Set up Local Marketing and Getting Reviews
These days Local Marketing is more important than ever…
74% of business searches are conducted online
61% of local search results in a purchase
Local marketing feeds information to Mobile
Consumers who perform local searches are ready to buy your products
Back in 1989 I went to work for Western Temporary Services, they asked me to open a branch for them in Modesto, CA.
What that meant was, right from the get-go, I had to create a marketing system that worked, my job depended on it! In fact, I needed to not only hire 100’s of employees I needed to find work for them.
Finding employees was not the problem because unemployment was averaging between 15%-18% in Stanislaus Co (California) at the time. Back then all you had to do was spend a few bucks on a newspaper ad and people would line up outside your door to fill out an application.
But finding work for those employees was a little more difficult. I had an assistant, and we started telemarketing…between us about 200 – 300 phone calls a day. We followed up with direct mail; marketing letters, fliers, brochures and postcards.
At the same time we sent one of our temporary employees in the field to drop off brochures, and pick up business cards.
This type of marketing brought us about a 2% return. In other words, for every 100 contacts we made, we got 2 work orders. Within one year we were showing a profit. And, that was during a recession!
Fast forward to 2007, and we find ourselves in another recession and the family construction company is struggling. So I went to work…making phones calls, about 200 a day, following up with a sales letter and more phone calls.
After 2 months and about 10,000 calls later – NOTHING happened. No work orders, no return phone calls, no 2% return.
WHY? Because not only were we in a recession, the methods of marketing had changed. No longer were people using phone books and news papers – they were turning to the internet to get their information quickly.
Of course… we did not have an internet presense, so I decided to fix that problem. Over the next couple of years I learned how to get our little construction company onto the first page of Google Maps.
Back in 2009 it was fairly easy to get your listing on the first page of Google Maps, today there is a lot more competition, so it takes a bit more work.
What is Google Places and why should you care?
Take a look at how Google Places works
→ Go to the Google Search bar and type in a keyword… like: Dentist Modesto CA
→ Scroll down and you will see a list of 8 Dentists in Modesto, CA – A through G and a map
→ Click on the words ‘See results for Modesto Dentist on a map’
NOTE: If you don’t see a map, then click on Maps
→ In this screen you see a map with about 18 Dentist markers
→ Now click on List all Results and in the next screen you will see 10 results for Modesto Dentists
→ At the bottom of the screen click on NEXT to view 10 more results for Modesto Dentists
There are a number of factors that affect your Google ranking on this page;
- How complete (or incomplete) your Google profile is
- The number of pictures you have in your profile
- The number of reviews people have written for you
- The number of places your business is listed around the web
- The number of people that have circled your business page
The Google algorithm is fairly complicated, so I am sure there are many more… however, if you work on getting all of the above factors right, you have a better chance of getting found locally (and organically) by the search engines.
Let’s start with the Google Places Listing.
You are going to use your gmail UserName and Password.
1. Fill in the Country and the Business phone #
2. Fill in your business name. If you are an independent contractor, just fill in your name. If you have a dba, fill in that business name. Don’t add any keywords or descriptions, you will have time for that later.
3. Fill in street address, it must be a physical address, not a P.O. Box. If you don’t want people to know your physical address, don’t worry you can hide it.
4. Add your City, State and Zip code.
5. You can add more phone numbers. A word of caution, do not add a phone number that other people use.
6. Enter your email address and your website address.
7. Copy and paste your business description (200 characters max). Make sure you include your keywords in this description.
8. Enter your business Category. The first category has to be one of the default categories provided for you by the system. Add up to 4 more, and they don’t have to be in the system.
Service Area and Location
9. Unless you are a brick and mortar store, and all of your clients come to you, be sure to click on “Yes, this business serves customers at their locations”
10. Check the box – Do not show my business address on my Maps listing – if you don’t want your physical address to show.
11. At the Distance from one location, if you add City and State, then type in the service area miles, the map will show a radius of how far you will travel to sell products and provide services.
