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GOOGLE MY BUSINESS (GOOGLE MAPS) ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER-MAKE SURE YOU’RE USING THE NEW TOOLS TO ATTRACT MORE CLIENTS/CUSTOMERS

Google Maps are such an incredible resource for drivers as well as busienss owners. Read through and make sure you’re getting the most out of all of the free tools available to you for your business!

make sure you're up to date with the important google my business/google map features first

There are new opportunities frequently from Google for you to marketing your business and advertise your offers through their amazing Google Map App for businesses.

Before we dive into those below, make sure you’re taking advantage of the important existing parts of your profile to maximize.

  • Make sure your hours of operation are updated frequently.  This is the most searched piece of information for local businesses.
  • Complete all of the important contact information especially your phone number and WEBSITE. 
  • Add photos of your business and products often.
  • ANSWER your reviews, good and bad, promptly and positively.
  • Make sure you have the app downloaded on your phone.
  • Include important brand name or specialty information in your description, especially things your customers may be searching for.
Google Map Photo

gOOGLE mY BUSINESS SHORTNAMES AND SHORTLINKS

    • The benefit: a short name enables you to promote your profile in new ways, both online (e.g. requesting a review via social) and offline (e.g. including it on a flyer), helping you create a consistent online presence.
    • Create your shortname directly on the Google My Business dashboard or from the “Info” section.
    • You can choose a personalized shortname (@shortname).
    • The shortname also creates a shorter URL that can make it easier for customers to find you.
      • Sharing your short link URL is a great way to help receive more reviews. Once again, the URL format is: g (dot) page (slash) [shortname].
      • You can also send a link directly to the “Reviews” section of the Business Profile by adding (slash) review (no “S”) to the URL.

So, short link to your business reviews would look like this: g.page/shortname/review

 

POST UPDATES REGULARLY TO YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS PAGE/MAP

The ability to add updates that matter to your prospective and current customers is such a valuable opportunity!  You can add photos, even videos of 30-seconds or less. This is FREE advertising to those actively seeking services.

Add information about new products, specials or offers, upcoming events, or list awards or recognitions your business has received. Again, FREE ADVERTISING at your fingertips!

BOOK APPOINTMENTS DIRECTLY FROM THE GOOGLE MAP !

  •  1 out of 2 customers want to schedule an appointment when searching for a business online. (1)
  • Google works with 3rd party scheduling software providers to enable online booking through Google Search, Maps, and Reserve with Google (a service that allows people to book appointments and reservation directly within the search engine; found at google.com/maps/reserve).
  • Customers find and book services (facials, yoga classes, appointments – you name it!) by tapping the “Book” button.
  • There are many 3rd party integrations, including FullSlate, MindBody, Appointy, Booksy, Schedulicity, OpenTable and more.
  • Aside from booking class or service appointments, restaurants can also use this feature to allow their customers to book reservations directly from their Business Profile.

invite people to follow you on google maps and give new followers a special offer!

  • The Follow feature can be seen when a customer finds your Business Profile on Google Maps (using the Google Maps app), they can choose to follow your business to stay updated, see offers and new photos added. Once they follow your business, they can see updates about your business in the “For you” tab in Maps.  
  • Business owners can check out the Customers tab to learn more about their followers in the Google My Business app
  • The Welcome Offer allows you to provide a offer to thank customers who follow your business. 
  • When they click “follow,” on Maps and Search, they’ll get your offer, such as, “$5 off your first meal”, and then redeem it in person. 
  • Offers must be set up using the mobile app. Scroll to the bottom of the app, click profile, then follow prompts to set up an offer.  
  • You will get a notification with each new followers and only a new follower will see/receive the offer.

you can message with customers directly from the app, connecting with them in real-time

  • Responding to customers can help you answer their questions, tell your business’s story, and attract more people to your location.
  • To turn on messaging, sign in to your Google My Business app and click customers tab. The message feature is at the top of the screen. You will be prompted to set-up an automated welcome message that customers will get when they message you.
  • You must provide a phone number that can receive SMS messages and will be readily accessible for responding to customers. If you don’t respond to messages within 24 hours, Google may deactivate the messaging feature for you.  
  • When a customer messages you, it will appear in the Google My Business app and you will also receive a notification. Your messaging with them will take place through the app.

Our owner is a Google City Partner and is happy to answer any basic questions. Just email us at info@8armsgroup.com for a reply!

slow loading speed on site

You Need to Know Your Site’s Load Speed: Here’s Why it Matters

There are so many things to try to manage when it comes to your website. The neverending acronyms and abbreviations associated with SEO, the changing Google algorithm, and the endless spammy emails from someone who has ‘looked at your site and wants to help you’ everywhere you turn. In all of the noise, one of the things that isn’t talked about enough is site loading speed or the amount of time it takes your website to load on your searcher’s device of choice. I’m going to tell you why that is a big mistake.

In July of last year, Google not only said that site load speed was a part of the many things that were taken into consideration in the algorithm, they went so far as to suggest the possibility of a slow site ‘badge of shame’ for slow loading sites. This hasn’t seemed to be a priority for them but making plans to avoid it should it rear its ugly head again should be a priority for you. Some of the easiest things for you to change almost immediately to improve page rank can be load time.

It isn’t just the loss of possible ranking from the slow speed itself that should concern you. Slow speed has a big influence on your bounce rate. And bounce rate/time on site are other big signals Google uses longterm to determine your search rank.

