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Facebook Services & You

Sometimes new things come along that you don’t quite expect, but other times you’re able to anticipate and prepare for changes. That’s life on the internet – ever changing. And, usually, it’s for the better.
Luckily, in this case, we have a little bit of notice. Last week there was some discussion about Facebook Services and how it may affect our franchise business. Well, I’m here to spell it out for you.
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What Is Facebook Services?
Facebook Services is a business and service directory that connects searchers and users with service providers in their area by giving them a list/menu of providers to choose from based on proximity to them, ratings, and relevance of the services offered. Think a combination of Yelp and Customer Lobby, but a bit more accessible.
What Does Facebook Services Change?
In all honesty, there’s not much that will change as a result of Facebook Services becoming a part of your life – at least, not immediately. Facebook is still in the development and testing phase of this project, but it will definitely become an important part of your business and marketing strategy down the line.
It’s more important now than ever to have an active Facebook presence that is responsive, current, and positive.
What Are They Trying to Do?
Facebook Services is trying to do the same thing that many other business listing sites have done, but they have a slight leg up on some of the competition. Why?
Two words – “user base.”
Facebook has one of the largest active user communities in the world, trumped probably only by Google. Facebook is in the same business as Google in this regard – to get people the most relevant information they can, as quickly as possible. BUT Facebook adds a social element to the mixture as well. Because  71% of online adults have a Facebook account* (as of Sept. 2014) and it’s the 2nd most visited website in the country (second only to Google), that means that there is a very large user base in your area, no matter where you live. And ALL of these people have access to your business listings to not only view, but REview your business.
When you have a listing on Facebook Services, you’re visible to more than just your family, friends, and past customers. You’re visible to people who are actively looking for someone like you. Not only can they find you, but they can find pictures, links, reviews, and friends that have used your services all from their favorite place on the web – Facebook. That means your page, and all the people that like it, just got a whole lot more valuable.
What Do YOU Do?
Like I stated before, it’s now more important than ever to have an active Facebook page with accurate business information, regular posts, and reviews. While having a good Facebook page has been a “best practice” in the past, I’m moving it to a “gotta do it” status. If you want to be competitive in your local market, you’re going to have to do it.
You’re likely asking in your mind, “But what if we don’t know how?” Relax. I’m going to be hosting a series of webinars over the coming months that will show you all you need to know to manage your crucial social media outlets. Click the link below to register to receive email updates and invitations to the webinars.
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Changes – Part II

Last week, you read an email from me that may or may not have rocked your world. It seems every time Big Bad Google makes a change of any sort, the internet let’s off a huge *gasp*. Well, make sure you’re sitting down for this one.

sidebar-elimination-example.sm_Last week, I showed you this picture on the right and told you about how the new search results page would be changing by dropping the sidebar ads, making it ever more important that you aim for the top three spots in ad rankings. If you missed that post, you can find it here.
While what I said is still true, I’d like to add something to it. Look just below the ads where you see the map and all the little red dots. Yep, the Google Map listings.

 

Put Me On The Map
I’ve had a lot of people ask me how to show up in the Google Map listings, and I discuss that more in-depth here. The answer is to get more Google reviews. They’re the crème dela crème of online reviews. They literally are the most valuable reviews you will ever get, but they’re the hardest to get. But, why?
The short answer is that Google doesn’t necessarily make it easy for any John Doe to go and leave a review. You have to have a Google account. In other words, Google has to know who you are.
But wouldn’t it be great if you had a tool that would help you reach out to your customers and request those super-valuable reviews? Believe it or not, the magical solution is to get a Local Search Directory Listing. No, I’m not kidding.
How Does Local Search Directory Get Me Reviews?
Well, the honest answer is that it doesn’t do it automatically, but it gives you the tools to do it. When you subscribe to a Local Search DirectoryPremium listing, you automatically get the Review Trackers service (usually a $50/mo cost) for FREE!
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Review Trackers is a dynamic program that lets you automatically send your customers an email right after you’ve worked in their homes. In the email will be an invitation to give you a private review on a scale of 1-5 stars. If they respond with a 4-5 star review, you get the update and they get an automatic response thanking them for the great review. They’ll also be asked to share their review on your Google Plus, Yelp and other accounts that are linked in the email.
If, for whatever reason, they decide that you deserve a 0-3 star review, you get an update and you’re encouraged to call them backimmediately to offer to fix whatever problems they had and help them turn that poor review into a 5-star.
AND, guess what happens when you get a review posted to those sites? Because your Local Search page is linked to your Yelp and Google Plus pages, they automatically update to your Local Search page and help you stand out as the awesome franchise that you are!
What Now?
So, what do you need to do to take advantage of such a breakthrough?
  1. Get a Local Search Premium subscription. Call Web Marketing Services for more information.
  2. Get the links for your Yelp and Google+ pages so they can be linked on your Local Search page.
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“Ch-ch-CHANGES!!”

