Google Adwords - "A Bridge To The Future" 0

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Google AdwordsYears back, I managed a lot of Pay Per Click advertising. It was a good add on to organic search and at that time, except for real estate, bidding on search terms was not real competitive for most local businesses. As time went on, we did less and less of it because we were more focused on getting organic search results (free listings).

In later years, using SEO to get top organic spots became more and more difficult. Some SEO factors like the age of the domain, how long the web site has been active and keywords in the domain, were just not on the table for the brand new web site to go after. Link building strategies were artificial and in my opinion would not stand the test of time. In these times, we concentrated on blogging and developing quality content.

Enter Hummingbird release of Google….Hummingbird does not eliminate search engine optimization, but adds weight to social signals and relationships. Emphasis is being placed more on the profile of the seeker (the person making the search) and matching to the best site specifically for them. When a business owner says I want to be at the top of Google for a search term, the next question to ask is for who? Profiling the seeker to the web site is a higher level of sophistication which brings a better search result. In other words, “a good search result is in the eye of the searcher”.
The problem that this presents for the small business owner is that a good Social Media program to harvest social signals and followings usually takes some time to get off the ground. Additionally, the business owner has to be educated to these changes and small business owners are slow to adapt to new ideas. Especially when they cost money. To them, this is a murky world. This is why Google Adwords is a great tool. It provides a real time method to go out and immediately run on line ads and get immediate results. For the small business that seeks to redirect conventional ad money to the web from places like Yellow Pages, Adwords is a great place to go. Be wary though because you can waste money with Adwords too. Adwords can be used to market any product or service and gives you incredible ability and data to finely target your niche, but not set up properly it will burn through lots of cash and get little or no results.
Be aware of these points when setting up your program:
  • Set a daily budget that you can live with and configure it into Google.
  • Be specific as possible about what you are going after.
  • Get training on how to use Google Adwords or hire an experienced professional to set up your campaigns. It costs money to bring in a professional, but you will waste more if you attempt using it and do not know what you are doing.
  • Experiment, review and correct.
  • Make sure you have good landing pages that are related to the ads.
  • Leverage small commitments into larger ones as data is gathered and profits roll in.
  • Always measure ROI (Return on Investment) and use it in determine investments into different campaigns and setting bids. You should do this with all your advertising.

Whitney Hill      gplus

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Reputation Management - Before It's Too Late 0

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mug-shotA common question I run into with small businesses is what do I do about a bad online review. Here are some things you can do to address bad reviews:

Monitor: First you need to be aware they are out there. Set up a program every so often to check the social media platforms to look for bad reviews. You can also use a tool like Social Mention, trackur or others to watch the web for conversation across the web media platforms and web sites.
Engage: If possible engage the negative reviewer publicly or privately in a manner that let’s the reviewer know that measures are being taken to address the concern. If the review is authentic, it needs to be addressed in a polite, sincere fashion. You can go as far as to solicit suggestions from the reviewer on how to address any issues in the review. If a review is from a nut job, is obviously a hatchet job or is not based in reality try to ask the social media platform where it is written to remove it.
Be Proactive: Do not wait for the storm to come to build your foundation. If a bad review comes and there are no good reviews, that review has some credibility. Encourage happy clients to write reviews, so when the bad review comes, it becomes buried in the good ones. Remember, people expect to see some bad reviews. You just want to have many more good ones.
No Gaming: Gaming the system by forging reviews, buying reviews or just getting a group of people that are not customers to write reviews will get you into trouble. The reviews need to be authentic. It is ok to grease the skids a little to encourage real customers to write the reviews…just do not counterfeit or game them. Also, do not have the customers write them on your local business computer or from the same location. Reviews coming from the same IP address can be seen as bogus even if the are real.
Participation is Critical: Lot’s of time I hear business folks say, “we do not want to participate in social media, because we cannot control what people are saying”. Well, heres a tip: they are going to say it anyway, whether you participate in the discussion or not. In other words, your absence does not stop the discussion, just your side from speaking.
The town hall has always been going on, just now it is amplified on the World Wide Web. Make sure that you are part of the discussion.

Whitney Hill       googleplus
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Yellow Pages RIP - Where Does The Small Business Go Now? 0

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yellow-pagesThere can really be no argument that the Yellow Pages are on the way out. Some of the smaller market books have already been shut down and there have been a parade of businesses that have been reducing or not renewing their contracts over the last years. No one under the age of 40 uses the Yellow Pages to get information. Our advice has been as follows:

  • If the Yellow Pages do not work for your business, get out of it now. Quit wasting money on it.
  • If the Yellow Pages does work for your business phase out of it while replacing it with on line strategies.

You may ask, “Why phase it out if it continues to work for your business?” Answer…you do not want to remain dependent on the business generated from Yellow Pages because there is a day coming soon when they are not going to print the book. The organic marketing methods of the web do not happen overnight. It takes to time to get an audience, construct effective paid online advertising strategies and develop an effective social media program. Don’t get caught, develop your on line strategy now!

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