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Quick Wins for Local Businesses During Uncertain Times

By Build Your ReputationNo Comments

Journal Entry – March 16, 2020

I’m tired. It’s Monday morning after a weekend filled with difficult news, hard decisions and uncertainty.

One of the most difficult decisions a business owner needs to make is whether to open their doors. 

This isn’t a fancy branded post intended to drive you to our website or promote our services. This post is simple. As a local business owner, manager or decision maker, how can you keep the lights on, the doors open and continue to pay your bills? 

Now is the time to be the business leader you always wanted to be. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Use the tools and channels available to communicate with customers.
  • Post an update on social channels regarding hours or products/services available.
    • Pin the post to the top of the page to make it easy for customers to find.
    • Boost the post for $1 per day to people who Like your page to keep them informed.
  • Update your Google Listing here, with hours and content similar to social media. (This keeps Google up-to-date.)
  • Share your procedures with customers; and ensure your staff know you take it serious. Whether hand washing or table wiping, be sure staff and customers alike understand the severity and importance of these routine tasks.
  • Consider allocating special hours to vulnerable populations (seniors, parents with young children). IE First hour each day is only for vulnerable populations.
  • Add delivery or online options. Deliver your product/service where and when you can. If customers can’t or won’t come to you, take your product/services to them through delivery and online options. From food and diaper deliveries to counseling appointments online or via phone.
  • Change your hours to reflect your staffing levels. If the number of staff you have available is reduced, reduce your operating hours.

And finally, being with others is one of the most calming activities we can do. Just being with others in our homes, watching movies, talking and eating popcorn. Take this time to reset and connect.

We will never know if we’ve taken the right and necessary actions; but we will know if we’ve taken the wrong actions.

Keep well.

Barb 

 

How to get to the top the Google

Find More Ready-to-Buy Customers with Google My Business

By Build Your Reputation4 Comments

Monthly Updates on the #1 Listing Service used by Your Customers.

Google Listings can be a challenge. On a good day. There’s just something about the process that can fluster even the best of us. Below, we share all of our tried and true steps to optimize your Listing; the exact steps we take to support our clients subscribed to Listing Management along with all of the latest updates to the tech giant’s free service.

Keeping your listing up-to-date, creating keyword-driven posts on a regular basis and carefully monitoring these changes will mean a 30% improvement in your listing search results month-over-month meaning more customers swinging through your front door!

KNOW – GO – DO – BUY

What is a Google Listing? What will it do for me?

A Google Listing is a free service by Google and it garners the lion’s share of the click-traffic from ready-to-buy customers. When a customer is ready to KNOW, GO, DO or BUY, they head to Listings. As such, your Listing is a direct pipeline to Google; like a head start in the race to the cash register.

Let’s Get Started!

Here’s a few insider tips to get you cashing in long before anyone knows what you’ve done. Optimizing your listing is as simple as posting your social media and way more beneficial to your business in the short term!

  • Fill out every blank. Use every feature. Google has pre-determined the features most commonly used by businesses in each category. By selecting appropriate categories, your business will have access to the correct features.
  • Respond to Reviews within 24 hours. Follow this formula for responding to positive and negative reviews.
  • Add photos and posts at least once a week.
  • Know your customers search terms. Use them. Relentlessly.
Win the Race to the Cash Register

Latest Updates

The Anatomy of Your Google My Business Listing

Home

Your Google My Business Home tab is a quick overview of your business Insights (how many visitors, top search terms, requests for directions), competitor content and customer posted photos. Be sure to check it out and find some new ideas for content.

Posts

Posts are Google’s equivalent of social media posts: with the exception that Google wants you to promote your sales and discounts, as well as announce events and share news. Posts are a direct pipeline to Google; your chance to have a 1:1 conversation with Google, and say, “Hey Google, here’s what we’re all about!” 

Curious how many customers see your Posts? Carefully look under a Post and you will see a number beside a little “eye.”

Get the full scoop on what posts can do for your business and all the details in Google Adds Posts to Your Listing. 

Info

The Info tab is the heart of your Google Listing. Here you can update all of the details about your business including Name, Address and Phone number (NAP), your business category(ies), hours and holidays, contact information, add a business description as well as products and services.

Google tells us the most referenced information by customers are hours, photos and reviews.

What is a business description you say? Glad you asked.

Here’s the short version. A business description is a 750 character, keyword-friendly written overview of your business. Want Google and potential customers to find you for website design? How about SEO services? Or reputation and listing management? This is the place to do it!

