It’s Almost 2018. Stop Doing These Things Because It Will Get Your Business Nowhere
 

 

Holiday season. Q4. We’re finally here – the last stretch of 2017. As 2018 approaches, it’s time to reflect on your progress and rethink your marketing strategy as a whole. Even in traditional fields such as medical, the consumer needs are constantly changing and now more than ever, businesses need to get as personal with them as possible. Consumers are immune to the generic, the norm, and the mass-produced. To help you navigate the ever-changing online landscape, here’s a list of marketing techniques that aren’t worth your time:

 

1.   Generalized Drip Campaign

Drip campaign refers to direct marketing methods such as email marketing (Think: Mailchimp). It’s widely used because companies can deliver information right in front of the consumers’ face. Drip campaigns are mainly pre-written content and are automatically sent at predetermined times in order to engage these contacts. The idea is to bombard your consumers’ inbox enough that they’ll consider buying the product or service. However, consumers are much smarter now; they do not pay attention to contents that appeared mass-produced. To make matters more complicated, many millennial consumers (age 19-35) use an alias email when signing up for newsletters; making many of the impressions from marketing emails useless.

The solution to this is to find ways to categorize your audience. Find ways to collect not only their emails, but their age/race/gender etc….Doing so will allow you to customize your content delivery with information that your consumers will find useful, which will increase engagement level. For example, we tend to build sign up forms that ask for additional information from our clients.

 

2.    Focusing on Quantity

As consumers are drowning in high influxes of information every day of their lives, the last thing businesses should be focusing on is producing more and more useless content. In the age of The Internet of Things, businesses have to be smart and produce content that is engaging, thought-provoking, and most importantly, useful to their audience. Make sure the content is focused on one subject matter and serves a particular purpose. Example: driving leads to another piece of content or supporting a recent campaign.

 

3.    Organic-Only Facebook Strategies

The misconception many people that most people have is gaining a large audience on social media is free. In 2017, Facebook surpassed 1 billion users. That is a lot of fish in the sea. Facebook organic reach is at an all-time low and continues to decline; researchers say that currently, only 2 to 6 percent of small businesses’ audience are seeing their posts. When it comes to marketing, the general rule of thumb is it doesn’t matter how many people see their content, if they’re not your audience, then it’s practically useless. Your high impression count does not matter if your reach is low. Instead of trying to do it organically, try using Facebook’s boosted posts and advertising to not only increase your reach but also ensure you are getting your message in front of the right people at the right time. It’s much more beneficial to dominate your niche pond than to swim endlessly in an ocean leading to nowhere.

 

4.    Relying Strictly On a Text-Based SEO Strategy

People are multi-dimensional. It’s time for your marketing strategy to be the same way. Today’s consumers are all about multimedia; people want videos, images, and audio. They want options. It’s important to think about how your message can be delivered effectively to your consumers in all angels. Short video format was a big marketing trend in 2017. In 2016, video marketing was on the rise but once marketers saw that people weren’t listening to the audio, they started captioning every piece of video content and the format took off. Everything is revolved around consumer behavior; therefore, it’s important to be considerate of all forms of media people consume. Just optimizing the text on your website is not enough; it’s time to optimize your video, images, and audio files for searchers. By doing this, you are optimizing your messages in all formats that the users are searching for.

 

Our closing message: Treat your customers, patients, and clients like the unique individuals they are. Be open to new ideas. And most of all, don't be afraid to challenge yourself.

 
Want to Get More Patients Through the Door? Start On the Web: How SEO and Google AdWords Can Boost the Health of Your Practice.
 

In the competitive jungle of business (yes, that includes medical practices…) the name of the game is no longer just “getting people through the door”.  That’s the final step of the process.  But nothing more.  And getting to that step at all increasingly depends on your online skill set and strategic abilities.  

Before we move on to some targeted tips to boost your practice’s profits, let’s cover some rudimentary definitions.  First on our list, what is SEO?  SEO (“Search Engine Optimization”) involves a variety of on-page and off-page strategies with the end goal of helping a web page rank as highly as possible on Google.  As a frame of reference, when you hear SEO marketers talking about that “coveted spot”, they mean the very first spot on Google’s search results for a particular query.  

Secondly, what’s Google AdWords?  AdWords is a digital tool published by Google to help companies track and optimize their marketing efforts.  Its features include keyword planning, a range of advertising options, customer engagement initiatives, and more.  

Given its bundled features, and that you only pay for results, AdWords is a must for every medical practice that’s serious about its marketing.  So, essentially, every medical practice that cares about its continued existence...

Still on the fence about this modern masterpiece of digital marketing?  Read on for 3 of our favorite features from this SEO powerhouse.  They’ll be sure to get more people on your site and more patients through your door.  

