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Social Media, Local SEO, Pokemon & You

Adobe Spark (9)

A virtual phenomenon swept the country last year aiming to get “gamers” who stereotypically live in their parents basements, wear sweatpants, and subsist on hot pockets out into the real world, interacting with the elements. You may have heard of it – “Pokemon Go.”

While I have to admit that I tried it out and enjoyed it for a while, it became a waste of time. HOWEVER, my son has recently taken it up and since he’s only 8, I have to go around with him.

Essentially, the game consists of walking around your neighborhood or city hunting and “catching” virtual and fictitious animals with ridiculous names that you can then use to battle against other players’ collections.

But part of the game is “checking in” at various places of interest to collect supplies. They’re called “Poke-Stop’s.” Walking around with him got me thinking, “This is what Chem-Dry owners should be doing!”

You Want Me to WHAT?!…

Okay, so I don’t literally want you to go out playing a video game. You have more important things to do. But I want you look at it this way:

As a service-area business, you want to be local. SUPER local. A great way to do that is to tie your business to local places of interest. What does that mean?

Here are a few ideas:

  • When your technician gets lunch, does he/she go to a popular local diner? Have him/her snap a quick picture of their plate along with your business card.
  • Cleaning for a business? Take a picture of your team out front of the establishment before you begin. Encourage people to come by the next day to see what a great job you did.
  • Participating in a town parade? Share your parade position and what you’ll be handing out.

Ideally, you should pair a picture every time you do this (it improves engagement). But the biggest thing is that you “check in” when doing so. It’s easy.

How Do I Do That?

On Facebook (Desktop):

Click to start writing a post from your business page. Then “Check In” to a local place. If you’re not actually nearby, you can search for it and select the location.

 

Facebook Mobile:

pencil

Just touch the “Publish” icon to start typing a post (the pencil & paper one like you see over to the right).

Then, from the next screen, touch the “Check In” icon at the bottom right of your screen. Again, if you’re nearby, the place should come up automatically. If you’re not, simply search for the business and tag the listing.

It’s that easy. Now, not only will your post show up on your own Facebook page, tying you to the noteworthy location, but the place/business’s page will get a notification that you checked in there and THEIR followers will see your post as well.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

Instagram (Mobile Only):

If your company is doing Instagram (which I highly recommend, in this webinar), you can kill two Pidgey’s (or birds) with one stone.

After you selected your picture and typed your caption (using the appropriate Chem-Dry hash-tags), you can flip the Facebook switch (and Twitter if you like) for your own page and then use a locale that’s recommended under “Add Location”. When you do that, you’ve accomplished the Facebook Check-In AND the Instagram one.

Big Takeaway:

Social Media and location tagging is a great, easy way for you to connect your business to the community. It doesn’t take much. A few pictures/posts each month will go a LONG way.
  1. Check in at local places of interest.
  2. Find a way to tie your business to the place.
  3. Invite customers to check out the other business to see how you did. Their customers will see your activity as well.
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SEO Supports PPC – Not The Other Way Around

It’s been a common idea and belief in the small business world that Pay-Per-Click website traffic boosts Search Engine Optimization and organic ranking. Most business owners have the plan of paying an SEO specialist to work on their website so that it eventually ranks highly enough so as to not need PPC.
I, however, believe that idea to be misguided. Here’s why.
***(Side note: I drew that picture. Feel free to mock my art skills.)***

PPC Traffic Doesn’t Always “Count”

When a website visitor gets there via paid advertisement, Google (obviously) knows it. Depending on the duration of their session (visit to the website), and how they interacted with your website, the traffic may not meet their “qualifications” for a visit. The biggest reason is that if PPC traffic counted as “true” website traffic, that would mean that you can buy website visitors.
While those criteria of what truly “counts” isn’t commonly known or talked about outside the fortressed walls of Google, you have to understand that Google’s biggest concern is how interesting or relevant the information on your website is to whatever your target is searching for.

How Does SEO Support PPC?

When you combine Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click efforts, it’s known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM). The primary goal of SEM is to give your business as many placements as possible on the first page of search results.
That means you show up in an ad, the map listing (3-pack/”snack pack”), AND the organic (unpaid) search results. Ideally, you’d have all three down pat and enjoy a high “impression share” (percentage of times you show up vs. the number of times you have the chance to show up).
Continual, regular updates to your website (SEO) help to make sure your website more attractive and relevant to searches on Google. The more optimized your website gets, the better prices and placement you’ll start receiving when advertising with AdWords.
Once your website start showing up well in the organic search results, however, that doesn’t mean you should give up advertising. On the contrary, your paid placement only increases the chances that the person who started the search will end up on your website.

