3 Big Tips for Branding a Business Online

One of the most common things you hear people screaming about online these days is branding. But why?

In short, many more people are starting to use the internet for search when they need a local service like a plumber, HVAC repair technician, tree service, cleaning services, etc. This means that all local companies should be building a presence online so that potential customers, as well as ones that previously used them, can easily find them.

There are many routes one can take to market a business online while branding themselves, but here are three easy ones that have worked for us every time.

1.) Be Active on Facebook, Google and Twitter

Despite what it may seem, many people use social media sites like Facebook to find a local business to provide the service that they need. This means that at the least, you should have a Facebook business page that contains your contact information. The more often you can post on the page though, the better.

This simply means creating helpful tips for potential customers, and providing other tidbits of information they might need to know. This can be done on each of the profiles themselves, or through the form of a blog post on a website.

2.) Create Helpful Content

Using your website or another blog to create helpful content for prospects it a great way to not only make your brand look highly professional, but very helpful as well.

If you can offer helpful information to people so that they don’t have to search around for it, they will be more inclined to use your service, even if it’s sometime in the near future.

If writing isn’t your thing, creating YouTube videos to brand your business, or outsourcing the work is another great way to get beneficial information if front of your prospect’s faces.

3.) Build More Local Citations

If you didn’t already know, citations are the mentioning of a company’s name, address and phone number on another website. Think Yelp, Angie’s List, Yellow Pages, Facebook. The more mentions a business has on the web, the more it will benefit it’s ranking in the Google maps. That also just so happens to be where a large volume of searchers turn to when looking for a local service.

Local Clarity: What Exactly Are Citations?

As a local business owner, you probably know about a little something that pops up when people use Google to search for a business, the map pack. Here’s a quick example to familiarize yourself:

nashvillebouncehouserentals

This little ‘box’ can be referred to as the map pack or listing, or even the snack pack. Either way, it’s more than likely a place that you want to see your business’ name. And if you aren’t sure how to get there already, you’re probably itching to know how. The potential business that can come from these Google listings alone, are enough to make all companies in the area want a piece of the pie. The good news is that you can have it with the help of what are referred to as local citations.

Citations are exactly what they sound like, which is the citing of information about something.

In local marketing, citations involved the listing of a business’ name, address and phone number, and can also be known as NAP. You can think of this as being similar to a listing in the phone book, but online.

Each time a company’s name, address and phone number are listed (in the exact same way) on a website, it essentially counts as a vote; a vote that shows Google a signal of credibility. The way Google see’s it, a business is more credible with more mentions from other websites. Therefore, the more times a business is mentioned on other websites, the more it counts towards it’s reputation online. This is why you will hear people talk about the importance of branding and reputation management. Make sense? We sure hope it does!

Here are some examples of websites that count as citation sources to list a business on:

  • Angie’s List
  • Yelp
  • Brown Book
  • Manta
  • Foursquare
  • Yellow Pages
  • YP
  • White Pages
  • Super Pages
  • Yahoo
  • Facebook

In conclusion, when a business has more accurate citation listings than their competitors do, they will [in most cases] be the ones that stick to one of the top three spots in the Google local map pack.

Cool Case Study: Adding Some Bounce to a Local Business’ Monthly Sales

Our primary subject of focus here on Graphic Experience is local marketing and SEO, as many of you may know. In light of this, we thought it would be a cool idea to start illustrating our points in the form of case studies rather than just babble on about it in several different blog posts.

We’ve already demonstrated our work like this once when we related some work we did on a tree service’s website while also discussing Yelp. Now we’re going to give you the full enchilada, served with a side of rice and beans right now…

Our subject today is a party rental company located in Nashville, Tennessee, whose website is http://www.nashvillebouncehouserentals.com. And in case you’re wondering, yes, we have permission from this client of ours to share. 🙂

Anyhoo, what we would like to relate to you today is the layout of this company’s website. These are important details to pay attention to.

1.) The phone number is listed at the top of the website, making it easy for visitors to be able to make contact. The number is also clickable, leading to more click-throughs, as it’s less work for the consumer.

2.) The website is mobile-friendly. Over 50 percent of searches are performed on some kind of mobile device. If you have a website that isn’t compatible with these devices, your website won’t be easy to navigate through, and people will leave. Think convenience.

3.) We’ve made it easy and obvious for visitors to want to do business with the company. They have the option of calling right away, or becoming an email lead and receiving information when they fill out the form – conveniently located on every page of the website.

4.) The website hosts ample content, and addresses the consumer directly. When people visit your business’ website, some are looking for more information – in the form of media or content. Your website is like a billboard that advertises for you 24/7, which means you should utilize the opportunity to show a prospect why you’re the best choice for them.

The more you can tell them about your business, the better. That means listing your services, the locations you service, how long you’ve been in business, and overall, what makes you stand apart from your competitors.

If you really want to go the extra mile, create an individual page for each service that you provide, and include a detailed description that educates your prospects. Remember, people love to buy, but hate feeling like they’re being sold to.

5.) This last one doesn’t have to do anything with the website itself, but has a lot to do with where the website is retrieving most of it’s visitors from: The Google maps listing.

The map listings are the three listings in a box that pop up when a local search is performed, as so:

nashvillebouncehouserentals

So for example, if someone were to type “bounce house rentals” or “rent a bounce house in nashville tennessee” then these map results will pop up, and for every other related terms.

Naturally, when a searcher sees these three little results boxed in from all of the other companies in the area, it evokes trust. Think about it. Why would these three companies be listed here while the others aren’t? The point it, these businesses get more click from their Google listings because they are within the top three. Just think about what you would do if you were in the shoes of the consumer.

Case Study Conclusion

So as you can see, these factors are the bread and butter that have contributed to Nashville Bounce House Rental’s success online. It’s clear that their website is working harder for them because of the fact that they get more customers without having to put in more work. With our marketing efforts, the company is getting more leads than ever, just from being positioned in the places their prospects are searching online.

Now ask yourself this golden question: how could your company benefit from results like these? Don’t you think that you could attract a heck of a lot more business if your website and brand were positioned in prime places around the web.

Now ask yourself this last thing: how much money do you think you are leaving on the table every month from not being found in the search results online. People are searching for services like yours online each and every day, and these trends are only going to grow stronger. If people can’t find your website or your business listed on any popular search engines, you can guarantee they will be finding your competitors instead. How much money are you losing to them?

If you haven’t already, go and check out http:///www.nashvillebouncehouserentals.com and follow along with the points we made in this post. Once you get a grasp on what you need to do to get results like these, the only thing that awaits is action. Then naturally, results will follow.

We hope that you enjoyed this case study and if you did, let us know! Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

 

Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?

In all of the noise online, you hear a lot of people screaming how you need all of these different things to make a business have an impactful presence online.

While many of these are true, few will have the biggest impact. Think Pareto efficiency – in other words, the 80/20 rule.

That being said, one of the few things that matters the most is whether or not a website is mobile-friendly, meaning, it’s works on all devices and not just a computer. This makes is easier for website visitors to navigate through on their portable device, and they can have a better experience without having to scroll in different directions all over the page.

If you aren’t sure if your website is currently mobile-friendly, you can use Google’s very own tool to test it out.

Again, there are a few factors that make for a successful online branding experience, but this is one of the primary principles you need to address, as it’s online increasing in importance.

Why is Online Branding Such a Big Deal?

One of the most common things you hear people screaming about online these days is branding. But why?

In short, many more people are starting to use the internet for search when they need a local service like a plumber, cleaning services, HVAC repair technician, tree service, etc. This means that all local companies should be building a presence online so that potential customers as well as ones they had in the past can easily find them. Make sense?

With this being said, a business’ brand comes into play during search, but what exactly does it entail?

For the most part, branding is about creating an image for a company and marketing it to a target audience. Most local businesses already have this part figured out but when it comes to online branding, they are naturally [and understandably] confused. This stuff is all still pretty new.

Creating a brand image includes, but is not limited to the following features:

  • Having an active social media presence on at least Facebook and Google in order to connect with and engage customers.
  • Being listed accurately on third-party directory sites like Yelp, Bing, Foursquare, Angie’s List and Yahoo – meaning customers can see the business’ Name, Address and Phone number
  • Having reviews, testimonials, etc that show social proof that backs up the business’ reputation and work

These are only scratching the surface, but are three of the most important things that a local business owner can do to grow a brand for themselves.

Yelp: How Important Is It For Local Businesses?

Yelp may seem like a site that mostly just allows local consumers to rate their favorite food spots and dish out their opinion on the one’s they don’t like so much. But in reality, it’s becoming increasing popular for local services, which means more and more buyer’s decisions will be influenced by reviews on the site, as well as others alike.

With all of this being said, we reach out to one of our clients that operates a tree service in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee in order to test the situation. This is one of our more open clients, which is why we thought of them first for this case study.

We decided to spruce up our client’s Yelp listing to see if that alone would make it show up higher than some of the competitors in the space. Remember, online search is becoming more popular by the day, so you want to be everywhere people are searching for your services, but especially popular review sites like Yelp.

This process included:

  • Adding more photos to the listing, and including tags that were relevant to the service and location. Example caption: “The Best Tree Service in Mt. Juliet, TN”
  • Getting more reviews, which does take time and some effort on your part, or a local marketing company you may be working with. [Reviews increase conversions better than anything else.]
  • Responding to any reviews in order to maintain good customer relationships and engagement

And that’s only what we have done so far.

However, more of these factors alone can make the difference in the amount of customers that a business will attract online each month.

The keys are to be in the places where people are searching for your services, and then having a process in place to covert those people into customers easily and on autopilot.

Our Yelp Conclusion

Seeing how important reviews are in influencing people’s buying decisions, it is definitely important for a business to have a listing on Yelp. But it doesn’t stop there.

You need to constantly be maintaining the listing and trying to get reviews for it so you can increase conversions and the online reputation of your business.

Building Citations Featuring a Nashville Cleaning Service

If you are doing any kind of marketing pertaining to local business, you probably understand the need to build citations. For some people though, telling them to “build citations” can only make them think of traffic citations, or the citing of a resource for English class, ha.

Because of that, we thought it would be good to go into more detail about local business citations in it’s very own post and even better, to use an actual business that we have worked with to make our case study more hands on and easier to understand.

Helping us today is a Nashville cleaning service that wanted to help but to remain nameless because of the competitors in the area. It is actually a pretty dang competitive niche but hey, that only means that they needed us to help them build out more citations. So let’s get started sharing a little bit of the process with you for what we did for this cleaning company.

The Basics of Building Citations

When getting started with citations, we better reiterate what they are. Simply put, citations are the consist listing of a business’ name, address, and phone number on many web directories.

Search engines like Google aggregate this date and monitor it like a point system in the sense that the more places it can accurately find your business listed, the more chances you have to be seen by potential customers.

So not only does having your business’ website listed all over authority websites help with ranking on the first page of Google, but it gives you even more places to be seen and do business.

For example, when someone types in the search term “Nashville house cleaning” or some close variation, Google will bring back results that it feels are the most authoritative and relevant to that search. We could have just as easily typed in maid service, house cleaner, commercial cleaning, or even residential cleaning with Nashville on the end or beginning of any of them, and the business should show up about the same.

Start With Google

Ok, so now that you have a better understanding of how citations work when it comes to search, you need to know that starting with your Google citation will be the most effective.

Since businesses need to have their information listed consistently all over the web, you need to make sure that your Google one is accurate first because it’s the one that needs to be approved which sucks, but you need it to get into the local pack.

For the Nashville house cleaning company we worked with, we had to wait about 2 weeks to get a verification card from Google before we could proceed to building out other citations.

Optimize Wisely

Another great thing about citations is that they allow you optimize them just like you can optimize a website for search.

In basic English, this means that the listing is optimized in a manner that tells the search engines what it is about better so that they can deliver it in the search results. Since we were trying to help the cleaning company rank for bigger keywords that included “residential cleaning” and “commercial cleaning,” we also needed to include these keywords into the citation listings for better optimizations.

It’s important to note that you don’t want to over-optimize as this will look spammy and like all you are after is rankings, which Google really hates.

Case Study Conclusion

We hope you now have a better understanding of how building citations for local businesses works.

As long as you keep the business’ Name, Address, and Phone Number consistent across all of these citation networks, you should have no problem showing up in a prime place in the search results to bring in more business.

We want to thank the Nashville cleaning service that allowed us to do this case study using their information.

What Local Businesses Need to Know About Local Marketing

Here at Graphic Experience, we enjoy helping local business owners get a better understanding of how their business looks to their potential customers on the internet, if they can find them at all that is.

We always educate our clients and provide massive value up front before they make the final decision to do business with us. We would like to translate that same education to this blog and with that, create a blog post just for it.

So here it is, a post explaining the most important things that local business owners need to know about local marketing.

Citations are Crucial

Citations are listings of a business’ name, address, and phone number consistently on web directories. These include sites like SuperPages, YellowPages, and Angie’s List, and the more citations you have on quality, authoritative sites, the more of a chance a business has to rank in the Google 3 pack.