1. Keyword Planner lets you craft the perfect strategy

Knowledge (and eventual mastery) of keyword strategy is utterly vital to the health of your practice.  Without going into too much detail (you can find that here), keyword strategy is based around the inclusion of predetermined words (keywords) on a web page.  

The idea is to build a page with the goal of ranking top on Google for a certain keyword or cluster of keywords.  For instance, if you’re an ophthalmologist, “glaucoma patient” might be a keyword that would interest you.  

Keyword Planner presents you with an immense amount of incredibly useful info to help plan, implement, and track your keyword strategy.  AdWords will show you the number of local and national searches for a given keyword, which are incredibly useful in choosing which keywords to go after.  

For instance, let’s say you run a brain imaging clinic in Columbia, MD.  “Brain imaging” would be an extremely hard keyword to rank for, since the competition for such a widely used phrase would be fierce.  (You’ll be able to see all this in real time with AdWords.)  But “Columbia brain imaging” might very well be a keyword your clinic could rank for.  

Keyword strategy may be a vital aspect of SEO success, but it’s only one of the many benefits AdWords offers.  

2. PPC (pay-per-click) means there’s no barrier to entry

PPC is an elegant solution to the single largest hurdle medical practices encounter when setting up a bona fide marketing push: budget.  

The core appeal of a PPC campaign can be summed up in four words: you pay for results.  Here’s what a PPC campaign with AdWords would look like, from a financial perspective.  It’s disarmingly simple.  

You merely create your ad for free, and set a predetermined daily budget.  You’ll pay a set amount with each click on your ad, and that will continue until your budget is depleted (at which point you’ll be prompted to reset your budget).  

PPC eliminates the “budget factor” with online advertising, allowing even startup practices to compete with confidence.  

3. An emphasis on metrics means you can double down on what works

One of the largest recurring problems among marketing campaigns is a lack of emphasis on tracking results.  No expense is spared when it comes to planning the content of a campaign, the psychological triggers that will send the patient into your office and yours alone, etc.  We get it…it’s easy to get stuck there, especially if you’re new to marketing.  

But here’s the honest truth.  If you care about the health of your practice, you can’t get stuck there.  Because marketing campaigns are won and lost largely in this: emphatically watching metrics that you’ve determined to be important (local page views, keyword ranking, etc.) and then readjusting your approach depending on the results you get.  

If you can watch, you can adapt.  It’s just that simple, and just that vital.  Google AdWords offers a wealth of important digital metrics you can use to gauge the success of your campaign, according to your unique goals.  

Conclusion

Google AdWords is hands down one of the most powerful digital marketing tools at your disposal.  Just always remember (this should be part of your core marketing ethic): getting a patient in the door starts on the web.  

Piqued your curiosity about AdWords?  Good.  Click here for even more ways you can maximize your relevance and impact with AdWords.

 
 
Looking to Exude Industry Authority and Build Patient Trust? A YouTube Channel May Be Just What the Doctor Ordered for your Practice…
 

In the world of modern marketing, one core asset rises above all others in its ability to get patients through your door.  It’s not SEO (though that’s massively helpful).  And you won’t find it hiding in your social media channels, either (though, again, massively helpful, so include that in your marketing quiver by all means).  These are all vital strategic points, yes.  But the most important element comes from you, and you alone: trust.  

Trust is without a doubt the keystone of all successful marketing.  Without it, you’re getting nowhere fast.  The buzzword in marketing circles these days is “attention”….we’re in a constant battle for the attention of our prospects, who literally have thousands of avenues down which to turn their precious attention at any given moment.  But outside of shock value (probably not ideal for us medical marketers…), trust is the singular golden ticket of digital marketing.  What other benefits do you stand to gain, you’re probably wondering?  Read on.

1.Trust (no, we’re not being redundant…it matters that much).

Think of it…if trust is the golden ticket to marketing pretty much everything, how much more essential is it for medical marketing?  Your patients aren’t simply entrusting you with their money; they’re entrusting you with their physical and psychological well-being.  In other words, they’re already on high alert for a trustworthy ally in their quest for total overall health.  Trust is so important to them at this juncture, that they will be prioritizing it on the subconscious level as they surf websites and marketing materials.  