Search engines don’t appreciate slow loading sites because users don’t like them, and in the battle for search market share, Google, Bing, and the others need to give their users a great user experience to maintain their loyalty. And a focus on user experience is important for you in maintaining your visitors’ loyalty as well.

According to research by Google just last year, 53% of mobile users will abandon a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. According to that same study, the average site took over fifteen seconds to load. This quote from a recent study by Unbounce (2018) says “Over the past three years, the average web page has doubled in size while connection speeds have remained stable. And so, the average time it takes for a page to load on mobile is now 15 seconds. Given that more than half of visitors leave a page if they’re forced to wait longer than 3 seconds, marketers need to get faster.”

So the short version is to pay attention to your site and individual page loading speed. It not only directly and indirectly affects your search ranking, but it also plays a huge part in the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of your visitors. And having users who find your site slow leads to increased bounce rates and a loss of conversions.

If you are unsure of your site’s loading speed, here are two free resources from Google to check: 

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/feature/testmysite/

If you’d like more information about website ranking, visit our page here: https://8armsgroup.com/seo/

grow your small business in raleigh

Your Things To-Do-Before-November Marketing Checklist

You’ve likely already run the numbers and know what you want to add to your bottom line before 2019 comes to an end.

Here are a few things to make sure you’ve done, or are doing, to maximize every chance to be seen, and shopped, by customers.

   1. Review all things Google

Google has over 90% of all online traffic between Google My Business (Map Listing & info), YouTube (owned by Google), and It’s Chrome Search function. 

-Make sure you’re Google My Business listing is kept current with photos, holiday hours, and even specials! FREE listings on your GMB page will show up as special announcements when searched in maps. If you aren’t sure you’ve completed this amazing free set-up, follow instructions here: www.gybo.com/mybusiness

-If you have instructional, unboxing, behind-the-scenes, or other short and value-adding videos, now is the time to launch a YouTube channel. If you don’t, drop me an email and I can send you some pointers on making some quickly. You don’t want all of your YouTube videos to be completely unpolished but there are some hacks to get a few up and running that you can improve upon later.

-Have someone review your website. If you don’t have one, now is the time to get one created. EVERYONE needs a place with the information they own and control apart from using third-party methods. Check for spelling or grammatical errors, any outdated information, and any missing information that could keep your customers from finding you. Also, run a speed test, the link is here:

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

-And please make sure your Google Analytics account is set-up and working. The data you will gain from the insights GA provides can save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours trying to hone a target market.

 2. Shore Up Social Media

Remember Social Media is a contact sport…the word ‘social’ is first. To be social, you need to create a consistent presence to be perceived as truly seeking to connect with others.  Simply posting about what you want from them (buy this, like/share this) doesn’t create value for them. Make sure to follow the best practice of at least three social/giving value posts for every one ‘salesy’ post. Here are other tips that will help.

-Pixels are important. Make sure you’ve installed the Facebook Pixel on your website. Information on the pixel here. You may also wish to add the Pinterest pixel if you utilize Pinterest for web traffic (and you should be if you aren’t).  Although it isn’t technically a pixel, Google tags are extremely important for retargeting as well.

-Set up a schedule to post frequently on the platforms best suited for your business. Most every Business-to-Consumer business can gain customers through Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Most Business-to-Business companies can gain awareness and form relationships through Linkedin and Twitter. And many can use several combinations for different audiences and purposes.

-Don’t forget that customer service help through social media or website is preferred by 70% of consumers so assign someone to frequently monitor your accounts for customer comments and respond swiftly.

-Posting information about the ideal audience for a specific gift or service, offering to gift wrap or shipping, and letting your followers know that instructional videos or quality guarantees are included with your purchase recommendations, can greatly increase your sales opportunities.

-Add any in-store events or community service events to the events tab of your Facebook page. 

 3. Email Expertly

-Hopefully, you are currently using an email marketing service provider (Mailerlite, Constant Contact, etc) to keep in contact with your customers and prospects. 

If you are, make sure to send them messages slightly more frequently (not more than once per week for most businesses) if your inventory and opportunities to share creative gift-giving ideas, holiday recipes, invites to in-store events, etc increase. 

-Don’t be as worried about your ‘open rate’ during the holiday season. Statistically, 13% of people will take action on an email from a trusted sender if they can use the product or service, even when they don’t open the email. The subject line and the ‘from’ line will bring you back to their minds as an option.

-If time allows, track the purchases or types of purchases your customers make and use this information to segment them even more in your email lists. For example, someone who loves hats could receive an additional email quarterly about your hat selection in addition to the general information they receive. The more targeted your information can be to each recipient, the greater the impact and the more loyalty you’ll receive.

If you aren’t yet using an email system, don’t delay. I use Mailerlite and Constant Contact but there are many options available. 

-Add a way for people to join your email group ( I recommend calling this a VIP group, NEVER call it a list) to your website, your social media profiles and platforms, and in-store. 

-Offer an incentive for people to want to receive emails from you. This could be an initial 10% off coupon, the opportunity to be a VIP (access to sales earlier, an invitation to events, etc) or something else that will be of enough perceived value to have them eagerly give you their email address to receive it.

-Ask every person in your business/on the phone with you to be a part of the ‘group’ and set up an auto-responder to fulfill the coupon, or send some helpful information with their thank you and confirmation emails.

I hope these tips and reminders have been helpful. Happy Holiday Profits!