Last updated 18 days ago
Is your online reputation helping you win more business or causing you to lose potential customers? You may think you know the answer, but how can you be sure?
It’s time to evaluate what your reputation looks like, because your online reputation matters to your potential customers. That’s because today, 97% of consumers use online media when researching products in their local area, according to BIA/Kelsey.
Let that sink in – 97%.
What do your potential customers see when they search for your business online? What do they discover about your business when they visit review sites? What about social media, blogs, and other websites? What are customers saying about your company online, and what can you do about it?
It’s important to know the answers to these critical questions. Our latest ebook, Navigating Your Online Reputation: Your Complete Guide, will help you navigate the tricky process of reputation management so that you can identify any potential reputation issues your business may have on search engines, reviews sites, and the rest of the Web. It also helps you understand how to monitor your reputation and address any issues that you discover. Plus, it offers practical tips and advice you can use to build your reputation and help consumers find great content, reviews, and testimonials about your business.
Get started learning how to manage your reputation online by downloading the free ebook today.
Last updated 21 days ago
Now that you’ve started a search engine advertising campaign for your business, you’re probably wondering what you can do to get the most out of it. You may be wondering how to maximize campaign performance. Or how to drive down cost-per-clicks while reaching more targeted consumers. In the first part of this series, we’ll take a look at five ways you can boost your campaign performance to improve the return on your search advertising investment.
1. Test Text Ads
Text ads are the backbone of your search engine advertising campaign, so it’s crucial that they are compelling enough for someone to want to click on them and visit your site. You should already have one text ad, but running multiple ads at once can tell you which elements of your ads are the most effective so you can maximize their performance on the search engines.
When writing your ads, take the time to think about the kinds of things that will get potential customers to click, like a descriptive headline, special offer, or a great call to action. You could also try dynamic keywords – a technology that automatically replaces your text ad headline with the exact keyword phrase that was typed into the search engine – which can be effective way to drive more clicks from your campaign. Then, when you know which ads work best for your business (it may take a few weeks or months to really tell), you can use only the ones that bring the most people to your business. And if you’re running search advertising with ReachLocal, our technology will do this for you automatically.
2. Bid On Your Business Name
You’re probably already bidding on top business keywords such as the products and services you offer along with geographic modifiers, like “kitchen cabinet installation Orlando,” to reach consumers in your local area. But have you thought about bidding on your own business name? It might seem counterintuitive, but this practice is actually very common among big brands. Plus, not only does it help you own more real estate in the search results at a relatively low cost, but it also helps prevent your competitors – who may also be bidding on your business name – from showing up when someone searches specifically for your business.
3. Review Your Quality Score
Knowing your quality score can help you make changes that can improve the performance of your search advertising campaign. Your quality score is influenced by the how well your keywords generate clicks, the relevance of your text ad to the terms you are bidding on, and the content on your landing page. But most importantly, your quality score is affected by how effectively all these elements relate to one another, because they can directly influence the user’s experience with your brand.
One way to do improve your quality score if you are running your own search advertising is to make sure you’re bidding on relevant keywords for your brand. For instance, using long-tail, geo-targeted keywords can be much more effective for your search campaign than broad keywords. That’s because less-specific terms like “braces” can quickly use up your budget without producing great results, since your ad may be showing up for searchers who are not really interested in your business. So, something like “where to get braces Plano” might be a better option.
When it comes to your quality score, it’s also important to make sure your text ads and landing page copy align with one another in order to create a consistent experience for both consumers and search engines. By making these tweaks to your, keywords, text ads, and landing page content, you may start to see an improvement in campaign metrics like cost per click, minimum bid amount, frequency at which your ad is shown, and the position of your ad on the search engine results page.
4. Segment Your Ads
If you’re running multiple, disparate text ads (for different products or services), you can use ad groups to segment the them into smaller, more specific groups – such as one group for an A/C tune-up and one for general handyman services. This way, the ad being displayed for a specific product or service-related search is more relevant to the business-related keywords entered into the search bar.
You can use ad groups to create different ads for specific products and services, seasonal offers, deals and discounts, or events. When it comes to running multiple ad groups, it’s important that the keywords you are bidding on, the text ad copy, and the landing page you’re sending traffic to are all focused on the same topic, which can improve the user experience as well as your quality score.