So how does a YouTube channel uniquely position you to win the trust of your clients and patients?  For starters, it allows you to leverage multiple points of sensory connection.  When you publish educational content on YouTube, you’re connecting with your prospects visually, with audio, and you’re establishing your unique expertise. Especially if you or members of your staff feature prominently in your content.  Don’t let yourself be camera or audio shy. Because guess what?  Your competitor across town who isn’t so shy is actively stealing your patients (and your revenue). 
Why, you ask?  They trust him or her more than you.  Not because of any inherent superiority.  Their practice may pale in comparison to your state-of-the-art equipment and celebrated medical expertise.  But they made the connection first.  They won the prospect’s trust and turned that prospect into a patient.  Next time, try to beat that practice across town to the punch.  (You can thank us later…)
 

2. A Modern Image (if “outdated” enters a prospect’s mind…you’re done)

Another truism in the world of marketing: if you’re not sprinting ahead, you’re falling behind, and quickly.  The world is accelerating, and marketing is one of the easiest sectors in which to verify this.  The name of the game today is integration.  Your prospects want (demand, really) access to your practice across channels, with the knowledge that you’re just a click or a swipe away.  (Double down on this fact if your team handles any sort of critical care scenarios.) 

As much as anything else, it’s what you’re implying to your patients that really gets them to pause and take note.  Again, if the word “outdated” even creeps into a prospect’s mind, you’re dead in the water.  In the realm of marketing, objective aims always apply (trust, modernity, SEO, etc.), but with the medical niche, the total integration factor is multiplied tenfold.  We really cannot emphasize that enough…
 

3. A Lot of the Work’s Been Done For You (but that doesn’t absolve you from strategizing)  

It’s important to remember that there are multiple avenues to successful marketing on YouTube (medical and otherwise).  If for some reason a full-blown content marketing approach isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps consider paid ads for your practice or any number of other methods.  

But let’s say for the sake of argument that you’ve opted to create a short ad for your practice, with the intention of running it on YouTube.  Frankly, that’s a great idea, and we commend you for your modern thinking.  But your work’s hardly done (and we mean that in the best way possible).  

Creating your ad is only the beginning.  The next step is to target which videos you want it to play prior to.  Your decision here will be based on the content of the video your ad will precede, the viewer demographics, etc.  This info is readily available through a variety of metrics tracking tools, and taking advantage of it will repay you handsomely.  But paid ads are just one of the many YouTube marketing tactics at your disposal.  

Whichever you choose, just remember: YouTube is a massive digital ecosystem.  What does this mean for you?  If you’re objective, intelligent, and know exactly who to target, you can leverage the unbelievable amount of existing user data on YouTube to take your practice to the next level more quickly than almost any other digital strategy.  

Final Thoughts

If you take nothing else away from this article, burn this one fact into your brain (and then repeat it three times daily in front of a mirror, for good measure): trust is the keystone of successful medical marketing.  And a YouTube channel for your practice is one of the quickest, surest ways to reach that critical objective.  

But we can break the matter of trust down even further, into subcategories that are every bit as vital.  Beyond building trust through multi-sensory connections (audio, visual, etc.), a well-maintained YouTube channel projects an attitude of industry expertise, and confidence in your facilities and abilities.  A modern, integrated image is more important in medical marketing than pretty much any other sector.  

Bet you’re already busy brainstorming your first video, aren’t you?  Go get after it, and good luck.  

 
Brooke Renov
How to Set a Marketing Budget for Your Business
 

In the early stages of a company's success, many entrepreneurs try to avoid setting a marketing budget. We're here to tell you, it's not as intimidating as it sounds. See our tips for getting the most for your money.

1. Define Your Marketing Goals 

A company's marketing budget should be customized to fit the needs of the company. Do you need more sales? Do you want to create brand awareness locally or nationally? Do you want to use marketing to revitalize relationships with existing customers?

2. Evaluate the Stage Your Business is in

For new businesses, it is widely recommended to spend between 8-10% of your revenue on marketing. However, there are exceptions for businesses in high-competition industries.
If you're industry is highly competitive, your budge can range anywhere from 12-20% depending on how high your operating costs are. 
For established businesses, with at least $5M in revenue, 12% is standard budget allocation. 
Additionally, understand that marketing drives revenue. Meaning you need marketing to grow as a company. Creating a marketing plan with a professional is one way of making sure this occurs. 

"Marketing Drives Revenue"

3. Test

It's highly likely that you won't KNOW the magic number until you test multiple marketing strategies, and evaluate which ones work best. This should be factored in to your marketing plan from the beginning. Marketing investment is a necessary risk. 

4. Don't Panic

Easier said than done. However, building up your marketing presence to accomplish your goals takes time. Make sure you look at how your marketing investment will pay off long term! You may not see direct results within the first couple months, but a successful marketing plan should increase your over-all revenues within the first year!

For clarification on marketing budget spending by industry, check out this helpful graph:

 
Increase Your Reach with Google Posts!

Are you using the Google My Business (GMB) platform for your business? Google My Business just rolled out Google Posts for small businesses. Google Posts allow businesses to create posts under their business listing. This gives business owners control over the information that first appears to customers in search and map results.

Promotion

This tool is best used to promote events, discounts, or new additions to your business. Google Posts is a low time investment with the potential for high returns (leads). This makes it a great addition to your business’ social media and helps to engage potential customers organically.