12. If you click on List of Areas Served and add in City, State, or just add the zip codes of all the areas you serve that map will again show how far you are willing to travel to sell products and provide services.
Hours of Operation
13. Click on I Prefer not to Specify my Hours, or,
14. Click on My Operating Hours are, and fill in the hours, or,
15. You can click on I’d Like to Enter two sets of hours for a single day, and add a second shift to your available operating hours.
16. Specify how customers can pay you for your products and services
17. Add photos of your store front, your personal photo, photos of your products, up to 10 photos. NOTE: Make sure that your keyword is in the photo title.
18. Add your YouTube Videos (up to 5) to your listing. Again, make sure your keywords are in the Video title.
19. Additional details – don’t ignore this, it is important. You can add more of your keywords and services here. For instance:
- Short Sales:Yes
- Foreclosures: Yes
- Residential Real Estate: Yes
- Parking: Yes
- Free shipping: Yes
20. Click Submit, in the next screen, Google lets you know that they are going to send you a post card in the mail to verify the information you have given them. When that notification comes, you will need to go to your Google Places dashboard and enter the code provided in the post card.
NOTE: You can’t just put your listing up and forget it. In order to stay on the first page you have to put some time into maintaining your place. You need to monitor your Dashboard and where your listing is indexed to make sure you stay indexed on page one of Google places.
Presenting you Business to other Local Directories
Did you know that there are other local directories? Like Yahoo, Bing and Yelp? Signing up at a number of these local directories not only makes it easier for you to get found, but will also improve your Google indexing, thus enhancing the placement of your listing.
In fact, I highly recommend getting listed at 20 local directories.
Let’s start with Yelp.com
1. At the bottom of the page Click on Business Support Center
2. In the Start by Finding Your Business, type in your business name location.
3. If you business is there, you may want to Claim your Business and edit the details. If your business is not there, then click on Add your Business to Yelp.
4. Fill in all the blanks and click ADD.
5. In the next screen Yelp advises you to go to your email and confirm your listing.
6. After you click to confirm your email address, Yelp advises you – Once our customer support team has reviewed your submission you’ll receive instructions on how to unlock your free business tools.
Now, go to https://www.bingplaces.com/
To set up the other 20 Local Directories, get a list at – http://lynnalbro.com/50-business-directories-for-local-marketing/
Set up a Google+ Business Page linked to Google Places
If you have already presented your business to Google Places, it’s easy to add a Google+ Business page to your Google+ Profile. This will not only increase your search engine visibility, it will also make you more visible at Google Local and mobile devices (for on-the-go prospects.
1. Open your Google+ Profile
2. Hover over the HOME link on the left-hand side of the screen and in the drop-down menu, choose Pages
3. Click on the blue Create a Page button in the upper right-hand corner.
4. Click on the Local Business or Place box
5. Agree to the terms and conditions
6. In the Search for your business box, enter your business phone number.
7. In the next screen, choose your business.
8. Google will ask you to verify your business either by phone or by mail, if possible, choose by phone.
9. Once Google gives you access to your Business page, fill out the profile completely including; Business Name, Address, Contact Info, Category, Hours, and Description.
10. When complete, click Finished Editing.
5:1. Present your business to Google Places, Bing Places and Local Listings
5:2. Present your business to ExpressUpdate and NeustarLocaleze
5:3 Present your business to at least 20 more Local Business Directories
5:4. Link your Google Places listing to a Google+ Business Page
Getting Online Reviews
Getting Reviews is at the heart of this type of marketing, and it is going to be even to be even more important in the future.
Research your competition at Google Places, and take a look at how many reviews your competition has. Your goal is to get at least as many reviews as your competition.
If you have put up your business listing (using all of your important keywords), AND, you have signed up with at least 20 local directories AND you are still not on the first page, there may be a couple of reasons why:
1) Google ranks businesses on how old their listing is.
2) Google also ranks businesses on how many reviews that a business has, not only at Google, but all over the internet; City Search, Insider Pages, Yelp, etc.
