Why Your Business Should Care About Yelp

On September 25, 2014, in Business Technology, by Staff Contributor

Think Yelp Doesn’t Matter for Your Local Business? Think Again!

You might be of the opinion that Yelp has passed it’s time, and it’s not relevant these days. You would be wrong.

Yelp is still not merely relevant but also essential for small business in this day and age of instant social signals blasting your reputation across the Web. To demonstrate this further we thought we would share a ton of the reasons why your business should still care about Yelp. This ought to open your eyes concerning the opportunity that Yelp still delivers.

10 great reasons to use Yelp more than before!

  • 90 percent of Yelp users state that reading positive reviews affects their purchasing decisions and the lion’s share of these reviews are written.
  • 93 percent of folks that search review sites usually go shopping at the businesses for they investigate.
  • There is an average $8,000 surge in annual revenue for businesses that use Yelp.
  • There is a $23,000 increase in revenues for those who make use of Yelp advertising.
  • 77 percent of Yelp users say that they have a renewed and more focused customer service initiative after using Yelp.
  • In spite of these numbers, some 87 percent of small businesses have yet to use Yelp.
  • Reviews from your guests that compliment your “customer service” in their review are considerably more likely to grant those coveted 5 star reviews.
  • Each star generates a 5-9 percent jump in revenues.
  • Yelp favors small businesses over the McDonalds of the world.
  • Yelp’s exciting new “Call to Action” button delivers customers directly from your Yelp page to your website where a transaction can take place.

Review sites like Yelp offer a huge opportunity for small business. Because of so many consumers taking advantage of online reviews and basing their shopping and purchasing decisions so heavily on them, it would be smart to take full advantage of such an obvious outlet for positive feedback regarding your site. Not only that, the chance to promote, solidify, and engage about your brand is invaluable.

 

Use Google Business Photos to Showcase Your Business!

On September 23, 2014, in Business Technology, by Staff Contributor

Increase Traffic to Your Site and Store with Google Business Photos

One of Google’s latest offerings is the introduction of Google Business Photos. It is a virtual presentation of your place of business in a panoramic 360 degree picture located in search, your Google+ page or in Maps. You also have the option of embedding it on your site or social media properties.

How does Google Business Photos benefit you?

Implementing this can help you in several ways. First, it can help create more trust in searchers. They are able to see your establishment in all its glory, and get a feel for the type of place you have. It’s like you’re welcoming them inside. Second, this program really helps make your listings stand out from the crowd. You may have done well and gotten yourself on the first page of Google, however this listing, featuring a panoramic shot of your business, is going to be by far the most interesting item on that page. Third, you’ll gain from the authority Google will assign your business. You will be recognized as the primary site for your brand, which will help in several ways, not the least of which is reputation management.

How do you get these photos made?

While you may be all fired up and want to grab your phone and start snapping shots, you should know that currently, Google requires business owners to utilize a Google Business Photos Trusted Photographer. These photographers have undergone training by Google in exactly how to not only create the pictures, but how to best enhance them. Once you locate one, (a Google search – Google Business Photos Trusted Photographer + Your City) should suffice; you make an appointment. You’ll be provided with tips on how to best stage and prepare your business for the shoot, which takes about an hour. Since this is about showing off your establishment, you don’t need to be in the pictures. In fact, Google wants as few humans as possible in them.

If this looks like a great way to enhance your Google+ Local listing, then you need to get the ball rolling today!

 

Why Routine Social Media Management Is Critical

On September 18, 2014, in Business Technology, by Staff Contributor

Are You Monitoring Your Social Media Channels?

Social media takes place in the blink of an eye. Word travels so fast that you may go to sleep feeling wonderful and wake up to a firestorm. This is certainly more apt to be true if you are not in the practice of routinely monitoring your social media channels. Monitoring the conversations about you and/or your brand online can be much more than a reputation management best practice. Attention given to those looking for information early in the sales process can result in a significant increase in conversions. Primarily, however, this is about creating a firewall between trouble and you. Cutting the bad news off at the pass is the goal here, and there are a handful of quite simple ways to manage this, which of course is everyone’s concern. It doesn’t have to take all day, as shown in this HubSpot article.

How to keep track your social media conversations

  • Social media monitoring tools like TweetDeck or HootSuite are crucial on the subject of saving time, and seeing most if not all of your social media in one place. They are simple to use, have free versions, and can make it easy to get into the habit of checking on your social media daily.
  • Since Google has recently decided to end Google Reader and Google Alerts seems to be broken, marketers who have relied on these useful services are left scrambling to find viable alternatives to get and read newsfeeds. A few you can consider are NewsBlur, AOL Reader and for mobile, Flipboard. For Google Alerts try TalkWalker or Social Mention.
  • Scan for questions or comments on your blog, social networks, videos, and your Facebook pages. Answer anything pressing, particularly those that are unhappy or confused about your products or services. This can head off scads of trouble!

