How to Engage with Your Customers on Social Media
Social media is an invaluable customer-service channel for businesses of all sizes, across all industries.
Research shows 1 in 4 users follow companiesthey may buy from on social media, and close to 40 percent are following their favorite companies. It’s a fantastic way to stay connected with your existing and potential customers, manage your reputation and ultimately grow your brand.
However, if they follow a number of different brands on Facebook, Twitter etc., their feed may easily become clogged with posts promoting different businesses.
That’s why you have to make yours stand out from the crowd and work hard to maximize engagement. How can you do that?
Avoid Shameless Self-promotion
While it’s tempting to keep sharing images of your latest products or tell the world you’ve sold your millionth item, too many self-congratulatory posts can alienate your followers.
Make sure you’re taking an interest in your audience, your industry and what people want from your brand. Ask them questions, both relevant to your services and more general. For example:
These are just a few ideas that demonstrate how broad your questions can be. While some may go unanswered, particularly for smaller businesses with a growing customer-base, you’re demonstrating that you value followers’ input and want to hear from them.
Respond Sooner Rather than Later
When people respond to your questions or posts, it’s vital that you respond. Even if a follower is criticizing your products / services or complaining about your brand quite aggressively, don’t just ignore them.
Why? Because others will see when you’ve failed to respond — and it suggests your business puts no value on customer feedback. Get involved with comments on your posts and show your audience you care.
If someone is putting your company down in a way that could scare potential customers away, ask them to send you a private message so you can take your discussion away from public visibility. This is a professional move that reduces the risk to your reputation and enables you to focus entirely on the individual, rather than juggling multiple users.
Maintain a Consistent Style
Maybe you’re quirky. Maybe you’re serious. Maybe you have a lighthearted tone.
Establishing a brand style for social media is key, and it should match that of your entire business. It would be incredibly inappropriate for, say, funeral directors to share humorous content on their Facebook page and trying to joke with followers asking about their services.
If your brand is based around a fun, dynamic personality, bring that to your social accounts. Let followers see the human side to your company, and always be honest.
Whatever tone you adopt, just make sure it’s consistent: don’t let it change from one post to another. Otherwise, you could confuse, frustrate and alienate your followers over time.
Don’t quite know how you want your business to ‘sound’ on social media? Look at your competitors or companies you wish to emulate. What kind of language do they incorporate into their posts? How do they engage with followers?
Stay Active and Regular
If users visit your Facebook page or browse your Twitter feed and see no recent activity, they may feel your business isn’t worth following. After all, what value does it offer them? Why should they waste their time browsing through old posts?
Upload posts, share content from your own website, get involved with industry developments and more. Take an interest in companies specializing in products that complement your own, interact with influencers and don’t be afraid to take part in trends that could help attract attention.
However, keep it positive — never court controversy. This could backfire and cause significant damage to your reputation.
One effective technique is to create a publishing schedule, so yourself and your team know exactly when new posts are necessary.
Be Generous with Visuals
Images are essential for your social media posts. Why?
Because research shows that Facebook posts including pictures achieved 87 percentof all engagements.
Posts with strong visuals attached will stand out more than text-only ones as followers scroll through their feeds, and if they’re eye-catching enough they can inspire the user to stop. If they like what they see, they could share it with their friends and put your brand in front of more people than you might have reached otherwise.
Make sure your images are relevant and original. Avoid stock pictures people will have seen at countless websites already — you will appear cheap and lazy. Try to create professional photographs or illustrations that jump out of the screen.
Avoid Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Big brands can juggle multiple social networks: they have the budget and the resources to maintain a strong presence.
But if you’re a smaller business, you’ll have limited capacity and may be restricted to just one or two networks instead. You have to be able to stay active on each and build a real relationship with followers.
This is much trickier to do if you’re spread too thin. Being present and able to interact with minimal delay can help you maintain a solid reputation. Consider hiring a professional team to monitor your reputation and help you keep your audience happy.
Engaging your customers on social media is crucial to build and sustain interest in your company. At Reputation Mart, our team has you covered: we’ll send you real-time alerts by email whenever someone online refers to your business.
This is a terrific way to prevent your brand’s image being represented poorly and stay on top of customer reviews / feedback. (both positive and negative)
Want to know more about how we can help? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
10 Essential SEO Tips for Small Businesses
Today’s small businesses have more ways to expand their reach and make an impact than ever, but some (sadly) don’t take full advantage of them. Why? Because SEO is hard, can be expensive and does not produce immediate results. Businesses that invest in SEO today, will strive tomorrow. Those still on the fence, will most likely fade away.