Looking for a few more details? Check out this video How to Add a Google Listing Description.

Google My Business Profile Above the Fold | Website Design for Business, Social Media, Online Digital Marketing, Strategy, Reputation Management, Sales and Conversion, Consultant and Advisor

Up-to-date information about your business is HUGE. Repeat HUGE for getting your business found and chosen by customers. Don’t just think about it – finish reading this article and go update your information!

Insights

Ahhhh, insights, a data lover’s dream! Did you know that you can find out how many times your Listing was viewed? And what the top search keywords are for your Listing! The Insights tab gives you the ability to tailor new content according to what potential customers are searching for, giving you even better visibility in the search results!

Take a moment to look at the number of customers who view your Listing, click-thru to your website or ask for directions to your location. As the number of actions taken from your Listing increases, so too will your sales!

Reviews

Google and Facebook agree (shock!). Reviews are the #1 driver of success in Listings. Customers choose businesses with higher star ratings at an alarming rate. If you don’t have Reviews, you need to ask all of the customers you’ve wowed! Finding it tough to ask? Check out this article, Gracefully Ask Your Customers for Reviews for tips to make it easy-peasy.

Oh but wait! Responding to Reviews is equally important; good or bad. In fact, responding to Reviews will greatly improve your online reputation. Learn all about the 4 Simple Steps to Respond to Reviews. 

Messaging

Prefer a text or SMS message with your customers prior to a phone call? Messaging allows you to chat with your customers, book appointments or answer questions even before a potential customer is ready to discuss their needs in detail; or until you are ready to disclose your number.

**It is believed, though it has not been confirmed by Google, that Messaging will be shut down in March 2019. If you did not set up Messaging, it is likely no longer an option for your business.

Photos

A picture says 1000 words. Imagine how many words you say with current and up-to-date pictures of your business, location, products, services, team and logos. You can speak volumes and the customer is listening!

Don’t forget – customers can upload photos too; what a great word of mouth marketing opportunity!

Website

Did you know that you can create your first website for free with Google? If you don’t already have a website, this is a great place to get started. Your website address will be listingname.business.google.com, but you have the option to buy a domain and build a more sophisticated site using Google Sites.

Your new, free site can include location, services, hours and pictures and is mobile friendly.

Users

Adding Users will allow you to collaborate with team members and share posting duties. In this section, you can add additional people to your Listing to be able to add and edit your Listing’s content. This feature makes collaboration and coordination with colleagues a breeze.

Create an Ad

Last but certainly not least, you can create a Google Ad from within your Listing. **TIP** Creating your first Ad from your Listing will connect your Google Ads account and your Google My Business account, offering you the added bonus of displaying your ad within the Listings.

Remember, ads are one of the top three ways to get your business to the top of Google and help customers find you. 

Are you convinced of all the amazing (not to mention free) features that a Google My Business Listing can do for you yet? Need a hand getting set up? Check out our step-by-step instructions below. 

You’ll be ‘above the fold’ in no time!

Apps for Scheduling Google My Business Posts

SocialBee for Posting to Google My Business

SocialBee is our preferred and recommended choice. Whether small business or large corporation, SocialBee provides basic to enhanced services including:

  • Enhanced posting, scheduling and multiple variations
  • Evergreen content that can be scheduled or added to pre-set schedules
  • Post variations
  • Google My Business posting
  • Saved hashtags
  • Draft and Approved status per post
  • Reporting

Check it out and see if SocialBee is right for your business.

If you subscribe to SocialBee with our link we will receive a small commission.

SocialBee More Leads, Less Effort

https://cloudcampaign.io/

Meet Publer. Some Superheroes save lives. Others give them back.

If the image below does not appear, Publer can be found here.

If the Local Viking image does not appear, click here.

Google My Business Step-by-Step Setup

Computer

As stated on Google’s website.

Computer

  1. Navigate to Google My Business.
  2. Search for your business using its name and address.
  3. If you see a dialog letting you know that someone else has verified the business, follow these steps.
  4. If you don’t see your business listed in the menu, click No, these are not my businesses or I’ve correctly entered the business. You’ll then be prompted to enter some details for your business. Make sure you enter an accurate, complete street address, and a phone number which reaches your business directly.
  5. Click Submit.