NEVER Stop Doing PPC or SEO

Search Engine Marketing is a continual process. You should be doing both PPC and SEO so that you increase your chances of being found – especially when you have potential customers who are actively looking for someone of your expertise. It’s like submitting a bid for a commercial job in miniature. You pay for the chance to have your customer hire you.
The better your website performs, the cheaper you’ll be able to make your bid, or at least you’ll get a higher placement in comparison to a competitor placing the same bid.

Look At It This Way

Go back to when you were a little kid and think about the Merry Go Round on the playground. It was one of my favorite things. I have very dear memories of the playground down the street from my grandma’s house. When my cousins would all get together, the little kids would all pile on and the bigger kids would be the pushers. But there was a BIG difference between my wimpy cousin being a pusher and my older brother (who worked out). When he pushed, we got going so fast that we thought we’d go into orbit!
That’s how an optimized website can propel your PPC efforts. The better your site, the more Google is willing to promote you to potential customers, and the more often you’ll show up (think of revolutions on the merry go round). You’ll also have to pay less and less for your clicks (once it gets going, you don’t have to push as hard to keep it that way).

Big Takeaway:

No matter where your business is located or how long you’ve been there, the ideal is for you to show up as often as possible when a potential customer is searching for you. SEO supports PPC efforts, which should never stop.
  1. Talk to your SEO & PPC vendors about how often you’re showing up in search.
  2. Never stop doing PPC advertising. It’s an opportunity to connect with potential customers.
  3. Never stop working on your website. Google is constantly changing its search algorithm. Your vendor should never stop working on your website.
Take a look at your SEO and PPC strategies to make sure they’re aligned. Your website should support your PPC efforts. Always remember that.
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Why Hiring a Digital Vendor is Worthwhile

In my work as a business coach and in my conversations with business owners, I often have to ask myself “Is this something I’d be willing to do myself?” Even though I consider myself a “jack of all trades,” especially where it comes to digital marketing, there comes a point where I have to admit that I’ve reached my limit of ability and need to bring someone else on board.
Could I learn to do it myself effectively? Probably.
Would it be worth hiring someone else to do it? Probably.
I’ve been harping for years now about how important it is to be doing online marketing. As a business owner, you have to be willing to ask yourself “If I’m not getting it done, is it important enough to have someone do it for me?” In the case of online business growth, my answer would be a resounding “YES!”
Here are 3 reasons why hiring a digital marketing vendor is worth your hard-earned money:
1) Time Savings
2) Knowledge & Expertise
3) Business Growth

Time Savings

As a business owner, you have many demands on your time. Whether it’s answering phones, managing employees or – most importantly – servicing customers, from when you wake up to the time your head hits the pillow, there seems to be a non-stop barrage of “things”.
Would you rather spend your most precious and valuable commodity (time) trying to do those “things” yourself or risk them not getting done?
If you find at the end of the day there are still too many “things” to get done, save yourself some time and stress by letting a trusted vendor take care of it for you.

Knowledge & Expertise

Have you ever wondered why CEO’s manage to get so much done?
They delegate to specialists. That’s why your customers come to you and are willing to pay you for your service. You know more. You can do it better and faster than they can.
The same should be said of a vendor – especially in the ever-changing space of online marketing. To make sure it’s done right, and at the right time, it’s worth having someone take that off your plate. Just like you go to annual training’s to stay on top of your game, any vendor worth their salt is going to be attending conferences, re-certifications, and webinars. They’re going to be reading books and blogs on new subjects.
They speak “Digital Market-ese.” Do you? No? I think you can see where I’m going with this.

Business Growth

I hear all too often something like, “Scott, I can’t afford to do this stuff myself, how can I afford to pay someone else to do it?”
Look at it this way:
If you were to pay yourself for your time and work, what would you charge? $100/hour? If you’re taking time out of your busy day to manage your online marketing on a weekly basis (which you should be doing), you’re likely costing yourself $800-$1,600 (in time/opportunity cost) per month to do something you may not be technically qualified to do. That’s time that you could be spending doing what you do best – servicing your customers.
Instead, it makes more sense to pay a specialist $300-400 per month do help you get even MORE customers, make MORE money, and have MORE time to do it in.
You want to grow your business this year? Don’t just invest in digital marketing that you do yourself. Invest in someone to do that marketing for you.