Free Lead Generation

With the addition of call to action buttons like “Learn More”, “Get Offer”, or “Sign Up”, you can think of this as FREE lead generation advertising. How cool is that?

Here’s how to get started:

  1.  Make sure you’ve created a GMB account. If you haven’t, click here
  2.  Log in to your GMB account and navigate to the “Posts” tab on the left side menu.
  3. Once there you have the option to upload promotional photos, write posts, and insert your one-click call to action.

Check out these examples!

Show Me The ROI!

There are many different aspects to running a strong and successful business. Ranging from managing your employees to filling out tax documents to maintaining a quality product/service that will continue to bring repeat business. Through all of the busyness of running a business, marketing can sometimes take a back seat to the immediate necessities. However, maintaining a healthy marketing strategy may be more important that you think and too often it is ignored, pushed to the back burner or a common complaint is “I have no time.”  The truth is you can’t afford to not make the time to do what it takes to bring more clients or patients in your doors.  A proactive approach is critical.

The biggest hang-up for most companies when considering their marketing plan is that they see it as an expense.  It is an investment. Expense marketing is when you pay for a certain level of promotion for a period of time. This can manifest in the form of a sponsored post on Facebook that eventually runs its course and either runs out of money for continued promotion or value by decreased consumer clicks, flyers and event promotions. Investment marketing, however, is when you invest in forms of marketing that will continue to bring in revenue and new customers on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. These include but are not limited to creating websites, reviews, business listings, training tools, compelling content for your social media including but not limited to engaging articles/blogs. These forms of investment marketing will permanently remain on the web allowing consumer traffic to flow and continuing to bring your companies name and mission to their attention at no further cost to you past the initial expense.

For most companies having a healthy marketing budget is more of a luxury than a necessity. When times a tough and you have to tighten the belt a bit, it is usually the marketing budget that takes the first cut. Although understandable, this can be a huge mistake. I rarely see those companies continue to dominate their market when they cut critical marketing that has been working for them.  Investing in your brand is how you reach audience and bring in new business. Cutting back less your future revenue options and continues dragging you down in a state of diminished profit instead of prosperity. Successful companies like Kellogg and Proctor & Gamble chose to ramp up their marketing strategy during economic recessions and were able to stand out from their competitors resulting in substantial growth during times where most businesses were closing their doors. Following examples like this and shifting your mentality towards marketing being an investment instead of an expense will allow you to grow and expand - even in a time of low cash flow. If you cut anything best to cut your print marketing in this day and age.  Let’s face it, reputation marketing including reviews, social media and targeted ads to your ideal consumers are what will set you apart from your competition and get you results.

By choosing strategies that create higher revenue than the cost to execute them will make your marketing plan more efficient and profitable. A formula for success is to pursue investment marketing avenues primarily then include some expense marketing. There is a time and place for both and each of them attracts your consumers in different ways.

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 10.17.59 AM.png

Do not be afraid to branch out and try something new.  Many of my clients and medical practices have done the same marketing over and over and are sometimes reluctant to invest in modern techniques that have been proven but feel uncomfortable to them because they haven’t tried them before.  Marketing strategies have had to adjust to the age of the informed consumer. Think about how your consumers go about spending their money.  Think about the steps you take before you make a purchase.  Think about the steps your children take before they make an informed decision.  In order to continue to move forward successfully, adjusting our methods to suit our customers is vital to continued business growth. This is why we offer programs that best suit how your consumers are using reviews, search engine results, micro moments and social media to make decisions on how to spend their money and choose you over your competition because you stand out in a way that nobody else does.   Instead of mediocre, we help our business partners set them selves apart in a way that makes them the clear and obvious choice in their markets.  To us, this is clearly an investment, not an expense.

Tamela Cantor
How to Set Up a Business Page on Yelp and Google!

For most business owners, reviews are a sore subject. It feels like everyone has a story of that nightmare client. Collective groans aside, reviews are important to new clients!

So what’s the first step to getting online reviews?

Depending on the industry, certain platforms will be more important than others. Websites like Yelp, Google, Zocdoc and others provide tools for business owners once they have claimed their pages. To start you off, here’s a step by step guide to listing your business on Yelp and Google.

 
 

Yelp:
 

Step 1: Claim your business page 

Step 2: Add company information such as address, phone number, and your website.

(If you don’t have a website, feel free to contact us for a consultation. Adding recognizable photos such as your company logo will make it easier for customers to find your page.

Step 3: Make sure you respond to your reviewers!

When customers leave reviews, positive or negative, make sure you respond politely using your business account. Displaying your amazing customer service skills online will make your customers feel safe!