3) Google also ranks the quality of those reviews according to how they relate to the keywords, and whether or not they are good reviews with 4-5 stars or bad reviews
The following graphs will help you understand just how important online reviews are:
Do you read online customer reviews to determine whether a local business is a good business?
How many online reviews & ratings do you need to read before you feel that you can trust that business?
How do online customer reviews affect your opinion of a local business
How do online customer reviews influence your decision to use/select a local business?
Do you trust online customer reviews as much as personal recommendations?
And, the moral to that story is…
As a small business owner, getting online reviews should be a priority
- Positive reviews help prospects decide whether to buy your products/services.
- Getting a number of reviews increases your search engine ranking
- Having a number of online reviews increases the probability that people will, in turn, review you
- Even if you get a bad review, based on the review you can learn how improve client relationships.
You have a much better chance of showing up on page 1 for Local Search if you;
- Get Reviews listed at several directories, the more the better.
- Offer online coupons, keypons.net, mobilecoupons.com
- Submit your business to at least 25 Local Directories – Go to: http://lynnalbro.com/50-business-directories-for-local-marketing/
The importance and value of online reviews is on the way up!
- Consumers are becoming more familiar with online reviews
- Online reviews give users quick access to information about a business
- Mobile Internet usage (cell phones & tablets) means that more and more consumers will be searching on the go.
- Getting online reviews today will benefit you today and 5 years from now.
How to encourage online reviews
- Dominate the search engines with your review presence
- Write reviews, often times people will reciprocate
- Ask happy customers to write reviews for you on review sites, and their presence will outweighthe occasional negative review
- Set up a landing page at your website with a form making it easy for people to review
- Install Review widgets at your website
- Send out an email marketing campaign to generate reviews
- Include links to review sites in your email signature
What sites should you seek to get online reviews
- Google+ business page
- Yelp business page
- Yahoo Local Listings
- Angies List
- Insider Pages
- City Search
- Provide a comment card at end of sale or add a QR code to your business card.…& Your Website
… More Tips for getting Reviews
#1. AIM FOR A CERTAIN NUMBER OF REVIEWS EACH MONTH
Try to determine how many reviews you can reasonably get over one year, then divide that number by 12 and work to get that number of reviews each month.
#2. ACCUMULATE REVIEWS CONSISTENTLY. DO NOT GET 10 REVIEWS IN ONE DAY. GOOGLE WANTS PEOPLE NATURALLY REVIEWING YOUR BUSINESS.
The goal is to make the review process a natural thing that customers want to do rather than trying to force them to evaluate you. Offering customers the opportunity to provide feedback consistently each month will work out well in the long run. It will also prevent Google from classifying the feedback as spam in the search results.
#3. GET REVIEWS FROM VARIOUS IP ADDRESSES
Getting reviews from the same location over and over can look “spammy” to Google because it tracks IP addresses. To avoid raising Google’s red flag, have customers submit reviews from various devices such as smart phones, tablets, and work computers. Again, Google wants people creating reviews because they like your product or service, and Google equates this “natural” action with multiple IP addresses.
#4. PROVIDE STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS IF NEEDED
Some customers will not be as savvy as others in writing reviews.
#5. ASK FOR MULTIPLE REVIEWS ON MULTIPLE SITES
Encourage your customers to review you not only on Google but on other sites that Google also uses to determine your search engine ranking.
#6. NEVER STOP THIS PROCESS
This is an on-going process for both new and existing customers, not something that is done just once. Having old, out-of-date reviews can be just as damaging as having no reviews. Potential customers want to know that you are a thriving business that continues to offer good service that people want to talk about.
To successfully obtain ongoing customer reviews on Google+ Local and other websites, follow these steps:
5:5. Put a “Online Reviews Counter” button on your site.
5:6. Create & hand out printed materials (with QR codes) to review your product or service.
5:7. Go to Google+, Yelp and Superpages, and review one business at each site.