Mobile

Mobile

  1. Open the Google My Business app.
  2. Sign in with the Google account you’d like to use to manage your business.
    • If this is your first time adding a business to Google, sign in with the Google account you’d like to use to manage your business and touch Continue.
    • If you’ve added a business before, tap the menu icon , then tap the name of your business to reveal a list of all listings in your account. Scroll to the bottom of the page and choose + Create new business.
  3. If you see a dialog letting you know that someone else has verified the business, follow these steps.
  4. Enter your business name and information and agree to the terms of service. Touch Continue once you’re ready to create a listing for your business.
    • You may want to access Google My Business on a desktop to access more advanced editing features, including adding service-areas. Learn more

Verify location

To enter the verification code you receive:

  1. Sign in to Google My Business.
  2. If you’re managing multiple businesses, choose the one at the address where you received the postcard.
  3. Click Verify location from the menu (or click the Verify now button) and follow the prompts to complete verification.

Voila!

You have added or claimed your business on Google. Let us know how it went! Did you have any difficulties or was it an easy process?

Keeping your Listing up-to-date is a key feature of climbing the search ranks. Read more about adding Posts or a Description. By utilizing all of the features of the Google My Business Listing service, your business information will remain accurate and customers will more easily be able to shop with you.

Improve Your Google Search Rank Today!

Gracefully Ask Your Customers for Reviews

By Build Your Reputation6 Comments

Asking for Customer Reviews is so un-Canadian of us

It just feels wrong to ask people to leave nice reviews about your business!

Competitors are likely to Attract more Customers

Does it feel any better to know that 85% of people google a business before deciding whether or not to shop your location. Competitors with more Reviews, are likely to attract more customers. That might make it feel much more Canadian!

Here’s our simple approach that anyone can use:

1. Thank the customer for their business.

2. Ask. Ask immediately after you wow a customer.

3. Ask in-person, through email or through our text service with a 90%+ open rate.

4. Keep your request simple.

A small percentage of customers will leave business reviews without being asked. A much larger percentage will leave a review after being asked. If you’d like more reviews, you need to ask.

Here are the quick steps to find a direct link to your Google Business Listing Review request.

  1. Login to Google My Business.
  2. Find your Listing.
  3. Click “View on Search”
  4. When your business listing appears, click on “Reviews” or “Write a Review.”
  5. An entry box will appear on screen, allowing you to write a Review. Copy the URL in the address bar to a location you will remember. (IE bookmark or e-notebook)
  6. Share this direct link when asking customers for a Review.

Test it out yourself to be sure it is working correctly. You can also use a “link shortener” to make the URL smaller.

And now that you have new reviews, don’t forget to respond! Check out this quick video on how to respond to reviews.

Reviews are one of the fastest ways to grow a small business. Get started today! Tell ya what. Become our customer and we’ll send you a request for a Review after we wow you. Deal? 😉

Find more Ready-to-Buy Customers with the Ultimate Google Listing Guide with Step by Step Instructions.

Get your free copy today!

Luke Rossmo

Luke Rossmo

Barb is exceptional in her domain. Her unique approach is invaluable and leads to increased exposure which leads to increased business. She is also very approachable and genuinely cares about her clients. She also effectively conveyed information in a way that allowed me to understand.

 

Karen Wotherspoon

Connections Family Resource Centre

Barb makes the world of digital marketing easy to understand for those of us who aren’t so technologically savvy! Its obvious she has tons of knowledge and is passionate about her work.

 

Stephanie Cory

clipnclimb Saskatoon

Barb is awesome to work with! She really understands our business and is very attentive to our needs. I’d recommend her services to everyone looking to grow their business’ online presence. Thanks for everything Barb!

Gary Weisbrodt

Gary Weisbrodt

Comprehensive marketing knowledge delivered in an easy to understand way.

 

Jeff Salisbury

Barb is a pleasure to work with. She’s driven and incredibly knowledgeable with a multitude of digital marketing tactics and strategies.

Roxanne Brown

Roxanne Brown Jewellry

I’m looking forward to incorporating all of the great suggestions that I got to help move my company along in the area of social media.

Roxanne Brown

Robyn Michon

Robyn Michon

I came to Barb feeling frustrated with my marketing. It always felt like a guessing game. Barb has empowered me by showing me how to use data to purposefully decide where and how to market my services.

Nadine Howard

Healthy Lifestyles Nadine Howard

Barb has been a life and business saver for me! Building an online presence for your business isn’t easy and takes precious time, but Barb helped me tremendously! She knows what she’s doing, and so great to work with! I highly recommend her. I’ll definitely continue to work with her on an ongoing basis!