 

(Via- Yelp Support)

 

 
(Via- Google Help)
 

Google:

To Start, Sign up to “Google My Business”

Follow these steps to sign up:

  1. Go to google.com/business and click Start now at the top right corner of the page.
  2. Sign in to your Google account, or create one if you don’t already use Google services.
  3. You’ll see a map of your country with a form at the top left. Enter your business name in the first field.
  4. As you type, suggestions for possible matches will appear. If you see your business, select it from the suggestions.
  5. Complete the rest of the fields with your business information, then click Continue. You may see a potential matching business suggested to you. If this is your business, click it. If it’s not your business, click "Keep the information I entered."
  6. You'll see the option to confirm that you're authorized to manage the business. If you are, check the box, then click Continue. If you aren’t authorized to manage the business, find the person in your organization who is, then continue signing up.

Now that you've finished that, Navigate to Google My Business

  1. Search for your business using its name and address.
  2. Brands, organizations, or artists should follow these steps.
  3. If you see a dialog letting you know that someone else has verified the business, follow these steps.
  4. If you don’t see your business listed in the menu, click No, these are not my businesses or I’ve correctly entered the business. You’ll then be prompted to enter some details for your business. Make sure you enter an accurate, complete street address, and a phone number which reaches your business directly.
  5. Click Submit.

(via – Google Help)

and viola! You're all set up!

You Are Handling Negative Reviews ALL WRONG

Do you have a way for your clients, customers, or patients to share how they feel when they are emotionally compelled to do so?  

What is your plan to control negative content from leaking out online?

Have you considered if and when you get a negative review, how you will handle it?

Did you realize that most searches are now taking place on mobile devices and if you aren’t showing up looking stellar on mobile, as well as on a computer, you are losing clients?

Did you know that 60% say that negative reviews make them not want to use a business?*

What is the best way to handle negative reviews?

Our clients, customers, and patients (if we are health practitioners) are important to the health and well-being of our businesses and practices. At some point, you are going to encounter a situation where an unhappy patron feels compelled to complain about your organization online. This occurrence is somewhat unavoidable so it is better to be prepared for how to handle these negative reviews ahead of time then it is to sit back and hope they never happen to begin with or then do what people usually do - handle them  ALL WRONG!

Although people post negative reviews online for a lot of different reasons (not all of them simply because they are disgruntled), the good news is that you have the power to respond to their concerns and turn it around, if possible.  

The current political climate is affecting many people's outlook on life and many have a negative mindset even before they walk through your door.  People are on edge; the smaller things tend to seem much bigger than ever before and we have seen an upswing in negative content everywhere including a surge of negative reviews online. Instead of staying up late at night, sweating over the possibility of getting a terrible online review, or worse yet, freaking out then responding badly once you get one, here are some suggestions from us on how to approach online criticism and protect your online reputation.

Don’t Panic!

Do not freeze in fear and neglect to respond to a negative review. Remember that the person finding fault with your business has nothing to lose by complaining about your business online but your reputation is at stake. Businesses have been known to respond without thinking and in a defensive manner which comes across online as arrogant and disrespectful. You don’t want that lasting impression of your work to sit there for people to share and take screenshots of – further damaging your reputation.

Also, if you spend any time digging into the history of the pe posting the review, you will often find that they are critical of many of the businesses they patronize. Starting an online war with a loony toon is never a good idea so it’s essential to take the source into consideration. This may surprise you but, in a good many cases, we don’t recommend you respond at all. It will merely escalate the problem.  If you have someone mentally unstable posting negative content, it looks worse for you to respond.  Just consider the source.

If you feel it is a legitimate complaint, it’s important to respond quickly but appropriately, showing that you care about the person’s feelings and demonstrating, publically, your desire to try to make things right.

Don’t Ignore Your Kudos

Before you start dealing with those negative reviews, take some time to engage and interact with all the positive online reviews and testimonials you have received. Thank your raving fans since they are the ones who love you and engaging with them provides more benefits than expending all your energy interacting with people determined to dislike you. Don’t ignore your kudos!

Don’t Overcomplicate Things

If you must respond, and sometimes your online reputation requires you to do so, keep your response simple. A brief, one to two sentences, is all that is necessary. Stick to the facts. Often, we suggest that you acknowledge the grievance in a sympathetic tone and give them the opportunity to speak with you offline in an attempt to make things right. That is all that is needed. No matter how heated you feel, do not go into the matter online where everyone can see the exchange.

Don’t Just Be Reactive

While you can try to get the negative review removed, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to do so. It’s true that the system is often abused but it wouldn’t work at all if business owners had the capability of simply deleting any of the reviews they didn’t like. What is a better approach? Stop obsessing over the negative and focus on raising up the amount of excellent online reviews. That same time and energy you are using to cover up the bad could be channeled into building up and even better online reputation! Put a system in place to ask for reviews and be consistent about it. One negative review will hardly hold its weight about a mountain of raving ones.  This is where we come in.  We help hundreds of businesses have a systematic way to collecting all of the content they can, push out the amazing content to all of the places that matter while preventing negative content from being seen.  Then, if someone does post directly online something you don’t want seen, we have a system to help you bury it.