The businesses that are listed in the 3 pack have their name, address, and phone number not only listed on Google, but on other authority sites similar to it, which gives it more credibility and benefits rankings.

Links Help With Trust

Backlinks are links from other websites that link to your website. It’s ideal for local businesses to get backlinks from other businesses in the area, or the Chamber of Commerce.

Any site relevant to industry or location will be good for a local marketing campaign, and make the site appear more authoritative and trustworthy enough to qualify for top rankings.

Website Optimization

In order for the search engines to know what a site is about, it needs to be optimized to be discovered for a specific search.

This can be done with on-page optimization, and includes the process of including keywords naturally into the content of a website.

Conclusion

Local marketing can be quite successful if done right, and in a clean way. Having consistent, relative, and authoritative citations and backlinks alone can boost where a business ranks for multiple searches in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

photo credit: http://workinginpeelhalton.com

 

How Local Citations Work for a Business

Local citations are basically business listing on the web, just the same as phone books list businesses for the convenience of consumers.

But with the rise of more consumers searching for local business services online, phone books have become obsolete and citation directories have virtually taken over instead, which is why it’s important to have this information listed.

Having a business cited all over the web isn’t a difficult process, and can be done within a relative amount of time. If you still aren’t sure what “business directories” I am referring to, let me give you some examples that you may have already heard of.

  • Angie’s List
  • Yellow and White Pages
  • SuperPages
  • Manta
  • Foursquare
  • Yelp
  • Facebook

And there are plenty more where that came from. People search these popular directories for business as well, so they can be another means of bringing in business aside from a website. But that’s not the primary goal of building citations.

These citations include a businesses name, address, and phone number, which are commonly referred to together as NAP. The more places a business’ NAP is listed, the more “points” it has in the eyes of search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. These search engines aggregate data so each time a consumer performs a search, they deliver the results they see are best fit for the search.

This is when the NAP data from all over the web is brought together into the “point system,” and counts towards deciding if a business is the best result for the searcher. This can all sound HIGHLY confusing in the beginning, but it’s really not. Basically, all we are doing is listed a business’ information on web directories for Google and consumers to find. Easy squeezy, lemon peazy.

Why Citations Are Super Important

If you can’t see the benefits of having citations as a local business, maybe this will help seal your deal.

Citations verify to the search engines that a business is credible, authoritative, and a real business in the area that it’s claiming to operate in. The search engines look for whatever information they can to bring users the best results possible so with optimized citations, they can both learn a lot about a business.

Most importantly, citations help both search engines and consumers be reassured that your business is what it says it is. In our opinion, this will become more important in the future and the more you can make a business look real, the more opportunities there will be to bring in more exposure through the internet.

Local Marketing At It’s Finest

When you hear “local marketing,” you may just allow the information to be categorized with the other types of marketing you hear about since it seems like there are so many. That was the case of a few of our staff members in the beginning stages at least. 😀

Unlike social media marketing, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, direct marketing, etc, local marketing strictly pertains to marketing for local businesses in order to gain more customers and sales whether it’s online or offline. Most types of marketing are simple, but local marketing really takes the cake.

In this post, we wanted to talk a little more in-depth about local marketing and what it involves for local business. Reason being, local isn’t going anywhere and is in fact becoming more in demand because of the growing number of people that are using the internet to look for a local business or service to purchase.

Those local businesses that can get in front of these ready-to-buy consumers and sustain that positioning, can double, triple, and even quadruple, the amount of customers and sales that come from online, and help gain a competitive edge that the competitors can’t match. We thrive on this here at Graphic-Experience. Needless to say, local marketing can be a lot of fun if you know what you are doing.

 Basics to Cover With Local Marketing

Citations: The citing of a businesses name, address, and phone number distributed to directories across the web is referred to as a citation.

This counts like a point system and the more of these points a business has, the more for the search engines count and decide where to rank the business in the results amongst the rest.

Backlinks: Aren’t always necessary in local marketing because of a lack of competition but when they are needed, links from citation directories and other local websites work wonders for rankings.

Optimization: Most businesses have websites but that doesn’t automatically mean that people are going to be able to find it.

If a business has a website that isn’t optimized, it will be much harder for the search engines like Google to know what the site is about, so it won’t be understood where the result should be delivered in the search results.

Reviews: Have become a much bigger part of local marketing since 2014, seeing as many consumers are aware of fake reviews. Therefore, they start looking for more trust for a business and if yours can’t prove itself online, people will move on to your competitors.