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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.”

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.

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

How to Create a Good Online Reputation for Plumbing Business in 3 Easy Steps

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?

Content creation 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 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

How to Increase Your Website’s Visibility on Google?

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 keywords 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.

Conversion Rate Optimization Keywords

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.

Conversion Rate Optimization Landing Page

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.

Conversion Rate Optimization CTA

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.