Important Fact: According to the research done by Reevoo – “68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, while 30% suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see anything negative at all.” Which means, a site padded with 5 Star reviews doesn’t come off as genuine or authentic and will make your audience suspicious. Let’s face it; no one is perfect all the time.

Mobile First

The people who use Mobile Internet to read reviews jumped to 61% (38% in 2015)*

What that means for you is that you need to be sure your reviews are not just being requested in a way that doesn’t allow for those to post their content on an online review site like Google, Yelp, Yellowpages, etc.  It’s great to ask for feedback.  What is not great is not getting it to the places that your audience will actually see how much your existing clients or patients love you. 

If you are in business, someone will eventually post a negative review – it’s a fact of doing business. Developing an online reputation strategy that will impact your prospects in such a way that they will want to pick up the phone and contact you first is the way to go. Consumers like to shop around online for the best solution to their problem but they have limited time and attention to do so, make your business stand out online using these suggestions.

We are here to help!  Have a question?  Book a FREE 30 Minute FREE Market Analysis and see where we can help you take charge of your online reputation today.

*Bright Local 2016 Consumer Review Survey Statistic.

Tamela Cantor
The Importance of Owning Your Business Listings

Four out of five consumers now use search engines to find local businesses. This is why you must own your business listings. Any company or individual can set up your information through places like Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, Yellow Pages and more. Some customers may have the best intentions, but others can use this as a chance to create confusion and cause your reputation to suffer.

The more of these pages (aka listings, citation sites, directory sites) you control and maximize, the higher your business will appear in search engine algorithms. The higher your visibility on the first page of search engine results, the more social proof you will gain for potential clients and customers. Being an established company is almost as important as customer and client reviews.  We have a joke in this industry. Where do you hide the dead body?  Page two of the search engines!

You want to dominate your local area search results. Your business listings are the key to doing that, and your future depends on it, guaranteed.

Not so long ago, listing your business in the White or Yellow Pages was all you needed. Shoot, you could even put an ad in the paper or send out a postcard and that would do the trick.  With GPS and mobile use dominating search engine results, over 60% of searches are now done on mobile devices, your company must get the future is now. Mobile access is becoming more important than ever. Apps like Yelp and Google Maps and even Facebook will require accurate, up-to-date information. Please note that the iPhone and other Mac products use Apple Maps Connect as their map application. With accurate listings, your customers can find you on-the-go with no fuss. Nothing frustrates a customer more than inaccurate information such as business hours being wrong or not listed at all, no feel for what the business looks like because the images are missing.

Pro Tip:  At a minimum, your address, phone number, website, and hours of operation need be listed correctly.  

The best way to control your reputation is to claim those listings for yourself, using your own logins and passwords. A note of caution here. Be very careful who you let have access. There have been nightmare stories about shady companies, prior employees, and vengeful admins who used the login credentials and administrative privileges provided to them to discredit, slander, alter, and/or delete the listings completely.

Be proactive. You want to claim them as soon as you’re able, since most business listing sites require verification of identity after an account has already been built. This can take up to 45 days in the inside when you use a company like ours, up to two months on the outside and if you do it yourself, in some cases, it could take years to be even semi-accurate.

If you find that someone else has set up an account, or if you notice that a prior owner of your establishment still has access, contact the site admins immediately for assistance. The sooner it happens, the faster you’ll have the reins of your reputation firmly in hand.  If you are unable to do so, there are ways you can access your listings, some easier than others and recently Google My Business has made it even easier.  Keep a master website address for access to your listings with logins and passwords handy and updated.  Not sure where to start or don’t have the manpower to even begin to tackle this project?  That is why we developed a program that will do it for you with no headaches.  The best advice is, while you don’t “own” your Google, Yelp or Facebook pages, you can control the content and the best way to do that is to know how to access them quickly and effectively.

Tamela Cantor
What Is Your Company's Voice?
What is Your Company's Voice-.png

Brand Voice

Brand voice is the purposeful, consistent expression of a brand through words and prose styles that engage and motivate.

The voice of your brand is usually the first impression your business will offer to customers. The way you speak and interact with your audience is vital to connecting with them and creating the results that you are aiming for. The consistency of that voice is also essential. If in one post you are very analytical and informative and then in the next you are cracking jokes and being quirky, your audience will become confused. They will have a hard time understanding the aim of your business and what your brand is trying to accomplish. When confused, their first response may be to seek out something else. Don’t let your customers walk into the open arms of your competition!