Believe it or not, 59 percent of very small Canadian companies have no website whatsoever— with 41 percent even thinking theirs is too small to justify building a site!
Establishing a strong online presence can make a big difference to all businesses, no matter how small yours might be. SEO will help you rank higher on search engine result pages and gain more visibility, though it can be pretty daunting if you’re new to running your own business.
But don’t worry: Reputation Mart’s SEO experts have put their heads together to bring you the 10 essential SEO tips for small businesses below …
#1. Check out your Competitors
What are your biggest rivals doing online? What techniques do they use to make an impact? How do they structure their site? How often do they publish blog posts? Answer these questions and see what you can learn.
Take a look at the type of content they produce and the keywords they’re targeting. They might publish guest posts at popular blogs, produce high-quality videos on their YouTube channel, and any number of other things to maintain high rankings.
Pick just one or two of your highest-ranking competitors to study — don’t spread yourself too thin.
#2. Be Cautious with your Keywords
Once upon a time, it was common to see keyword stuffing on small-business websites: the same search terms would be crammed into each page of content, even if that made it virtually unreadable.
They were basically trying to cheat search engines, but many algorithm updates since have rectified this issue. You can be penalized for keyword stuffing today, so always be careful with your keywords. Focus on creating content that flows well and provides plenty of value to readers.
#3. Encourage Customer Reviews
A good reputation is essential. Positive feedback and reviews can help your small business attract new customers, so don’t be afraid to ask buyers to share their opinions.
Reviews can create helpful backlinks to your site, build trust in prospects and contribute to your overall online presence. Always be willing to respond to customers across social media and review sites, even if to defend yourself against complaints. People want to see businesses of all sizes value consumer opinions.
#4. Put More Thought into your Titles and Descriptions
Titles and descriptions play a significant part in good SEO. These tell visitors and search engines what they can expect when they click on your result, but there are certain things you can do to maximize their value.
Your title tags should feature main keywords as close to the start as possible, but only if this doesn’t affect readability. Users and search engines will see when you’re stuffing keywords in to the detriment of quality.
#5. Feel the Need for Speed
How quickly do your pages load?
The average time taken for a mobile landing page to load is 22 seconds— and research shows over half of people will abandon a page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
That doesn’t leave you with much leeway. You have to optimize your website to keep load times down: convenience is critical, and users have millions of other pages to check out if yours is too slow. Speed is one of Google’s ranking factors too.
#6. Blogging Matters
Just because you’re a smaller business than industry rivals doesn’t mean you have less to say than they do.
A blog is the perfect place to share your insights and establish your business as a valuable resource for readers. However, your blog content must be of a high standard: you have to write posts people want to read and share.
Use keywords sparingly in your blog, link to high-authority sites and use images / videos to break up the text. Make it easy for users to share the post across social media and structure it with headers (H1, H2 etc.) to help search engines understand the content’s main points.
#7. Proper Site Structure is Vital
Structure your website’s content into clear categories and implement a user-friendly layout. Visitors and search engines must be able to navigate your site easily, following a logical progression.
Make sure your menu covers the entire site and pages have relevant titles. Avoid trying to be clever or cryptic: there’s nothing wrong with calling your company profile page ‘about us’ and your catalog of goods ‘products’.
Put yourself in your users’ shoes and see how accessible your site is from their perspective.
#8. Embrace Social Media
Social media gives you a valuable way to communicate with existing and potential customers. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and more — they’re all a direct line to your audience.
As a small business, though, you’ll be spreading yourself too thin if you try to use them all by yourself straight away. Identify which network is the most popular with your target demographic(s) and create an account. Stay active and responsive on there.
Share content from your website and link to the relevant pages to drive traffic to your domain. Build a presence and generate interest in your small business through ongoing engagement.
#9. Add Alt Tags to Images
Alt tags are designed to help visually-impaired users understand the content of an image, and they can help you rank better in image searches.
Make sure to add relevant keywords and use clear descriptive terms. This is a simple but effective technique.
#10. Take it Slowly
Boosting your online visibility, expanding your small business and climbing the results pages takes time. It’s tempting to expect instant results, but good SEO requires patience.