However you choose to do it, be sure you actually make the time in your hectic schedule to make this happen daily. Unhappy customers and unresolved issues will fester and turn into major headaches if you allow them to. Furthermore, this type of problem will often take on a life of its own, magnifying what began as a small fire into a major conflagration! Don’t allowed this to happen to you!

 

5 Ways to Get Customers Raving About You

On September 16, 2014, in Business Technology, by Staff Contributor

5 Tips for Developing a Raving Fanbase

If you’re trying to find new ways to increase your revenues, then you need look no further than your existing customer base! You’d be hard pressed to find a better way to market your company than through the words and actions of your current and former customers extolling your virtues! And you know what, most of the time it won’t cost you a dime!

Here are 5 ways to get your customers raving about you and your brand.

  1. Strive to be remarkable - If your business isn’t trying to be flat out memorable in all you do, it will likely be difficult to create raving fans. There are ordinary businesses everywhere you look; it’s your job to go that extra mile, give that extra effort, and provide them good reasons to tout your business. What’s nice though is that this will pay off exponentially!
  2. Connect with social media - Make sure you are connecting with your customers and prospects using social media. Frequently companies will set up social channels, and then neglect them, often at their peril, as these can be conduits to problems, opportunities and relationships. Your customers will use them, to be sure, if they have an issue with you, so make sure you get ahead of this.
  3. Deal with problems proactively - When you do have a problem, addressing it quickly, professionally and generously is by far the best way to score some points with not only the customer in question, but all those who should view or hear about this, often through the customers themselves, whether good or bad!
  4. Ask for reviews - Unquestionably the best place to generate great buzz about your products and services is through the reports and reviews of your current and former buyers. Make sure you encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews, both on the site and also on merchant review sites like Yelp. This can help immeasurably, and over 90 percent of people search for reviews before shopping.
  5. Treat your customers like you want to be treated – only better! - Creating a relationship with your customers, in which you regularly communicate with them by asking opinions and offering free advice, is the foundation for fostering the kind of goodwill it requires to get them to become a raving fan of your brand. Get enough of them shouting your virtues on the rooftops, and your problems are over!
 

10 Ways Your Website Just Lost You the Sale

On September 12, 2014, in Business Technology, by Staff Contributor

10 Ways Your Website Just Lost You the Sale

It’s tough enough to get traffic and create a workable sales funnel. Don’t make it more difficult by shooting yourself in the foot with a dysfunctional and wholly inefficient website. Small business websites are especially vulnerable to these types of mistakes, as they may not have the technical expertise of larger businesses available to make sure they are thoroughly functional. Toward that end, here are some tips that will help you make your site attractive and useful to your visitors, and ultimately result in more sales and conversions.

7 Tips for a Better Converting Site

  1. Make sure your site is fresh - Google loves fresh content, and honestly so do your visitors. Having old content populating your pages for a few years back is a sure ride to poor search rankings and disinterested visitors.
  2. Poor Site Navigation - Not being able to get around your site can cause anyone not stuck with you to head for the exit. Make sure you have working, current and visible navigation on your site. Also be sure to have a link to your home page on every page of your site.
  3. Visually Boring - If the first things visitors to your pages see when they arrive are either long pages of text or a sea of banners, you’ll probably lose them. White space is your friend as is judicious use of imagery.
  4. Have a mobile version of your website - Since we’re in a day and age when more than 50 percent of all of all search traffic comes from a mobile device, wouldn’t it be smart to have a mobile version? Just sayin…
  5. Flash - There are two major problems with Flash. First Google has a difficult time reading it, so it can effect indexing of your pages, and it makes your pages load very slowly, which effects search ranking.
  6. Fix any broken links - This irritates visitors, and is a black mark with Google. Especially take down any links to old products or programs which are no longer available.
  7. Calls to Action - Probably the number one conversion killer is not having strong and effective calls to action, and usually more than one!

This is but a short list, but definitely enough to get you on the right track. Don’t make it more difficult than it is: optimize your site today!

 

Your default photo-sharing site? Dropbox

On September 9, 2014, in Business Technology, by Staff Contributor

Cloud-based file-sharing service Dropbox has quickly grow to be a favorite of computer users due to its simpleness and power. But these days Dropbox has got a new mission, according to TechCrunch writer Matthew Panzarino. According to him, the company now would like to be the cloud’s default photo-sharing service. And, due to a new Mac app that automatically detects, uploads and produces shared links to the screenshots you produce on your computer, Dropbox is one step closer to completing this objective.