Unless, of course, losing potential clients is part of your branding strategy? No? I didn’t think so.

Begin by deciding what voice to use for our company/brand and then develop processes to ensure that it is consistent. We compiled a step-by-step guide to help you get started.

Step 1 – Define

If your company had a human-like personality, what would it be like? Write down three main characteristics of that personality. Examples of this could be - Passionate, Quirky, and Authentic. There are endless combinations of descriptions, but it is up to you to decide which best suits your company. Then expand upon those three characteristics. Here is an example of that below.

•       Passionate – expressive, enthusiastic, heartfelt, action-oriented

•       Quirky – irreverent, unexpected, contrarian

•       Authentic – genuine, trustworthy, engaging, direct

Not only should what you’ve written reflect your chosen brand personality, all of the interactions with your audience should demonstrate this strategy. Consider your social media posts, visuals (post photos, logo, ads, marketing, etc.), blogs, and other day to day communications. You will want this to be consistent throughout everything that your company name is connected to.

Step 2 – Differentiate

Take a look at your competition. If their company voice had a personality, what would be their three characteristics? How do yours compare? It is best to stand out and be different than your competition. If you find that the two voices are similar, reevaluate and adjust. When you sound and look the same as your competition, what that tells your customers is that your services are the same.  This prevents you from standing out and communicating that what you have to offer is so much more. You need to come across as special and unique in your chosen field.

Step 3 –Listen and Engage

Once you have established what your company’s voice is, then take the time to listen. Listen to your customers and their responses to your interactions with them. Are they analytical and precise or are they more conversational and casual? Take notes from these interactions and get to know your audience. Engage regularly with them so that you know how to connect to your customer base and strategize as needed.

If you are not sure how to build your company’s voice and need advice, the staff at Deluge Digital Marketing is skilled in developing your online brand and reputation and would be happy to show you how to find your voice.

Tamela Cantor
What Is Your Company’s Claim to Fame?

A person who pleases everyone, pleases no one. Being stretched in too many different directions can be detrimental to the success of your business. Your company won’t fit the needs of every customer and client out there. It would be impossible. Instead, you should focus on what you can do, and make sure you do it exceptionally well. That is where you stand to make the most positive influence on your customers, clients, and online reviews.

Your business is a shining star with a claim to fame, something that you can offer that no one else does. What is it, you ask? It’s unique to you and is integral to your mission statement, your company’s core values. Do any of the following sound like you?

Customer service focused: Do you go the extra mile to check up on former and current clients, customers, or patients?

Loyalty focused: Do you offer loyalty incentive opportunities, events, and/or discounts? Do you provide a bonus gift, event, etc. every year that you have a valued customer? If you don’t, why not?

That personal touch: Do you send handwritten correspondence? Do you contact them on their birthdays, or their anniversaries? How do you connect with them beyond the bottom line?

Problem solving/troubleshooting: What problems are you really good at solving for your customers? How do you help them solve it? Do you talk them through it? Is there one tricky aspect of a service that causes a lot of trouble for your clients? If so, why not do a video walkthrough of the process? There are plenty of screen capture options available for streaming your sessions. Or, if it’s a product, can you develop a video series on helping them use, repair, calibrate, ore more?

Teaching: How do you teach? Where? In what way? Do you provide bonus content as thanks for their patronage? Do you send out informational newsletters that fill them in things they need to know? Do you have an ebook, podcasts, apps or secret Facebook group that allows for networking and free information for them that can enhance their experience with your business?  Do you have a day care onsite if you are a gym?  Do you offer a gaming room room for the other kids if you are a Dentist or Orthodontist?  Do you have a doggie daycare or puppy classes onsite if you are a veterinarian?  Do you offer free repairs for the first year if you are an eyeglass provider?

These are just some of the ways you can expand on your unique selling points.

If you’re still not sure, look to your current reviews. What do your clients and customers say about your business? Do they say you’re efficient? Care about the customer? Went the extra mile?

On the flip side, what negative things do most of the reviews have in common? Is there a pattern? Do you offer one service that consistently gets poor ratings? If so, consider whether that offering is necessary to your company’s success. If it is, how can you improve the quality of care and service? What were the pain points? How can you help streamline your processes to ensure better reviews in the future?

If you’re still not sure how to find your claim to fame, make a list of the services you provide your customers. Then, select, highlight, or circle those you (and your staff) enjoy the most. The things you enjoy doing tend to be the things you do enthusiastically, and that sincerity can be seen and felt by others.

Find out what you do that no one else can, or does as well as you do, and you’ll stand out among the crowd.

Tamela Cantor
How Content & Social Media Improves Your Reputation

Online Content and Social Media interaction are key factors in improving your online reputation. Online content can spread your search engine results into multiple pages. This level of social proof can further enhance your reputation. Social Media and Online Content provides necessary connections between your brand and your customer.

