Last updated 2 months ago
Last week, ReachLocal introduced a variety of new service offerings, with a focus on reinventing the way consumers book and buy local services. Currently, consumers face a multitude of challenges when making a buying decision, such as:
Who do I call?
How much will it cost?
When can I get an appointment?
Will the service pro be on time?
How easy is it to pay?
In reality, consumers are overwhelmed with information when they search online, but are provided no transparency into pricing and scheduling from most local service providers today. That’s where our new consumer-facing service ClubLocal comes in.
ClubLocal is our new local commerce service that takes the entire purchasing process online, allowing consumers to instantly book and buy 17 home services like plumbers, handymen, and heating and air conditioning repair, all via the ClubLocal website or mobile app. Plus, it’s 100% free to join.
In this video interview with Fox Business Network, ReachLocal CEO Zorik Gordon explains how ClubLocal works and what this shift toward online booking and buying means for both local merchants and consumers.
ClubLocal is currently available in Dallas and will be launched in Q2 in San Francisco.
Gordon touches on the key foundations for making a local commerce solution work for consumers. ClubLocal does this by:
Screening and criminally background checking all service providers
Pre-negotiating pricing and standardizing SKUs, making costs transparent to consumers
Providing two-hour appointment windows and sending notifications when the service pro is en route
Putting the entire booking and buying process online, from scheduling and estimates to payments and receipts
Standing behind every job with the ClubLocal Satisfaction Guarantee
Gordon notes, “I think it’s really interesting that as we look at this opportunity, there’s about a trillion plus dollars worth of local service transactions that are occurring offline. We believe they’re all going to happen online.”
ClubLocal is only part of how ReachLocal is powering this shift to local commerce; we additionally announced several software-as-a-service [SaaS] products for local businesses. These include ReachSite, a conversion-optimized website solution, ReachConvert, a lead management solution that helps turn more website leads into customers, and ReachCommerce, a platform for taking the entire booking and buying process online including booking appointments, scheduling staff, and paying via mobile device.
To see more from the leaders of ReachLocal, subscribe to the ReachLocal News playlist on YouTube and follow us on Slideshare and our blog.
Last updated 2 months ago
With all the ways small businesses are investing in generating leads online—from search advertising to email marketing to retargeting and more—it’s surprising that most don’t have effective solutions in place for managing and responding to their leads. In fact, 55% of companies don’t respond to new sales leads at all.
Think about your business. What does it cost you each time you lose a viable prospect because you didn’t call them back quickly enough, or because you didn’t have a way to stay in touch after your first interaction with them? Getting someone’s business isn’t always easy. But putting in place a system that helps you organize and follow up with leads makes getting more customers—and keeping them—much easier.
So, here are three reasons a good lead management system makes sense for any small business:
1. Up to half of consumers buy from the businesses that respond first.
Many consumers contact your local business to ask about products or services, get a price quote, or better yet, book an appointment. But if you aren’t able to answer, those calls may go to a voicemail system or answering service that can’t provide the information your prospects are looking for. But when you don’t respond quickly enough—or at all—it’s safe to assume those customers are going directly to your competitors— and that’s not what you want. You’re busy, and that’s understandable— you have a business to run. But that doesn’t mean you or someone on your staff shouldn’t make time provide a quick response to legitimate contacts. To ensure you can follow up as quickly as possible, it’s important to use a system that will record every call so that you can return the call and get the business. Better yet, find a comprehensive solution that will have a record of calls that don’t go to voicemail and notify you when you have a new contact so you can follow up immediately.
2. Nearly 75% of new leads are never contacted.
That sounds like a high percentage, right? What does your business do with the calls you’ve received from your online marketing to remind yourself to follow up with them at a later date? If you keep leads’ contact information scribbled on Post-it Notes or on the back of a business card, chances are their information will be lost and you won’t reach back out to them. In fact, research shows that if you don’t call a lead back within one hour, the chances you’ll call them at all decrease by over 10 times. Instead, you need a digital, accessible way to record new lead data, complete with all their contact information and any qualifying information they may provide, such as their interest in certain products or services. Even if it’s something as basic as manually noting lead information in a shared spreadsheet on Google Drive, having a system in place for recording this data will help you and your employees make sure your contacts are consistent and complete so you always know how to contact your leads. A call tracking system can also help you capture, track, and review every lead so you can not only follow up with them but also provide them with the right information they need to make the decision to buy from you.
3. Only half of leads are ready to buy when they contact you.
In many industries, especially those with highly-researched products or services or longer sales cycles (such as an auto dealer or kitchen remodeler), many consumers who contact your business will not be ready to make a purchase immediately. It’s important not to leave those leads hanging. You need a way to stay in touch with them long after they contact you so you can stay top of mind and entice them to book and buy from your business. That’s where lead nurturing comes in. By sending new prospects – or even existing customers – regular email communications with relevant information about your industry, new product and service offerings, or promotions and specials, they are more likely to remember your business and buy from you.
