Last updated 5 months ago
We are thrilled to announce the launch of Local Yokel, a new local commerce column on Forbes created by ReachLocal Chief Executive Officer Zorik Gordon. With the unveiling of this column online, Forbes.com readers can discover firsthand ReachLocal’s thought leadership in areas such as small business marketing, local commerce, and entrepreneurship.
This column focuses on local commerce and how it fits into the online marketing landscape. The first article, “The Future of Local Online is Commerce” debuted today on Forbes.com and discusses how local service providers like plumbers and dentists can move to a truly online model – including the purchase transaction process itself.
With this latest endeavor, ReachLocal continues to charge forward, proving its leadership in the online space and how to make local marketing and advertising work for small to medium sized businesses across the globe.
Read “The Future of Local Online is Commerce” to learn more about online commerce for local business. And, for more from our leaders at ReachLocal, check out President Nathan Hanks’ keynote at BIA/Kelsey’s SMB Digital Marketing 2012.
Last updated 5 months ago
Today, 48% of smartphone subscribers own an iPhone. And, since mobile searches are quickly reaching those of PC searches, it’s increasingly important that you show up in local mobile search. This includes Apple Maps, which is now the standard map service for iOS devices. But how do you ensure your business not only shows up when consumers search there, but that they are seeing updated and relevant information about your business? We’ve outlined five easy steps to optimizing your local business listings so that consumers can find your business on Apple Maps.
There are five major sources across the Web that help generate Apple Maps business listings. In order to optimize your listing for Apple Maps, you will need to claim and optimize your business listings on the following directories: Yelp, Localeze, TomTom (Tele Atlas), InfoUSA, and Acxiom.
Each of these business listings is free to claim, but will require some basic verification and optimization. But, making sure your business is present and verified on each of these directories will ensure that you show up in Apple Maps search results. Without verifying and optimizing these listings, only users that are specifically searching for your business name on Apple Maps will be able to find your listing.
The true art in each of these profiles comes from the keyword optimization you can achieve with a bit of copywriting moxie. To help you out with this process, here are some general optimization tips that you can apply not only at the Apple Maps directories, but also across your Web presence to enhance visibility.
1. Update Your Profiles Completely
When filling out your profiles on local directories, provide as much information as possible, or as much information that is allowed by that particular directory. Simple things, like the type of payment methods you accept, may seem unimportant at first, but could still affect whether or not you show up in a particular search query.
For example, users may type in phrases into the Apple Maps search feature that are related to your accepted payment methods, such as “Furniture Store that Accepts Visa.” This kind of information can help your overall ranking within Apple Maps and your business may be featured above those that do not include payment information on their profiles.
2. Keep Business Details Consistent
In addition to filling out your profiles completely, make sure all the basic business details listed on your profile is the same across all five directories. This basic information includes your business name, address, phone number, and website address.
By keeping this information identical, the links that drive people to your website will act like votes for the search engines, and boost your organic search listings results. This means that your business will likely see a boost on search engines by coordinating your Web presence and ensuring uniformity across your directory listings.
3. Choose Your Category Tags and Keywords Carefully
When choosing your business categories, select or add relevant category tags that consumers search for most. Several of these directories have specific categories that you can choose from, but a majority of them also allow for free-form category listings, meaning your word choice is very important.
A few great ways to look for business categories are to first use the predefined listing options from directories like Yelp. Also, look to your competitors to see how they have categorized their listings. Finally, check Google for suggestions using Your Google Analytics "Queries Report". This report shows you specific searches that brought users to your site. Using these popular search terms in your category listings can help to ensure these same types of users can find you in Apple Maps.
In addition, tap into your experience as a consumer. The end result of selecting your business categories is to ensure that you put on your consumer hat and think through what you, as a consumer, would search for to find a business like yours. Ensuring that you make your categories as keyword-friendly as possible will enable you to capture these mobile searches in Apple Maps more effectively.
Remember: just because searchers are using a mobile device, it does not mean their searches will be less specific than they would be on a PC. In fact, consumers who use methods like voice search to conduct a search use phrases that are only slightly shorter than those they use when searching from a computer.
4. Select and Add Relevant Photos
Each of these directories allows you to upload at least one image, so you want to provide some sort of visual representation of your business (a logo at the very least) so that the top portion of the Apple Maps listing is not reflecting the dropped pin when a user views the detailed listings. The more photos you provide, the more credible and appealing your listing will look to potential customers.
5. Build and Manage Your Online Reputation
Once you have built and optimized your business listings, you want to ensure that you have built some sort of online review structure into the mix, especially on Yelp. Apple ranks the search listings within the Apple Maps application based on Yelp reviews, making your online reputation an important part of getting found on Apple Maps.
However, many great reviews on Yelp get filtered. As a result, follow the Yelp Review Guidelines to help keep your reviews visible on your Yelp page. Yelp’s guidelines focus around three key points:
Personal Experience - When you ask a happy customer for a review, make sure they do not just list general statements about how happy they are with your service. Instead, ask them to list the person(s) they dealt with, what types of services / products they purchased, and what kind of outcome they saw from their unique experience at your business.
Accuracy - With this particular focus, Yelp just wants to ensure that your reviews are not only thorough and unique, but that the story being published is indeed true.
Review Updates - Encourage consumers to update their reviews and make sure they reflect any new experiences with your business. And, you should also respond to the reviews you receive in the proper way.
Aside from following these guidelines, ask your customers to fill out complete profiles (or use Facebook to create their account) that include profile photos, locations, and other indications that they are in fact real people to keep these reviews from being filtered.