Online Content

The more content you publish, the easier it is to find you. You must, however, ensure that the content you publish is meaningful, helpful, relevant, professional, and thought-provoking. These posts will establish you as a leader in your field, and build social proof: something necessary to maintaining a high level in your online reputation. Please note that content isn’t only writing-related. You can provide videos, printable downloads, ebooks, and more.

Consider guest posts (or videos) on high traffic sites related to your brand to boost your positive reputation even higher. When you guest post, make sure the content you provide is relevant to their audience and yours.

A well-rounded digital content strategy involves consistent publishing of quality blog posts, videos, press releases, infographics, and downloadable content.

Social Media

Take control of your brand’s social media platforms and monitor them closely. You don’t want someone else to mimic your company or create false information. Your online reputation will suffer for it. Find your company name on each major social media site to ensure no one else can take it. In addition, do a search to ensure no one else has set up another account related to your brand or business.

Choose your platforms. You don’t have to use every site, but decide where you should invest the most amount of your time. Link all of your social media platforms together so that followers of different social media sites can find you elsewhere. Always link to your business site.

Be active. Post frequently, comment when and where appropriate, and always demonstrate your appreciation for customer and client-related comments. Remember that negative comments can be used to show your concern for the consumer’s problems. If you respond well, don’t argue (it works against your reputation when you do so), show concern while being willing to correct any problems, stay unemotional and offer to take the conversation offline and you’ll find you look professional. Don’t think about the single customer who complained.  I see too many business owners and staff spend a lot of unnecessary time and energy worrying about this.  Think about the hundreds and thousands of lurkers who see the exchange and base their opinions on how you handle it.  We specialize in burying negative content so if you have a issues like this, we are here for you.

Be careful about over-promoting your brand. You want a nice combination of quality shared content and personal brand promotion. Respond to every positive comment with a “thank you” rather than an attempted upsell, That turns potential customers and clients away from your content.

In both online content and social media interaction, it’s imperative that you pay attention to what your customers are saying. Brand loyalty and trust are key factors in a solid online reputation. How you manage their concerns will go a long way toward forwarding the positive aspects of your business. The more places you deliver quality, engaging content, the greater your reputation will become. 

Tamela Cantor
Do You Have Control of Your Online Reputation?

No matter what type of business you have, knowing how you are perceived online is essential. Although no one can fully control the perceptions of online viewers, you can certainly influence your online presence so that it swings in your favor.  This is done by actively improving your online reputation and presence.

Your online reputation is all about how others see your business and how it is represented online. In the 2016 Consumer Survey Report 91%* of consumers checked out online reviews left for a business before choosing to make a purchase. Reviews are playing a bigger and bigger role in how consumers feel about your products or services. Reviews can even impact how you are ranked within search engines. Reviews could include up to 10% of the ranking. Not just any reviews - the better the reviews the higher the rank. A large portion of your audience may take their business elsewhere if what they see is not positive enough. A staggering 86% of consumers will hesitate over a purchase if there are negative reviews, with 60% say that negative reviews make them not want to use a business.

If someone is happy about your product and raving to his or her friends then getting an online review from them will be easy, right? Not necessarily. This is usually because people’s lives are so busy that unless truly motivated, they are less likely to leave a review. If a customer receives excellent service and is completely happy with the product they may rave to their friends but may not consider leaving a virtual review on the sites that matter to your business. That is because only 10% of people leave feedback but 91% read it!    What is the best way?  Invite them.

Customers with bad experiences are far more motivated to leave a negative review because they are emotional. Best to have a system in place to capture that feedback so they don’t post directly online.  Consumers that have had a bad experience will look for a venting source and we offer a system on your website and the use of technology to offer this option to your customers so they share first with you. Especially in the age of social media, where big brands are investing resources into engaging with their audience online, consumers tend to go there first when they have a grievance or concern.  Best respond appropriately, take the dialogue offline quickly and keep it professional.

Already have some negative reviews online? Never fear! There is a way to turn a bad review into a bit of good PR. Replying to reviews and offering assistance to fix the issue, helps people feel appreciated, listened to, and respected as a consumer. This can turn a negative review in to either a positive or more neutral one.

After a purchase or even an interaction like an online inquiry or a visit from a customer, it is beneficial to follow up with a request for a review, without harassing the consumer and creating a negative experience for them. Generally, this may need a secondary follow up, ideally with a system in place to do so. This is a great way to control the content you can representing your business online and have more influence over what others are saying about your company over the Internet.

If you need help to grow your online reputation using review marketing, the staff at Deluge Digital Marketing specializes in helping businesses build a strong, positive online experience for their brand. 

*Source Bright Local Consumer Review Survey released 11/2/16   

Tamela Cantor