How are you handling new leads in your business? What are you doing to follow up with them to ensure you close the sale?
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 2 months ago
It was a little over three years ago when Apple announced the iPad, dubbed a “Magical & Revolutionary Device” but that had many consumers questioning its usage and longevity. However, the iPad is now in its fourth generation, it has spawned a “mini” version, and the market now includes tablets from other manufactures running Android and even Microsoft operating systems, so it seems tablets are here to stay. In fact, research from Pew Internet indicates that of American adults, 26% own an e-reader and 31% own a tablet. Tablets have become so widely used that some zoos are now using iPads to stimulate and entertain orangutans.
So what does the widespread popularity of tablets and other mobile devices mean for your small business’ online marketing? Now that many U.S. consumers are purchasing mobile devices like tablets and smartphones and 84% more Web traffic is coming from those mobile devices compared to a year ago, it only makes sense for you to consider how your Web presence translates to the mobile space. To help you out, here are a few simple steps you can take to see how your business measures up on tablets and smartphones, and some tips for making sure you can optimize your business for the mobile Web.
Grab a smartphone or tablet. Chances are you have one within reach. If not, you can use an online tool to show you how consumers may be experiencing your Web presence on mobile devices.
Open a mobile browser or search engine app and search for your business type. Don’t search explicitly for your business name, but instead imagine how a consumer would search for products and services like yours. When you run the search, note how and where your business shows up in the mobile search results. You can also try searching for your business type in a mobile map app, such as Google Maps or Apple Maps.
Search for your business by name in a mobile search engine. This gives you a better understanding of how your business name ranks on the mobile SERP, and it also helps you identify how consumers see your business when they search via mobile devices. Additional ranking results you should note include your business blog, social media profiles, and local listings. Plus, pay attention to any ratings, reviews, and mentions of your business that all impact your online reputation.
Visit your website from a mobile browser. There’s no better way to understand where you should start optimizing your website for mobile than to actually see how your current website looks on a smartphone or tablet. Browse around your site to see how your visitors might interact with it and pay attention to things that would annoy you if you were a consumer. For example, do you have a mobile-friendly site that displays properly in a mobile browser? Is your phone number available in text on your site so that a mobile browser can detect the phone number and allow the user to click to call directly?
If your website, social pages, and directory listings rank highly in mobile search engine results, you have a glowing online reputation, and your website looks and functions exactly how you want it to, then great! You are above the curve. If not – don’t worry; you aren’t alone – here are some tips you should consider to optimize your Web presence for mobile devices.
Claim and Optimize Your Business on Local Listings
If you conducted mobile searches via Google, you may have noticed that the first results on the mobile SERP are map listings. By claiming and optimizing your Google+ Local page, you can help increase your chances of showing up when local consumers search for your products and services while on the go via mobile search engines and mobile map apps.
Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
Two of the most common reasons small businesses don’t have mobile websites are time and money. However, there are a few things you can do to make your website more mobile-friendly that don’t involve a giant team and a small fortune.
Don’t hide your contact information.
When you visited your website on a mobile device, how easily and quickly did you find your contact information, such as your phone number and email address? If it took a little while, or you did not find it at all, consider moving this critical contact information to a prominent area of your website, like the top right of your page.
Ditch heavy graphics that slow down your website.
How long did it take for your site to load on your mobile device? Using many heavy design elements, like large images and Flash animation, can often increase the load time of your site on desktop browsers, so you can expect a long load time on a mobile device.
Design for clear and quick fingertip navigation.
You should lay out the content on your website so that anyone, young or old, can navigate to specific information. Also, keep in mind that mobile visitors use a fingertip to navigate through your website. Make your content easy to find by simplifying and clarifying the menus and options on your website. Avoid creating menus with lots of links that are difficult to click on mobile devices, and make sure the content on your Web pages is concise and easy to read.
Cultivate a Positive Online Reputation
Over 57% of tablet owners use the mobile Web to do research before making a purchase decision. So it’s important to make sure that they find positive information about your small business when they search online. As Google owns the majority of mobile searches, positive Google+ Local reviews are more important now more than ever. So in order to build the best online reputation, ask happy customers to leave you positive reviews, and have a plan to monitor your Web presence.
How did your business rank when it comes to mobile? What other ways are you ensuring that consumers find you while on the go? 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 3 months ago
When it comes to marketing your business, it’s important to understand how consumers make buying decisions. For many businesses, information was only available when a customer chose a product off the shelf, and became known as the First Moment of Truth, or FMOT. However, today’s consumers make purchase decisions long before they ever visit a store or contact a business. With smartphones in the pockets of more than 50% of Americans, and tablet use growing faster than ever, the Internet has become the primary source of discovery and research for many consumers. Because of this, there is a different type of “Moment of Truth” happening. Google calls this the Zero Moment of Truth, or ZMOT.