You have to focus on producing quality content, building a solid reputation, establishing a loyal customer base and using effective SEO strategies to rank higher as an ongoing process. This is a commitment for your business’s benefit, and can’t bring immediate success.
Reputation Mart’s SEO services in Toronto can help your small business reach your online goals! Want to know more? Just get in touch now to find out what we can do for you!
8 Online Reputation Mistakes Your Business Must Avoid
What do people think of your company?
Your reputation makes a massive impact on consumers’ decision to buy from you. A staggering 67.7 percent of purchasing choices are affected by online reviews, and you stand to lose more than 20 percent of business if prospects come across negative coverage of your brand on the first results page.
Considering the sheer range of options customers have online, a bad reputation can make all the difference between securing and losing a conversion. If your business seems too much of a risk, buyers will just purchase from one of your competitors instead.
You have to protect your online reputation from bad reviews, poor feedback and anything else that could damage it. Join Reputation Mart’s experts as we explore the 8 online reputation mistakes your business must avoid …
1. Failing to Monitor your Reputation
Maybe you’re just not that interested in going online. Perhaps the prospect of Googling your own business and trawling review sites makes you want to gag.
Whatever the reason, your online reputation could end up getting wildly out of control if you fail to keep an eye on it. Even if people are leaving good reviews or sharing positive posts about you on their social accounts, they might not be getting full exposure without you sharing them.
Just because you don’t research your company doesn’t mean others won’t be.Fake accounts may be set up on social media too, possibly causing further damage.
2. Not Interacting with the Online Community
People will leave good reviews. People will leave bad reviews.
It’s vital to respond to as many of both as you can, regardless of their content. Apologize for poor service, thank customers for their kind words and offer to make things right if need be.
Interacting with people who have taken the time to post about your business will impact other customers’ views. Seeing how well you respond to the worst complaints can show you care about buyers’ experience and respect their opinion.
Simply leaving bad responses untouched and pretending they don’t exist will only do more harm. When responding to negative feedback or reviews, always be professional and courteous: never engage in a war of words.
3. Creating Fake Reviews
Always, always avoid the temptation to write fake reviews. Creating them yourself or asking employees, friends or even family to do so is a big mistake.
Why? Because if someone finds out, you could harm your reputation more than a single bad review ever would. Consumers will wonder why you have to cheat to make your brand appear better, and view you as being untrustworthy.
After all, if you’re willing to lie about online feedback what else would you lie about?
Prospective buyers will have more faith in you if they see you handling negative reviews in a professional manner than if they see lots of feedback sharing too many similarities to be coincidental.
4. Being Unsociable
Social media has a big impact on the business-consumer relationship. People will complain to companies directly on Facebook and Twitter, share good experiences with their friends and ask questions about products. It’s a key step in the research process.
Being active on social media and engaging with your customers is key to maintaining your online reputation. Users expect fast responses and transparency, whether they have made a complaint or thanked the brand for excellent service.
Avoiding social media is no way to try to minimize the harm of potential negative posts. People will still discuss you even if you have no account.
5. Never Showing your Human Side
Customers will feel a stronger bond with your business if you’re willing to show your unique, human side.
If you make a mistake, admit to it. Be sincere. Explain to your customers how and why it happened, and discuss what you plan to do to put it right.
Don’t issue a bland press release that skirts responsibility and leaves buyers cold. Just hold your hands up and present your solution. Prospects may be more forgiving if they see you’re approaching a situation as a group of people rather than as a faceless enterprise.
6. Ignoring the Power of Content
Good content is essential to keep your reputation in good shape. Well-written blogs and articles offering readers value will help you become recognized as a reliable brand with lots to say. This adds credibility to your business and can establish you as a thought-leader, though this may be easier in some sectors than others.
The better your content, the more likely it is to be shared and garner extra attention. Failing to create new content doesn’t just make you look unprofessional, it’s not great for your SEO campaign either.
7. Getting Complacent
You’ve built a good reputation. You’ve published a string of great content that attracts thousands of views. You’ve amassed more positive feedback than you can keep track of.
So, why not take your eye off your online reputation for a while and focus on other areas of running your business instead?
Don’t get complacent. If you stop responding to social posts and reviews, customers could lose their respect for you and assume you no longer care about their views. Never let success distract you from maintaining good relationships with customers.
Remember: they’re what keeps you in business, no matter how big your brand becomes.
8. Having No Reputation Management in Place
Every business should invest in solid reputation management. You have to know what people are saying about your company, identify the common complaints and find ways to put things right.