5. Use Sitelinks
Sitelinks are a type of ad extension that search engines like Google use to display additional content about your business within your text ad. In addition to your website or landing page, your text ad can also show up to six links for additional Web pages you want to drive consumers to, such as a store locator page, deals page, or specific product page. This can be especially useful for driving conversions, because it gives you a larger presence on the search engines.
In addition, sitelinks also give consumers more flexibility over what information they see from your business website, driving more clicks and reducing bounce rates once they land on your site. Remember that each landing page you send consumers to from your text ad should be optimized for conversions, including information like your business hours, location, and a call to action and phone number so that prospects can easily contact you.
What other tactics have you used to improve the performance of your search ads? In the next part of this series, we’ll cover five ways to drive more conversions from your search advertising landing page.
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 29 days ago
For any small business, your website is often the heart of your online marketing. But is your website really doing all it can to help attract and convert prospects into customers?
Or, are you losing visitors – and leads – because your website is missing important information or features? Make sure your site includes these 10 elements of a successful small business website.
1. Clearly Visible Contact Information
What is the primary action you want website visitors to take when they visit your site? If you want them to call, request more information, or visit your location, it’s absolutely critical to list accurate, updated contact information in a visible location on your website. This may seem like an obvious tip, but this is a big problem for many small business websites In fact, 60% of small- to medium-size businesses in the U.S. are missing a contact number on their home page, and roughly 75% of websites don’t list an email address!
To make sure your website visitors aren’t sent on a wild goose chase looking for contact information, make sure to at least include a phone number on each page of your website. If you don’t want to place your contact information on each page, consider this solution: build a web page that provides all of your important contact information, including phone number, email address, location with a map, and hours of operation. Then add a “Contact Us” button as part of your website design template or footer to make sure this is included on every page. At the very least, include your contact information on every landing page consumers visit after they click on your search ads or display ads. The more ways consumers can contact you, the better your chance of winning their business.
2. Contact Forms
Contact forms are the online data forms that prospects fill out in order to request information from you. They also serve as a lead-generation tool. But, according to research firm BIA/Kelsey, 66% of small- to medium-size businesses websites in the U.S. don’t have a form available for potential customers to submit. Website forms are a great way to collect important lead-qualifying data. Plus, they also provide your prospects with a place to express detailed questions about the information they’re seeking about your business.
3. Live Chat
Live chat is another contact method that can help you convert a website visitor into a customer. With this lead-generation tool, prospects can ask questions and learn more about your business during their visit to your site. By interacting with visitors and answering their questions, live chats build rapport with prospects at this important touch point in the buying cycle. When your prospect has the information they need and a positive rapport has been established, you’re another step closer to converting a visitor into a customer.
4. Social Media Icons
Social media is crucial in today’s connected business environment. Consumers expect to be able to communicate with businesses through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (to name a few). However, according to BIA/Kelsey, less than 20% of SMB websites link to their Facebook page, with even fewer linking to Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media is an excellent way for customers to learn more about you, connect with other fans, and get the information they need in order to decide to do business with you. If you're not on social media, it’s important to consider adding this as a regular business marketing process – and then add links to your accounts on your website!
5. Engaging Video
By including videos on your website, you can build credibility and attract visitors who might not want to read large amounts of detail about your products and/or services. Prospects will appreciate the convenience that videos provide during their visit to your site. Videos are also a great way to communicate the personality of both you and your business to your audience.
6. Balanced and Accurate Content
Avoid cramming too much information onto one page; rather than being helpful, information overload is just that – overload. Visitors will not spend precious time reading a webpage with too much information. If you’re unsure how to best arrange your website information, a professional Web designer can help you.
Also, make sure consumers don’t gather inaccurate information about your business. For example, remove information about products or services you no longer offer or profiles of employees who no longer work for you.
7. Modern, Simple Design
Leave the bad website design in the ’90s. Garish color combinations (think neon yellow against bright green, bright red against black, etc.), type in bolded all caps, multiple underlining of words, blinking or swirling of text, and other dated design elements all portray the image that your business is behind the times. And even if you aren’t an expert in design or website development, there are many services available to help you create an effective and pleasant-looking website.