 

Sherry Knight

Sherry Knight

Here I am trying to build a brand and along comes Barb McGrath showing me how to focus growing that image! Wow, it has been a wild ride – each time we meet I learn something new I can apply. It is exciting and daunting, all at the same time. Barb is there each step of the way and slowly, I am learning what I need to know in order to build that brand.

Thank you Barb! You are so knowledgeable and also such an inspiration – marketing in the digital world is different. Yet, knowing that and working with the digital world are so very different when it comes to branding and marketing.

Angie Hicks

Humanly Branding & Marketing

Barb brings you decades of marketing smarts combined with a deep understanding of how to use the latest digital tools to make sure you’re seen online. Get her in your corner!

 

Mark Melby

Mark Melby

Barb is well versed in the digital world and knows what is currently working in the social media arena. Our visit and discussion around communication and it’s importance was very enlightening and informative. Highly recommend talking to Barb!

Jim Aho

Jim Aho

Barb is one of the brightest marketing stars out there. She’s smart, genuine and driven to succeed. I recommend her most highly.

 

Michelle Sellars

Cascadia Dog Training

Barb and her team are AMAZING!!! Their expertise and knowledge have brought my business to a whole other level. Thank you for everything you have done for me and my business!

How to Respond to Customer Reviews

By Build Your Reputation3 Comments

Responding to Reviews is Key

Customer Reviews….you love ’em or you hate ’em, but either way every business gets Reviews. And that’s a good thing!

Customer Reviews can improve your search results by 10%!

Customer’s seem to share their opinion from every direction. Facebook. Google My Business. Indeed. Yelp. Glassdoor and dozens more.

Think of Reviews like a phone call from a customer. If a customer called with a concern, would you ignore it? Hang up? Put them on hold for more than 24 hours? Responding to customer reviews promptly is critical to capturing your 10% search result improvement.

We get asked “how to respond to Reviews” a lot, so we decided to do up a quick video. Listen below for our tips on responding to positive and negative Reviews.

How to Respond to Customer Reviews

How to Respond to Positive Reviews

  1. Say thank you.
    • Your mom was right! Be sure to say thank YOU!
  2. Be sure to mention your business name.
    • This will help increase the likelihood that the Review will appear in search results when looking for your business.
  3. Add a marketing message.
    • This is a great chance to reinforce what your business accomplishes.
  4. Invite future business.
    1. Ask the Reviewer to share their experience with family and friends, or return for a future purpose.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

  1. Apologize and empathize.
    • As soon as you can, apologize with the customer.
  2. Add a marketing message.
    • It’s ok to mention what your business does and strives to achieve.
  3. Keep it short. Be sure not to mention your business name.
    1. Keep your response short and simple.
  4. Direct the conversation to someone offline.
    • Always, always, always give the Reviewer an offline contact.

Where to Find Reviews

In Canada, there are approximately 20 Review sites. They include:

  • Avvo
  • Caring.com
  • Cars.com
  • Citysearch
  • DealerRater
  • Edmunds
  • Expedia.com
  • glassdoor.com
  • Healthgrades
  • Houzz
  • indeed.com
  • Kudzu
  • OpenTable
  • Rate MDs
  • SureCritic
  • TripAdvisor
  • Vitals
  • Yelp
  • Zocdoc
  • zomato.com

In addition to these, many social sites and Directory sites also include the ability to leave a Review.

An Easier Way

Managing Reviews from a number of different sites can be time-consuming, frustrating and likely to cause error. It is estimated that managing your online reputation takes approximately 300 hours per year. Here are three ways you can manage your online reputation:

DIY

You can manage your online reputation on your own. Here are a few quick steps to get you started:

  • Create email alerts for your business name, your name and all of the products and services your business offers.
  • Create email alerts for your competitors and the products and services they offer that you want to monitor.
  • Review the emails daily to be sure you are responding as quickly as possible.
  • Monitor trend data for industry keywords.
  • Create Listings on all relevant sites being sure to return each time business information changes. (holiday hours, sales, etc.)
  • Add your competitors to your list of “Watch” pages in Facebook and other social channels.
  • Respond to Reviews on each Listing and Review site.