You need to know how you will respond to feedback and use it to help your business grow. This must be put together with care — just dashing off a comment at the end of an occasional review isn’t enough.
Our team of experts can help you stay on top of your online reputation, ensure brand consistency and avoid harmful mistakes. Want to learn more about our Online Reputation Management services? Just get in touch!
10 Social Media Tips for Small Businesses
Believe it or not, more than 3 billion people across the globe use social media.
With such a vast audience, small businesses can take advantage of social media to really build their brand and expand their reach. However, actually knowing how to use it properly is critical — or else you could be wasting your time altogether.
Below, Reputation Mart’s social media experts have put together some pro tips to help you get started.
#1. Study your strongest competitors
What are your leading competitors doing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? How are they engaging their audience and driving traffic to their site(s)?
Taking inspiration from your biggest rivals in your niche will help you get a concrete idea of what to do and what not to do. For example, what kind of articles, blog posts, news stories and videos do they tend to share? Which generate the highest number of shares and comments?
Take notes and try to emulate the best examples in your own social media campaign.
#2. Know your limits
There are more social networks out there than you can realistically handle, unless you’re a global giant with a huge team dedicated to running your accounts. Even then, being part of more than a few may not be necessary.
For small businesses, knowing your limits is vital. Start with just a couple of social accounts and take the time to build these up. Focus on engaging users and establishing a solid group of followers. Otherwise, if you take on too many networks and try to maintain an active presence on all, you’ll spread yourself too thin.
#3. Research your target audience
Do you know where your ideal customers are likely to be hanging out online? Are your buyers more prone to spending hours scrolling through their Facebook feeds or is SnapChat more their thing?
Invest in researching the social habits of your target audience and channel your resources into the most relevant network. This makes it slightly easier to reach prospects most likely to convert, rather than trying to appeal to those who might be elsewhere.
#4. Focus on entertainment rather than constant marketing
Of course, you want to promote your small business and build your brand. But if you keep filling feeds with an endless slew of promotional materials, people will lose interest — fast.
You have to pay attention to the kind of content your target audience responds to and try to incorporate this into your strategy. People use social media to be entertained and perhaps learn more about the world, rather than seeing the same thinly-veiled ads again and again.
#5. Embrace the power of visuals
Posts containing images are more likely to get shared on social media. Text-heavy posts are less engaging and easier to scroll past, while visuals make a bigger immediate impact.
Make sure you use dynamic images as often as possible and try to keep them original. People are used to seeing the same stock photography again and again, so if you need to rely on them, at least choose ones that are less obvious. There’s plenty of beautiful stock images out there.
When posting videos, try to keep them as short as possible. The longer they are, the harder it is to sustain viewer interest.
#6. Be responsive on all types of engagement
It’s essential that you post responses to people’s comments or mentions. If you let both good and bad interactions with your brand go neglected for too long, you could end up damaging your reputation.
Whether it’s a question, a positive comment or a complaint, respond to it as soon as you can. Even if you don’t have time to get back to all users posting positive things, simply ‘liking’ or ‘favoriting’ their comment can be enough. They’ll appreciate that you’ve at least acknowledged them.
#7. Run competitions and polls
Hosting competitions and polls is a terrific way to encourage more engagement. Make the entry criteria simple and offer a tantalizing prize, whether it’s a bundle of free products from your brand or a discount with an affiliate.
Many competitions on Facebook and Twitter ask entrants to like and / or share the post, along with placing a comment. This is a simple, effective way to get your posts appearing on more feeds, potentially reaching prospects who wouldn’t see your content otherwise.
#8. Boost engagement and reach with hashtags
The humble hashtag has blossomed into a key player on social networks, primarily Twitter.
Whether hashtags are used in games (such as ‘changing a movie title with one letter’) or to promote worthy causes, they’re incredibly effective tools. You have to make sure you keep them concise, though, as longer ones are harder to read.
Avoid using too many in a single post too — this can look a little desperate or suggest you’re not really sure what you’re doing.
#9. Get involved with trends and show a sense of humor
Don’t be afraid to show your human side on social media. Yes, you’re running a business and have to remain professional in your interactions with followers, but people want companies to be more transparent today.
Get involved with trends and be willing to create posts designed to do little more than raise a smile. You just need to make sure anything you post is appropriate and unlikely to cause offence.