If you’ve done a Google search in the past few weeks, you may have noticed something different – the search results page has changed! All of a sudden, the ads that used to appear on the side bar have disappeared, and there are more ads at the top. You might be asking yourself, “What gives?!”
Well, here’s the gist of it.sidebar-elimination-example.sm_
Google has decided that it would like to increase the value of its prime real estate at the top of the results page by doing away with the sidebar ads and moving the “organic” (unpaid) results down the page. This is especially the case for what Google terms “commercial queries”, or searches that they feel indicate someone is ready to make a purchase of some sort.
So what does that mean for you as a Chem-Dry franchise owner looking to advertise on Google?
Let’s see.
Pay-Per-Click Ads
I’d be lying if I said this won’t have any impact on your PPC campaigns, because it certainly will. This move on Google’s part is going to mean they can charge top dollar for those precious 4 spots at the top of the page. But you don’t necessarily need to worry.
The way ad placements work within Google’s AdWords “marketplace” is such that your placement results are the product of an insanely complicated algorithm that changes daily and considers five primary variables (in no particular order): 1) your maximum bid, 2) the quality/relevance of your ad to the words in the search,  3) the page that your ad is being sent to, 4) time of day/week, and 5) popularity of the word(s) that were being searched.
So, yes. You’re going to have to be willing to spend more money on PPC ads. But that’s only one variable. There are more important things to Google.
You see, they’re in the business of getting people as much relevant information as they can – as quickly as they can. A way to combat the cost of prime advertising real estate is to have a solid ad that: a) is relevant to the search, b) well written, c) use a very solid landing page (like ChemDry.com).
Over the past couple months, I’ve helped multiple franchise owners maximize their PPC ads by utilizing a premium listing and landing page on ChemDry.com, and aiming for the #2-3 spots in the ad rankings. By doing so, they’ve experienced up to a 40-50% decrease in their cost per click on carpet cleaning campaigns.
Why Use Premium Landing Pages?
When determining how much your ad bids are worth to them, Google considers the quality and relevance of the “landing page” where you’re directing advertisement traffic. ChemDry.com is now consistently ranked in the top 5 nationally for words like “carpet cleaning”, “rug cleaning”, “tile cleaning” and others. Because Google recognizes ChemDry.com as such a good source for information about these topics (at least, better than “ScottsChemDry.com”), they are willing to give you a break on the cost. When they see a relevant website as the landing page for an ad, they realize that that website is probably more likely to get clicks and will make them money.
A Premium Local Search Directory page give you a personal branch off of ChemDry.com and lets you leverage its search engine dominance. So you benefit from all the work that HRI has been putting into getting ranked.
What Now?
So, what do you need to do to take advantage of such a breakthrough?
  1. Get a Local Search Premium subscription. Call Web Marketing Services for more information.
  2. Talk to your PPC vendor about using it.
  3. Practice writing PPC ads. Focus on the right words, rather than the right deals.
If you ever have any questions about how your ads are performing, reach out to me and we’ll talk about them – whether you’re using a vendor or doing it yourself.