Media

Category: Media

Online Scams Aren’t Just for Granny Anymore!

When we think of scams, we often imagine people preying on vulnerable seniors, but as scams and fraud get more complex, more people are being socially engineered out of their money—including business owners and employees. Ahead of #PasswordDay on March 15, the Saskatchewan Better Business Bureau, the Saskatchewan Financial Literacy Network and Above the Fold are spreading the word to remind the nearly 150,000 small businesses across the province of what they should watch for.

“Scams and scammers are evolving and getting bolder all the time,” says Karen Smith, CEO of Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Saskatchewan. “Businesses and their employees need to be aware and taking active steps to protect their information—and their finances. And even the best protections need updating when scams change, so we encourage everyone to report any scam or fraud they encounter.”

The BBB has been sharing its National List of Top 10 Scams for more than a quarter century, and there are more than a few for businesses to watch out for. Phishing through fraudulent emails and fake websites can scoop business and financial information; employment scams have cost Canadians more than $4.5 million in the last year, and subscription scams can trick us with free trials and pre-checked
boxes that end in unwanted products and charges.

The Saskatchewan Financial Literacy Network indicates, “Being aware and educating yourself on the types of scams that are affecting Canadians is vital in managing your finances successfully.”

“Online scams are everywhere, and I hear from all kinds of local business owners about their fear of falling victim to them,” says Barb McGrath, Chief Marketing Officer at Above the Fold. “We are a Google-approved agency, so people are comfortable asking me what they can do to keep themselves safe online. Half of small businesses that were fraud victims were contacted by phone, and another 25 percent through websites and mail. The internet can feel like the wild west; I want my fellow business owners to know that there are resources locally that can help them protect their business.”

Lack of information is the top factor keeping small businesses from advancing their security efforts, followed closely by a lack of resources. The lack of understanding and training are other big barriers, but Saskatchewan businesses have access to help through these organizations supporting business. And despite the prevalence of online scams, news stories and word of mouth are still the top ways small business owners learn about scams. From getting training to reporting scams and frauds, these three organizations encourage small businesses to inform and protect themselves, including changing the passwords for their three most important accounts on March 15, #PasswordDay.

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Back to School for Local Businesses in the Google Era

Back to School for Local Businesses in the Google Era

Kids are back in the classroom, and it’s the perfect time for Regina’s local businesses to get into a classroom of their own to get help online. The Regina area is home to more than 10,000 businesses, and more than 90 per cent have fewer than 50 employees. One local business wants to help other local businesses get found on Google.

Above the Fold, along with sponsors, BLG Business Solutions, sMedia and Scotiabank, are hosting Get Found on Google Live, for local businesses interested in improving their online presence. It’s no small feat to be a Google-approved agency, but Above the Fold has done it and is sharing that expertise on Thursday, September 27, with Saskatchewan’s only in-person, hands-on workshop. It’s a full-day workshop, hosted by owner and Chief Marketing Officer Barb McGrath, to help businesses learn to use the free tools designed by Google to manage their online reputation, find more ready-to-buy customers, streamline their marketing and make their website easy to find.

Thirty-Nine Years in Business and Still Learning

“If you want to learn more about how to promote your business online, then Get Found on Google Live is just the right program for you, said Sherry Knight, CEO of Dimension 11, and business owner for over 38 years, in Regina and Get Found on Google participant. From the ins and outs of Google Analytics to how to make your website Google “friendly” this program is a must. And, on top of the technical aspects, Barb is able to answer the mundane, the “I have no idea what I am trying to say” and the deep dive questions so everyone can have a clearer understanding of what one needs to do to get greater notice on Google.”

Registration

The workshop  provides hands-on training and one-on-one help with a local expert, plus access to Google tools and credits (not to mention great food, beverages and plenty of coffee!). The workshop runs 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on September 27 at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Regina.  Pre-registration is required at getfound.live.  

“I know what it’s like to run a local business in Saskatchewan, and I know how important it is to make sure my online marketing is done right,” said McGrath. “There are lots of entrepreneurs and business owners in Regina who are uncomfortable in the tech space, but we are here to help. It’s back-to-school time for kids and business owners alike; my goal is to give local businesses the tools they need to show off everything we have to offer in this city and this province.”

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Google is Taking Action

Too many business owners being scammed

It’s one of the most common complaints by business owners relying on Google My Business; unsolicited, unwanted calls related to their Google Business Listing.

Google My Business is the most popular platform for business listings on the internet. It is also the most powerful, as so many other directory listing sites rely on Google for accurate information. Given the power and influence of the listing site, Google is clamping down on a large number of companies inaccurately representing themselves as being associated with Google.

Don’t Be Fooled

It is important to note:

  1. Google will never call you unsolicited.
  2. Google My Business is a free service from Google.
  3. If you are concerned about a call or email from a company claiming to be associated with Google, verify their legitimacy via their website or Google.
  4. No company can guarantee ad, listing or search engine results.

According to the news release from Google, “We’re committed to building products and programs that help small businesses grow.”  As such, Google is taking legal action against a host of companies claiming to be associated. To read additional details, visit the full release here.

Protect yourself and your business. When hiring a company to help with your Listing, always talk with them at length to be sure you understand the full value of their service.

Google My Business is an extensive listing service that allows you to add a description, texting, posts, respond to reviews, photos and so much more. Check out your Listing today!

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The Ultimate Google Listing Guide to find more Ready-to-Buy Customers.

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Got Found on Google

Got Found on Google

The Value of Business Listings and Customer Reviews for Success

Job #1 around here is client success. When our clients achieve their goals, we all succeed.

Imagine a 24,000% increase in your business

Imagine if your business saw a 24,000% increase in business interest? That’s what happened to one of our clients.

In a 30 day period, he saw a HUGE increase in interest for his business’ services. He came to us with a single goal; to make his business sustainable as his sole source of income.

client-success

To help the client achieve the goal, we set out to build a strategy that was simple, easy sustainable and very low-cost.

How to Create a Simple Reputation Management Strategy

  1. First up on the plan was a solid business Listing.
    • The client adds Posts to his Listing on a regular basis.
    • He includes images that represent his business and his approach.
    • Using his customer’s keywords, he is able to match his Listing and services with what customers are searching.
    • We included direct access to his booking app, phone numbers and location information.
  2. The client needed a web presence, separate from their personal social media accounts.
    • We used Google’s ‘Site‘ tool to build an easy to use, single page site.
    • Then we uploaded pictures that represented the work the client does.
    • Links were included directly to the client’s booking app.
    • We added business hours and location.
    • And we included content that described and differentiated the client from others in the business category.
  3. Asking for Customer Reviews.
    • Customer Reviews are one of the fastest ways to drive traffic to your Listing and website.
    • Our client asked his raving fans to leave Reviews on his business Listing.
    • On a regular basis he continues to request Reviews to drive local traffic to his Listing.

Asking for Reviews, or responding can be tough. It’s very un-Canadian of us to ask people to praise our work. For some tips and suggestions on how to respond to Reviews, or generate Reviews, read here or watch here.

Our client was able to make his business self-sustaining within 60 days

Overall our client saw significant online traffic but more importantly was able to make his business self-sustaining within 60 days. His success is not uncommon when paired with the right tools and experts. To achieve this success in your business, start with a free assessment!

Managing your online presence does not need to be time-consuming, frustrating or overwhelming. We work with dozens of businesses everyday to help them manage their online reputation.

Thanks for reading!

Here’s more you might like:

The Ultimate Google Listing Guide to find more Ready-to-Buy Customers.

Get your copy today!