#10. Stay active on all fronts
Part of the reason small businesses have to keep their number of social media accounts low is that it’s much easier to stay active.
Social accounts that have been left untouched for weeks, months or years never look good to customers, especially if they want to reach out to you. Try to stay as visible on your priority networks as possible.
Any small business can take inspiration from these pro tips, but Reputation Mart’s experts will help you take it much, much further. We’ll boost your small business’s visibility and engagement to grow your audience, no matter what your niche.
Want to learn more? Just get in touch!
Top 5 Benefits of Social Selling
No business can afford to be without social media today.
At the most basic level, a social presence equips you with a platform upon which to advertise your products and services. However, simply using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to bombard followers with explicit sales-focused content is typically a fast track to being ignored.
Brands have to be a little more sophisticated in their social media marketing. It’s all about building a connection with prospects, engaging followers and expanding your reach in an organic way to achieve sales goals.
Still, some businesses — big and small — have yet to realize the full potential social media offers for ongoing growth. If this sounds familiar, you could be holding yourself back and missing out on real rewards.
Take a look at the five benefits of social selling below to find the inspiration you need.
#1: Build valuable relationships
Unfocused selling isn’t enough anymore.
For a long time, countless businesses used cold calling as a key sales technique. However, as anyone who has received unwanted phone calls from a company again and again will know, they do little to secure your custom.
This revolved around trying to connect with as many people as possible in the hopes that at least a small portion of contacts would take an interest. Social selling may be targeted at large numbers of people, but it’s nothing like cold calling.
You can use social networks to find conversations related to your business, your industry or your products. You can identify prospects who may be looking for the goods or services you supply and begin reaching out to them in a slow, steady process. Your first point of contact with them can be more personalized and relevant, rather than throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.
This may be answering a question about your business or products they have asked their friends / followers. It’s a small, simple step but can start to build a strong relationship.
Always make sure you converse with prospects in a personable way, rather than structuring everything as a blatant sales pitch. Provide valuable responses and engage with them at a human level.
#2: Manage your reputation and encourage trust
Online reviews and public feedback provide consumers with a voice. One unsatisfied buyer can share their experience with others and cause instant damage to your reputation.
If prospects research your business and come across enough of these, they may choose to take a punt on a competitor instead. More and more customers are using social networks to make complaints and negative feedback, and you cannot afford to ignore them.
That can be tempting when you feel people are essentially attacking your brand, but failing to respond will do more harm than good. Prospects researching your business will see that you have done nothing to satisfy those people and suspect you have something to hide.
On the other hand, a company which regularly engages with people, answers questions, apologizes for lapses in good service and generally treats their customers with respect is likely to be viewed in a more positive light.
As research is a key part of the customer’s journey, you should never underestimate the power of a good social reputation. This makes generating leads and attracting sales a little easier.
#3: Retain customers for years to come
Retaining satisfied customers is more cost-effectivethan attracting new ones. Delivering exceptional service and maintaining close ties with buyers is essential to keep them coming back in the future.
Your brand should stay in touch with any customers who have praised your products or services on social media. Perhaps they shared a picture of an item when it arrived and thanked you for improving their life. Maybe they run a business and specify how your services will enhance their performance in years to come.
Whatever the nature of their praise, your team should seize the opportunity to build a lasting relationship.
Thank them for taking the time to let you know about their positive experience, and invite them to ask any questions they may have about the product / service. Reach out to them again a little later to ask if they’re still satisfied with their investment. Offer them a discount on future purchases too.
Prospects who see past customers are satisfied with your brand’s performance will feel more trust in the company. This can be pivotal during the research phase of their journey.
Sharing content that helps buyers get more out of their purchase — such as tips, maintenance advice etc. — will encourage brand loyalty too.
#4: Social communication is easier, less formal and free
Customers who have questions, complaints or suggestions may dread having to pick up the phone to call a business directly. The prospect of being put on hold or bounced from one call center agent to another is enough to make them ask ‘why bother?’.
That’s not to mention the cost of a call to what may be a premium-rate number.
Communicating via social media is a much faster, informal and — crucially — free option. Buyers and prospects can reach out to you or other customers just by opening an app on their device.
This cultivates more interaction and gives you more opportunities to engage.
#5: Enhance the overall customer experience
Social selling allows companies of all sizes to enhance the entire customer experience.
This plays a key role in fostering ongoing relationships, building brand recognition and keeping customers engaged with your company. A positive experience is enough to make buyers view your products and services as more valuable than your competitors, even if they are paying a little more for yours than others.
In fact, 86 percent of consumers will pay extra for goods if the overall experience is better. That’s a huge number.
Focus on giving people the information they want on social media and provide them with valuable content that suits their interests. Even if significant time passes between purchases, they are likely to still follow your brand, share your posts and recommend you to others.
Want to learn more about how social media marketing can help your brand grow? Give us a call today!
Why Does my Company Need a Local Presence in Google My Business?
Every business has to continually take advantage of the latest marketing opportunities, and if you’re not, you could be missing out on valuable business.
Google My Business is one of the simplest options available if you want to boost your website’s visibility on Google’s search engine results pages, but too many companies still aren’t using it.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using Google My Business for your enterprise, and why you should always keep your eye on your major competition.
Google My Business: The Basics
In essence, Google My Business is a listings service for local companies of all sizes. You can find listings for all types of business, on mobile and desktop, using voice or text-based searches.
For example, if you’re looking for fast food restaurants you could expect to see global giants like Burger King and McDonald’s alongside independent, local establishments too.
Each company can benefit from appearing on Google My Business. Your brand will be displayed in searches of different kinds, though the most common one will be users running a search based on your name.
Google My Business displays key information on businesses that would otherwise be available on the website, but within the search engine itself. Companies using the service properly will be able to present prospects with their address, opening hours, contact number and a selection of images. The location on a Google Map can accompany all of this too.
The benefits of Google My Business
The Google My Business listings are ideal for a number of reasons.
One key benefit is immediacy: if someone has recommended your establishment to a friend, they will then be able to run a quick search to get all the details they need.
If they want to visit on their lunch break, they can see how close the business is and decide whether to go then or wait until they have more time. The details on Google My Business save searchers time and give them a flavor of your company before they even arrive at your website or at your door.
However, they will likely still click through to the full site to see pictures, view menus, brochures, product catalogs, and more if your listing catches their attention.
You will have to complete the Google My Business profile for your company in full, to ensure all key data appears in your listing. Verify your location(s) too, so they are more likely to appear on maps and searches and keep your opening hours accurate.
Prospects will be able to find your Google My Business listing if they look for local companies by business type too.
Searching for ‘bars in Chicago’, for example, will present you with three main listings (sometimes known as the ‘three pack’) which are considered the most relevant. Take a look below to see for yourself.
A business listing can help your brand stand out from competitors and make it much easier for potential customers to find you. However, while Google My Listings results will be displayed for searches by brand name, they may not for searches by business type.
In this case, your visibility will be based on how many businesses are competing for prominence in the local area, as well as review scores. Google will also judge your business’s placement according to how relevant it is to users’ searches, the distance from a location term in the search, and your prominence.
The more well-known your brand is, the higher it’s likely to appear in Google My Business listings. This applies to online and offline brands alike. Google will base prominence on the amount of information on the business it can pull from online resources like articles and directories.
Reviews are an important part of boosting your Google My Business listing’s visibility. Positive reviews written by satisfied customers can make your company more likely to rank and provide prospects with reliable information on whether your business is right for them.
Encourage customers to leave their own reviews by creating a link on your site or social media, and they may actually help you out.
You can add Google Posts too, which appear on search pages and maps. These allow you extra room in which to promote special deals, newsletters, news, and more. Posts are intended to make your website / business more attractive and offer extra value.
Watching your Competitors
When you create your own Google My Business listing, take a look at your competitors’.
This includes those in your local area and around the world, across online and offline sectors. Your bigger competitors should be your main focus, particularly those which are leading the market.
Take a look at the review scores, images, and additional elements they include in their listings. Could you learn anything from them? Are your own images of an equal standard? Do they include Google Posts, and if so, how do they make you want to click through to their site?
You may not be able to compete with your leading rivals, especially if they have decades worth of experience and reputation-building than you do. However, following their lead can help you improve your Google My Business listing in years to come.
At Reputation Mart, we can help your business reach a wider audience, maintain your reputation, run your social media marketing, and deliver outstanding PPC services. Want to know more? Give us a call!
12 Benefits of PPC for Your Business
Building your brand’s online visibility is critical to achieve long-term success, but today’s market is increasingly competitive.
Depending on the sector in which you operate, you could be just one of hundreds of businesses vying for consumers’ money. Online reviews, email marketing and social media marketing are all effective ways to widen your reach, but what about PPC?