With a Little Help

Subscribe to an automated service that will scan keywords, competitors, social media and media mentions for each of the key terms you define. There are a few subscription app services available. We shopped them all, and chose ReputationManagement for its ease of use, cost effectiveness and comprehensiveness. We also chose ListingSync to keep all of our Listings in sync.

If you decide to shop the app, be sure to look for:

  • Use and popularity in Canada
  • Central repository to respond to Reviews
  • An overview of your business Listings
  • Competitive data and monitoring services
  • Analysis of sentiment
  • Includes proof of performance reporting
  • Ability to generate Reviews, and most importantly
  • Ability to pre-screen and respond to Reviews before they are publicized. 

Hire a Reputation Management Expert

Hiring someone to manage your online reputation is similar to hiring someone to build your website or create content for social media. Owning and managing a business is an already busy task. Hiring someone to actively monitor and manage your online reputation will help you focus on the job of growing your business.

Large firms and media monitoring services can be hired for 1000’s of dollars each month. Some of the firms to compare include BrandWatch or Meltwater. Above the Fold, yours truly, is a local option providing all of the service at a fraction of the price. If you’d like to learn more, please start by visiting Review Management and drop us a note to discuss further.

Managing your online reputation could be one of the best things you do for your business this year (and next!). Start today by completing a FREE online assessment. The assessment will determine if:

  1. Online information about your business is consistent.
  2. 5-Star Reviews from your customers will improve your search rank.
  3. Social Media posting is leading to conversion.
  4. Website visitors can find you and easily use your website. 

Power Up Your Business with a Free Google Listing

Listings are a crazy, powerful tool for customers to find your business. Don't miss out on the free webinar!

Mark Melby

Mark Melby

Barb is well versed in the digital world and knows what is currently working in the social media arena. Our visit and discussion around communication and it’s importance was very enlightening and informative. Highly recommend talking to Barb!

Gary Weisbrodt

Gary Weisbrodt

Comprehensive marketing knowledge delivered in an easy to understand way.

 

Michelle Sellars

Cascadia Dog Training

Barb and her team are AMAZING!!! Their expertise and knowledge have brought my business to a whole other level. Thank you for everything you have done for me and my business!

Roxanne Brown

Roxanne Brown Jewellry

I’m looking forward to incorporating all of the great suggestions that I got to help move my company along in the area of social media.

Roxanne Brown

Sherry Knight

Sherry Knight

Here I am trying to build a brand and along comes Barb McGrath showing me how to focus growing that image! Wow, it has been a wild ride – each time we meet I learn something new I can apply. It is exciting and daunting, all at the same time. Barb is there each step of the way and slowly, I am learning what I need to know in order to build that brand.

Thank you Barb! You are so knowledgeable and also such an inspiration – marketing in the digital world is different. Yet, knowing that and working with the digital world are so very different when it comes to branding and marketing.

Jim Aho

Jim Aho

Barb is one of the brightest marketing stars out there. She’s smart, genuine and driven to succeed. I recommend her most highly.

 

Karen Wotherspoon

Connections Family Resource Centre

Barb makes the world of digital marketing easy to understand for those of us who aren’t so technologically savvy! Its obvious she has tons of knowledge and is passionate about her work.

 

Luke Rossmo

Luke Rossmo

Barb is exceptional in her domain. Her unique approach is invaluable and leads to increased exposure which leads to increased business. She is also very approachable and genuinely cares about her clients. She also effectively conveyed information in a way that allowed me to understand.

 

Angie Hicks

Humanly Branding & Marketing

Barb brings you decades of marketing smarts combined with a deep understanding of how to use the latest digital tools to make sure you’re seen online. Get her in your corner!

 

Robyn Michon

Robyn Michon

I came to Barb feeling frustrated with my marketing. It always felt like a guessing game. Barb has empowered me by showing me how to use data to purposefully decide where and how to market my services.

Jeff Salisbury

Barb is a pleasure to work with. She’s driven and incredibly knowledgeable with a multitude of digital marketing tactics and strategies.

Stephanie Cory

clipnclimb Saskatoon

Barb is awesome to work with! She really understands our business and is very attentive to our needs. I’d recommend her services to everyone looking to grow their business’ online presence. Thanks for everything Barb!

Nadine Howard

Healthy Lifestyles Nadine Howard

Barb has been a life and business saver for me! Building an online presence for your business isn’t easy and takes precious time, but Barb helped me tremendously! She knows what she’s doing, and so great to work with! I highly recommend her. I’ll definitely continue to work with her on an ongoing basis!