Defining the Zero Moment of Truth
Today, there is a process that happens between the decision to buy and the First Moment of Truth in which the consumer conducts research that’s imperative to making a purchase. According to Jim Lecinski, Chief ZMOT Evangelist at Google, once consumers decide to purchase, their next step is to research their future purchase. So they check out brands’ reputations and reviews online, comparison shop for the best prices and features, look for coupons and specials, and ask for recommendations. This moment begins as soon as consumers open their smartphones, tablets, or computers and start searching across the Web to see which businesses or products are able to meet their needs, whether they are looking for an emergency plumber or a new car.
Why Traditional Advertising Isn’t Enough
There are many ways your business can capitalize on a consumer’s ZMOT. It’s no longer enough to simply place your brand in front of consumers through TV and magazine ads and hope they remember your product or service when they are ready to buy.
Today, your brand needs to be in front of consumers when they are already in the process of making a purchasing decision – and it starts with an optimized Web presence. No matter where consumers turn to learn about your brand or the products or services you offer, from search engines and local directories to review sites and social media, winning over consumers takes a fresh, active, and compelling presence across all the places consumers look.
How to Evaluate and Optimize Your Web Presence
To evaluate your Web presence, start by conducting searches for your brand name, your brand name + reviews, and your top products or services in your local area. For instance, if you’re a local plumber in Dallas, TX, your search terms could look like this:
Reliable Plumbing Reviews
Emergency Plumbing Dallas
Once you see what pages that show up in the search results, as well as the content that appears on those pages, you can see where your Web presence needs work so you can begin to improve it. Some of the key places you should focus on (depending on your industry) include:
Because your potential customers are influenced by potentially hundreds of pieces of content across dozens of sites, you need to identify your target consumer so you can determine the best ways to market to them online. To learn more about consumer buying behavior and the Zero Moment of Truth, download our ebook How Consumers Buy Today.
What do you think the Zero Moment of Truth means for your business? How are you winning customers online?
About the Author
Ashley Stalnaker is an experienced Web Presence Professional at ReachLocal who works closely with small-to-medium sized businesses to enhance their Web presence and search discoverability.
Last updated 3 months ago
When you’re managing content marketing for your business, it can be easy to get stuck into a rut, or worse yet, to face total writer’s block. When it comes to generating fresh, creative ideas for your consumers, headlines are key to grabbing their interest so they click, share, and take action on your content.
One way to kickstart your content marketing is by playing a brainstorming game. Not only is this a fun, creative exercise, but it’s also a great way to add life to your content. Whether you’re writing a blog post, creating a video, or writing something more in-depth like a whitepaper or ebook, you can start by writing headlines and then outline the flow of your content. Here are three engaging headline-writing games that can help you get more from your content planning.
Force Yourself Out of a Rut with Headline Bingo
Forced association headline writing can help you break out of a rut by adding new concepts, words, and metaphors into your content. To play Headline Bingo, you’ll need a set of common topics or terms your content uses, a set of random or off-the-wall words that don’t typically make it into your content, a set of numbers or superlatives, and a set of headline power words. Then, plug these word sets into a free online Bingo card generator. Print out your Bingo cards and, if you have more than one person creating content, give one to each team member. Then, use the different Bingo card combinations to create 5-10 forced-association headlines including one word from each line of their Bingo combination. The results may be humorous, awkward, or inspired. Select a few of these headlines, adjust them as needed to best fit your needs, and start coming up with content!
Get the Picture with Stock Photo Headlines
Instead of starting your content ideas with words, use images as a different path to get to content ideas. To play this game, you’ll need to print pages featuring a few samples of stock photographs that are visually compelling but wouldn’t normally make it onto your blog. For example, earlier this year, one of my team members got a cute photo of cupcakes – not something we typically write about on our online marketing blog. But, it sparked the idea of writing a post about how to diversify your online marketing strategy. The bonus of this game is that it automatically provides a great visual to go along with your content.
Parody the Pros with Magazine Headlines
Professional magazine headline writers get paid the big bucks to make sure consumers are judging their magazine by the cover and selecting their title from the impulse counter. So, why not get inspiration from your favorite magazine? To play this game, you’ll need several magazine covers (pro tip: if you don’t have any lying around, you can always do a Google image search for the latest covers of your favorite publications) and a stopwatch. Select a random magazine cover and take 10 minutes to re-write as many headlines as possible to fit the topics your content focuses on.
If you have a team of content generators, you can end each game with everyone reading their headlines to the group, then offering suggestions or ideas to make the best ideas work for your business.
What are your favorite tips for keeping your content creative and engaging? What tricks do you have for making sure that your readers stay engaged and interested in the same types of topics time and time again? Share your creative content marketing ideas in a comment!
About the Author
Tiffany Monhollon shares practical tips and insights about reaching consumers across the web as a blogger for ReachLocal. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.