.

Annoying Pop-Ups and Advertisements

Nowadays an advertisement on a website is common. However, ads, especially pop-up ads can chase visitors away if they are too distracting or intrusive. Make sure that your website is not covered in obnoxious, poorly placed advertisements as this will irritate a visitor and keep them from exploring your site. Most visitors now have come to expect ads on websites and blogs, and you shouldn’t lose many visitors on that principal alone. However, if you use accept ads that are overly flashy, have moving parts or changing colors, pop up on their screen randomly, then you could chase some people away.

You also should never interrupt a visitors experience when they are filling out a survey or form. This will allow visitors to interact with the website without distractions or annoyances, causing them to stay longer and complete their on-going task. Excessive or misused pop-up windows can cause visitors to get frustrated and leave the site.

Confusing Navigation

If your website has poor navigation and visitors cannot figure out where to go next, they are going to leave. Be sure that there is a clear navigation path to take the visitor directly to the information they are seeking. Make sure that this path is convenient, quick, and easy to understand and is created to be useful to a visitor during their experience.

If visitors have a hard time finding their way through the site they will leave. The navigation bar and drop down menus should be thought out. The pages that are most important or most commonly sought after should be very easy to find, and navigation should be logical and intuitive.

Content is Boring and Irrelevant

A person will visit your site because they think you are offering information that they can find useful. The content you have on your site must reflect your services and products in an easy, simple format.  Don’t break their trust by delivering poor quality information and content.

Make sure that the content is updated and represented in a positive, fun way.  Make your content unique, something that they cannot find anywhere else. Make sure that the content is what the visitor is expecting.

Audio or Video that Starts Automatically

We have all been on those sites where a video or sound starts playing. The worst is when you can’t find where it is coming from. What do you do? Leave the page, of course. Although audio and video are very common online today, most visitors prefer to have the option to start it themselves. Visitors that are greeted with an audio that they didn’t choose to start will often click the back button and leave. If you use these elements in your pages, give the visitor the option to start them.

Unprofessional

You can lose visitors if your site looks unprofessional, especially if you’re in an industry where visitors expect to see professionalism. A good example of this would be a lawyer. The professionalism of the service provided is critical, so having a website that doesn’t convey that professional image could mean losing business and visitors.

Having visitors stick around is all about the user experience that they have on your site. When a visitor has a bad experience on your site then you are virtually losing a customer. Creating relevant, compelling content, increasing site speed, reducing the use of ads and providing clear navigation with a professional appearance will allow your visitors to have an overall great experience while on your site.

 

Business Benefits of Using Social Media and Having a Website (Infographic)

With competition in different industries growing, it is important to give your company a boost by using and taking advantage of all of the technology advances out there. Two of the most important elements that a successful business will use is social media and a website.

Social media continues to keep growing and the reach you can receive by utilizing Facebook, Twitter, etc. will help boost your brand recognition and allow visitors to engage with you on a different level. It is an easy and efficient way to learn about who is looking for your service or product and will allow you to improve your marketing efforts and grow.

According to this infographic, one of the main reasons company don’t have a website is because they think that they don’t need one. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. A company does need one. It is a great way for people to go online and learn more about what types of services and products you offer. It enables you to promote your business, and let customers know about the latest events and deals going on. It also goes back to the competition. Think of how much more business you will receive than them if you have a website.

BestWebHostingGeek.com lists some of the specific advantages of tapping into digital marketing in the following infographic: