How Online Reviews Can Help Boost Business & How To Get More

Google reviews are becoming an essential part of marketing for small businesses. Why are they so important?

Here are some of the effects that Google reviews can have on your business

How do you get more reviews?

What to do about negative reviews

Respond. Sometimes a negative review can be more powerful than a positive one. When you have a negative review and you respond to that person it shows the world that you are on top of your business and that if something goes wrong you will be there to address it and make things right. Once you get the bad review its not so much about that one situation anymore its about showing the world how you deal with a negative situation

Tips for dealing with a negative or fake review:

Google Reviews Just got A lot Easier

Google has gotten so used to dominating the Internet that it has insisted for years that Google+ was the next great social media platform. There is nothing inherently wrong with Google+, but it simply has not caught on with the public in general. There are several niche audiences that utilize Google+ quite a bit, but most people have no idea what Google+ is or how to use it. Most Gmail users don’t even realize that they get a Google+ account when they sign up for Gmail. That is a good indication of how unpopular Google+ has become. Since most people have no idea what Google+ is, that meant that Google was diluting the importance of its local business review function by not getting nearly the amount of traffic it should be getting. After years of business owners begging for a solution, Google has finally come up with an answer to the Google reviews issue.

Influencing Customers To Get Positive Reviews For Your Business

If your business does not currently encourage customers to leave reviews on the major review sites or even post reviews on your own company website, then you are missing out on a lot of business. It is estimated that nearly 90 percent of all consumers consider online reviews to be a reliable source of information for making a buying decision. For many people, online reviews act like word of mouth and are considered inside information from someone they trust.

Considering how much online reviews have on consumer buying decisions, it makes sense that you want to gain as many positive reviews as possible to help bring in more business. Getting customers to give you positive reviews is not difficult, but it does require your organization to have a focus on customer service it may have never had before.

How You Should Be Handling Negative Reviews Of Your Business

Every person and company makes mistakes, but companies are always held over the fire for every mistake they make. As a business owner, it can feel like a single negative review about your business or product is the end of the world, but that is never the case. The degree to which negative reviews damage your business depends solely on how you react, and what you do to directly solve the problem


How Important Are Google Reviews

Google is always trying to evolve into the ultimate online service for anything that users would ever need and that includes honest reviews for businesses. Google reviews have been around for several years and they are one of the best kept secrets in the Internet marketing world.

Google reviews are business reviews submitted by real customers about real businesses. Customers can apply one to five stars to indicate the quality of service and a composite score for those reviews appears whenever the business’ profile shows up in local search results. With Google reviews, Google has developed what it feels is the ultimate review system.

How To Grow Your Social Media Following ASAP

Your social media platforms are only powerful marketing tools if people are interacting with them. If you don’t have a lot of followers, then your messages will not be seen. You could solve this problem by buying followers from marketing companies, but those are usually ghost accounts that have no activity. Instead of investing in fake accounts to help your floundering social media presence, there are ways you can grow your social media following quickly with real people who are interested in your company.

Why Are Leading Brands Investing In Live Events ?

Have you ever wondered why you see so many more large brands at the live events you attend? From concerts to sporting events, the biggest brands in the world are buying more and more marketing space to reach audiences. Sometimes the matches don’t quite make sense; like when a car insurance company sponsors a race car. That is not exactly the best way to promote safe driving. But there is a broad-reaching reason why these brands are spending billions on live events, and you might find that reason very interesting.

How The Pros Maximize Digital Marketing

When a digital marketing professional analyzes a situation and puts together a plan, they look at the entire process much differently than people who are not as experienced. While it takes years to become an accomplished digital marketing professional, it never hurts for website owners to learn some of the very basics the pros use to get the most out of every digital marketing campaign.

Improving Your Local SEO

If you are still investing money in yellow pages print advertising and display ads in the newspaper without doing as much as you can to improve your local online advertising, then you are missing out on the huge number of local customers who use the Internet to find the businesses they want to patronize. Improving your local SEO means enhancing your website to meet your local marketing needs, and utilizing the growing number of tools that are available to help expose your business to a larger local audience.

5 Platforms To Digitally List Your Local Business

Your local customers are using the Internet to find what they are looking for, and you are missing out on a lot of business if you do not take advantage of the digital advertising outlets available. There are plenty of ways your business can reach local customers and be seen in the search results for people outside your local area who are looking for businesses in your city.

The Consumer Review Fairness Act

People who use the Internet without ill intent have become addicted to online reviews. Every marketing expert knows that word-of-mouth is the most effective type of advertising a company can get, and online reviews are treated like word-of-mouth by a large majority of Internet users. It is estimated that 84 percent of all online consumers trust online reviews and use them as part of their decision making process. As more companies catch on to the importance of online reviews, there has been a growing trend of companies abusing the Internet to get positive reviews those companies do not deserve.

Why Your Company Needs Its Own Hashtag

Social media is a great way to promote your business, but it requires a plan and some direction to be effective. You could be putting some great messages out there, but they are getting lost if people cannot find those messages when they search for your company. Ever since Facebook and every other social media platform caught up with Twitter and introduced hashtags, digital marketing experts have been using those hashtags to point potential customers in the right direction.

What is a Hashtag?

The hashtag, symbolized with a #, used to be more commonly known as the pound sign. Social media uses the symbol to group together words that are used as tags for certain types of posts. For example, if the ABC Company put #ABCCompany in every social media post, then all of their posts would turn up in a search for the company on any social media platform. The hashtag is a very powerful way to introduce a new potential customer to all of your marketing information at once.

How do You use a Hashtag?

Hashtags are used to create a mass conversation or group together posts that have a similar theme. If you put your company name into a hashtag and then end all of your social media posts with it, then whenever someone searches for your company on a social media platform they will see every post that has been tagged with a hashtag. This creates a tremendous return on all of your online marketing efforts and considerably boosts your rating on search engines.

Categorizing Conversations

You can put more than one hashtag on your posts, and the second hashtag can be used to help mark a conversation or set of promotional posts. For example, if ABC Company wanted to introduce its new Red Widget with a set of social media posts, then they would use the hashtags #ABCCompany and #ABCRedWidget in all posts pertaining to the Red Widget. Not only will this increase the number of times the Red Widget shows up in search results, it will draw more people into the conversation.

Going Viral

Let’s say ABC Company posted a promotional video as part of the Red Widget campaign that got a lot of attention. Because there were hashtags on the video, it becomes easier for people to find and it is also easier to share. This is just one of the ways that marketing materials eventually go viral. When a part of your digital marketing campaign goes viral, it can bring a huge return on your marketing investment and push your company into a higher marketing level.

It takes some experimenting to really learn how to use hashtags, which is why it is best to leave them to professional digital marketing experts. When hashtags are used properly, they can shine a spotlight on your company and your online marketing efforts. Over time, a collection of strong hashtags can significantly enhance the effectiveness of future marketing campaigns.

5 Signs You Should Invest In Digital Marketing

If you own a business and are not investing in digital marketing, then you probably made your decision based on economics. In other words, you decided that spending money on hiring a digital marketing firm is not worth the return you would receive. The truth is that a good digital marketing firm is going to allow you a significant return on your investment. Not only that, but there are signs you are ignoring that are telling you it is time to invest in digital marketing.

You Don’t Invest In Digital Marketing

The first sign that you should invest in digital marketing is that you currently do not invest in digital marketing. You know that competitor of yours that always seems to win the big business? That competitor invests in digital marketing. If you want your company to be able to compete in the digital age, then you need to have a digital marketing firm on your side.

You Hear A Great Deal About Your Competition

When you talk to your customers and prospects, do they often compare your company with your biggest competitor? Do customers often ask why you don’t offer services or promotions that are similar to the competition? Do you know how your customers learned about the competition’s services and promotions? Your customers are being affected by your competition’s digital marketing. If you are not utilizing a digital marketing company as well, then all your customers are getting is information about the competition.

Your Customers Ask Why You Are Not On Social Media

If it seems as though everyone is on social media these days, it is because they are. If your company is not active on social media, then you are not being seen by your target audience on a daily basis. A digital marketing company would professionally manage your social media presence and use it to put your company’s name on the minds of your target audience.

Your Flow Of New Customers Is Weak

Business owners who stick with the old ways of getting new customers (newspapers and radio) are starting to notice that they don’t get as many new customers as they used to. In the world of digital marketing, generating a constant flow of new customers has become an art form and your competition is using that art form to paint a profitable picture that could put you right out of business.

Your Website Is Not Your Strongest Marketing Tool

If your company website is not the primary source of new customers and at least one of the top three revenue sources for your business, then you need the help of a digital marketing company right away. In olden times, it used to be said that if your business was not in the local Yellow Pages then it might as well not exist. These days, if your business does not have a strong website, then to a large percentage of your target audience, your business does not exist at all.

The return on investment for digital marketing services can be substantial. An experienced digital marketing company can help your business to reach new customers quickly, and strengthen the bonds with existing clients. If you are not investing in digital marketing today, then you should make it a priority for tomorrow.

The Growing Importance of SSL Certificates

An SSL certificate (Secured Sockets Layer) is a device you add to your website to encrypt and protect any information your clients input into your site. Over the past few years, the stories of data breaches and the theft of millions of pieces of important personal information have been making headlines all over the world. Google has decided that it has seen enough and it is going to immediately ramp up the importance of SSL certificates and make these devices mandatory for all websites.

What is Google Doing?

In 2018, Google is launching its initiative to go from recommending that websites get SSL certificates and use HTTPS (secure website coding language) to making both actions mandatory. If your website does not have an SSL certificate, then Google is going to flag your site as unsafe. While your site might be free of viruses or any immediate dangers to users, your lack of encryption protocols used by SSL certificates will force Google to consider your site unsafe.

What Does SSL Cost?

One of the reasons website owners avoided SSL certificates in the past is because they were extremely expensive. In recent years, there have been some companies that have offer robust and free SSL certificates and that number is growing. An initiative called Let’s Encrypt is a collection of IT and security experts who are going to offer durable SSL certificates for free. These certificates are going to cover your main domain and any subdomains you have, but it is still recommended that you invest in a more powerful SSL certificate for enterprise size websites.

SSL and Your Google Rankings

Not only is Google going to mark your website as unsafe if you do not have SSL protection, but it is going to give all websites that do have SSL certificates slight boosts in their Google ranking. If you do not have SSL and your competition does, then the gap between you two in Google results is about to get significantly larger. Needless to say, most users are not going to go to a website that Google considers to be unsafe.

Gain Credibility with Your Customers

Having an SSL certificate on your website not only enhances your Google results, but it also increases your website’s credibility with your target audience. Users will see that you have a secured website and they will know that their personal information is safe with your site. This is going to be a huge advantage over websites that do not have SSL certificates, especially with the way Google is going to make security a priority in the media.

Peace of Mind

An SSL certificate means peace of mind for you and your clients. You will be able to grow your business knowing that all customer data is encrypted and secured from hackers. Your customers will feel more secure about giving you their payment information, and that is going to encourage more orders.

If you have never heard of an SSL certificate or the HTTPS coding language, then it is time to get familiar with both. In 2018, Google is making security a priority and if your website does not meet the new Google standards, then there is a good chance that your slipping Google search results will also conspire to keep consumers away from your website for good.

10 Common Misconceptions About Websites

The Internet has been around a long time, which means websites are a well-known commodity to just about anyone. As with any other technology, there has been plenty of time for myths and misconceptions to be created about websites that can skew business owners’ opinions. Here we address some of the most common misconceptions and give you real information to work with.

It is easy to make a professional website

It is easy to make a free website that you can use for your hobby or group, but a professional website requires a professional programmer with years of experience and an understanding of the latest Internet technology.

Websites automatically generate traffic

Websites are exactly like brick and mortar locations; you need to advertise to generate foot traffic. Putting a website on the Internet is not enough to generate revenue.

All of my ideas should show up on my website

Even in the virtual world of websites, not everything is possible. Your web designer will do what they can to make your website just as you envisioned it, but sometimes concessions need to be made to get a functional and user-friendly website.

Once the site is made, the job is done

A website is never truly finished. There are constant updates to your company and product information, not to mention new tools that are added to your website to increase traffic and gather data.

I don’t need to develop a website because I can just copy one

For almost any website, you can find the source code and see how the website was made. But any professional website is going to have trademark and even copyright protections on its website content. Also, copying code from one site to make another is going to cause your site to incur Google penalties, which means no one will ever see your site in search results.

Web design is easy so it should be cheap

It takes years of training and experience to become a professional website designer. As with any other business service, if you want professional results you will pay for professional services.

My web content needs to appeal to me because it is my website

If you want people to visit your website and interact with your content, then your content needs to be everything your visitors want to see. Appealing to your own preferences is not going to grow your business.

Once my website is completed the updates should be free

Website designers charge one fee to build your site, and then a monthly fee to maintain it. It takes work and time to update your site and you always pay for the time of a professional web designer.

I can write my own content

Your website is going to need daily content updates that you do not have time to create. Website content writing also requires an experienced copywriter to be done properly. If you try to do your own content, you might wind up violating Google rules and having your website penalized for months.

I can just grab images from the Internet for my site

You must either own the copyrights for the images you use on your site, or have permission from the copyright owner to use those images. When you grab images from the Internet and use them, you are stealing someone’s property and creating a criminal situation.

The best approach to getting a good and professional website is to hire an experienced digital marketing firm. A professional will always get the best results for your business.

How To Grow Your Social Media Following ASAP

Your social media platforms are only powerful marketing tools if people are interacting with them. If you don’t have a lot of followers, then your messages will not be seen. You could solve this problem by buying followers from marketing companies, but those are usually ghost accounts that have no activity. Instead of investing in fake accounts to help your floundering social media presence, there are ways you can grow your social media following quickly with real people who are interested in your company.

Get Involved With Trending Topics

Many social media platforms have lists of topics that are trending that people comment on throughout the day. Locate the list of trending topics on your social media platform and start commenting and responding to the comments of others. Some social media platforms also have hashtags you can use to get involved in conversations. You should choose conversations that interest you and start making comments.

Join Groups

Most groups on social media have a policy that does not allow members to sell on those group pages, but that should not stop you from joining groups. Find groups that are associated in some way with what your company is involved in and start commenting on discussions. The goal is to add people to your social media following, and getting involved in focused group conversations is going to help.

Do Reviews

You should start checking out the followers you do have and start leaving reviews on business social media pages. Always make sure your reviews are genuine and try to keep them as positive as possible. You will notice that those businesses start reviewing your company’s social media pages, and this attracts more traffic.

Promote Your Social Media Sites

There are programs you can use to link your social media sites to each other. This allows you to post on all of your platforms at once, which helps you to promote all of your social media pages. You should put links to your social media pages prominently on your website and all email correspondence.

Stay Active

The key to growing your social media presence quickly is to be active every day in a positive way, and with other social media users who would appreciate your company’s products or services. The more that you put into your social media presence, the more you will get out of it. You should post product suggestions or answers to customer questions every day to give people a reason to like your social media pages. Social media is definitely an interactive marketing tool and it requires your involvement for your pages to grow.

The best solution to growing your social media pages quickly is to hire an experienced digital media company that knows how to maximize your social media presence. A larger social media audience means more potential customers to read your marketing and sales information. To get a vibrant social media presence going, it takes the kind of time and experience that a digital media company can offer.

Redefining Facebook Marketing- It’s All About Relationships

Facebook’s reputation has been taking quite a beating in recent months with the fake news scandals and the legal battles over Facebook’s privacy policies. The core purpose of Facebook, as Mark Zuckerberg recently reiterated, is the desire allow users to create meaningful relationships that have them coming back day after day. On its surface, Facebook was never meant to be a marketing platform, and some recent changes to Facebook policies show that the website is serious about not be as business friendly as marketers would like.

The Current Restrictions

When a post is made from a business Facebook page, that post only reaches between four and six percent of the page’s audience. If you want to reach more people, you have to pay. The more people you want to reach, the more you have to pay.

To counteract this business model, marketing experts had become proficient at getting people to engage with their posts. There were plenty of posts telling you to “like this post to win” or “share this post to get a discount.” After a while, Facebook started to crack down on those practices. In light of Facebook’s new reputation problem, it is completely putting a stop to those types of bait posts.

The Shift At Facebook

Facebook is very serious about preserving the ability for its users to create and cultivate strong personal relationships. The “like” button is a device Facebook uses to determine what users like and don’t like, which cases Facebook to change its algorithms to give its own advertisers more prominent placement on user pages.

In this way, Facebook is offering a bit more to the business community. But when you consider what Facebook is taking away by not allowing marketing experts to do their own market research on the platform, you are left with the feeling that it is time to change the way you approach Facebook marketing.

Time To Focus On Relationships

Marketing experts are now moving more towards establishing relationships with Facebook users instead of just looking at users as though they were marketing data. Since companies can no longer lure people into giving responses to marketing data using bait posts, they have to start working more on creating networks of people who genuinely like a company or product, and voluntarily interact with that company’s posts.

Marketers now have to change their approach to focus more on adding value to their clients’ Facebook pages instead of using quick click bait posts to get responses. It is time for marketing companies to spend time finding out what kinds of posts people want to see, what makes people interact with a post, and what makes people come back for more.

Facebook marketing used to be a great way for marketing experts to gather data and use that data to create better digital campaigns. But now that Facebook is slamming the door on marketing people who talk at Facebook users and insisting that those marketers talk to Facebook users, the entire concept of Facebook marketing is going to change.

3 Steps to Effectively Use Instagram Marketing to Generate Sales

Instagram is a social media platform that has become extremely popular with younger users and even aging Millennials. It is a very visual medium that marketing professionals are using effectively to build brands and drive sales. If you want to get the most out of Instagram, it is best to hire a professional digital marketing agency that can get the job done for you. If you want to know how that digital marketing agency is going to drive sales, all it takes is three steps.

Step 1 – Create a Comprehensive Instagram Profile

Instagram allows you to create a comprehensive account that can explain what your company does and present plenty of contact details. You should fill in your profile completely, but only do so with information from your business. Think of what your customer base would want to see and realize that it is your business you are promoting and not your personal life.

Include a link to your business that either goes to your home page, or to a landing page specifically designed for Instagram users. Put your company logo as your profile picture and use that in all of your Instagram posts to give a consistent image throughout the platform.

Step 2 – Develop Engaging Posts

Instagram is frequented by a younger audience, which means the hard sell is not going to work. You should work on creating posts that are interesting to your audience and offer useful information. If you have a pricing special, then it is okay to put that out there in a context that explains how the special benefits your client base.

Remember that the focus of Instagram is imaging. When you develop engaging posts, be sure they center around a specific image and use only one message per post. Instagram posts are too small to try and fit several topics at once.

Step 3 – Build Your Community

You should analyze the effectiveness of each post and experiment with different types of images and wording to see which are most effective. Use different messages to find out what is important to your audience and what makes your audience want to buy. As you get better at presenting effective posts to your audience, you should focus on making sure people join your growing network of users.

Instagram allows you to build a network of followers that you can present marketing images to on a regular basis. As that group grows, so does your ability to release effective posts that will convince your audience to buy your products.

As with any social media platform, it takes time to build a successful community on Instagram. But if your target audience is younger consumers, then the pay-off for the work you do on Instagram can be considerable. A growing and dedicated network of Instagram followers can be a captive marketing audience that you can use to try out new marketing programs and build revenue through more sales.