Big Takeaway:

Your business needs digital marketing. If your time, knowledge, or costs are the reason it’s not getting done, are you ready to fix it?
  1. Check the list of approved vendors for services like Pay-Per-Click, SEO, and Social Media. Make a few calls to see what they can offer you. Most will do a free assessment for you as well!
  2. Adjust your marketing budget to allow for paying a vendor. You’ll free up time and sanity while seeing more quality work come to you.
  3. Read this post to learn more about holding your vendors accountable and making them work for you and with you.
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PPC Needs Mobile Access

Image Source_ worldwidemasters.com

According to a recent study, upwards of 60% of online searches happen on mobile devices. Google now gives organic search result preference to websites that are mobile-friendly.

On top of that, with the advent of “Expanded Text Ads” from Google, you now have ads that targeted at both desktop AND mobile websites, and you can tell it which one to pick, but the ad is the same. So what would you do?

There’s a BIG Difference

When it comes to accessibility for websites on mobile devices, it’s important that you make some changes. Searchers on mobile devices usually have:
  1. Immediate needs
  2. Short attention spans
  3. Small screens
That means you have to have the right information available to your customer as quickly and visibly as possible.
Below is an example from Carnation Chem-Dry Middleton, located near Madison, Wisconsin. They have done a GREAT job building their chem-dry.net website, which came with their franchise. It looks wonderful.
But here’s the thing:

While they’ve done a great job building the site, and it’s perfectly navigable on a desktop (i.e. ACTUAL computer) the site doesn’t naturally transition itself and adjust to be more readable on a mobile device like an iPhone or Android.

More recently, Carnation Chem-Dry has made the move to a more mobile-friendly “.com” platform (as seen below).

In this case, they’ve opted for a micro-site from Web Marketing Services at HRI, which have mobile versions of your core service pages (carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, PURT, tile, etc.) by default, and it’s not hard to add more. WMS has several templates available that work well, but you don’t necessarily HAVE to get one from them.
Most website hosts will now offer a mobile friendly website, which can drastically improve your overall organic ranking and site performance in Google because they recognize the trend toward mobile.

Why Mobile Matters

As I stated earlier, the number searches happening on mobile devices is quickly outweighing desktop searches which means that you need to have mobile versions of your web pages – especially your high-traffic pages.

Google’s new ad format, “Expanded Text Ads” increase the amount of text you can have in an ad by about 20%. While this is great in and of itself, it also makes it so you don’t have to create desktop and mobile versions of your ads. They adjust them for you based on the device doing the search, BUT you have the option of sending a mobile search to a mobile version of your page, which is what I would do.

What this means for you is that if you’re paying to have someone click on your ad, you want to get as much out of that click as you can. Sending someone on a mobile device to a non-mobile friendly page can really hurt your chances of converting.
For instance, if you are running a PURT ad, and you normally send people to your regular PURT page, it may work very well on desktop. However, if your desktop page doesn’t convert to a mobile one, you may lose out on that opportunity because the visitor gave up on finding what they wanted.

Big Takeaway:

If you’re currently doing any kind of advertising online, especially PPC, you should give serious consideration to the ratio of mobile searches to desktop. That means:
  1. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you need to get one ASAP. Talk to your vendor today.
  2. Pay-Per-Click ads (especially with new Expanded Text) are one of the most sure-fire ways to find new customers. You should be using them.
  3. When you start advertising on PPC, make sure you’re using mobile-ready versions of your web pages to enhance your customers’ experience and increase likelihood of conversion.
Take control of your online marketing today and establish a better future for your business. Then register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.
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“Running” Your Digital Marketing