PPC is key. Every business of every size must incorporate paid advertising into its marketing strategy.
Here are 12 benefits of PPC …
#1: Reaching your Audience is Easier
When setting up and managing your PPC campaign, an extensive range of targeting options helps you reach the right audience.
You can hone your paid ads to appear according to various factors, such as location, device, date, and keywords (both positive and negative). This ensures you’re spending your money on the most suitable searchers, rather than paying to target everyone.
#2: Get Quick Results
You can start using PPC ads right away. Even if you have only just launched your website (or even your entire business), you can dive into paid search marketing immediately.
It’s vital to spend time refining your keywords and targeting first, but once you’re set up you can start competing for clicks fast.
#3: Suitable for all Budgets
PPC can work for any business on any budget. Companies with big money to invest may be able to go after the most competitive search terms and cover more bases, but even startups with almost no marketing budget can get results.
You choose the amount you pay for clicks, which makes staying within your limits much easier.
#4: You can Measure your Success
PPC is measurable, thanks to the wealth of analytical data platforms provide. You can monitor which of your ads attract the most clicks, which keywords are most effective, and which choices offer the strongest ROI.
Tracking your performance is essential to identify potential flaws and find new ways to improve.
#5: PPC ads put you at the top of the Page
This is simple but true: paid ads place your brand at the top of the results page. This elevates you above your competitors below and means you’re more likely to attract clicks, as people place trust in those higher up the page.
If you have site extensions and a click-to-call option in your ads, you’re even more appealing to searchers looking for fast results.
#6: Paid ads are Independent of Algorithm Changes
Whenever Google updates its algorithm, your placement in search engine result pages can change (often without you realizing why, without in-depth research).
Fortunately, PPC ads exist outside of these changes. If you keep paying for your placements, consumers will keep seeing them.
#7: You can test Different Combinations Easily
A/B testing is a common practice in the world of online marketing, and PPC ads offer an easy way to experiment.
Perhaps you have two conflicting ideas for an ad, but don’t know which one to go with. You can create both and run them for a short period of time (two or three weeks, say), before examining the results.
The ad with the strongest Click Through Rate (or CTR) will be the most effective of the two.
You can then use the positive response to the style and tone of that ad to inform the rest of your marketing materials, giving you valuable inspiration for emails, social media posts etc.
#8: PPC ads Build Brand Recognition
Consumers who search for the same products or services on a regular basis will likely see your ads again and again.
Even if they choose not to click on any of your paid ads, they will still come to recognize your business name and remember you in the future. As a result, they may start to place trust in you, and could eventually visit you through your website rather than a paid ad.
This is true of paid ads on social media networks too: even if they keep scrolling, a well-presented ad can catch their eye and ensure future encounters with your business start off on a positive note.
#9: PPC Helps you Compete with Bigger Rivals
PPC is available to everyone, and the biggest competitors you face with be using it too. Their branding will carry a lot of authority and trust, giving them an immediate advantage over you.
However, you can try targeting less-popular keywords that are still relevant to your target audience, particularly those that your competitors might not consider. Being the underdog gives you a chance to be more creative and think outside the proverbial box.
With paid ads, you might not be able to pay the same as larger rivals, but you can still share the top of the page with them. It makes the playing field a little more fair.
#10: You Only pay for Interactions
You don’t have to pay to just have your ads sitting on a results page: only whenever someone clicks on them.
This is a stark contrast to more static advertising methods (such as placing an ad in a newspaper or on a billboard) in which you have to pay the costs even if they don’t bring anyone new to your brand.
#11: PPC Helps you Attract Local Buyers
Research from Google shows that three in four peoplewho find valuable information on local businesses in search results are more likely to actually visit them.
If you target areas local to your business in your PPC ads, you can give them valuable information such as opening hours and links to popular product lines. This may sway their decision to shop with you.
#12: PPC is Accessible
PPC is accessible to all businesses, even those which are new to digital marketing. Choosing keywords and creating ads is fairly straightforward, with a little help from an experienced expert.
This makes it much easier to actually have input into your ads and the message you put out for consumers, and helps you stay in control. You can see what works and what doesn’t courtesy of reporting tools and have your say in the which changes are made.
At Reputation Mart, our expert team can create a bespoke PPC campaign for your business, enhancing your online visibility and helping you reach a wider audience. Why not give us a callto discuss your options?