6 Email Marketing Tricks You Won’t Want to Ignore

Email marketing is still an effective part of any marketing program, provided you know the tricks you need to know to get good results. The tactics used for email marketing have changed over the years, so it is important to hire a digital marketing firm that has an expert level understanding of the new way email marketing is done. When you hire a firm like that, there are some tricks they will use to make your email marketing more effective.

Personalize It

Big data allows marketing experts to compile comprehensive profiles on every single member of a target audience. This allows the marketing expert to develop email templates that can fill in personal information to make the emails seem less sterile and more personable. This is important when trying to get people to read and respond to marketing emails.

Have A Pre-Screened List

You can significantly improve your response ratio if you only send emails to consumers who have opted in to receiving marketing materials. By using pre-screened lists of recipients, you can also avoid being classified as a spammer and have your company’s email account suspended and avoid having your company face possible fines.

Create Email Structures That Work

A good marketing email looks just like an effective blog posts. The sentences and paragraphs are concise, there is white space to break up sections to make them easier to read, and there are subheadings and bullet points as well. This sort of structure looks clean and it will encourage the recipient to read and react to the content.

Make The Content Useful

Don’t just write content to try and get your reader to buy your product, you should write content that explains why your reader should buy your product. Include interesting product and information links that make the content valuable to your reader to increase the chances that the reader will take action.

Give The Reader An Easy Option To Opt-Out

The last thing you want to do is have your emails become a nuisance to recipients. That is why every email should have an easy way for recipients to opt-out and stop receiving emails. Why is this so important? It is important because a frustrated email recipient can go online and start a conversation on social media about your marketing tactics. Before you know it, hundreds of people are joining in on the conversation and your company reputation starts to take a nosedive. Allowing consumers to easily opt-out of marketing emails is the best way to prevent a bad online reputation.

Make It Easy For Mobile Users To Read Your Emails

It is estimated that three out of every four Internet connections these days are made from mobile devices. That is a huge audience you do not want to alienate or prevent from being able to read your marketing emails. That is why you should make sure that your emails are mobile device friendly.

Marketing emails are strong tools to use in any marketing campaign for a variety of reasons. By using good tricks to create effective email marketing campaigns, you can increase the effectiveness of all of your marketing tactics.

How to Create a Video Studio on a Shoestring Budget

In the world of digital marketing, video has become extremely important in getting the attention of web traffic and in getting a point across. But there are still many companies who avoid getting involved in video because they believe that video production is expensive. The good news is that not only is video production not expensive, it is something you can do yourself and get great quality videos. You can build your own video studio at home or in your office and spend almost no money to make your own quality videos.

Get Your Camera

If you have a smartphone that was made by or after 2016, then you have a professional video camera in your pocket. Spend some time getting familiar with your smartphone video camera and you might even find that you have editing features on your camera as well. If you do not have video editing features on your camera, then check for a free video editing app that you can add to your phone.

Get A Tripod

One of the biggest differences between a professional looking video and an amateur video is that the professional looking video is steady and properly framed. All you need to do to make sure your video is properly framed is to make sure you have an equal amount of space on the three sides of your video to make your subject look centered. To make your videos look stable, you just need to invest in an inexpensive tripod for your smartphone.

Make Your Background

The best background to use for videos is a white background in a well-lit room. If you want to make action videos, then you can always take them outside. To get the perfect studio background, simply hang a white sheet on the wall and light it up using a couple of shop lights from a department store. If you are making your studio inside of your office, then your overhead office lights will work fine.

If you feel like getting creative, you can buy a green screen editing kit that consists of a green screen background and special editing software. With the green screen, you can put anything you want in your background and the software is not difficult to use at all.

Find Your Actors

You can use a variety of people in your videos, or you can have one male and one female actor you use to give your videos consistency. You can help out your actors by putting their lines on cue cards they can read that will make it look like they are staring directly into the camera.

Once you start making your own videos and you see the professional results you are getting, you are not going to want to stop. Making videos is not only fun, but it is a great way to draw attention to your business and your products. You can add some humor into your videos and give them a chance to go viral and really expand your customer base.