Angry Woman Runner

Running has been on my mind a lot lately as I’m preparing for a race that’s probably going to kill me – or, at least, it seems like it.
I realized that running a digital marketing campaign is a lot like the exercise I go through to prepare for a race. And it’s more than just putting in the miles. I’ll explain why.
You Have to Start Somewhere
Usain_Bolt,_Anniversary_Games,_London_2013
Having just finished the Olympic games in Rio, we beheld some of the greatest athletic
spectacles in history. But do you think amazing runners like Usain Bolt started at the top of the game?
No way.
I’ve recently been listening to an amazing book, Talent Isn’t Everything, by Geoff Colvin. In his book he discusses how while some people may be born with an innate ability, it really comes down to what they do on a day-to-day basis that makes them successful.
So whether you’re preparing to run a marathon or a Chem-Dry franchise, what it really comes down to is starting today. Maybe you can knock out a 5 K on your first try, maybe you can’t. The important thing is to lace up your shoes and put in some distance TODAY.
The Thing You MUST Do:
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If you’re going to be successful building your business online, you MUST do Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I know too many franchisees who aren’t doing it, and it shows.
SEO is like the daily miles that you have just have to put in. When you first start, you probably won’t see much improvement and you’d think to yourself, “Why am I doing this?! It’s not making a difference!” – but you’d be wrong.
With consistent (read: “persistent”) workouts, you establish a base to build upon. With every additional mile (page, article, link, photo on your website), you expand your experience and you start to see new “results” (customers) trickle in. After a few months, you realize that things are getting easier and looking back at where you started from, your only regret is having not gotten started earlier.
The Things You SHOULD Do:
Successful runners don’t simply log miles. They add things to their regiment. Likewise, successful digital marketers don’t rely solely on their website to bring in customers. They can’t afford to rest on their laurels.
Pay-Per-Click
PPC is like the tempo exercise (they’re just as fun as they sound – NOT). It’s something you do methodically, intentionally, and it takes EFFORT (money). But the benefits are long-lasting. You get more customers more quickly, but at more cost. Too many people I talk to tell me that they can’t afford to do PPC, but my response is almost always, “You can’t afford NOT to do PPC.” If you want faster results from digital marketing, you need to do hard things.
Social Media
 
Social Media is like cross-training. This is where you get to do something a little more fun to mix it up – playing basketball, step aerobics, cycling, soccer, swimming, etc. With social media, you get the chance to invite interaction with your customers and be more personable. It’s less about sales (hitting pace goals, for example) and more about strengthening auxiliaries (other muscle groups). Just like there are exercises that are better than others, there’s a right and a wrong way to go about Social Media.
E-Mail
E-Mail marketing should be an integral part of your digital marketing regiment. Not doing e-mail to reach past customers is like seriously training to run a marathon, but eating fast food every day. You need a steady, balanced diet of customers you know will help your business to reach your goals. Ideally, 70-80% of your jobs will be return customers. E-mail is the least expensive way to reach them. Do it.
Big Takeaway:
Running your digital marketing needs a few things:
  1. Start NOW. If you’re not doing it, you’re already behind. Don’t wait. If you don’t know where to start, call me. TODAY.
  2. Supplement what you’re already doing. Cross train. Fartlek. Do something.
  3. Make a plan for success. Set goals. Give yourself realistic expectations for performance. Then execute.
Take control of your digital marketing today and establish a better future for your business. Then register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.
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Making the Move to Mobile

Our world and our customers are becoming more and more connected day by day. In fact, did you know that about 60% of American’s now own/use a smartphone? That means nearly 200 MILLION potential customers are connected to the internet 24/7.

Device Usage

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43% of Google searches happen on mobile phones.

43% of consumers use their smartphones for searching locally. Furthermore, about 68% of mobile searches happen at home, when there are larger-screen options available. You’d better have a mobile-friendly website for them to use.

 

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80% use search engines for local business info.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not only are people using more of their mobile devices for searches, but they’re also researching businesses prices, services, and reviews through search engines, and mobile apps. When you show up, are people seeing the best you have to offer?

When People are Online

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43% of people watch TV and use a mobile phone at the same time.

So, not only are people using their mobile devices to search, but they’re doing it at the same time they’re doing other things. Who says we can’t multi-task?

 

43% of people report that they are guilty of using other devices while watching TV. Come on, admit it. You’ve done this too.

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54% of “multi-taskers” use their smartphone while watching TV.

On top of that, of all those people who are “multi-tasking”, over HALF of them are using a smart phone. That means they’re either playing Candy Crush, cruising Facebook, or looking up things that they’re seeing.
That means you have opportunities to show up, even when someone sees a commercial from those Steemer guys.

What Now?

So, what do you need to do to take advantage of mobile technology?
  1. Make sure your website is “mobile friendly” or “mobile responsive.” That means your website automatically adjusts based on what device is accessing it.
  2. Target mobile devices with Pay-Per-Click ads. Also don’t forget about the opportunity for click-to-call conversion with PPC.
  3. Get a Local Search Directory listing. Almost 60% of visits to ChemDry.com are from smartphones.
If you ever have any questions about how your marketing is performing, reach out to me and we’ll talk about it – whether you’re using a vendor or doing it yourself.