8. Professional, Polished Logo
Your logo is an important part of your brand, so make sure it’s located prominently on your site. Use a high-resolution image on your webpage and consider featuring it in the upper left corner of each of your pages. Also, it’s a good rule-of-thumb to link your logo back to your home page so that visitors can easily navigate to it.
9. User-Friendly Functionality
It’s important to make sure the functionality of your website is a great experience. How long does it take for your page to load? Are all the links working and not broken? Is the formatting of your site up to date? For example, although it can create an interesting experience, using Flash may detract from your site’s effectiveness. Flash is not SEO-friendly because of how the format treats content. Also, using lots of Flash on your website can slow your website’s load time, which may cause visitors to abandon your site altogether. And, Flash does not display on some smartphones, so by using it, you may be alienating some of your mobile visitors.
10. Mobile-Friendly Experience
Consumers search and surf the Web using mobile technology (smartphones and tablets) now more than ever. In fact, at the end of 2012, nearly a quarter of Web traffic was from mobile devices. But the majority of small- and medium-size business websites still aren't optimized for mobile devices. As mobile technology continues to rise in popularity among consumers, the need for mobile-compatible websites also rises. Have you ever checked out how your website looks on a tablet or smartphone? If so, what was your impression? Was it easy to call you, find your business location, or other information like your hours of operation? If your site isn’t mobile-compatible, consider creating a mobile site that contains 5-10 essential pages from your website to help visitors find information and more importantly, contact you. Mobile technology is only going to grow in use among consumers during the buying cycle, so make sure your website is ready and mobile-friendly.
How does your small business website stack up when it comes to these important features? If you’re not sure, take some time to audit your current site using this post as a checklist so you can see what areas you may need to improve. By equipping your website with the essential features that your prospects need to make an informed decision about you and your business, you can build a more effective website and ultimately increase your rate of consumer conversion.
Which features of your website have turned your website visitors into active customers? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Amy Neeley helps small- and medium-size businesses navigate the online marketing world with insights and information featured on the ReachLocal blog.
Last updated 1 month ago
Every local business dreams of getting more customers to call them or walk through the door, and online marketing is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to make that a reality. But with all the different types of online marketing available to businesses today today, it can often be confusing on where you should start to get the most out of your efforts. While there are several ways to diversify your online marketing, here are five fundamental online marketing tactics that will get you off on the right foot by establishing your presence online and driving potential customers to your business.
Show Off Your Business With a Great Website
A business website is the most valuable piece of any small business’ online marketing strategy. So, it’s no surprise that nearly one in four SMBs plan to spend more on their company website in 2013. That’s because a website is one of the few places online that you own 100% and can use as a home base for all of your online marketing efforts. A business website gives you the space to share detailed information about your business, products, and services with the bandwidth for extra content like videos, images, and your business blog that can help your visitors decide to choose from you. And, when the content on these pages is optimized for search, they can help local searchers find you online. Plus, having a website, or more specifically a landing page on your website, is a great way to get the most out of your online advertising. By driving your ads – including search, display, retargeting, and social media – to an optimized landing page, you can help increase more conversions and increase the ROI of your online ads.
Learn More About Small Business Websites:
Build a Presence on Local Directories
Local directories and listings are great places to market your business because they can help you get found in local search, build your online reputation, and provide a snapshot of your business for potential customers. Most of these local directories offer your business a profile page for you to add details about your business, like hours of operation, locations/service areas, contact information, and photos of your business, that consumers look for when researching local businesses, all for no to little cost. There are also several directories directly tied to major search engines and their map listings, where you should definitely consider claiming your business listing. These include Google+ Local, Bing Local, Yahoo! Local, and Yelp.
Learn More About Local Directories:
Reach Consumers Searching for Your Business
Search engine advertising is one of the essential types of online advertising that you should be doing to reach consumers who are searching for your business, products, or services on the top search engines. With search engine advertising, you can show a text ad to target searchers in your area based on your target business keywords, such as the types of products or services you offer as well as your business name. Plus, a well-managed search advertising campaign can also be a great companion to your SEO efforts by increasing clicks even with a high-ranking organic listing.