By following these five steps, you’ll be on your way to a solid mobile search presence within Apple Maps.
Have you claimed and optimized your listings on these directories so that your business shows up on Apple Maps?
About the Authors
Eric Myers is a Dallas-Based Campaign Consultant that works with small business clients and manages campaign performance for a dedicated sales team. Eric is a lover of all things technological, entertaining, and random.
Ashley Stalnaker is a Web Presence Professional and guest blogger for ReachLocal who specializes in SEO, as well as social media and content marketing.
Last updated 5 months ago
It’s no secret that the Internet has significantly changed the way we buy. But as a marketer or small business owner, how can you make sense of all the possible ways a consumer can discover you? And, how do you use that information to create a marketing plan that leads them to your business instead of a competitor’s? Download our consumer buying journey ebook to get the answers to these questions, and read on for a few insights from our research.
The Way We Buy Has Changed Drastically in the Last 10 Years.
We used to rely on print ads or word of mouth to learn about new products and services. But with the power of the Internet at our fingertips, the way we discover local businesses today is very different from what it was just a decade ago. In fact, the way we research products and services, get personalized recommendations, and review our experiences has shifted almost completely online. Consumers are now in charge of the entire buying process. We form impressions of your business without ever interacting directly with you. And we aren’t shy about sharing these impressions online, both before and after we become a customer.
We Seek More Information Sources Than Ever Before.
What types of information do we as consumers use to make buying decisions? Advertising is only one part of what we see about businesses. In fact, the average consumer uses over 10 sources of information before making a purchase, ranging from search engines and local directories, to social media and content sites, to review sites and business blogs. And since everything we see about a business can influence our purchase decisions, businesses must create a consistent, powerful, and lasting impression that convinces us to buy.
You Need a Total Web Presence to Win Customers Online.
Businesses can no longer win customers with a simple ad in a newspaper or a radio spot, because consumers are increasingly turning to the Web and mobile as their primary sources of information. Now, you have to invest in a variety of online advertising methods, market your business continuously on social media and content sites, and manage your online reputation in order for a consumer to even consider your business. Companies like ReachLocal can help you do just that, so you can better influence your target consumers to choose you over a competitor.
For a full picture of how the consumer buying journey has evolved and a framework that you can apply to your own business marketing, download the ebook today.
Download the Ebook How Consumers Buy Today: Harnessing the Buying Journey to Get More Customers.
About the Author
Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.
Last updated 5 months ago
Today, Kris Barton, Chief Product Officer, presents at BIA/Kelsey’s Interactive Local Media (ILM) West 2012 Conference in Los Angeles. This conference focuses on the local opportunity for digital media, marketing, and promotions.
In this panel, entitled SuperForum: Sales Force Transformations, Barton will discuss successful sales strategies and metrics companies can use to revamp their sales force and sales channels to win with local business clients.
This engagement comes on the heels of ReachLocal President Nathan Hanks’ keynote at BIA/Kelsey’s SMB Digital Marketing 2012, in which he presented 5 key ways online marketing companies can win in local. As a leader in online marketing, ReachLocal continues to demonstrate our strength in the local space.
Kris Barton joined ReachLocal as our Chief Product Officer in February 2012. In this role, he leads the development and growth of our suite of online marketing solutions. Visit the ReachLocal website to learn more about our offerings for SMBs.
Last updated 5 months ago
Today, over 85% of American adults use mobile phones to stay connected, organized, and entertained. And, now that mobile phones are capable of doing much more than simply calling and texting, they have started to replace other devices like cameras and desktop computers.
The charts below from a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project survey display how significantly our cell phone activity has changed in less than a decade.
By understanding consumers’ cell phone usage today, you can create new types of content to engage with them where they are spending their time. Here are few stats to consider:
82% of cell phone users take pictures with their mobile devices.
Photos are a great way to show off your business and build your brand. But, having your loyal customers show off your brand for you can be even more significant to your business. A couple of big brands that you can look at for inspiration are Southwest Airlines and Starbucks, which each use sites like Instagram and Pinterest to share pictures taken by loyal customers. It’s simple to ask your happy customers to snap a few pictures of themselves with your products or showing the great results of your service, then share on social sites by tagging you or creating a hashtag they can add to the description so you can find them and re-share them on places like your social profiles and website.
56% of cell phone users access the Internet on a mobile phone.
More consumers are using mobile devices to access the Web, especially as Smartphone ownership grows. And because they expect to get information quickly via mobile, you should optimize your Web presence so that they can find you while they are on the go. For example, create a mobile-friendly website or landing page so that consumers can clearly identify what you have to offer. Also, make sure your information on local listings, like Google+ Local, is accurate and up to date so that consumers searching for you online can easily find you and contact you.
31% of cell phone owners search for health information via mobile phones.
Within two years, the number of mobile users searching for healthcare information has grown from 17% to 31%. This demonstrates how important it is for you to have fresh, mobile-friendly, and relative content for your business. For instance, any type of health clinic could publish educational content about illnesses, treatment plans, and new studies within your industry to build credibility and awareness for their brand. This concept applies for whatever industry you are in; for example, a home improvement business could publish information about the importance of weatherproofing for the winter months or about how the new windows you are selling save energy and money. A school could share content about new teaching methods and models and how they benefit students. No matter what type of business you run, there is relatable content that users are searching for, especially on mobile devices.
What are you doing to engage with more consumers on mobile devices? Have you tried any of these tactics, and if so, how did they work for your business? Let us know in a comment!
About the Author
Tara Banda writes about how local businesses can reach more customers online with helpful tips about online advertising, social media marketing, and Web presence optimization tips on the ReachLocal Blog.