How can You Use Customer Reviews to Drive Sales?
Believe it or not, 85 percent of consumers tend to put as much trust in online reviews as they do personal recommendations.
Furthermore, 68 percent left a business review when prompted.
This demonstrates not just the importance of online reviews, but people’s willingness to leave them.
Despite this, though, some businesses don’t give online reviews the recognition and credit they deserve. They believe reviews are little more than a potential hazard to their reputation, as no company can please all of the people all of the time.
That’s technically true: negative reviews are inevitable, however rare.
Rather than being a hindrance, though, online reviews can be a major help to your brand, actually driving sales instead of reducing them.
Let’s take a closer look.
Building Your Brand, Building Trust
Gathering customer reviews can help to build your brand’s reputation to great effect.
When prospective buyers start looking into your business’s products and quality of service, having access to a large collection of reviews from previous customers can help them to gain a comprehensive insight they won’t find anywhere else.
They might be able to browse your website and find information on your company history, your own promotional copy, and your various products. However, only reviews can provide them with an unbiased idea of your brand’s performance.
Making that first purchase with a business they haven’t used before can be intimidating for consumers, especially if large amounts of money are involved. Scanning other buyers’ experiences with your brand can give them the confidence they need to spend, more so than your own marketing efforts.
As the stat at the start of this piece shows, buyers put a lot of faith in the feedback other consumers provide. By encouraging customers to leave reviews at dedicated sites and / or your own website, you are giving future buyers the chance to make an informed choice.
If they see a number of other people are pleased with their purchase, they are more likely to buy.
Your Responses Show You Care
Bad reviews vary wildly in tone and coherence.
We’ve all read feedback that makes little sense and appears to have been written by someone with a chip on their shoulder about something else beyond the products or services.
On the other hand, some bad reviews are well-written and cover fair grievances. For example, a customer may supply negative feedback because their item (let’s say a smartphone) was delivered in damaged packaging, or because it didn’t work as advertised.
You can’t stop people from writing bad reviews about your brand, but there’s no need to: they provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate how much you care about your buyers’ satisfaction and your business’s reputation.
Prospective customers browsing previous feedback and seeing negative reviews can feel put off, but a well-written, well-reasoned response from your brand has the power to turn one buyer’s complaint on its head.
If one customer complains that your smartphone (to return to the earlier example) failed to operate as it should have, you can take this chance to address the issue. Was it a manufacturing fault, and can it be returned to be repaired? Are they simply not using the handset the right way?
Offering to help demonstrates your business’s willingness to put things right. Even if your company has a global customer-base and the loss of one buyer means little in the long-term, you need to recognize that this really does matter to the consumer – which means it should matter to you too.
If you can’t solve a problem through a repair or replacement, offer to fix things in another way. Can you provide a discount in the future? Can you offer them a sincere apology and make sure they understand how committed you are to putting things right?
Prospective buyers reading this will likely have more faith in your brand, but don’t just focus on the negative reviews either. Offer a brief ‘thank you’ to the good ones too, and explain how you appreciate their custom.
Add Fresh Content for Better Rankings and Visibility
Publishing new content on your website, blog, and social channels on a regular basis can help to boost your rankings and drive fresh traffic to your site.
Crawlers like to see websites staying current. It shows that your brand is relevant and offering consistent value to searchers. More than this, though, fresh reviews are better for your reputation, and are more likely to encourage prospective customers into making that first purchase.
If prospects can only see reviews of your brand from around two years ago, how can they trust that your quality of service hasn’t declined since then? How can they decide whether you’re still reputable or not?
Keep requesting that customers leave feedback, good and bad. Don’t let them dry up and lose their relevancy.
Share Reviews Across Social Media
Sharing positive reviews about your business across social media can help to attract new prospects and drive traffic to your site.
Show your followers how satisfied previous customers are and highlight the products / services they received. Perhaps turn it into a brief case study, touching on why they wanted the goods in the first place, how you helped, and what solution your service brought.
Did they buy a pair of your running shoes for a fundraising marathon? Did they need to buy your computers for their business, and are now up and running thanks to you?
Focus on covering the customer’s journey in a short, simple social media post to drive prospects to your site. Even if they don’t click, they may well remember your brand in the future when they need the products you provide.
Online reviews can be a big help to your reputation and managing this is critical to your success. Have you found positive results from gathering customer reviews and responding to them?
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