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Retarget Consumers Interested In Your Business
Retargeting is a great way to boost your search advertising efforts. Site retargeting and search retargeting are two display advertising strategies that target consumers who have clicked on your search ad or who have visited your website, and then shows your display ads to them based on what they previously showed interest in. This not only keeps your business is top of mind, but retargeting is also becoming a preferred marketing method among consumers. In fact, a recent study found that 40% of consumers browsing the Web would rather see ads that are targeted to their interests than those that aren’t.
Learn More About Retargeting:
Spread the Word on Social Media Sites
Social media is a large part of consumers’ lives online. In fact, a recent study found that in the U.S. 27% of time online is spent on social networking. And now, social media sites are creating more features for businesses to get their message across to more consumers. For example, Facebook is continuously updating and adding new features that provide new functionality for its users as well as for business and brands on Facebook. Timeline created more opportunities to create and share stories, and the new Facebook News Feed updates offer more customization for what updates users see. #success">Twitter also offers new options for small businesses to market to consumers based on their topics and tweets. Having a presence on these and other popular social media sites is a great way to connect with people who already support your brand, build a community of new advocates, and boost your SEO efforts. Plus, as 70% of U.S. adults trust product or brand recommendations from family and friends, managing your reputation on social media sites can help ensure that what consumers share about your business is positive.
Learn More About Social Media Marketing:
Are you using these types of online marketing as part of your marketing strategy? What other types of marketing do you find work for your business? Let us know in a comment.
About the Author:
Tara Banda writes about how small business owners can reach local customers through online marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter.
Last updated 1 month ago
Search engine advertising is an online marketing superhero thanks to its ability to quickly and cost-effectively get your business discovered by consumers online. Every superhero needs a true sidekick, and when it comes to finding the perfect companion for your search engine advertising, retargeting is ready for action. Here are some of retargeting’s greatest super powers for helping you drive more revenue from your online marketing.
Super Power: Tracking
Retargeting’s powerful tracking ability helps you correlate brand awareness with tangible results because it can help drive action from people who have previously searched for your business. Retargeting is a form of display advertising that works by showing your ads specifically to people interested in your products and services. Retargeting’s powerful tracking ability has the potential to drive valuable visits to your website because it identifies the right people for your campaign: consumers who have demonstrated a real interest in your business or business type by searching for your business. And the greatest part is that this online marketing technique pinpoints these interested consumers in two ways:
Search Retargeting: Shows your display ads to people who have recently searched for your target business keywords, including your business name or specific products or services
Site Retargeting: Shows your display ads to people who have recently visited your website (often by clicking a search ad)
Super Power: Speed
Not only is retargeting a way to target highly-interested consumers, but it also goes to work almost immediately once it’s initiated – just like traditional search advertising. Because a single keyword search or click on a search ad can trigger retargeting, your ads will start being shown consumers who have not only expressed interest in your products or services, but who have done so recently. This means by showing these prospects an ad with a specific message, special promotion, or direct call-to-action while your business is still fresh in their minds, retargeting can result in an instant boost to your search advertising efforts. In fact, when you combine search advertising with retargeting, consumers may:
Repeat searches for your business name, then click on your search ad or organic link
Click on your retargeted display ad
Directly visit your website
Follow through with a conversion or other CTA, such as a call or email
Super Power: Repetition
Retargeting campaigns are also a great companion to search advertising because their impact is repeated over time. That means consumers who have searched for your business are not just exposed to your display ads once but numerous times as they surf their favorite sites across the Web. In other words, consumers may start their purchase path using search engines for discovery, but may not be ready to buy. By complementing your search campaign with retargeting, you activate the power of repetition of your brand over time, keeping your business top of mind. That way, consumers are more likely to remember your business when they are ready to buy.
Super Power: Merging
According to Wikipedia, merging is the ability to combine two entities into a single, stronger entity. And, in the case of online advertising, merging search advertising and retargeting is more powerful than using search alone. Research shows that 31% of users click display ads, while 27% conduct a search after seeing a display ad. And, because retargeting ads are shown to prospects quickly after conducting a search, retargeting allows a display ad to work further down the marketing funnel—at the acquisition or consideration stage vs. the awareness stage—which can result in considerably more site visits, conversions, and leads than just running a search advertising campaign.
Have you added retargeting advertising to your marketing mix? How can search retargeting and site retargeting compliment your search advertising campaign? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
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.