Subset

It’s true, as Panzarino writes, this app serves a specific niche group of users. Journalists, of course, take a lot of screenshots, so they would likely benefit. So would big Twitter users and app developers. Nonetheless the size of the group benefitting from the app isn’t what’s significant. What is significant is that the app helps Dropbox get closer to becoming the top site for saving and sharing photos.

What it means to you

If Dropbox attains this goal, it could undoubtedly make your life simpler. It’s a pain right now to save, store and send photos. Dropbox’s hope is eventually every photo you shoot will be automatically uploaded to Dropbox. That’s good for Dropbox, of course. It’s good for the service’s users, as well.

The future

This could even make sharing and storing photos a simple, hassle-free process, which it definitely hasn’t been up to this point. It’s too early to tell if Dropbox will be successful in its quest to become the top photo-sharing service in the cloud. Nevertheless the service is definitely off to a good start.

 

3 Easy Ways to Keep Visitors on Your Site Longer

On September 4, 2014, in Business Technology, by Staff Contributor

Lower Your Bounce Rate by Engaging Your Visitors

You’ve just reviewed your Google Analytics and are more than a little surprised to see that most visitors to your site are departing within a few seconds. This is called your bounce rate, and if you have one that is around 50 percent, then you need to take some action.

Why is your bounce rate important?

Google examines your site’s bounce rate as a part of its search algorithm, and a high rate can drive down your page rankings. Moreover, if everyone is leaving upon arrival, your site is most likely not doing what you’d hoped it would. Often this could be caused by your site’s pages loading slowly, which could definitely cause people to move on. But if you’ve got that under control, here are three ideas to help you keep visitors from bouncing off your pages!

  • Use video - The usage of video or other multimedia content can make a remarkable difference in many ways. First of all, video has shown to be a factor in not just reducing bounce rates, but additionally in increasing user engagement, increased traffic, (YouTube embeds help your rankings) and increased sales and preferred actions. The identical content of some 1500 to 2000 words presented in a video, audio or slideshow will frequently be viewed in its entirety.
  • Make your content more readable - Resist the urge to plop large chunks of content on a web page. Break it up into shorter, more consumable paragraphs, and be sure to use subheads, bullet points and lists to break up the visual look of it. The intelligent use of images can help you get your points across as well, and are nice to see.
  • Highlight related content on your site - Very often you’ll have content on your site that is related to the piece in question. Be sure you link to other content on your site that folks may be interested in, and offer them a reason to stick around! This can be as simple a fix as using a Related Post plugin if you have a WordPress blog.
 

Google Analytics for Small Business 101

On September 2, 2014, in Business Technology, by Staff Contributor

Use Google Analytics to Get Actionable Intel for Your Small Business

If you ask the average already-overwhelmed small business owner if they’d like to get started using Google Analytics, the typical response is wide-eyed fear, dreading tackling the mountains of data that Analytics can supply. Who has the time to learn new things when there is work to be done? The reality is, Google Analytics will help make that work proceed far more efficiently and profitably, if you are willing to dive in and start utilizing it in a focused, specific manner. Start with asking the right questions: what are my goals, and what do I need to know to achieve them, and which of these website metrics will help me make it happen.

Understanding which metrics you need

Each business possesses its own needs, or course, but here are a few common needs.

  • Total visits - Discovering how many visitors you’re getting is a basic measurement of success, assuming they are targeted visitors. Take a look at both “unique” (first time) visitors, and total visits, which include returnees.
  • Keyword phrases - Understanding which keyword phrases are driving traffic to your page is paramount. This data will help you know how to target your primary and secondary keywords.
  • Popular pages - Which of your pages are receiving the most notice, and which aren’t!
  • Visitors geo-location - Which countries are producing the most traffic for you?
  • Referring pages - Which pages are sending you the most traffic? This could be from any number of sources, including affiliates, video, images, social media and more.
  • Search engine traffic - Which search engines are delivering the most visitors.

Use these advanced Google Analytics features to help sort the data

Three handy advanced features are extremely useful when dealing with processing and understanding this information.

Custom reports will give you the ability to create a version of Google Analytics just for you. You will be able to select the data that’s relevant to you, and arrange it any way you like.

Advanced segmenting lets you sort traffic into segments that shed light on your data, such as segmenting out mobile or tablet traffic.

Intelligence events is akin to Google Alerts, and sends a you an email or text to your mobile device when anything out of the ordinary happens on your site, such as a spike in traffic, either up or down.

Yes, Google Analytics is a LOT of data. And yes, you can make it work for you, with just a little effort!